Connect with us


TV’s Greatest Hits: Tom and Barbara live The Good Life



What was it all about?
The ultimate suburban sit-com but, unlike its contemporaries (such as Happy Ever After), the comedy did actually have more depth than the lino in the kitchen.

Who were the main characters?
Tom Good, draughtsman with a company which designs plastic toys for breakfast cereal packets, decides to quit the rat-race on his 40th birthday and instead make his living from his garden by going self-sufficient. His pert wife, Barbara, is unsure at first but soon dons dungarees and wellies and mucks in enthusiastically.

The Goods’ next-door neighbours are golf-playing Jerry Leadbetter and his wife Margo. Jerry is Tom’s old boss – Tom and Jerry are friends just like their cat and mouse namesakes — while Margo is a Grade One snob.

Both are prominent members of the local G and T set and Margo, in particular, is appalled at the thought of pigs milling around in next door’s garden. What will it do to property prices? Margo would no more be seen in dungarees than streak along the High Street but, after initially pitying Barbara, Margo comes to admire her for what she is prepared to do to make her marriage work. Thanks to superb scripts and performances, The Good Life became a modern comedy of class and manners.

Felicity Kendal, Richard Briers The Good Life

When was it on?
From 1975 to 1978 – four series, each comprising seven episodes, plus two specials.

Who wrote it?
John Esmonde and Bob Larbey, previously best known for Please Sir!

Who were the star turns?
Richard Briers played Tom with Felicity Kendal as Barbara, Paul Eddington as Jerry and Penelope Keith as Margo. The series propelled Penelope Keith from supporting actress to sitcom stardom and further success opposite Peter Bowles in To The Manor Born.

the good life

Wasn’t Margo originally just a peripheral character?
That’s right. At first, she was only supposed to appear in a few scenes but when one episode was running short, Esmonde and Larbey slipped in an extra scene showing Margo on the phone. Penelope Keith seized the opportunity and turned Margo into the Empress of Suburbia, arguably the show’s most popular – if not its best-loved – character.

Where was it set?
In Surbiton, land of dinner parties and twitching net curtains.

Any guest stars?
Not in vision. But veteran animal impressionist Percy Edwards provided the voice of the Goods’ pig. Even in his 70s, Percy was still bringing home the bacon.


Who watched it?
Despite the fact that Margo was even more regal than Her Maj, this was another of the Queen’s favourites. When she was asked in 1978 to help raise money for the British Commonwealth Games team by picking a TV programme for which she could sit in the studio audience, she chose The Good Life.

Any real-life resonance?
The series created a surge of interest in self-sufficiency. Throughout the country, herbaceous borders were dug up and replaced with vegetable patches and people everywhere swapped their lawn-mowers for goats. By 1980, the pursuit of the good life had resulted in a record 51,000 smallholdings in Britain… mainly the idea of husbands hoping their wives would look as good as Felicity Kendal in a pair of overalls.

and this just in

News12 mins ago

Disney+ and Pixar Animation Studios Release New Trailer for “A Spark Story”

Disney+ and Pixar Animation Studios shared a trailer today for the upcoming feature-length documentary “A Spark Story” – a co-production...

News2 hours ago

Life’s looking sweeter with the return of Bake Off

Channel 4 is whipping up excitement for tonight’s hotly anticipated return of The Great British Bake Off with the installation...

News5 hours ago

SAS Australia – is Kerri Pottharst the weakest among the group

Tonight on SAS Australia, the 12 remaining star recruits were asked to nominate the weakest among the group. They unanimously voted...

image description image description
News6 hours ago

Thorpey’s Record-Breaking Dish Soon on Celebrity MasterChef

Gold medal Olympian Ian Thorpe is bringing his competitive side to the MasterChef kitchen. He wants to win. Thorpey swam...

News7 hours ago

ITV Studios inks co-production deal with Tencent Video for A Year on Planet Earth

ITV Studios inks co-production deal with Tencent Video for the landmark natural history series A Year on Planet Earth Tencent...

News8 hours ago

ITV detective drama, Grace, begins filming in Brighton

ITV detective drama, Grace, begins filming in Brighton starring John Simm, Richie Campbell and Rakie Ayola, written by acclaimed screenwriter...

News9 hours ago

Hillary Clinton interviewed on Inside Culture as it returns to BBC Two and iPlayer this September

The five programmes will explore a wide range of ideas and themes including laughter, the art that takes us ‘back...

News9 hours ago

Sky & Love Nature expand content partnership into Germany and Italy with Sky Nature

Love Nature, a wildlife and nature brand with linear and streaming channels available in over 135 countries, and Sky, Europe’s...


RuPaul's Drag Race UK Season 3 RuPaul's Drag Race UK Season 3
Episodes14 hours ago

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Season 3 Premiere airs Thurs 23 Sep on BBC Three

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is back for series three! Over the course of 10 weeks 12 fabulous drag queens will...

The Hairy Bikers Go North The Hairy Bikers Go North
Episodes14 hours ago

The Hairy Bikers Go North Premieres Thurs 23 Sep on BBC Two

After years of riding abroad, The Hairy Bikers, Si King and Dave Myers, are back home in the North of...

The Scotts Episode 3 The Scotts Episode 3
Episodes14 hours ago

The Scotts Episode 3 (S1EP3 BBC Scotland Thurs 23 Sep 2021)

In episode three of Vincent and Vonny’s marital issues cause comedic trouble and strife as The Scotts get pulled into...

The Cleaner The Neighbour The Cleaner The Neighbour
Episodes14 hours ago

The Cleaner: The Neighbour (S1EP3 BBC One Fri 24 Sep 2021)

The Neighbour: Crime scene cleaner Wicky (Greg Davies) has the wrong key for his next job and finds himself stuck...

The North Water Episode 3 The North Water Episode 3
Episodes14 hours ago

The North Water Episode 3 airs Fri 24 Sep on BBC Two

In the third episode The North Water, after persuading Brownlee (Stephen Graham) to let him examine Drax (Colin Farrell), Sumner...

The Stand Up Sketch Show The Stand Up Sketch Show
Episodes14 hours ago

The Stand Up Sketch Show Season 3 Premiere Sat 25 Sep on ABC TV

The Stand Up Sketch Show is back! This time it’s bigger, funnier and more outrageous than ever before. The Stand...

Hard Quiz 22 Sep Hard Quiz 22 Sep
Episodes14 hours ago

Hard Quiz Wed 22 Sept on ABC TV

In Wednesday nights edition of Hard Quiz (8.00pm ABC TV) Tom Gleeson puts another four contestants under the grill as...

The Trial of Christine Keeler Series 1, Episode 6 The Trial of Christine Keeler Series 1, Episode 6
Episodes14 hours ago

The Trial of Christine Keeler Series Finale airs Sat 25 Sep on ABC TV

In the sixth and final episode of The Trial of Christine Keeler we are in London, Autumn 1963 and in...