8.1/10
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Good Neighbors 

The Good Life (original title)
The perils of "escaping the rat race" and dropping out of society - to start a farm in Surbiton (and to drive Margo nuts).
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Episodes

Seasons


Years



4   3   2   1   Unknown  
1978   1977   1976   1975  
1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Storyline

Tom and Barbara Good's dream is to live completely self-sufficiently. This means, among other things, raising their own vegetables and animals for food. Trouble is, they live in the suburbs. Their very conservative neighbors, the Leadbetters, look on, horrified, at this bold experiment. Written by George S. Davis <mgeorges@prodigy.net>

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Comedy

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Release Date:

4 April 1975 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Good Neighbors  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(30 episodes)

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Aspect Ratio:

4:3
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although this is Richard Briers' most celebrated sitcom, he said that he never liked the character of Tom Good, feeling that he was a selfish bully who forced his wife into giving up her lifestyle and doing what he wanted regardless of the personal cost. He actually preferred Ever Decreasing Circles (1984) as a series. See more »

Goofs

In a previous episode ("The Pagan Rite") Barbara was furious when she thought Tom had taken freelance work to help pay their bills, saying that their efforts in self-sufficiency should be all or nothing. But in "A Tug of the Forelock" she is the one who suggests they take on temporary work to afford petrol for their new vehicle. See more »

Quotes

Margo: Why don't you just throw a bucket of mud on the floor?
Jerry: Look, I've just cut my finger clipping your blasted hedge.
Margo: Don't swear, Jerry. And don't bleed in the sink, I've just cleaned it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The closing credits listed the actors' names but not the corresponding names of the characters that they played. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Greatest: 100 Greatest TV Characters (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

The Bandolero
Written by Leslie Stuart
Performed by Peter Dawson
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Good Life, Good Show!
23 August 2002 | by See all my reviews

The Good Life has been repeated many many times on the BBC ever since it first aired back in the mid to late 70s and for good reason too.

Back then Britain was going through years and years of industrial strikes culminating in 78/79 with the so-called "Winter Of Discontent" when National Strikes crippled the country. During the 70s there were many situations when most of the country had its power cut off for nights on end by striking energy workers.

Thus millions of families would be cast in darkness huddled round candles, talking or trying to read under the gloom. It also gave thought to our total independence on eletricity and the power it provides us at the simple flick of a switch.

And so The Good Life came to light (bad pun I know). However, the writers decided not to make a comedy about people suffering darkness at the hands of militants and strikers. Instead they decided on taking a typical middle-class couple into the realms of voluntary self-sufficiency.

So enter, Tom & Barbara, our selfless & willing guinea pigs who decide the rat race and huge bills is not a world for them. And for the next 4 years we seem them struggle & succeed in their attempts at going their own self-sufficiency way at the bemusements of their neighbours.

This kind of environmentalism was a relatively new concept to British audiences in the 70s and perhaps underlined why the show was such a great & enduring success. But it also raised lots of questions both for us the viewing audience and Tom & Barbara themselves.

Generating electricity is no easy thing as Tom found out when the Electricity Board finally cut their power for not paying their bills. Both Tom & Barbara had to adapt really quickly and get used to the idea that nothing was going to happen any more by simply clicking on a light switch, opening a fridge or turning on a tv.

All these creature comforts we take so much for granted are all gone for Tom & his wife. And trying to build his own little power generator in his celler using the effluent of his pigs to create some form of electricity not only makes for a great episode but also shows us how much hard work & self sacrifice is involved by going the Green Route.

Two major questions that surfaced during the show involved the keeping of animals in Tom's back garden and the hard work, noise, odours etc that this creates and the problems it causes to the neighbours; the difficult matter of having to kill their own chickens bare handed rather than simply going to the shops and buying frozen foods killed by other people.

Interestingly the Goods (Tom & Barbara) were childless which was probably intended by the writers otherwise the show could have suffered if children were involved.

As time went on some of the episodes looked very "samey" from earlier episodes and the laughs were becoming just a little desperate. So to learn that the series would finally end in 1978 was the right choice. Its always best to finish on top than try to stretch a joke too far.

Even though the topicality of the show was popular at the time, I don't think it set a trend with the British in reality. Self-sufficiency was good & funny providing someone else did it, but for the majority of the population it was just too damned hard to even contemplate.

****/*****


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