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The Good Life

The Good Life was one of the most successful British sitcoms of all time, produced by the BBC during the mid-1970s. The programme ran for several series and is still being repeated, it was shown in the US as Good Neighbors. It was written by Bob Larbey[?] and John Esmonde[?].

There are 28 half-hour episodes which were shown in four series of seven, there were also one special 45-minute Christmas episode. The first episode, "Plough Your Own Furrow", aired on April 4, 1975. The last episode, "Anniversary", was shown in 1977.

The premise is a decision by Tom and Barbara Good, a respectable Surbiton couple, to live self-sufficiently[?]. Tom gives up his well-paid job, and they turn their back garden into a farmyard. Their actions horrify their kindly but stuffy next-door neighbours, Margot and Jerry Leadbetter. Originally, Margot and Jerry were intended to be minor characters, but their relationship with one another and with the Goods soon became an essential element of every episode.

Of the four main actors, only Richard Briers was well known before the series began. However, the other three quickly became major stars and all went on to have "vehicles" created for them by the BBC. The big hit of the series was Penelope Keith's character, Margot, a consummate snob with a heart of gold. Her ineffectual husband, Jerry, was played by Paul Eddington[?], who went on to play the lead in the extremely successful Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister. Felicity Kendal, who played Barbara, became something of a sex symbol among men of a certain age.

There are many within the UK organic gardening and self-suffiency movements who continue to this day to claim that The Good Life was inspirational and influential to their own life-style changes.

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