The Good Life Series 1 DVD

Thursday, 25 March 2010 09:52

Restored from the original masters, The Good Life is one of those 'nice' shows, and season one is now released on DVD in its entirety for the first time ever. It is not crass or obscene, and is not so twee as to be sickly. It is well written, directed and acted. You know from the start you will be entertained without having to strain to understand the humour. A great British classic, and at 35 years old now, it certainly is a classic.

For anyone who has never watched this series and those who enjoyed it the first time round it has taken on a larger significance in these times of great waste and consumerism. The series could almost be educational. Tom Good (Richard Briers – recently seen in Torchwood episode "A Day in the Death") is celebrating his 40th birthday and finding he has reached an age where he feels directionless and pointless.

The Good Life - Complete Season One on DVDHe wants to capture ‘it’ and make the most of his life. He is bored with his job and yearns for something more. His wife Barbara (Felicity Kendal, most recently seen in Doctor Who "The Unicorn and the Wasp") finds this amusing but encourages him to work out whatever ‘it’ is.

When Tom reaches the conclusion that they should become self sufficient Barbara, after some thought, agrees. They immediately set about turning their Surbiton home into small holding with potatoes and peas sown, chickens in the converted green house and a goat they call Geraldine.

However their neighbours, Jerry and Margo Leadbetter (Paul Eddington, Yes Minister and Penelope Keith, To the Manor Born) are not so sure about the venture. Although they are good friends with the Goods they find the whole thing rather distasteful. Margo believes the Goods have gone insane and wants to help them out and encourage them to return to normality. The Goods are having none of it, and enjoy poking gentle fun at their neighbours.

The series quickly progresses to show the Goods getting stuck in; they buy a range from a rag and bone man for a hairdryer and a toaster. Tom Good barters for magazines with eggs. Barbara tries to barter with a window cleaner for his services but when he mistakes her suggestion that they ‘work something out’ he cleans the windows for free.

Barbara occasionally has difficulties with the realities of their new life. When the chickens are delivered she says outright that she refuses to kill them. Indeed when it comes to it Tom cannot go through with it either so they settle down to a dinner consisting of a freshly laid egg instead.

Margo spends most of her time looking down her nose at her neighbours. Jerry, it seems, is a little jealous but he would never admit it to Margo.

The series ends with the Goods struggling to bring in their first harvest after Tom pulls a muscle in his back. How will they survive without the food they have been so carefully nurturing all summer, or will help come from an unlikely source?

The interplay between the four main characters is fun, the timing is great. They all get to deliver the punch lines and witty one liners. Tom flirts with Margo and Jerry flirts with Barbara in a very innocent way. There is much subtle innuendo which is cleverly delivered.

The Good Life has not dated particularly. Obviously with money to spend most allotments of today can be cared for a little easier, but the hard work, time and effort required for even a small allotment has not changed. This series may wear rose tinted spectacles but the general idea remains the same; to be self sufficient takes hard work and perseverance.

This is a gentle situation comedy that the whole family can enjoy, from those reliving it, including all the chaps who fell in love or lust with Felicity Kendal and the gardeners and allotment keepers who perhaps understand what goes into The Good Life.

Extras include an interview with one of the writers of the series, Bob Larby.

This two disc DVD set is available from Acorn Media, released on 29 March 2010 with a running time of 196 minutes approx and a ‘PG’ certificate.  Its RRP is £19.99, but you can get it for less at


Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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