ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Good Life: British classic TV show

Updated on June 10, 2015
Source
The Good Life. Known as Good Neighbors in the USA
The Good Life. Known as Good Neighbors in the USA | Source

The Good Life was shown in the United States as Good Neighbors

This mild and for-the-masses television sitcom was elevated from being a simple bland crowd-pleaser thanks to one character, Margot Leadbetter played by the most magnificent Penelope Keith.

She makes the program as funny today as it was when it was first shown in the 1970s. The complete series is now available on DVD.

Neighbouring couples

The simple plot centers on two married couple who live next door to each other. The two husbands both worked for the same firm until one of them, Tom, decided to leave the rat-race, give up his regular monthly salary and turn his suburban garden into a small-holding to support himself and his wife.

Margot is appalled

The couples live in a moderately wealthy area in an 'avenue' of pleasant homes. Margot is a social climber who could almost have been the inspiration for Hyacinth Bucket (sorry, Bouquet). Suddenly, the quiet suburban garden to the side of her home is growing food and playing host to pigs and chickens. How appalling.

Viewers loved the snooty character

I imagine that when this series was first developed it was intended to show the trials and tribulations of the couple who were attempting self-sufficiency in the suburbs and indeed that is the basis of many episodes. But the character of Margot, who was a relatively minor character in the first few episodes was expanded and grew until she was the main attraction. To this day, someone who is being snooty might be accused of 'doing a Margot'.

The timing was right

Ecology and sustainability were issues that had quite recently been in the news thanks to Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and heir to the throne, who was considered by many to be 'the loony prince' because of his encouragement of these matters. That was no doubt in the minds of the producers of this series when it was developed but audiences didn't really care about the pigs,the chickens and the carrot crops - we just loved Margot.

She didn't 'cook', she 'prepared meals'

Always very precise in her vocabulary, and despite the fact that her fellow actors were much-loved, she stole the show. The character of her husband was just a little too laconic. The self-sufficient Tom next door was just a tad too manic and his wife Barbara just a touch too cute and perky. We tuned in to see Margot.


A British institution

This classic sitcom became a part of our history and culture.

In fact, The Good Life was used as a symbol of typical establishment stereotyping in a rant by Vyvyan in The Young Ones (see the video below) which was made in the mid-eighties.

He says that it is just too 'bloody nice' and many of us would agree - but Penelope Keith saved the day and made this show into a delight to watch.

See Margot in action in The Good Life in the video below. See how she deals with 'the trade'.

Oh, that was so good.Let's have another.

In the clip below, Tom and Barbara have asked Jerry to 'babysit' their troublesome generator whilst they go to collect wood for fuel.

Margo, who can't abide the thought of being idle, comes to the house to find Jerry. Her quote - the very last line in the video below - is just pure and delightful Margo.

This is just way too much fun. In the clip below, Margo shows that yes, she is human after all.

In this episode of The Young Ones Vyvyan tells us EXACTLY what he thinks of The Good Life. Remember this is British so there's a bit of a profanity alert.


Table Manners
Table Manners

From this point on, Penelope Keith, who became a household name, was best known for her 'snooty lady' parts. In this, she plays a very similar character. This was also made in the nineteen-seventies, a couple of years after The Good Life.

 
Keeping Up Appearances: Collector's Edition
Keeping Up Appearances: Collector's Edition

What a treat this is for lovers of British comedy, especially those of us who love the social-climber characters and the bizarre situations their attitudes create. This is a complete treat as it contains every episode.

 

© 2013 Jackie Jackson

Guestbook

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @JohnTannahill - I imagine that it would.If I remember rightly, it was filmed in Surbiton. That sounds like an interesting project indeed.

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 

      4 years ago from Somewhere in England

      I wonder if this counts as one of my south London on Film collection - a project I've had on the go for a while now and haven't made a lot of progress with.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)