The Characters

Tom Good

Richard Briers as Tom Good       While Tom is a talented draughtsman, he just doesn't have the fire that it takes to go up to the next level: i.e. executive. He prefers to exercise his creativity to design things rather than take charge, which leads him to chuck his nowhere job designing plastic toys for breakfast cereal packets and practice self-sufficiency. Tom can be a bit of an egotist, but Barbara can cut him down to size. He and Barbara, after many years of marriage, are still very much in love, and it was only her agreeing to self-sufficiency that led him to quit his job.
      Physically Tom is tall and rather rubber-faced, with curly dark hair. His sense of humor is slightly skewed, but Barbara seems to like him that way.


Barbara Good

Felicity Kendal as Barbara Good       While Barbara's main quality can be described as "sweet," she's no pushover, i.e., she's little but she's tough. When Tom goes off into flights of fancy, it's Barbara who's realistic enough to make him see nonsense—but she's perceptive to a good idea at the same time. While she's proud of her home, she has no desire, like Margo, to turn it into a decorator's dream or social-center of the universe; it's the place where she and Tom live and enjoy their lives.
      Barbara is as petite as Tom is tall; she has dark hair and an elfin face that positively glows when she smiles. Most men—Tom most of all—find her very sexy, even when she's in a pair of blue jeans and a jersey. Her sense of humor can be deadly.


NOTE: Tom and Barbara together

      One of the chief charms of The Good Life is the relationship between Tom and Barbara. After many years of marriage, it's obvious that they still love each other dearly, but they are never smarmy or overly cute about it: indeed, many of the times we see them they are actually quarreling or teasing each other in a very realistic manner. One almost feels Briers and Kendal were actually married to each other in real life and were drawing on that, although they were not.


Jerry Ledbetter

Paul Eddington as Jerry Ledbetter       Poor Jerry seems to spend half his life caving into his boss and the other caving in to Margo. Although he loves both his job and his wife, sometimes they both harry him to the point of frustration, "Sir" with his eccentric commands and Margo with her "queen of the estate" manner. Nevertheless, Jerry is proud of the way Margo comports herself as an executive's wife: she is a gracious hostess who can arrange and manage a cocktail party or banquet with aplomb—that is, if she has enough money to hire the right people to help her do so. At times Jerry feels he's a walking bank vault!
      Jerry is tall and thin, hair just greying (probably from Margo's excesses!); he often seems nervous and sometimes wants nothing more of his life than to sit back with a good Indian takeaway (a taste Margo deplores) with his feet up on the coffee table (a habit Margo deplores).


Margo Ledbetter

Penelope Keith as Margo Ledbetter       Margo Sturgis Ledbetter was known as "Starchy Sturgis" even when she was in school; her aristocratic bearing has followed her into womanhood. For Margo, everything has to be in its proper place and conventional living was meant to stay that way, whether it involves a piece of furniture or the woman who helps out with the housework. In her craving to be noticed in society, Margo is an active part of many organizations (to the dismay of others) such as the local Pony Club and musical society. Needless to say the Goods' lifestyle horrifies her as instead of facing grass and flowers, her back garden now overlooks vegetables and a piggery.
      Margo is tall, slim, and aristocratic with ash blonde hair, always wearing the best clothes; even her gardening clothing is of the best quality.


NOTE: Jerry and Margo together

      Again, a case of a pair of actors who work well together; Jerry and Margo quarrel about many more things than the Goods—certainly many more trivial matters—but it's obvious that they are perfect for each other. Although Jerry deplores Margo's spending habits, he is proud of having a wife who can throw a proper party and make a good showing at executive functions, as well keeping a proper home. Margo enjoys the status and budget Jerry's job gives her, which allows her to satisfy her own ambitions, despite some intrusion of the job on her social life. And, despite their bickering, underneath Jerry and Margo both adore each other.

NOTE: The Goods and the Ledbetters

      At first glance they seem to be the oddest of friends: the Goods tend to be informal and puckish while the Ledbetters are conservative and formal. But their bonds are much stronger, and often the Ledbetters, chiefly Jerry, envy the Goods' relaxed—if not relaxing—lifestyle while the Goods, although satisfied with what they've done to their lives, can't help but envy the Ledbetters' luxuries. Despite Tom's stubbornness and Margo's hidebound notions, they would do anything to help each other...although contention would be the result!

"Sir" (Andrew or Andy, Jerry's boss at JJM Limited)

      Sir (we never do find out his last name) is the humorless head of JJM; like Margo, he has his strict conventions and can't understand why people deviate from the norm. Tom's lifestyle decision both astonishes and confuses him, as he can't understand why any man would be making his living from the soil instead of working in an office like a "proper man."
      Physically Sir is rather short in stature and balding, with a mustache. He sometimes acts and carries himself as if he ere a retired army officer.

Other Characters

Felicity, Sir's Wife

      Felicity is the complete opposite of her dour husband (one wonders what they saw in each other): high-spirited and mischievous, she applauds the Goods' decision to be self-sufficient and takes great pleasure from their first efforts. (Unfortunately, we only see her twice, once in "Say Little Hen..." and again in "The Pagan Rite.")

Miss Mountshaft

      The head of the Surbiton Musical Society, Miss Dolly Mountshaft is one of several offscreen characters that we come to know in the series but never meet in person. She is evidently as strong-willed as Margo, but easily swayed by the latter's strong-arm tactics, especially if it involves society exposure. As evidenced by Margo's choir robe for The Messiah, Miss Mountshaft is rather corpulent.

Mrs. Domes-Patterson

      Head of the Surbiton Pony Club, "Mrs. D" is another offscreen character we know only by commentary by the characters. Apparently she is extremely overweight—to the point she breaks antique chairs—and incredibly snobbish.


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