The Good Life Specials

Warning! If you have not seen the series, these episode guides will contain spoilers.

"Silly, But It's Fun..." "When I'm 65"

"Silly, But It's Fun..." (originally telecast 12/26/77)
       While the Goods prepare for Christmas by making homemade decorations and presents—including holly and mistletoe filched from the golf course, paper chains cut in the shape of robins, and a papier mache centerpiece—Margo orders her entire celebration from Fortnum and Mason, then sends it back because the Christmas tree is six and a quarter inches too short.
  Additional Cast: Deliveryman: David Battley.
  Landmarks/Notes/Observances: This is a delightful Christmas episode, from the Goods' preparations to Margo's encounter with the bemused deliveryman—watch Barbara's priceless expression when he talks about her eyes—to Jerry's political chickenpox to the festivities at the Goods' house.
      The Ledbetters' presents are "fruits of the loom"—handmade sweaters dyed with the infamous nettle dye first appearing in "The Weaver's Tale."

"When I'm 65" (originally telecast 04/18/78)
       When Jerry takes out another endowment policy, the Goods began to have misgivings about their old age plans.
  Additional Cast: Bank Manager: George Cole. Taxi Driver: Steve Ismay.
  Landmarks/Notes/Observances: This was telecast as a Royal Command Performance before Her Majasty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. The telecast show included showing the arrival of the Queen and Prince Philip at the BBC Television Centre, as well as floor manager Brian Johnston introducing the show, the actors, and the set, and explaining how they found the two houses used as the Goods' and the Ledbetters' homes.

Caution: Spoiler
"When I'm 65" Synopsis

Since many people have never had a chance to see this episode, I am describing it in more detail here.

The episode opens with Tom and Barbara delivering Japanese sleeping blocks to Margo; the Ledbetters will be hosting a Japanese couple in a couple of weeks and Margo has commissioned the blocks so she will have them handy if the Yashimotos ask for them—all part of her being a good hostess! Margo informs the Goods that Jerry is being examined by the doctor so he can increase his retirement insurance.

We hear Jerry call farewell to the doctor, then he enters looking perturbed; while he is not sick, the doctor says he is extremely out of shape, and Tom teases him about his high living. Jerry becomes so gloomy at his words that Barbara "sentences" Tom to clean the pigsty.

That evening Tom and Barbara start our discussing their chickens, but the conversation segues into what they are going to do in their old age, as they have no insurance but the government-provided old-age pension. Tom sets himself morbidly by the fire, reminscing about how quickly life has gone by while Barbara repairs a quilt which she maneuvers over his legs in order to tease him about being an old man sitting by the fire. When he realizes what she's done, he chases her from the room.

Next morning, as the Goods return to their house via rotary cultivator, they spy Margo and Jerry jogging into the house. They discover that the Ledbetters are "getting in shape" with Jerry riding a rowing machine; they also have weights and an exercise bike. Tom goes through contortions lifting the barbell, only to have Jerry ask if he should add weights to the empty bar!

Margo then adds that they are adding more equipment, including a sauna directly from Finland, at which everyone laughs but Margo, who doesn't understand the original Finnish sauna procedure: running out naked into the snow afterwards and being beaten with birch rods. Needless to say, Margo squelches that conversation! But when Tom teases them about wanting to live long enough to use their old age insurance, Jerry asks pointedly what the Goods will do in their old age.

Next day Tom goes to see the bank manager and asks for a loan, putting the house up as collateral. They jockey about the amount the Goods need, which Mr. Downs finally pegs down as £77,000. Unfortunately the Goods house is only worth £25,000, but Tom points out the house will probably go up in value. Downs counters with impossibilities and finally tells Tom he cannot have the loan.

Tom threatens to pull his cash—£3 and change—from the bank and go somewhere else if he doesn't get a loan, but Downs tells him any bank will tell him the same thing, so Tom withdraws the £3 to buy Barbara flowers.

Later as Barbara arranges them, Tom mourns his failure, but Barbara first jokes with him, then tells him they have many years to make plans for the future. Presently Jerry enters, wanting to borrow a spanner to install more exercise equipment. Tom begins ragging him about his fitness kick and the two quarrel so loudly Margo enters complaining she can hear them on the avenue.

Jerry then challenges Tom to a race to the common and back, which Tom accepts. He sees it as a contest versus their two lifestyles, "the rat race versus self-sufficiency."

The race starts next morning promptly at 10 a.m. with Margo as the starter, Jerry in his posh jogging suit and Tom in the "self-sufficiency shorts" Barbara cobbled together the previous night. Winded by the time they get to the common, Jerry and Tom both mutually quit, gasping, outside the local pub and go in for a drink.

Some time later Margo and Barbara see them jogging the last leg up the street; they cross the tape together and declare honor satisfied. The wives are pleased as punch—until a local cab comes by and the driver shouts that they left a wallet in his vehicle! Margo and Barbara realize what their husbands have done as Tom and Jerry flee for their lives.


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