on 24 December 2010
I have always wanted this collection, and have seen it advertised on this website before for an astronomical price of £300! so it was out of my price range, so I was delighted to see it re-packaged at a more reasonable price, The picture and sound quality is excellent. There are bonus material including interviews with Bob Larbey one of the writers and Richard Briers the star, all the episodes are here including the Royal Command Episode which was recorded in front of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, we see behind the scenes of that episode, with the Queen arriving at the studio's meeting and greeting before and after the show is recorded. Well worth the money!
on 27 January 2013
I am old enough to have fond memories of the series when it was broadcast originally (in the mid-1970s on) and so I recently purchased the complete set at a time when I wanted the relaxation of simply watching something on the TV, but not from the mainstream TV channels. This is all about the trials and tribulations of a suburban London couple, Tom and Barbara, who go "sustainable" ... and their relationship with the very conventional couple next door, Margot and Jerry. My main reaction to it was that I felt that the humour developed as the series progressed, i.e., the first episode or two were not as funny as I had hoped or remembered. Maybe one needed to get used to the gentler humour (of yesteryear) that is contained within this series. However, as I continued to watch the episodes (and they are all conveniently just half an hour long) I found myself laughing more and more. The jewel in the crown of the series is the character, Margot, who is consummately conservative with both a little "c" and a big "C" - she values superficiality (for example, she makes derogatory comments on her sustainable neighbours' awful clothes), detests socialists, keeps in with the local Conservatives (several with wonderful names, like "Mountshaft") and abhors anything other than suburban convention. But fundamentally, she is friendly and the sort of person you could rely on in an emergency, and she has her little vulnerabilities. Jerry, her somewhat dominated husband, is also a great character in the series, tempering Margot's excesses with common sense and humour. While any review is highly personal, I found this series funny enough to want to re-watch it and would recommended it to anyone in the political middle ground, having a sense of humour and finding themselves in the autumn of their life.
on 15 March 2006
If you have ever wanted to shout "stop the world I want to get off", this is what this sit-com is about. Charming in it's wit and humor, it gently pokes fun at the classism and snobbery of british life. It contrasts the social climbing of Margo next door and toadying that "Jerry" her husband must do to keep in with his boss, with Tom & Barbara's poverty, freedom and self-sufficiency. It is as relevant today as then (mid 1970s). It's style of humour is perhaps "quaint" much in the same vein as Wallace and Grommit, or the Ealing comedies, and the humour of the characters are that they are all essentially likable - despite obvious warts and all.
Tom( Richard Briars) and Barbara (Felicity Kendall) have excellent "chemistry" together. All the characters are well acted. Because of this, each episode is guaranteed to leave you with a strong feel-good factor.
on 11 December 2014
My friend Ann had wanted to be Barbara Good, and she was not alone in that ; Felicity Kendal's portrayal of the spunky, feisty, fierce wife to Richard Briers' maddening (and almost mad) Tom, was a role model to more than one generation.
The precept of the show verged on the simplistic - self-sufficiency in suburbia - but it also chimed exactly with the zeitgeist of the 1970s that included a surprising number of TV series that featured societal collapse - Survivors, The Changes heading, via Day of the Triffids, to Blake's 7 and Old Men at the Zoo. Provided with steady, salaried work, comfortable homes and beautiful wives, Tom Good and Reginald Perrin could not wait (much beyond forty anyway) to escape.
Of Perrin, more elsewhere (perhaps), but Tom the plastics designer, who threw over his job at JJM to live on the produce of his garden and allotment is a masterpiece of English eccentricity coupled with a determined pig-headedness and an ego the size of Guildford, and an ability to trivialise almost anything that doesn't go in the direction he wants it to; while entirely watchable, he also has the power to be very, *very* annoying. That little tune he whistles seemed quite jaunty back in 1975 - 40 years later I could quite happily choke him for it. His drive - to live his way, in the face of all the pressures to conform to that of everyone else is prodigious, however - and it has to be.
Normality - or at least conservative, middle-class normality - is supplied by their neighbours Jerry and Margo Leadbeater; he a harassed, nine to five, peace-loving salary-earner; she the conservative housewife, who doesn't really do any housework, having Mrs Pearson to do most of it for her, but the very acme of the accomplished executive hostess to visiting businessmen from overseas - very much the wife with the field marshal's baton in her sewing basket - and the doyenne of the music society, pony club and local Conservative Party. She is also fiercely protective of The Avenue and its property prices which, initially at least, she sees imperilled by the Goods' mad scheme of self-sufficiency.
But here's one of the series' big successes - in spite of their impossible differences and frequent quarrels, the two couples do get along exceedingly well - hence the re-titling in America to 'Good Neighbors' - they have obviously been very good friends for a long time. Another enjoyable aspect is the periodic frisson of sexual attraction going where it ought not - and who acknowledges what about what they feel about whom.
Another great strength lies in the beauty and depth of work done by Miss Kendall, together with Penelope Keith as Margo and Paul Eddington as Jerry - in other shows all three might have been kept as foils for the incorrigible Tom, but the quality of their performances makes this very much an ensemble piece rather than the Richard Briers Show. Mr Eddington producing a particularly adroit and understated study of suburban survival and corporate climbing.
It was filmed in Northwood (not Surbiton at all), and one house did have its garden turned into a smallholding for three years. Notable guest artistes include Tony Selby, Blake Butler, Ray Dunbobbin, Brian Grellis, Charmian May, Wolfe Morris, Robert Lindsay, Angela Thorne and (particularly) Timothy Bateson. George Cole plays the Goods' bank manager in the final, Royal Command Performance, episode - which isn't anywhere near as good as most of the others.
The Good Life, quite rightly, made stars of the three supporting artistes - Mr Eddington got Yes, Minister, Miss Keith To the Manor Born, and Miss Kendal Solo and The Mistress - while Richard Briers went on to the annoying Ever Decreasing Circles, and a condemnably camp turn as a baddie on Dr Who - and a whole welter of increasingly wearying voiceovers.
on 13 June 2012
Iv'e wanted this set for a while, but was put off because it was so expensive originally, also some reviews have said that picture quality is poor, to be honest I have found the quality just fine on our one year old 80cm HD TV, maybe there are quality issues when watching on very large TV's, but for most folks there should be no problem. Considering how much this show has earned the BBC over the years, and it's pop culture importance, I would have thought the BBC could have invested in digital remastering. If you want some nostalgic, classic British comedy, this is for you.
on 5 February 2013
Like others had seen this set an astronomical price, but now it is affordable. Bit worried about one of the reviews on the quality, I need not have. It was great seeing the series in colour (watched it in Black and White in the seventy's) on a large flat screen TV with good sound was WOW. There was not HD TV when it was made so it would be wrong to judge it as such.
Hours and Hours of really good fun watching. The BBC did put out loads quality situation comedies for years.
A top class set of DVDs