University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

The life of the Good Life House: the spatial legacies of ‘site’ in a suburban London situation comedy

Newland, Paul ORCID: (2022) The life of the Good Life House: the spatial legacies of ‘site’ in a suburban London situation comedy. In: TV Londons, 27-28 July 2022, University of Westminster. (Unpublished)

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The BBC television sitcom The Good Life (BBC1, 1975-8) focusses on the attempts of Tom and Barbara Good (Richard Briers and Felicity Kendal) to escape the rat race by becoming totally self-sufficient in their Surbiton home. Location filming took place in the Greater London suburb of Northwood, where the exterior of the Edwardian detached house situated at 55 Kewferry Road was chosen as the home of the Goods.

In this paper I will explore the representational qualities of 55 Kewferry Road as it appears in the series, paying particular attention to the architectural specificities of the house. I will argue that this house facilitates the depiction of a ‘classed’ London in the series, by paying specific attention to the ways in which the building spatially informs the class tensions that shape the comedy drama.

In addition to this, I will examine how far the representation of the house in the television series has informed the history of this building and its environs in subsequent years. Drawing on interviews with the current owners of 55 Kewferry Road and research into media stories about the sale of the property (paying particular attention to the ways in which estate agents have employed the link to The Good Life as a marketing tool when the property has been put up for sale), I will analyse how far the narrative and key thematic aspects of The Good Life have shaped not only the history of the house at 55 Kewferry Road - and the lives of those who have lived in this building - but also the wider spatial environment of suburban Norwood and suburban London over the last 40 years.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions: Central Services > Directorate
Depositing User: Paul Newland
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2022 13:58
Last Modified: 29 Jul 2022 13:58

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