The Good Life

Comfort Classic: The Good Life

There is, surely, no more fitting comfort comedy for lockdown than The Good Life, a tale of stay-at-home self-sufficiency. Tom and Barbara Good were the original artisan couple: sowing spuds, brewing booze and weaving wool.

The 1970s BBC sitcom was created by John Esmonde and Bob Larbey, friends since their Clapham schooldays, who had already created one comedy classic, ITV’s Please Sir!. That starred John Alderton as an idealistic English teacher at a tough secondary school.

Mum writer Stefan Golaszewski: Loss of self seems to be an essential component of becoming a mother

Stefan Golaszewski (Credit: RTS/Richard Kendal)

If anyone ever doubted that comedy and tragedy go hand in hand, look no further than the much-garlanded BBC Two sitcom, Mum, starring Lesley Manville as Cathy, a late-­middle-aged mother coming to terms with the death of her husband.

Making a TV audience laugh is among the most difficult skills for any screenwriter to learn, but to make them laugh one minute and almost cry a few moments later is the hallmark of a very special talent.