This film is part of Free

Going Self-sufficient

The Buxtons decide to live the good life in Somerset.

Current affairs 1980 4 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


A family lives the good life off the national grid. The action is an anti-nuclear energy protest and reporter Mike Whitmarsh shows how Mrs Buxton and her daughter generate their own electricity and gas. They have given up their car in this experiment in alternative living and their main entertainment comes in the form of a wind-up gramophone from 1924 - spinning at 78 rpm a 12-inch record could last about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Bramble the pony with trap provides transport.

The ideals of alternative living came out of the sixties and seventies and some based their ideals on John Seymour’s The Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency (1976), one of the inspirations for BBC’s comedy series The Good Life. Nuclear power was on the rise in industrialised countries due to the oil crises of 1973 and 1979. Today nuclear energy ranks third in the world after fossil fuels and hydroelectricity. Nuclear power became less popular after two significant disasters, Three Mile Island in the USA in 1979 and Chernobyl Northern Ukraine in 1986. A third disaster occurred in Fukushima Japan in 2011. Fifty or so new reactors are in construction around the world but many have met with problems or delays.