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THE BEIDERBECKE AFFAIR
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Two wisecracking teachers turn amateur detectives in this delightful British mystery series
It doesn’t occur to Trevor (James Bolam, New Tricks) that dishy blondes don’t usually sell jazz records door-to-door. He orders a set of Bix Beiderbecke LPs but receives the wrong items. While trying to locate the missing music, he and his girlfriend, Jill (Barbara Flynn, Cracker), stumble upon black market goods in a church basement, secret meetings in a parking lot, and corruption at the highest levels.
Several colorful characters enliven their adventures: Big Al and Little Norm, an overzealous police officer, an elderly snoop with a dog named Jason, and a town planner with a drawer full of incriminating files. Written by Alan Plater (Oliver’s Travels) and set in Yorkshire, this quirky British mystery glides along on witty banter, a sly sense of fun, and a soundtrack by award-winning musician Frank Ricotti. "Bolam and Flynn play the latter-day Nick and Nora Charles with relish" --The Courier-Mail.
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE Bix Beiderbecke biography.
Top Customer Reviews
However it's not all good news: the prints used are noticeably grainy & scratchy - particularly in the first couple of episodes. Clearly no attempt has been made to polish them up, let alone remaster the series. The dialogue track, however, has been "cleaned up" on the first episode - presumably in an attempt to remove background hiss. Sadly this has been done rather amateurishly and results in unnatural silences during pauses in dialogue.
Although the episodes are complete, a minor but puzzling point is that the end titles for segments 1 and 3 have been removed.
Overall, then, while I applaud Goldhil for issuing the series on silver disk, the set isn't worth its normal retail price. The prints used might have been acceptable for VHS but their flaws are quite apparent on DVD. Lack of proper extras don't help, either.
Hopefully this wonderful series will receive the quality of release it deserves one day. In the meantime, however, Goldhil's attempt is certainly better than nothing!
The series is set, and filmed in the city of Leeds, in Yorkshire, a place we don't hardly ever see over here. (Though, warning to the wise, we don't hardly ever hear Yorkshire accents over here, either, and that's what the cast is using. And there are no subtitles). Anyway, Trevor Chaplin, our protagonist, is also actually a transplanted Geordie, from further North, up Newcastle, Hadrian's Wall way, (upon which friends and acquaintances comment), with his own accent. As played by James Bolam ("New Tricks," "The End of the Affair"), he's a jazz-loving, kind of befuddled, but witty everyman woodworking teacher. And apparently he hasn't reflected upon the fact that beautiful, well-dressed platinum blonds seldom go selling door to door, until he buys a bunch of Beiderbecke records - that's vinyl records, and there are also no cell phones, only phone boxes - from one.Read more ›
The Beiderbecke Affair is my favorite of the three Beiderbecke stories (The Beiderbecke Tapes and The Beiderbecke Connection are the second and third of the series). We are introduced to Trevor and Jill, Big Al and Little Norm, the gang at school, and the mostly incompetent bunch at the police station. Why has a beautiful platinum blonde offered to sell jazz records to Trevor? What do Big Al and Little Norm have to hide? How are Jill's English students getting extra copies of Tess of the D'Urbervilles? And how does Bix Beiderbecke fit in?
As you may guess, the mystery is secondary in these stories. The appeal is the interplay among the characters and the running gags. The music is a big plus in the video versions, with an excellent band playing the songs of Leon "Bix" Beiderbecke, jazz musician of The Twenties, who died tragically young, and whose cornet playing inspires Trevor and occasionally other characters, but alas, never Jill.
Start with the The Beiderbecke Affair, not just because it is the first of the series, but because it is the best story.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Delightful old series - charming characters. Terrible music on the soundtrack. My husband won't watch it because of the music - but likes the actors and scriptsPublished 11 months ago by Terry Weiss
The first in the Beiderbecke Trilogy, The Beiderbecke Affair is a sly, clever, witty and thoroughly delightful example of the gentle mystery. Read morePublished 12 months ago by City Boy
I thought it would be a mystery of sorts but it just seemed like a "relationship" drama.Published 14 months ago by BABs
Yes, I am a fan of James Bollum but largely who he has become, for example his role in the New Tricks series. Read morePublished on August 24, 2013 by Tom
This may be a very old series, but it is very funny. The script is particularly clever, the relationships really interesting and the storyline keeps you wanting more. Read morePublished on August 22, 2013 by R Harris
I was expecting more from this series, but only watched the first episode and found it lacking. I may watch more but it won't be my first priority. I found it plodding.
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