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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brit serio-comedy does it again . . .
Properly-done British humor, as I frequently explain to acquaintances who are puzzled by it, is probably an acquired taste. It's certainly more subtle and intellectual than your average sitcom -- Yank or Brit -- and even when it's topical, its popularity is likely to last. This is Series One of a terrific comedy-mystery featuring a clutch of character actors who are not...
Published on July 1, 2003 by Michael K. Smith

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great series still awaiting a decent presentation
Given the dire quality of the recent VHS-only releases by Granada Media in the UK, I was pleased to find this American DVD issue.
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,...
Published on January 28, 2003 by Dave Matthews


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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brit serio-comedy does it again . . ., July 1, 2003
Properly-done British humor, as I frequently explain to acquaintances who are puzzled by it, is probably an acquired taste. It's certainly more subtle and intellectual than your average sitcom -- Yank or Brit -- and even when it's topical, its popularity is likely to last. This is Series One of a terrific comedy-mystery featuring a clutch of character actors who are not in the Hollywood mold. In fact, I had never before come across James Bolam, who plays Trevor Chaplin, public school woodworking teacher in West Yorkshire, and I only knew Barbara Flynn (Jill Swinburne, English teacher at the same school and Environmentalist Party candidate for the town council) from her supporting role as Mrs. Maigret, and from _Lorna Doone_ and _The Forsyte Saga_. Dudley Sutton was an old favorite from the _Lovejoy_ series, and Colin Blakely has been marvelous in nearly all his many roles. The dialogue is frequently off-the-wall, especially when Jill and Trevor are dealing with the officious Headmaster or the semi-clueless Det. Sgt. Hobson, B.A. (a "graduate copper," beautifully played by Dominic Jephcott), and their cautious personal relationship is believable and endearing. Trevor isn't actually as limp as he might at first seem, and Jill isn't nearly so independently fearless and self-sufficient as she would like to believe. The plot is also just this side of terminally bizarre, involving the "gray economy" (which Big Al refers to as the "white economy," in an attempt to improve its image) and the lengths to which the Powers That Be will go to subvert its influence, the reappearance in Trevor's life of his old flame, Helen of Tadcaster, and a retired bookie's runner (with his dog, Jason) who tries, not very successfully, to make a buck as a police informant. But another major character in the series is the blighted landscape of urban Yorkshire, staring out at you as Trevor and Jill tootle around town in his delapidated minivan. Finally, the very last scene, "running downhill in slow motion," is almost worth the price of admission all by itself!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great series still awaiting a decent presentation, January 28, 2003
Given the dire quality of the recent VHS-only releases by Granada Media in the UK, I was pleased to find this American DVD issue.
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!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Off-Beat Fun That Might Remind You of Nick and Nora, January 22, 2009
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Beiderbecke Affair (DVD)
"The Beiderbecke Affair," a box set of a light-hearted British television mystery series, was made by Yorkshire Television for Britain's Independent Television stations (ITV). The six-episode series was broadcast on PBS in this country in the 1990's, along with its sequels, Beiderbecke Tapes, and The Beiderbecke Connection. It was created by the award-winning Alan Plater, one of Britain's more prolific, entertaining writers, and centers on a pair of wisecracking schoolteachers caught up in some amateur sleuthing.

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. The Beiderbecke records fail to turn up (Beiderbecke was an early American jazz great of the 1920's), and Trevor goes looking into things with his girlfriend and fellow teacher, who's running on the green line for town council, Jill Swinburne (Barbara Flynn, Mrs. Cracker, from the long-running mystery series Cracker: The Complete Collection).

The mystery's kind of light-weight, not exactly watertight, and moves along in a leisurely British fashion, but it will get round to gray-market goods hidden in a church basement, secret meetings on level 4 of a multi-story car park, and corruption at the highest local levels. The banter's consistently witty, and so is the sound track, inspired by Beiderbecke's work, by the award-winning musician Frank Ricotti. Co-stars include Dominic Jephcott ("The Scarlet Pimpernel.") There's also a substantial number of those sturdy British supporting players: Colin Blakely, Dudley Sutton, Terence Rigby, and James Grout, among others.

The award-winning writer Alan Plater's credits include Last of Blonde Bombshells,and A Very British Coup.

The episodes in this series are:
1. "What I don't understand is this...?" Where are the records?
2. "Can anybody join in?" A newly-minted, university graduate cop (Jephcott), has his suspicions.
3. "We call it the white economy." The plot thickens.
4. "Um...I know what you're thinking." And gets thicker still, as Helen McAllister, a wealthy, well-connected former girlfriend of Trevor's, suddenly shows up.
5. "That was a very funny evening." Helen and Jill go out to dinner together and put away a lot of champagne. They toss a coin for Trevor, and Helen wins...
6. "We are on the brink of a new era. If only...."City council elections, and dirty tricks.

It's all offbeat fun, and might just remind you of those charming Nick and Nora mysteries of the 1940s, but things do get a bit whimsical and/or farcical at times. Those who have a taste for such entertainments -- like me--will appreciate it best.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Watch Out, July 14, 2007
By 
G. Price (N. California) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Over the past six months I have purchased and returned this set five times. Each time the problem has been that the first disc of this three disc set may be labled disc one but is in fact disc three containing episodes 5 & 6. and of course disc three is disc three and also has episodes 5 & 6.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jazz and Intrigue in Yorkshire, July 12, 2005
Alan Plater's stories are always just on the verge of being a little too cute. The dialogue is sometimes too clever by half, but more often than not, it actually works. So I can understand if the Beiderbecke series is not to everyone's liking. After happening on the series on tv, I had to find the books. I've read the trilogy at least five times since I found a paperback copy in London in 1994 (at Books, Etc., which was replaced by Borders and is still on Charing Cross Road near Tottenham Court Rd.).

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.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Faulty product, July 20, 2007
By 
H. W. Gutschow (Sydney, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Of the 3 Disk Set,
Disk No.1, Pictured and labelled as No.1
does not contain Episode 1 and Episode 2
as printed on the case and on the Label.
It is obviously a manufacturing fault. And as it the replacement also had the same fault, I guess, a whole batch is faulty.
All this was explained by me previously but there seems to be no internal communication with your separate departments.
Kind regards H G
The Beiderbecke Affair - Series 1 (3 Volume Boxed Set)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great show (5*); lousy manufacturing (0*), December 3, 2006
Be prepared to potentially recieve mis-packaged product as apparently Goldhil shipped more than a few units that had a copy of the 3rd disk mis-labelled as disk 1. Everthing looks normal but the content labeled Disk 1 is another copy of the Disk 3 contents. Thus can't recommend that you get this as a gift for someone -- won't really be "funny".

Content is great (as stated in other reviews), but it might not be worth the hassel of buying anywhere other then where you can immediately check the contents for this manufacturing flaw.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Content, A; Video quality, D, July 29, 2006
The content of the show is interesting, but the video quality is terrible, blurry, worse than VCR. The sound is muddy, and it's difficult to understand the dialog, especially for American ears. Another good Britcom destroyed by poor quality transfer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What do you mean, you lost the coin-toss. . . ?, June 27, 2003
Properly-done British humor, as I frequently explain to acquaintances who are puzzled by it, is probably an acquired taste. It's certainly more subtle and intellectual than your average sitcom -- Yank *or* Brit -- and even when it's topical, its popularity is likely to last. This is Series One of a terrific comedy-mystery featuring a clutch of character actors who are not in the Hollywood mold. In fact, I had never before come across James Bolam, who plays Trevor Chaplin, public school woodworking teacher in West Yorkshire, and I only knew Barbara Flynn (Jill Swinburne, English teacher at the same school and Environmentalist Party candidate for the town council) from her supporting role as Mrs. Maigret, and from _Lorna Doone_ and _The Forsyte Saga_. Dudley Sutton was an old favorite from the _Lovejoy_ series, and Colin Blakely has been marvelous in nearly all his many roles. The dialogue is frequently off-the-wall, especially when Jill and Trevor are dealing with the officious Headmaster or the semi-clueless Det. Sgt. Hobson, B.A. (a "graduate copper," beautifully played by Dominic Jephcott), and their cautious personal relationship is believable and endearing. Trevor isn't actually as limp as he might at first seem, and Jill isn't nearly so independently fearless and self-sufficient as she would like to believe. The plot is also just this side of terminally bizarre, involving the "gray economy" (which Big Al refers to as the "white economy," in an attempt to improve its image) and the lengths to which the Powers That Be will go to subvert its influence, the reappearance in Trevor's life of his old flame, Helen of Tadcaster, and a retired bookie's runner (with his dog, Jason) who tries, not very successfully, to make a buck as a police informant. But another major character in the series is the blighted landscape of urban Yorkshire, staring out at you as Trevor and Jill tool around town in his delapidated minivan. Finally, the very last scene, "running downhill in slow motion," is almost worth the price of admission all by itself!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars great product, incorrectly labelled and packaged, November 13, 2007
The Beiderbeck Affair, do not purchase until GoldHill Productions have sorted out mislabelling issue, it ships with no episodes 1-2, just 3 disks in total, the one labelled disk one has episodes 5-6 burned onto it.
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The Beiderbecke Affair
The Beiderbecke Affair by Frank W. Smith (DVD - 2009)
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