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TOP 50 REVIEWERon January 16, 2010
Now, 3 sets available, this is the mystery/adventure conclusion of a pair of teachers turned lovers. A funny British subtle comedy/mystery that follows Acorn Media releases of "THE BEIDERBECKE AFFAIR" & "THE BEIDERBECKE TAPES". All recommended. Each stands as a separate season, but you'll want to see the entire trilogy.

In the finale (4 episodes but one meshed plot) Jill and Trevor, yet unmarried, are now with child. It's named "Firstborn", a fine example of the subtle humor, and witty dialogue chucked full of continual one-liners. Throughout the episodes the plot includes school supply shortages, a refugee live-in (perfect since he's a Jazz lover and Bix Beiderbecke fan), police surveillance, a thief in residence, an ex-hubby invasion, and assorted crime mystery. Interspersed is the homey romance of Jill (Barbara Flynn--"Murder Most English" worth checking out) & Trevor (James Bolam) who now loves Jill as much as Jazz and music by Bix Beiderbecke.

You have to love the British ways of mirth, wry, and the expressionless deliveries. It's done to perfection in the Beiderbecke trilogy DVD sets. You'll even enjoy the background 1920s-style award winning Jazz music.

Romance is keener in this final series, even with the lover's torts and retorts still flowing. And the shots of wee Firstborn are darling. Un-certificated family love and joy. Trevor is still the uninspiring shop teacher, but more romantic toward Jill, and in her words, "he tried maturity-didn't fit him." Jill, yet English teacher and protector of the wayward, leads the way for family and friends, keeping crime and right in perspective.

It's listed under British Mystery, ah, but it should also be under droll comedy and realistic romance. It's not rated, but good for the whole family.
Fix yourself a spot o' tea, a tray of biscuits (cookies), and expect dry UK entertainment. If you relate to the subtle British humor, it's bully, or crackin', or Yorkshire friendly.

Recommendation is buy all 3:
"THE BEIDERBECKE AFFAIR"
"THE BEIDERBECKE TAPES"
"THE BEIDERBECKE CONNECTION"
then be sad because, being a trilogy, there will be no more.
.
.
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VINE VOICEon February 13, 2011
"The Beiderbecke Connection," (2003), a box set of a light-hearted British television mystery/comedy/drama series, was made by Yorkshire Television for Britain's Independent Television stations (ITV). It's a sequel to The Beiderbecke Affair and The Beiderbecke Tapes, set in Yorkshire as were they, and was created by the award-winning Alan Plater, one of Britain's more prolific, entertaining writers. It broadcast on American public television stations (PBS), following its two predecessors. The series comes in a two-volume, two DVD set of four episodes, each taking place immediately after the other, and runs approximately 204 minutes.

Unfortunately, there are no subtitles. And the cast, from stars James Bolam and Barbara Flynn - each of whom has frequently appeared in entertainments set in this part of the world, Bolam in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, among others; and Flynn in Cracker: The Complete Collection, and Cranford: The Collection (Cranford / Return to Cranford), among others --down to the bit players, has been encouraged to trot out their local accents. It makes for tough going for some of us, who may miss some of the witty byplay among the characters. But the plot is easy enough to follow.

The entertainment, as its predecessors, centers on a pair of wisecracking Leeds schoolteachers (and we don't often see Leeds on our side of the pond), caught up in some amateur sleuthing. And much is made of the inadequate funding of British schools, leading to the possibility that the pair is receiving stolen school equipment from friends and contacts. At any rate, the pair has settled down, and is raising their first child, a darling baby boy whom they're calling "Firstborn" because they can't agree on a real name. Jill Swinburne (Flynn) teaches English and wants to save the world. Trevor Chaplin (Bolam) is a befuddled but witty everyman, who teaches woodworking and loves jazz, particularly Bix Beiderbecke, a 1920s American jazz great. The couple agrees to take in, for friends, overnight, an immigrant boarder named Ivan (Patrick Drury), who is said to be not so terrible. And Ivan shares Trevor's love of Beiderbecke. But Ivan also has a past that comes back to haunt him and his friendly hosts in this offbeat comedy-drama.

Dudley Sutton (Lovejoy: The Complete Collection) repeats his supporting role as Mr. Carter, history teacher, at the dilapidated local high school, known as San Quentin High. We meet some entertaining new characters, a couple of lazy cops who seem to have wandered in from Miami Vice: The Complete Series; Jill's ex-husband, always short of money. Further adding greatly to the fun is the return of some favorites from the first series. Terence Rigby (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) as Big Al; his brother Little Norm; Mr. Pitt, former town planner, now owner of the jazz club the Village Vanguard (of beloved memory to some New Yorkers, and former New Yorkers). And Dominic Jephcott (The Scarlet Pimpernel), formerly Detective Sergeant Hobson, now Detective Inspector Hobson, PhD, who says, memorably, that he finds above all, the "most dark impenetrable mystery to be the psychology of Yorkshire."

The episodes in this series are:
1. Oh look-- it's average sized Trevor Chapman. The pair come back in contact with Big Al and Little Norm, who ask them to take Ivan in for the night. The next night the couple is asked to take Ivan to the Lincolnshire border.
2. Hello, Sir, Hello Miss. But Ivan returns the next day, and the couple are asked to take him to the Lancashire border. Trevor and Jill realize they are under police surveillance, and spend an evening at Mr. Pitt's jazz club.
3. Is he the lodger? We find out more about Ivan, and Jill's ex. DI Hobson explains why the house is under surveillance.
4. What do we have on hockey sticks? Problems with petty thefts that seem to be related to the school. Everybody takes a trip to the seaside. Trevor concludes there are only two kinds of people in the world: those who hear the music, and those who don't.

I actually liked this series best; it's my favorite of the three. Of course, the mystery moves along in a leisurely, gentle British fashion. It may be too slow for some viewers. But the banter's consistently wry and witty. So is the rollicking sound track, inspired by Beiderbecke's work, by the BAFTA award-winning musician Frank Ricotti (the BAFTA is the British Oscar equivalent): on the track, we hear solos by jazz great Kenny Baker. Ricotti and his All-Stars, in fact, are playing at Mr. Pitt's jazz club, the Village Vanguard, the night everyone is there: or at least a hand-printed poster says so. Alan Plater's credits include The Last of the Blonde Bombshells; Oliver's Travels, and A Very British Coup [1988]. He wrote the scripts for this trilogy based on his own novel. There is no onscreen violence, nor sex, for that matter. All concerned keep their clothes on, which is probably just as well, as all concerned are at least middle aged. And for some of us, a middle aged romance is really rewarding. The script is as light in weight as the production is light of heart, served up with heaping helpings of charm and whimsy, reminiscent of the zany mysteries of the 1930s and `40s. To me, this time, it's last and most likable.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon January 16, 2010
Now, 3 sets available, this is the mystery/adventure conclusion of a pair of teachers turned lovers. A funny British subtle comedy/mystery that follows Acorn Media releases of "THE BEIDERBECKE AFFAIR" & "THE BEIDERBECKE TAPES". All recommended. Each stands as a separate season, but you'll want to see the entire trilogy.

In the finale (4 episodes but one meshed plot) Jill and Trevor, yet unmarried, are now with child. It's named "Firstborn", a fine example of the subtle humor, and witty dialogue chucked full of continual one-liners. Throughout the episodes the plot includes school supply shortages, a refugee live-in (perfect since he's a Jazz lover and Bix Beiderbecke fan), police surveillance, a thief in residence, an ex-hubby invasion, and assorted crime mystery. Interspersed is the homey romance of Jill (Barbara Flynn--"Murder Most English" worth checking out) & Trevor (James Bolam) who now loves Jill as much as Jazz and music by Bix Beiderbecke.

You have to love the British ways of mirth, wry, and the expressionless deliveries. It's done to perfection in the Beiderbecke trilogy DVD sets. You'll even enjoy the background 1920s-style award winning Jazz music.

Romance is keener in this final series, even with the lover's torts and retorts still flowing. And the shots of wee Firstborn are darling. Un-certificated family love and joy. Trevor is still the uninspiring shop teacher, but more romantic toward Jill, and in her words, "he tried maturity-didn't fit him." Jill, yet English teacher and protector of the wayward, leads the way for family and friends, keeping crime and right in perspective.

It's listed under British Mystery, ah, but it should also be under droll comedy and realistic romance. It's not rated, but good for the whole family.
Fix yourself a spot o' tea, a tray of biscuits (cookies), and expect dry UK entertainment. If you relate to the subtle British humor, it's bully, or crackin', or Yorkshire friendly.

Recommendation is buy all 3:
"THE BEIDERBECKE AFFAIR"
"THE BEIDERBECKE TAPES"
"THE BEIDERBECKE CONNECTION"
then be sad because, being a trilogy, there will be no more.
.
.
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on February 22, 2015
I love this series - very fun and not as dated as many from this era. However, the music is really miserable to listen to. I keep wondering what it would cost to remove the music from the sound track - it would improve this series 100%
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on November 21, 2011
If you enjoy character development more than the comfort of known likeable characters, than you won't enjoy this one as much as the first one. This gives more the feeling of sitcom rather than a show that stands on its own but that really is the point of folllowup shows. I would say that higher reviews are from more die hard watchers as the first one had a love it hate it following, I think primarily related to the dry sarcastic humor. The first one I bought after seeing a library copy. This one I bought because I liked the first. Had I been able to borrow this from the library, I would not have bought after viewing it.
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on December 5, 2010
On the trilogy UK edition: There are no extras and the film quality is good, but not crystal clear (remember this was made before the digital age really took off). Typical of its time, this is a slow-paced, sedate, gentle, wry comedy. Today's MTV generation may find it a little toooo slow.

The three stories that make up the trilogy are executed with varying degrees of success. The first, about the "grey" economy (buying and selling "legitimate" merchandise, without all the hassle of taxes and shops rents and the kind of secret handshaking that goes on between big businesses to control the market) is the best. Trevor Chaplin's purchase of some jazz records does not go as expected. Worse, the people he's bought them from are being investigated by the police. In order to extricate himself from the mess, he and his partner, Jill Swinburn, together with Big Al and Little Norm, must deal with corruption and collusion between big business, the local council and the boys in blue (the police).

The second, the Beiderbecke Tapes, is the least satisfactory, partly due to a compromise in Location (Edinburgh substituted for Venice) and partly because the chase sequence, being very laboured, outstays its welcome very quickly. Mostly, however, it's because the McGuffin at the center of the story is totally senseless.

The final story, the Beiderbecke Connection, returns the duo to Leeds and Wakefield and their association with Big Al and Little Norm. The story is more satisfying, because it's on a much more realistic level. Jill and Trevor take in a refugee for Al and Norm, ignorant of the fact that he's wanted by the police. The plot leaves a slightly bad taste in the mouth these days, where cybercrime and financial irregularities are taken much more seriously, but even back then, this was the most cynical and scathing outlook on British culture, the tone coming dangerously close to its contemporary, A Very Peculiar Practice.

The stories are deliberately slight and understated. This is light comedy, producing wry, knowing smiles, gently parodying hard crime dramas and, more prosaically, the teaching profession. At its best, the warmth of the relationship between Jill and Trevor, their astute, sardonic commentary and the portrayal of the British way of life as one of adversity in the face of overwhelming stupidity, are what carry the audience forward.

Recommended, but don't expect belly laughs or high drama.
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on April 23, 2003
This makes a superb conclusion to Alan Plater's brilliant Beiderbecke trilogy. The locations deserve a special mention - they really sum up North England in the 1980s! Just one gripe - where's The Beiderbecke Tapes?
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on January 4, 2015
I really enjoy many of the British mystery shows. But this one is REALLY SLOW. I should have bout the FIRST one, before ordering the rest of the trilogy.
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on May 1, 2013
This was a great DVD, I would recomend it to all my friends. Love all the English programs. We order a lot that we first see on TV.
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on November 28, 2014
Very mundane and boring and I can't see the humor in the series. Maybe if I were British!
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