TV UK TV

Beiderbecke Affair, The (ITV 1985 with James Bolam and Barbara Flynn)

Comedy drama serial The Beiderbecke Affair was the first of the Beiderbecke Trilogy. Affair, written by the excellent Alan Plater starred James Bolam and the quietly sexy Barbara Flynn as two schoolteachers, Trevor Chaplin and Jill Swinburne, who find themselves caught up in a conspiracy involving corrupt local government when Trevor buys some mail order jazz records by the legendary Bix Beiderbecke.

With deliciously witty dialogue, groovy jazz music and a first rate cast (including the all time great Colin Blakely) The Beiderbecke Affair was a huge hit with viewers and couple of years later a two part follow up emerged, The Beiderbecke Tapes saw the dynamic duo receive a recording of a meeting in which plans to discuss the dumping of toxic waste in the Yorkshire dales are heard, again the excellence factor is high with Beryl Reid making a great guest appearance. The following year saw a final outing for Trevor and Jill in the four part Beiderbecke Connection in which they tried to help a Russian refugee who turns out to not be all he seems.

A fabulous soundtrack, a wonderful script from Alan Plater and a superb cast meant that the six parter was a real gem from start to finish. It was successful enough to garner two sequels – The Beiderbecke Tapes (1987 2×90 minutes) and The Beiderbecke Connection (1988 4×60 minutes).

The roots of the show actually lay in an earlier serial (1981) written by Plater and called Get Lost this is basically the Beiderbecke Affair in all but name and features Alun Armstrong and Bridget Turner as two school teachers – woodwork and English as in Beiderbecke – who turn detective when Turner’s husband goes missing.

UK / ITV Network – Yorkshire / 6×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 6 January – 10 February 1985

Writer: Alan Plater / Music: Frank Ricotti / Producer: Anne W. Gibbons / Designer: Mike Long / Director: David Reynolds

cast
JAMES BOLAM as Trevor Chaplin
BARBARA FLYNN as Jill Swinburne
DOMINIC JEPHCOTT as Det Sgt Hobson
DUDLEY SUTTON as Mr Carter
KEITH SMITH as Mr Wheeler
TERENCE RIGBY as Big Al
COLIN BLAKELY as Ch Supt Forest
DANNY SCHILLER as Little Norm





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