The Beiderbecke Trilogy View large image

Film Details

Directed by: Brian Parker Alan Bell Various (TV) David Reynolds Frank W. Smith

Produced: 1988

Countries & Regions: United Kingdom

DVD Details

Certificate: PG

Length: 660 mins

Format: DVD

Region: Region 2

Released: 1 January 1970

Cat No: 7952536

Languages(s): English
Interactive Menu
Screen ratio 1:1.33
Dolby Mono

Moviemail Details

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The Beiderbecke Trilogy

Cast: Dudley Sutton , Colin Blakely , Beryl Reid , Barbara Flynn , Terence Rigby , James Bolam , Malcolm Story , Danny Schiller , Keith Marsh , James Grout , Frank Ricotti , Keith Smith , Stephen Tomlin , Sean Scanlon , Alison Skilbeck , Dominic Jephcott , Ian Bleasdale

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The entire comedy drama series from Alan Plater. In ’The Beiderbecke Affair’ (1984), woodwork teacher and jazz buff Trevor Chaplin (James... Read More




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The entire comedy drama series from Alan Plater. In ’The Beiderbecke Affair’ (1984), woodwork teacher and jazz buff Trevor Chaplin (James Bolam) has always fantasized that a beautiful blonde will enter his life and simultaneously provide him with rare recordings of his hero Bix Beiderbecke. Unlikely as it seems, this is just what happens one evening when Trevor is at home in his flat. It is an encounter which will ultimately involve him and his colleague, independent political campaigner Jill Swinburne (Barbara Flynn), in exploding lawnmowers, political corruption and the strange world of ’black economists’ Big Al (Terence Rigby) and Little Norm (Danny Schiller). In ’The Beiderbecke Tapes’ (1987) Trevor and Jill find themselves plunged into another jazz-related mystery when the former purchases some Bix Beiderbecke tapes from a pub barman. Jill is intrigued when one of the tapes contains a conversation about the planned dumping of nuclear waste in the Yorkshire Dales, her curiosity being roused still further by the discovery that the barman who sold Trevor the tapes has now gone missing... The intrepid duo soon find themselves up to their necks in trouble once more as their investigation takes them from the relative safety of Yorkshire to the mean streets of Amsterdam and Edinburgh. In the final part of the trilogy, ’The Beiderbecke Connection’ (1988), Trevor and Jill are still living together, and they now have a baby boy to look after as well. Their household is increased still further when old friend Big Al asks them to take in a refugee as a favour; Trevor is reluctant until he discovers that his new guest is, like him, an ardent jazz fan. However, this visitor is only the first of many who will involve Trevor and Jill in yet more intrigue and deception.

An unusual and extremely enjoyable series from the 1980s, the Beiderbecke serials were thrillers with two normal, everyday protagonists. James Bolam, best known for The Likely Lads, stars as Trevor, a laconic woodwork teacher who loves jazz and has a relationship with divorced English teacher Jill (Barbara Flynn - a great, underrated actress). Each episode sees them in an unforeseen intrigue, such as when they accidentally obtain a tape detailing plans to dump nuclear waste in the Yorkshire dales.

The plots are engaging and enjoyably rambling, but the real joy of the series lies in the interplay between the two likeable leads. (At one point Barbara snaps to Trevor: "I give you fair warning, Mr Chaplin. If you get engaged to that girl, I shall insist you move into the spare room.") The zingy dialogue from screenwriter Alan Plater has drawn favorable comparison to the beloved Thin Man comedies from the 1930s and 40s. The third star of the show of course is the music with the jazz score superbly capturing the mood of Bix Beiderbecke's legendary style.

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