Alan Plater's hit comedy/mystery series introduces the engaging partnership of jazz loving woodshop teacher Trevor Chaplin (James Bolam) and his girlfriend Jill (Barbara Flynn) who hopes to save the planet by winning a seat on the town council. They are on the trail of the gorgeous blonde saleswoman who mistakenly delivered a set of records that were supposed to be a Bix Beiderbecke series, the legendary jazz musician and Trevor's hero. As the adventure further unfolds, Trevor and Jill become involved in bizarre situations with even more bizarre people, including a borderline lunatic detective and an unlikely pair of brothers running a very suspicious business. It isn't long before they uncover a sinister web of corrupt government officials, crooked businessman and are on the receiving end of death threats. This outlandishly funny series weaves quirky characters, witty dialogue and a wonderfully smooth jazz soundtrack into a uniquely satisfying and entertainment experience.
The charms of The Beiderbecke Affair
aren't immediately apparent--but before long, you're hooked by this sneaky combination of screwball-inspired dialogue, off-kilter yet genuine characters, and hopelessly loopy plot. Schoolteacher and aspiring political candidate Jill (Barbara Flynn) doesn't pay much attention when her boyfriend Trevor (James Bolam) says he was sold some Bix Beiderbecke records by a beautiful platinum blonde door-to-door saleswoman. But when the wrong records arrive in the mail, Trevor sets out to correct the situation--and both he and Jill tumble into a mystery involving junior football matches, the basement of a church, an overzealous and overeducated detective sergeant, two peculiar men called Big Al and Little Norm, an ex-fiancee who is alarmingly like the current girlfriend, and a mysterious man with a dog named Jason. This British mini-series will madden anyone who expects their mysteries to feature murder, easily identifiable suspects, and a logical process of elimination--in fact, it may take a few episodes before you see this as a mystery at all. But what emerges from the seemingly random incidents is a sly sense of humor, dialogue that bounces to and fro like a badminton shuttlecock, and the engaging characters of Jill and Trevor. Flynn and Bolam have been solid character actors for decades; fans of British television will recognize their faces. It's a pleasure to have this talented pair taking the lead as two ordinary people who accidentally fall into out-of-the-ordinary circumstances. Don't let the seeming casualness of the beginning put you off--The Beiderbecke Affair
grows more delightful the more you watch. --Bret Fetzer