May 03

TV review – The Beiderbecke Trilogy (1984 to 1987)

TV review – The Beiderbecke Trilogy (1984 to 1987)

The Beiderbecke Trilogy

Rating: 10/10

Starring: James Bolam, Barbara Flynn, Terence Rigby, Danny Schiller, Dudley Sutton, Dominic Jephcott, Keith Smith, Alun Armstrong, Bridget Turner

Written by: Alan Plater

Review: TV review – The Beiderbecke Trilogy (1984 to 1987) – The Beiderbecke Trilogy is actually three TV series generally sold as one DVD these days. Just for good measure there is also a fourth series included which introduces the characters. All of the series follow the same two main characters as they undertake various adventures and mysteries.

Get Lost!: This is the first of the four series and introduces the main characters. The actors are different for this series as it was created as a one off and the other series followed after its success. The characters were re-written and recast for the following series after one of the actors was unable to continue working on them. All that aside its worth watching first and has all the wit and style of the latter series but is just different. I was surprised how easily I adjusted to this series considering I had seen all the other series without having seen this and so had a fairly fixed view of the characters. Good stuff and a nice bonus.

The Beiderbecke Affair: This is the first part (proper) of The Beiderbecke Trilogy. It introduces the new lead actors to their roles (James Bolam and Barbara Flynn) as well as the rest of the cast. There is an instant magic between the two characters and the plot is so beautifully crafted that this series is just wonderful.

The Beiderbecke Tapes: For me this is the weakest of the three main series but to be honest that still would mean a nine if I had rated the series individually. I just felt the direction was a little off, I suspect because they had an increase in budget following the success of the first series and so decided to go a bit exotic (Holland and Edinburgh). There is no need to expand the small world the characters occupy because the smallness of that world is key to the magic the writer generates. That said if you liked the first series you’ll still very much enjoy this.

The Beiderbecke Connection: The final series in the series. Beautifully crafted.

I haven’t tried to describe the various plots or even review the performances of the actors because quite frankly I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun for you. This is beautiful work from the writer down to the lowliest runner. There is magic in this that is timeless. I understand that the humour is very English and so if you are not from the UK you may struggle with it a bit. The humour is all in the dialogue so don’t look for people tripping on planks. This is intelligent comedy of the highest order I can’t praise it enough.  

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beiderbecke_Trilogy

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086668/

Amazon: Buy it

Trailer: Not available