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15.4.12

The Beiderbecke Affair: Which Way To Aristophanes Street?

Jill Swinburne (Barbara Flynn) and Trevor Chaplin (James Bolam) break away from San Quentin High to go in search of Aristophanes Street...

It was a mysterious platinum blonde, selling mail order door to door in aid of the Cubs' football team, that drew local school teachers Jill Swinburne and Trevor Chaplin into a web of intrigue. Jazz enthusiast Trevor ordered a set of Bix Beiderbecke LPs from her. When the wrong records arrived, he set out to right things...

The trail initially led to an address in Aristophanes Street, but the mystery deepened when Trevor and Jill discovered that Aristophanes Street has been demolished just before they arrived...

And, in 2011, this led to an e-mail to '80s Actual from Chris:

I've been reading about Aristophanes Street, Leeds, on the Secret Leeds site, and wonder if it actually existed outside of the Beiderbecke Affair TV series of 1985. Have you any information? The street sign featured in the series looks very authentic.

Janey, the mysterious platinum blonde (Sue Jenkins)...

Aristophanes Street, Beiderbecke Land.

Alan Plater, the man who gave us the Beiderbecke Trilogy, invented Aristophanes Street, Chris. The street sign seen in The Beiderbecke Affair was created especially for the show. The Beiderbecke Affair was filmed in 1984 when some slum clearances were taking place in Leeds, and the production team selected one doomed road to pose as Aristophanes Street, filming there just after it was pulled down, with a derelict shop still standing on the corner to hold the sign.


Detective Sergeant Hobson (Dominic Jephcott) and Big Al (Terence Rigby) with some files.

Trevor discovers something rather sinister.

Read our main Beiderbecke Trilogy features here.

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