I had forgotten about this cerebral quintessential gem of British comedy until recently. I remember watching the Beiderbecke series when I was a child and was amused by the dialogue, even though I didn't appreciate the deeper issues Alan Plater was making.
It has everything quality programmes should, an excellent thought provoking script, plot, excellent characters, played to perfection by the assembled cast, punchy witty dialogue which you just want to quote and a cracking soundtrack. It defines what quality British comedy programmes are and should be. It attacks the failures of British society in an understated, intelligent, dark and quirky way.
Despite being nearly twenty years old the issues raised by Alan Plater are as valid today as then i.e. the acivities of a secretive, authoritarian and overbearing state over the people it is meant to serve. This is particularly the case given the current administrations control freakery, micro management, message spinning, erosion of civil liberties and a blatant disregard for the process of government, which all go unchecked.
Yet despite the need for such programmes of social comment I doubt that any channel would find room for such programmes in their dumbed down audience driven schedules. So the next best thing is to buy this series and enjoy as they say in jazz "uhmm fresh".