Film ID:
YFA 3537



Visitor Tabs


This is a Yorkshire Television documentary on  Scarborough favourite, the violinist and bandleader Max Jaffa.  The programme pays tribute to him as he prepares to play his last season of concerts at the Spa, aged 74, after 27 years there.  There are interviews with Max Jaffa, his wife, contralto Jean Grayston, and his fans.

The film begins looking over Scarborough South Bay, and the boats in the harbour, before moving on to the Concert Hall at the Spa, where an orchestra is playing.  Max Jaffa walks onto the stage carrying his violin, and they play Scarborough Fayre.  Fishing boats are shown coming in with their catch, as Max Jaffa’s wife is interviewed as the pair walk along the seafront looking onto the fishing boats.  We next see the audience, mainly elderly ladies, arriving  at the Spa Theatre, many arriving by coach, as the orchestra plays.  Some of his fans are interviewed, explaining why he has such a devoted following.  A woman is making a cake for Max Jaffa, which she does each year. to the sound of music being performed in the background and with an inscription on the cake from Twelve Night, “If music be the food of love, play on . . .”.   Jaffa is presented with the cake.

Then there is an interview with the wrestler Big Daddy, who says why he loves Jaffa’s music, and we see him at a performance.  It is explained that the programme runs in three week cycles.  We see a performance with Jean Grayston singing.

The film then turns to Max Jaffa at home in Scalby.  He shows his most prized possession, a violin made in 1704 by Pietro of Manchua, and he practices his scales, which he says he does every day.  An account his given of his history, and he discusses other violinist he has known and admired.  There is archive film of his playing with his trio in the 1950s, and when they busked outside the Albert Hall.  He and his wife give support to a busker in Scarborough who is raising money for a lifeboat.  

Former members of his orchestra put on a surprise for him on an open top bus going around Scarborough.  Some of these, including Ian Killock, are interviewed.  We see the orchestra performing outdoors at the Spa, and preparing for another concert.  The pianist director Vincent Billington, and Don Waterman, tourist office, are both interviewed opining that Jaffa knows what the public likes, and that this is what he plays.  There is film of fishing boats unloading their catch, and of Jaffa trying some fish being sold on a stall.  He is next seen out playing golf, and watching a cricket match in Scarborough, as well as posters advertising the “Max Jaffa Sweepstake”.  Jaffa explains that his retirement was more by accident than design, being misquoted by a newspaper, and then the Council deciding that it wanted a change, and so, it seems, it did not renew his contract.   There are more interviews with his devotees as he is shown playing the violin.  The film ends showing Scarborough seafront in the evening, and children playing in an amusement arcade.  


From ITN Source:

First TX date: 1986-09-08