Heads Up: Dancing On The Edge

Racism, royalty, and all that jazz … take it away Stephen!

What are we talking about? A new BBC drama five-part series, set in the early 1930s, following a black jazz band as they achieve fame and even royal patronage on the society party circuit. Until, that is, a suspected murder becomes the subject of an investigation by a music journalist .…

Elevator pitch Racism, royalty, music, murder – and all that jazz.

Prime movers It's written by Stephen Poliakoff – The Lost Prince; Shooting the Past – and is, rather astonishingly, his first ever serial for the Beeb. He is also directing, with help from co-director Philippa Lowthorpe.

The stars Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children Of Men; The Shadow Line), Matthew Goode (Watchmen) and Janet Montgomery (Entourage), as well as best-of-British thesps, such as Anthony "Giles-from-Buffy" Head, Caroline Quentin and Jane Asher.

The Early Buzz The Daily Mail seems primarily interested in the period costumes: "It's enough to make you want to revisit the 1930s .… Oozing glamour and sophistication, the girls of BBC2 drama Dancing On The Edge have been out in force, donning a variety of gorgeous frocks from the era." The Evening Standard wrote: "A new drama based on the true story of a black British jazz band in Thirties London reveals a little-known side of English society …. Dancing On The Edge by award-winning writer Stephen Poliakoff was inspired by the discovery that black musicians were championed by royalty led by the Prince of Wales — later King Edward VIII — despite the rising tide of racism and fascism in the period."

Insider knowledge There have already been rumours that this might simply be the first series of an on-going drama, continuing with the story of the 1930s music newspaper which forms one strand of the plot.

It's great that … it features period costumes, murder and intrigue, investigative journalism, sexy night club scenes … sounds like anyone who will be in mourning for the finishing of The Hour may find solace in the arrival of Dancing on the Edge.

It's a shame that … Poliakoff's last 1930s period piece – Glorious 39 – was a rather muddled affair, not well received by the critics. Let's hope this surpasses it.

Hit potential Poliakoff's one-off dramas are often billed as TV "events", and the BBC is sure to push this. Whether it can maintain momentum over five episodes remains to be seen.

The details Dancing on the Edge is on BBC2 in January.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
    La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

    Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

    The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
    10 best high-end laptops

    10 best high-end laptops

    From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
    Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
    Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

    Meet Racton Man

    Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
    Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

    Garden Bridge

    St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

    An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
    Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

    Joint Enterprise

    The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
    Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

    Freud and Eros

    Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
    France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

    Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

    Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser