Dancing on the Edge (miniseries)

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Dancing on the Edge
Dancing On The Edge screenplay cover
Cover for the published screenplay
Created byStephen Poliakoff
Written byStephen Poliakoff
Directed byStephen Poliakoff
StarringJacqueline Bisset
Angel Coulby
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Matthew Goode
John Goodman
Anthony Head
Tom Hughes
Janet Montgomery
Wunmi Mosaku
Miles Richardson
Mel Smith
Joanna Vanderham
Composer(s)Adrian Johnston
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
Running time360 minutes
Original networkBBC Two
Original release4 February (2013-02-04) –
10 March 2013 (2013-03-10)
Preceded byGlorious 39
External links

Dancing on the Edge is a British television drama written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff and produced by the BBC about a black jazz band in London in the early 1930s. The series aired on BBC Two between 4 February and 10 March 2013. It was nominated for three awards at the 71st Golden Globe Awards.[1]


The series follows a black jazz band's experiences in London in the 1930s. Made up of talented musicians and managed by the compassionate yet short-tempered Wesley Holt, the band gets a gig at the Imperial Hotel, by way of cunning journalist Stanley Mitchell. They prove to be a hit, and become a success at the hotel. Countless aristocrats—and the Royal Family—ask the band to play at parties. The media rush to interview and photograph the band—including the ambitious American businessman Walter Masterson and his enthusiastic British employee Julian. The band's success spirals, being offered record deals. But tragedy strikes, setting off a chain of events that may wreck the band's career.


The Louis Lester Band

  • Chiwetel Ejiofor as Louis Lester: The band leader of the Louis Lester Band. Born in London, Louis travelled the world as a merchant seaman before returning to the UK.
  • Angel Coulby as Jessie Taylor: The lead singer with the Louis Lester Band. Beautiful and with an amazing voice, she fascinates even royalty.
  • Wunmi Mosaku as Carla: The shy backing vocalist for the Louis Lester Band and Jessie's best friend.
  • Ariyon Bakare as Wesley Holt: The irascible manager of the Louis Lester Band. Although born in Cardiff, he has lived in Chicago for most of his life and lost his British birth certificate.

Music Express magazine

  • Matthew Goode as Stanley Mitchell: A music journalist at Music Express magazine, who helps bring notice to the band.
  • Jenna Coleman as Rosie Williams: Stanley's assistant at the magazine.
  • Sam Hoare as Eric: A new journalist at the magazine.
  • Allan Corduner as Mr Wax: The owner of Music Express, who has little to do with the day-to-day operations.

The Elite

  • Jacqueline Bisset as Lavinia, Lady Cremone: A wealthy aristocrat who has become a recluse after the death of her sons.
  • John Goodman as Walter Masterson: An American real estate mogul and one of the richest men in the world.
  • Tom Hughes as Julian Luscombe: A charismatic and debonair young man, who works as Mr Masterson's aide.
  • Joanna Vanderham as Pamela Luscombe: Julian's sister and a playful, beautiful society girl.
  • Janet Montgomery as Sarah Peters: A photographer and Pamela's best friend. She is the daughter of a Russian immigrant.
  • Anthony Head as Arthur Donaldson: A wealthy and influential businessman.
  • John Hopkins as Prince George, Duke of Kent: Son of the British King.


  • Mel Smith as Nathan Schlesinger: The manager of the Imperial Hotel.
  • Miles Richardson as Harry Thornton: Mr Schlesinger's right-hand man at the Imperial.
  • Maggie McCarthy as Mrs Mitchell: Stanley's mother.
  • Caroline Quentin as Deirdre: The owner of a small music club.
  • David Dawson as D.I. Horton: A police detective investigating a murder.
  • Gerard Horan as D.I. Gunson: A police detective investigating a murder


No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date UK viewers inc.HD
1"Episode 1"Stephen PoliakoffStephen Poliakoff4 February 2013 (2013-02-04)3.00
2"Episode 2"Stephen PoliakoffStephen Poliakoff5 February 2013 (2013-02-05)2.48
3"Episode 3"Stephen PoliakoffStephen Poliakoff11 February 2013 (2013-02-11)2.35
4"Episode 4"Stephen PoliakoffStephen Poliakoff18 February 2013 (2013-02-18)2.52
5"Episode 5"Stephen PoliakoffStephen Poliakoff25 February 2013 (2013-02-25)2.61
6"Interviewing Louis"Stephen PoliakoffStephen Poliakoff10 March 2013 (2013-03-10)0.39 (overnight)


Filming took place on location at the Grand Hotel and Council House in Birmingham, where the hotel scenes were shot, the Black Country Living Museum was used to shoot a scene set in a mining village and Ragley Hall in Warwickshire was used as Lady Cremone's home.[3] The headquarters of Music Express are located at No. 4 Princelet Street, Spitalfields[4] and later at Somerset House. The railway scenes in the first episode were shot on the preserved Bluebell Railway. Wilton's Music Hall was used as the club. Fenton House, Hampstead, stands for the house of Donaldson. Some scenes for Donaldson's house were also shot at Upton House, Warwickshire. Kidderminster, on the Severn Valley Railway, was used as "Folkestone" in the fifth episode. Manze's Eel, Pie and Mash shop in Walthamstow also makes an appearance in that episode.

International broadcast[edit]

Country Channel Premiere date Timeslot
 Greece NET 1 March 2013[5] Friday 22:05
 United States Starz 19 October 2013[6] Saturday 22:00
 United States PBS 26 June 2016[7] Sunday 20:00
 Sweden SVT1 4 January 2014 Saturday 22:00
 Iceland RUV 11 May 2014 Sunday 21:00
 Finland YLE TV1 24 June 2014 Tuesday 21:00
 Mexico Canal 22 27 July 2014 Sunday 21:00
 France France Ô 7 November 2014 Friday 20:45


Award Category Nominee(s) Result
Satellite Awards Best Miniseries or Television Film Dancing on the Edge Won
Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Matthew Goode Nominated
Chiwetel Ejiofor Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Miniseries or Television Film Dancing on the Edge Nominated
Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Chiwetel Ejiofor Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries, or Television Film Jacqueline Bisset Won
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Chiwetel Ejiofor Nominated
Black Reel Award Outstanding Actor, TV Movie or Mini-Series Chiwetel Ejiofor Won
Broadcasting Press Guild Award Best Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor Won
Image Award Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series, or Dramatic Special Chiwetel Ejiofor Nominated


  1. ^ Messer, Lesley (12 December 2013). "Golden Globe Nominees 2014, the Complete List". Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  2. ^ "Weekly Viewing Summary (see relevant week)". BARB. Archived from the original on 18 April 2007.
  3. ^ "Birmingham is the star of major new TV drama". Birmingham Mail. 3 February 2013. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  4. ^ "4 Princelet Street". Retrieved 3 December 2014.
  5. ^ Viewing Summary of the program, 1 March 2013, archived from the original on 12 April 2013
  6. ^ Munn, Patrick (27 July 2013). "Starz Picks Up US Rights To Stephen Poliakoff's 'Dancing On The Edge', Sets October Premiere". TVWise. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  7. ^ McLennan, Cindy (2 June 2016). "Dancing on the Edge: PBS Previews Jazz Drama Series".

External links[edit]