BBC Two has ordered an ambitious new drama about a 1930s Black Jazz Band in London.
Dancing On The Edge is an explosive new drama series for BBC Two set in the early 1930s following a black jazz band in London during times of extraordinary change. Written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Stephen Poliakoff (The Lost Prince, Shooting The Past), the five-part series follows the Louis Lester Band as they find fame amongst the parties and performances of upper class society in the capital. Initially shocked by black musicians performing in polite society, many recoil, but London’s progressive socialites take the band under their wing.
“Stephen Poliakoff is a great distinctive talent and I’m thrilled to have his first long-form drama on BBC Two. In Dancing On The Edge I think you will see a very different voice from Stephen and I am delighted to be able to add this remarkable piece to the new dramas on the channel in 2012.” – Janice Hadlow, Controller, BBC Two
When the band’s manager Wesley becomes too demanding to the hotel in which the band performs he is deported, forcing the rest to move on without him. The musicians play for the Prince of Wales who elevates their status to the heights of early pop fame. But they become entangled in the shadowy world of socialites, which results in the suspected murder of the band’s singer Jessie. The walls begin to close in on Louis and the other members until they realise that escape from England may be their only chance for safety.
“Following the huge success of The Shadow Line where every episode consolidated with over two million viewers, the channel will continue its commitment to original British drama in 2012. I am thrilled to welcome Stephen Poliakoff back to BBC Two with the first series ever he has both written and directed for television.” – Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning
Produced by Nicky Kentish Barnes (You Will Meet A Tall, Dark Stranger, About A Boy) and executive produced by Alison Owen (Case Histories, Toast), and Paul Trijbits (Toast, Five Minutes Of Heaven). Dancing on the Edge is a Ruby Film and Television production, commissioned by Ben Stephenson, BBC Controller of Drama Commissioning and Janice Hadlow, Controller BBC Two.
This is a five-part series with a 90-minute opening episode, expected to begin shooting in October 2011. The production is currently casting. Dancing On The Edge will join a raft of new drama series on BBC Two in 2012, including Paula Milne’s White Heat, Jed Mercurio’s Line Of Duty, Sir Tom Stoppard’s Parade’s End and Jane Campion’s Top Of The Lake, as well as a major new cycle of Shakespeare’s four most acclaimed historical works as part of a season based on the Bard’s life and works.