Dancing on the Edge

Dancing on the Edge Information

Dancing on the Edge is a BBC television drama written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff about a black jazz band in London in the early 1930s. The series aired on BBC Two between 4 February and 10 March 2013.


  • Louis Lester (Chiwetel Ejiofor) - the band leader. Born in the UK, after his mother worked for a succession of rich families, he was always extremely aware how the other half lived and aspired to improve his lot. Through working as a merchant seaman, Louis sailed most of the world and developed his musical talents.
  • Stanley Mitchell (Matthew Goode) - a music journalist at Music Express.
  • Jessie (Angel Coulby) - lead singer with the Louis Lester band. Beautiful and mysterious with an amazing voice, she fascinates even royalty.
  • Lady Lavinia Cremone (Jacqueline Bisset) - a wealthy recluse.
  • Arthur Donaldson (Anthony Head) - a wealthy man.
  • Walter Masterson (John Goodman) - An American mogul and one of the richest men in the world, his newest obsession is magazines.
  • Julian Luscombe (Tom Hughes) - a charismatic, handsome and debonair man, coming from one of Britain's most aristocratic families.
  • Carla (Wunmi Mosaku) - after growing up in one of the poorest parts of London, she is a shy and unconfident adult, Jessie's childhood friend.
  • Pamela Luscombe (Joanna Vanderham) - Society It girl and Julian's sister.
  • Wesley Holt (Ariyon Bakare)- The Irascible Band manager. Grew up in Chicago, Met Louis on the merchant ships. He claims to be born in Cardiff but cant prove that he has a British birth certificate.
  • Rosie (Jenna-Louise Coleman) - an assistant who works at Music Express.
  • Sarah (Janet Montgomery) - the English born daughter with a Russian immigrant background, Sarah immediately connects with Louis.
  • Mr Wax (Allan Corduner) - the owner of Music Express. He eventually sells the magazine to Walter Masterson.
  • Josephine/Sarah (Laura Haddock, "Interviewing Louis" only) - a mysterious phone caller, who attempts to tell Louis a story concerning the Masons of the Imperial Hotel.
  • D.I. Horton (David Dawson)
  • Leopold (Jack Donnelly)


No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date UK viewers inc.HD
Aux4 = 3.00 ShortSummary = Music journalist Stanley Mitchell befriends The Louis Lester Band and helps its rise to fame from playing in a basement jazz club to the illustrious Imperial Hotel. At first, the band is treated with hostility by the hotel's elderly audience, most of whom have never heard jazz music nor seen black musicians before. However, one table of young aristocrats love their new music and invite them to play at a garden party. LineColor = FF0000 }}

Aux4 = 2.48 ShortSummary = The Louis Lester Band has yet to reach the fame it so desires, and is stuck playing children's birthday parties at the Imperial Ballroom. Louis is frustrated. However, the band is introduced to wealthy recluse Lady Lavinia Cremone and she may be able to change its fortunes. LineColor = FF0000 }}

Aux4 = 2.35 ShortSummary = The band and their friends are devastated by Jessie's (Angel Coulby) hospitalisation, and take turns to visit her. Louis is interviewed by police about events on the night of Jessie's attack, and he tells them that he saw Julian when he should have been on a train to Paris. The band have to be persuaded to play without Jessie for the Imperial Hotel's Christmas lunch and they are unsettled when a table of racist Germans walks out during the performance. But the mood is lifted when news arrives that Jessie has woken from her coma. For New Year's Eve, Lady Cremone holds a party on her estate. Everybody is surprised when Julian turns up, announcing he has been in France exploring a new business idea. The group goes into the village to hear the New Year announced on a loudspeaker, and there is a joyous and romantic mood. In the middle of the party, Louis confides to Sarah that he saw Julian at the hotel the night of Jessie's attack. Stanley exacts revenge on the racists by smuggling in Louis to play at a German Embassy party. The prank goes brilliantly, but the friends' joy soon turns to tears when tragedy strikes. LineColor = FF0000 }}

Aux4 = 2.52 ShortSummary = The Band plays for the Freemasons dinner and Louis notices the close ties between Julian, who he believes is the killer, and a powerful elite. Everyone is shocked by events in America where an attempt has been made on the President's life. Masterson reveals his plan to build a news empire around the New Music Express Magazine. Stanley warns Louis that the police believe him to be the killer; he tries to see a lawyer, but others seem to be conspiring to hand him over to the police. LineColor = FF0000 }}

Aux4 = 2.61 ShortSummary = Louis can no longer hide out at the Music Express Office so Stanley takes him to a suburban flat to escape the manhunt. He is to wait until nightfall, whilst Stanley goes to find his passport as they plan his escape out of the country. Stanley returns to the Imperial Hotel, to find that its reputation has been badly affected by the murder there. Masterson takes over the new Music Express magazine, and surprises Stanley by announcing he has offered a large reward for the capture of Louis Lester. LineColor = FF0000 }}

Aux4 = 0.39 (overnight) ShortSummary = Presented as a series of interviews undertaken by Stanley for his Music Express magazine and taking place at the peak of fame for the Louis Lester band, Louis, Jessie and Carla give an insight into their thoughts about fame as well as their personal stories. Louis and Stanley remember the First World War, in which Louis's father fought. Louis talks about what it is like to be a black musician in London, and they discuss the band's exotic attraction to the aristocracy. Stanley talks to Carla and Jessie, who open up about their upbringings and their feelings on becoming famous. And Louis describes a chilling story about a female fan, when what started as a prank phone call became something much more sinister. LineColor = FF0000 }}


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. The headquarters of Music Express are located at No 4 Princelet Street, Spitalfields 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. Kidderminster Town, 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

Country Channel Premiere date Timeslot
NET1 March 2013 Friday 22:05
Starz October 2013TBA

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Dancing_on_the_Edge_%28TV_series%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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