BBC's Dancing on the Edge


It seems almost blasphemous that we should be talking about something other than Downton Abbey or Mr. Selfridge as both premiered last night. While America was engulfed in Downton-mania, the UK had a telly drama moment of its own as Mr. Selfridge also premiered Sunday evening on ITV1. At this point, however, I’ll leave to you to talk amongst yourselves to avoid any ‘spoiler issues’ for a couple of days for those that may be doing a bit of DVR viewing. But, please hurry. We need to talk Shirley MacLaine/Dame Maggie Smith asap.

As we’ve mentioned more often than the law allows recently, 2013 is already becoming a banner year for television drama and we are barely a week into the new year. UK drama enthusiasts should be on the lookout for what’s up next in the BBC drama arsenal this month. Dancing on the Edge is set in the early 1930’s and follows a black jazz band as they achieve fame by entertaining London’s upper-class society while encountering racism, class prejudice and nationalism. Until, that is, a suspected murder becomes the subject of an investigation by a music journalist.
 

 
According to press reports, the upcoming five-part drama was inspired by true historical accounts 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. The series was written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff (The Lost Prince; Shooting the Past) with Philippa Lowthorpe (Call the Midwife) as co-director.

A side note from a cast standpoint, Jacqueline Bisset returns to British television drama for the first time since her 1974 role in Murder on the Orient Express and, for Doctor Who fans, the series will also feature Jenna-Louise Coleman. And, yes, that is John Goodman.
 

 
Like Downton Abbey, Mr. Selfridge, Call the Midwife, The Hour and Ripper Street, let’s hope Dancing on the Edge makes it to the U.S. as soon as possible. Now, about that classic Martha Levinson/Dowager Countess encounter last night…