Set in the 1930s, a black Jazz band rises in fame and popularity while becoming entangled in an intricate web of intrigue, mystery & suspense with the elite of London society.
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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »





Series cast summary:
Chiwetel Ejiofor ...  Louis 6 episodes, 2013
Matthew Goode ...  Stanley 6 episodes, 2013
Joanna Vanderham ...  Pamela 6 episodes, 2013
Wunmi Mosaku ...  Carla 6 episodes, 2013
Paul Dixon Paul Dixon ...  Nazi Colonel 6 episodes, 2013
Janet Montgomery ...  Sarah 5 episodes, 2013
Jenna Coleman ...  Rosie / ... 5 episodes, 2013
Anthony Head ...  Donaldson 5 episodes, 2013
Allan Corduner ...  Mr. Wax 5 episodes, 2013
Mel Smith ...  Schlesinger 5 episodes, 2013
John Goodman ...  Masterson 5 episodes, 2013
Tom Hughes ...  Julian 5 episodes, 2013
Miles Richardson ...  Harry 5 episodes, 2013
Angel Coulby ...  Jessie 5 episodes, 2013
Chris Storr Chris Storr ...  The Band - Joe the Trumpeter 5 episodes, 2013
Jay Phelps Jay Phelps ...  The Band - Trumpet 2 5 episodes, 2013
Charles Angiama Charles Angiama ...  The Band - Clarinet 5 episodes, 2013
Oroh Angiama Oroh Angiama ...  The Band - Bass 5 episodes, 2013
Miles Brett Miles Brett ...  The Band - Tenor Sax 5 episodes, 2013
Trevor Edwards Trevor Edwards ...  The Band - Trombone 5 episodes, 2013
Cosimo Keita Cosimo Keita ...  The Band - Drums 5 episodes, 2013
Steve Williamson Steve Williamson ...  The Band - Alto Sax 5 episodes, 2013
Pascaline Crêvecoeur ...  Jessie (french version) 4 episodes, 2013
Jacqueline Bisset ...  Lady Cremone 4 episodes, 2013
Jamie Crew ...  Mick 4 episodes, 2013
Maggie McCarthy ...  Mrs. Mitchell 4 episodes, 2013
Sam Hoare ...  Eric 3 episodes, 2013
Caroline Quentin ...  Deirdre 3 episodes, 2013
Gerard Horan ...  Gunson 3 episodes, 2013
Jane Asher ...  Mrs. Luscombe 3 episodes, 2013
John Hopkins ...  Prince George 3 episodes, 2013
Rob Edwards Rob Edwards ...  Sarah's Father 3 episodes, 2013
David Dawson ...  Horton 3 episodes, 2013
Matthew David Hearn Matthew David Hearn ...  Police Officer 3 episodes, 2013
Ariyon Bakare ...  Wesley 2 episodes, 2013
Abigail Halley ...  Mrs. Luscombe's Maid 3 episodes, 2013
Alexander Lovatt Alexander Lovatt ...  Boy in School Class 3 episodes, 2013
Nicola Sloane ...  Nurse Pollock 2 episodes, 2013
Calvin A. Dean ...  Young Man 2 episodes, 2013
Madeleine Smith Madeleine Smith ...  Violetta 2 episodes, 2013
Sam Troughton ...  Prince of Wales 2 episodes, 2013
Isabella Blake-Thomas ...  Emily 2 episodes, 2013
Simon Lewis Marriott ...  Waiter 2 episodes, 2013
Martine Richards ...  Strange Lady 2 episodes, 2013
Richard Teverson ...  Hardiman 1 episode, 2013
Leo Chell Leo Chell ...  Hospital reveller / ... 2 episodes, 2013
Laura Haddock ...  Josephine / ... 1 episode, 2013
Madeline Smith ...  Violetta 2 episodes, 2013


Set in the 1930s, a black Jazz band rises in fame and popularity while becoming entangled in an intricate web of intrigue, mystery & suspense with the elite of London society.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes would go on to star together as Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in the ITV period drama Victoria (2016). See more »


The musical style of Louis Lester's band, and especially the vocal styles of his singers and the sorts of songs they perform, are typical of the 1950's, not the 1930's. See more »


Featured in The Wright Stuff: Episode #18.20 (2013) See more »

User Reviews

Dancing on the Edge (BBC2) – Review
20 February 2013 | by mail-479-241123See all my reviews

Oh dear, the BBC must have blown their casting budget for the entire year on this one. It's positively dripping with movie stars, household names and hot, rising talent – which is just as well, because Dancing on the Edge really has very little edge to speak of.

The period atmosphere, of course, is immaculate. Stephen Poliakoff's five part 1930s drama about the birth of jazz in the UK is set against a background of thinly disguised racism, poverty and extreme right wing politics. There's also a lot of distressed wood and peeling paint, and the producers must have covered up every double yellow line in the West End.

Stan Mitchell (Matthew Goode), is the chain-smoking head writer of a struggling music magazine. Stan discovers a band of black musicians and launches them into London society, helped by bored aristocrat and chain-smoking music fan Lady Cremone (Jacqueline Bisset).

Bisset has been an international film star since the late 1960s, so one does wonder what she is doing playing opposite the likes of Mel Smith. But as beautiful as Bisset is, Smith frequently owns the screen as saggy-faced hotel manager Schlesinger. Mel has always given great saggy-face. His jowls were heading south even when he was a rising star in the nineteen seventies, so here's a role he was born to play.

With callous immigration officials, sinister Freemasons and half the German Nazi Party hot on their heels, the band manage to land a residency at a posh hotel in Piccadilly, and fast become the favourite plaything of the Prince of Wales and his champagne-swilling, chain-smoking buddies.

Chiwetel Ejiofor is hard to say but effortlessly smooth and polished as chain-smoking band leader Louis Lester – a character perhaps partly inspired by real-life, chain-smoking, black band leader Ken "Snakehips" Johnson, who died in the London Blitz in the early forties.

John Goodman (the fat, miserable hubby from Rosanne) plays fat, miserable, chain-smoking millionaire Masterson – a man with so many skeletons in his cupboard there isn't room for his evening suit.

Joanna Vanderham is pointless, vacant, chain-smoking rich girl Pamela. Vanderham does pointless and vacant beautifully, and luckily for her, in this series (unlike in The Paradise) she is not challenged with any tricky accents.

Jenna-Louise Coleman is in it, of course. She's in everything. Coleman plays Mitchell's pretty, chain-smoking assistant, and so far she's managed to uncharacteristically keep her clothes on. Good for her.

Dancing on the Edge is beautiful to look at and the original jazz music by Adrian Johnston is slick and authentically recorded. I just wish the series had been a little more faithful to the actual history of black jazz musicians in the 30s, and that Poliakoff had resisted the temptation to turn it into a tacky Agatha Christie murder mystery. Did I mention that everyone smokes all the time? Read more TV reviews at

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Release Date:

4 February 2013 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Dancing on the Edge See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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