It’s always good to see quality drama on the TV, particularly at this time of year. It can lift the spirits on dark and snowy nights. So like everyone else we were looking forward with anticipation to the new Stephen Poliakov drama ‘Dancing on the Edge.’ Following on from his vaunted dramas The Lost Prince and Shooting the Past, we were expecting great things from the writer/director. We were promised a dark and ‘explosive’ thriller. What did we get, or should we say have we got so far? Well, it was dark, granted, and we got plenty of long and languorous shots down corridors in grand locations and more chesterfield sofas than you could shake a stick at, but unfortunately somebody forgot to light the fuse – so no fireworks. Still, maybe things will improve in the next three episodes.
The drama is set in the 1930s when men were men, and women were apparently fragrant and terribly posh. The drama follows the fortunes of a black jazz band who find fame and royal patronage on the society party circuit. Critics have lauded Poliakov’s new drama, and claim that it will probably do for music, particularly jazz music, what the Artist did for the film industry; that is to pinpoint a moment of transition, and use that moment as a prism to look at other ‘changes’, like race and class that followed. Is it another Artist in the making? Well, the jury’s still out on that, but what you can say is that it’s beautifully shot. What you could also add is that it will do the leather chesterfield sofa a power of good.
Obviously you’d expect any Poliakov drama to look ravishing, and it doesn’t disappoint. You’d also expect to see lots of leather chesterfield sofas and in period dramas, particularly those set in grand locations. Still we’re lucky we live in the twenty first century now. Back in the 30s you wouldn’t have found so many chesterfield sofas and chesterfield chairs in more humble surroundings. They were the preserve of the rich and famous. Fortunately the world has ‘changed’ for the better. Anybody can now own a chesterfield sofa because they are now more affordable than ever. Dancing on the Edge may well portray life as it once was, but happily we’ve all moved on.