This October, the cable network Starz will premiere the original mini-series Dancing on the Edge from multi-award winning writer and director Stephen Poliakoff. The five-episode mini-series is inspired by accounts of the prolific Duke Ellington Band’s as they mingle with the future Duke of Windsor Edward VIII in Europe. The mini will take place in London during the early 1930s, illustrating the journey of a group of black jazz musicians – the Louis Lester Band – as they steadily rise to stardom, a result of performing at various elite social gatherings hosted by London’s aristocrats. Although Britain’s climate was flourishing with extraordinary social change, much of the upper-class loathed the idea of black musicians performing in polite society. Still, the city’s more progressive socialites (including members of the Royal Household) befriend the ensemble and introduced them to posh life. The blissful eminence surrounding the band abruptly changes when the band members are entangled in a murder
Among the cast will be actor Chiwetel Ejiofor (the star of the upcoming ‘Twelve Years of a Slave’), who will play the debonair band leader of his self-titled “Louis Lester Band”, who befriends an ambitious music journalist named Stanley, to be played by actor Matthew Goode (‘Brideshead Revisited’); legendary actress Jacqueline Bisset (‘Joan of Arc’), who plays the influential Lady Cremone; actor John Goodman (‘Roseanne’), who portrays the affluent American entrepreneur named Masterson; actress Angel Coulby (‘Merlin’), who will play Jessie, the sultry songstresses of the Louis Lester Band; actress Janet Montgomery (‘Human Target’), who will play Sarah, the insightful photographer; and actor Anthony Head (‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’), who will play the compassionate gentleman named Donaldson.
‘Dancing on the Edge’ was filmed on location in London and Birmingham on a moving set over four months and was executive produced by an acclaimed production team including: James D. Stern, Douglas E. Hansen and Colin Callender (‘The White Queen’ and ‘Magic City’); Alison Owen (‘Jane Eyre’), Paul Trijbits (‘Saving Mr. Banks’) and Poliakoff (among others). The mini-series was produced by Nicky Kentish Barnes (‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’) and Faye Ward (‘Jane Eyre’) for Ruby Film and Television. Music featured in the film comes from Emmy Award-winning musician and composer Adrian Johnston (‘Kinky Boots’).
Again, Starz will debut the mini-series ‘Dancing on the Edge’ this October.