Stephen Poliakoff [pictured] is returning to BBC2 with Dancing on the Edge, the first drama series he has written and directed for television.

Set in the early 1930s, the drama follows a black jazz band in London during a period of major change.

Broadcast Greenlight

Title:Dancing on the Edge


Producer:Nicky Kentish Barnes

Executive Producer:Alison Owen

Writer:Stephen Poliakoff

TX Date: 2012

Commissioner:Ruby Films

The five-parter, produced by Ruby Film and Television, follows th eLouis Lester Band as they find fame amongst the parties and performances of London’s upper class society. Although many recoil at the performance of black musicians in polite society, the city’s more progressive socialites take the band under their wing.

But when the band become entangled in their shadowy world, it results in the suspected murder of the band’s singer Jessie. The walls begin to close in on Louis and the other members until they realise that escape from England may be their only chance for safety.

BBC2 controller Janice Hadlow said: “Stephen Poliakoff is a great distinctive talent and I’m thrilled to have his first long-form drama on BBC2. In Dancing On The Edge I think you will see a very different voice from Stephen and I am delighted to be able to add this remarkable piece to the new dramas on the channel in 2012.”

Poliakoff has previously worked with Talkback Thames on dramas including The Lost Prince and Capturing Mary but according to Ruby executive producer Alison Owen, Poliakoff was “looking for a new home”.

Owen added: “It’ a period piece that approaches that era in a very modern way. The writing is very visceral and tangible, so you feel like you’re really there, rather than just watching history. As a series it has a different rhythm and pace to Stephen’s standalone pieces and it’s very gripping as the characters really emerge.”

Ben Stephenson, controller, BBC drama commissioning, commissioned the series which begins with a 90-minute episode, alongside Hadlow. It will be produced by Nicky Kentish Barnes.

The drama, which begins shooting in October, is one of a raft of new drama series for BBC2, including Abi Morgan’s The Hour, which airs next month. Speaking at a press launch last night, Hadlow said it had been her ambition to see drama and comedy return to the heart of the channel adding: “Over the last year we have seen the fruits of that.”

This story was first published by Broadcast.