Downton Abbey while Poliakoff uses his entire vehicle DANCING ON THE EDGE to throw fuel on the subject of race, class, sex, and jazz for 6 episodes in which poverty, hunger, and immigration issues lurk around the edges. Little by little tensions grow in our story as the elite pursue their latest hobby, trouble stalks band members, and German diplomats in town are already revealing their racist hearts in public
Chiwetel Ejiofor (above, l) leads a terrific cast as black band leader Louis Lester, along with charming Matthew Goode (above, r ), playing irrepressible rogue Stanley Mitchell, music impresario and editor of a rag called "The Music Express". Stanley, most at home in his paper's lair, is thought by some reviewers to have dubious motives, but I found his enthusiasm contagious as he recognizes the band's potential and organizes one gambit after another to promote and protect them. Stanley makes bits of mischief for Louis but always has his back -- the band has one foot in the world of high society but also uncomfortable exposure to police and/or the alien immigration authorities.
Angel Coulby and Wunmi Mosaku, third and fourth from left in photo below). Gradually the band grows an audience including a small group of influentials whom we get to know well (plus Prince George and Edward, Prince of Wales, the "playboy" princes who were serious patrons of Duke Ellington and Florence Mills, among others).
John Goodman), Lavinia Cremone (a splendid Jacqueline Bisset, 5th from r), an aristocrat who still mourns three sons lost in World War I but is newly aroused to do good in the world; Mr. Donaldson (Anthony Head, 4th from r ), an urbane fellow and silent manipulator; Pamela Luscombe (Joanna Vanderham -- Denice in The Paradise, 6th from r) and her high-strung, troubled brother Julian (Tom Hughes, far l) are rebellious offspring of rich, racist social climbers ("We are going to have a party for mummy and fill the house with blacks and Jews" says Pamela); photographer Sarah, daughter of a Russian emigre with a mysterious past, who has an affair with Louis, (Janet Montgomery, on Ejiofor's arm, left center).
Starz and is now streaming via Netflix.