THE BLOG

Dancing On The Edge, BBC/Heading Out, BBC - TV Review

28/02/2013 12:29 GMT | Updated 29/04/2013 10:12 BST

RIP the Monday night blues, as television schedules have been bursting with starry brilliance over the past weeks, unfortunately leaving the rest of the week's television rather bland.

The 1930's based series Dancing On The Edge, written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff, follows the Louis Lester band through a period of huge change. If there were any point in history I'd of liked to have been apart of it was the swinging thirties, where it was ok to go out and have a swanky dinner, wear black tie every night and have a swell time. This series portrayed just that and the rise of new influential music of the 1930's, where audiences were moving away from the era of 'light music' and people just wanted to dance. Ensuring the success of the Louis Lester Band is a clan of high society folk who are embracing change, yet not fazed by the social and political climates about the face world, which was not overlooked in the series with the mention of the assassination of the American president and a stern yet worrying peek at the press and it's wolf like status.

The first two episodes neatly chartered the band's rise with displays of stunning musical performances, namely by lead singer Jessie Taylor (Angel Coulby), who, at the end of episode 2 is found stabbed and then later dies. Yes, this seemingly innocent exclamation of cultural change in Britain is now a 'who dunnit'. Discovering Jessie's bloody state, Louis Lester was suspected by most and cunning plans are made to make sure he could leave the country to escape arrest. Mystery ensues the story and everyone and anyone looks as though they could be capable of Jessie's murder. Julian (Tom Hughes) had psycho written into his character from the beginning, so when he is seen, by Louis, leaving the Imperial Hotel through the back exit, while supposedly on a train to Paris and Jessie discovered moments later, it is plainly obvious that he was the murderer. Even with Poliakoff trying to throw us off the scent through the next few episodes, I never found myself doubting Julian's murderous status and when he is seen with a gun half way through the last episode I think we knew what was to happen. There were plenty of questions though, which left me intrigued to watch more.

Stunning performances flooded this drama; Matthew Goode as Stanley and John Goodman as American Tycoon Mr Masterson. Poliakoff manages to weave a spiders web of cultural divide, pressing times and change, with the black widow of fate that comes to us all. An accurate representation of the time helps drive this drama forward but despite its apparent realism, I found it terribly slow and it really didn't take Sherlock Holmes to discover who had done it. A reprise for 1930's swing? I think so - it's already on my iPod.

The recent gay marriage debate, on both sides of the Atlantic, has warranted a few new comedies following the lives of homosexuals; The New Normal, by Glee writer Ryan Murphy, and a new ITV comedy is soon to be on our screens starring Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi as two bickering queens.

Sue Perkins has made us laugh as a presenter and comic and now makes her first foray into situational comedy with this delightful series about coming out, age and awkwardness. Heading Out is not by any means depressing, in fact, it's brilliantly upbeat despite the seriousness of the issues that Sara (Perkins' character) faces.

An uncomfortable lesbian turning 40, Sara is a vet, a commitment-phobe, has a OCD inflicted gay best friend and plays netball. It's witty, much like Perkins' self appearances.

With the absence of Miranda Hart's Sitcom on the BBC, my first thoughts were that this is a sitcom about a lesbian Miranda, those points are obvious but when you get past those forced comedy snippets you begin to see the situation and the reality of it. The series opener has tidily set us up for six weeks of agonising preparation of coming out, which is entertainment in itself. With guest appearance by Dawn French and June Brown coming up and a 'will she, won't she' come out to her parents story line, I think we better stick with this one.

The Dancing On The Edge soundtrack is available on iTunes and Heading Out will continue next Tuesday on BBC Two.