‘Dancing on the Edge’: Episode 4 review

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In the aftermath of Jessie’s death, Stanley insists on getting out a special edition of Music Express out to chronicle the true story of her achievements and combat the press’ story of the murder. With all hands to the pumps, Sarah’s behind the scenes photos end up making quite an impression.

The band again plays a funeral, although this it is a more solemn affair with both the police and fans as onlookers. The enigmatic Mr Masterson (John Goodman) lays on the wake, but it’s Julian (Tom Hughes) with his overwrought speech that makes us feel truly uncomfortable.

Escaping to Sarah’s house, there is the suggestion that Jessie might have been attacked by an over zealous fan but such thoughts are put aside in favour of amorous moments and a declaration of love.

Unfortunately the romance is interrupted by the police. With Louis questioned again, his naivety is played upon; the officers intimate that Julian has a watertight alibi and the band leader is manoeuvred into a dangerous position where he brings his previous statement into question.

With the net closing in on Louis and the ranks of Freemasonry protecting their own, things begin to look grim. The apparently trustworthy Donaldson either gives him up to the police or tries to protect him from them depending on who you choose to believe.

Meanwhile, Masterson has his extensive chequebook out. With plans to initiate a media empire from London, he purchases an enormous building full of potential and Music Express magazine and starts offering jobs to people. Initially the only voice of descent is that of Rosie (Jenna-Louise Coleman), who is justifiably concerned that Masterson will not allow Stanley the kind of freedom he has grown to enjoy.

Julian, on the other hand, is off to America with Masterson much to Pamela’s annoyance and we can’t help but wonder if this is to get him out of harms way as Louis takes the fall for his actions.

One of the joys of this episode was the brief cameo from Jane Asher as Mrs Luscombe, Julian and Pamela’s mother, who swept in with a terribly anti-Semitic comment that summed up everything about why Pamela doesn’t want to remain at home. Another great moment was the montage of Sarah’s candid photographs, capturing Jessie and the band in happier times, while backed with Angel Coulby’s beautiful vocals performing ‘On Top Of The World’.

There was a real sense of the end of the party here with Masterson planning to leave, Donaldson appearing to move his patronage on and the others considering new roles. While in narrative terms, the end of this fourth episode has brought us full circle, to the point of Louis predicament, there are plenty of unanswered questions for the finale and no clear indication that he will survive unscathed.

Dancing on the Edge has plenty to do in next week’s ninety minute finale: Is Donaldson somehow involved in Jessie’s death and was he actually attempting to give Louis up? Will the news of Sarah and Louis’ relationship, if it breaks in the press, adversely affect the chances of a fair trial? Indeed, is such a thing even possible for a man in his situation? What will happen to the Imperial Hotel if the owners do choose to sell? What was the fate of the band’s original manager after he was deported?

For us though, the most intriguing is the enigma of the relationship between Julian and Masterson. In the unguarded moments between the two, it seems as though Julian exerts some high degree of influence over the older man which we are dying to have explained.


Aired at 9pm on Monday 18 February 2013 on BBC Two.

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