The third episode of Dancing on the Edge is a slower, quieter affair with the stabbing of lead vocalist Jessie (Angel Coulby) casting a sober light on the proceedings. Indeed, there’s even a suggestion that the band won’t play on at all.
With the timeframe beginning at a mere seven weeks from the framing scenes, it appears Louis is not initially a suspect for the stabbing. It is also clear that the police are monitoring him in addition to acting on his report of seeing Julian before he discovered Jessie.
Has Julian has lied and somehow covered his trail on the night in question? His subsequent lengthy disappearance to France, in which he dreams up a wonderfully preposterous notion to sell regional British cheeses to our Gallic cousins, does nothing to quell Louis’ suspicion.
With the festive season upon them the supporters of the Louis Lester Band scatter for quiet, and in one case solitary, Christmas celebrations with their respective families. Meanwhile the Band keeps it commitments and performs to accompany Christmas lunch for the Imperial Hotel’s diners. Sadly, they don’t receive the warmest of welcomes from the German Embassy staff members who leave in disgust.
At the offices of Music Express, changes are afoot with the imposition of a new member of staff much to the disgust of Stanley. Eric (Sam Hoare) has been installed as an additional deputy-editor with grand plans to expand the scope of the magazine to cover the technological developments rather than just focussing on the music. Despite Stanley’s resistance, Rosie (Jenna-Louise Coleman) seems to be in favour of the changes and it remains to be seen if there will be a positive impact on sales.
Despite the slower pace, this episode is no less entertaining as it provides for some wonderful moments of character. The most compelling of these had to be Donaldson (Anthony Head) at the bedside of Jessie on Christmas Day. Even before the moments when her eyes flickered into life, we were enthralled by the honest talk of his life of whim and indulgence.
Poliakoff shines a light on the nature of the fandom, a subject close to our heart at CultBox, with the introduction of fans outside the hospital as well as press photographers. With the heady mix of royalty and attempted murder, it appears the Louis Lester Band have extended their appeal well beyond its hardcore of aristocratic groupies. With a stolen moment between Louis and Sarah photographed too, we expect their relationship will become newspaper fodder too.
As viewers and thus members of the privileged inner circle, we instantly flinch at these people who seek an autograph or moment with Louis and yet are they not merely a reflection of us who revel in news and details of our favourite TV shows and pop stars?
As the episode draws to a close we see Stanley’s satisfying, if ultimately futile, two-fingered salute to the racist Germans. His smuggling in of Louis to play for them at their own embassy smacks of childish behaviour that may have repercussions for his position at Music Express. In the moment however, it’s a lighter beat and builds us up, along with Pamela’s declaration of love, before the sad revelation of Jessie’s fate.
With Julian’s return, alibi intact, it seems inevitable that the police’s eyes will turn on Louis. What Masterton’s involvement in the affair may still remains to be seen, but as a New Year dawns it appears there’s but trouble ahead for Lester and his friends.
Aired at 9pm on Monday 11 February 2013 on BBC Two.
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