Archive for category Dancing on The Edge

The Game – 1970s BBC Spy Drama

It’s certainly been a busy 2013 in Birmingham for TV filming.

By Any Means only finished filming on the streets of Birmingham (doubling as London, like it did so well in Hustle) in July to quickly appear on our Sunday evening TV screens in September and October but almost as soon as that wrapped another BBC drama, The Game, moved into the city to film a six part spy thriller set in the 1970s.

The spy series stars Shaun Dooley (Fenchurch) , Tom Hughes (Lambe) and Brian Cox (Daddy) as MI5 agents trying to unravel a Soviet plot named Operation Glass.  The series is written by Toby Whithouse, who also wrote Being Human and is filming on location in Birmingham almost right up until the end of the year.

The series also features Victoria Hamilton (Montag) who is no stranger to filming in Birmingham having played young Nigel Slater’s Mom in the BBC drama Toast, that filmed in the city back in 2010.

Tom Hughes as Joe Lambe

Tom Hughes as interrogator Joe Lambe in BBC drama The Game, filming on Newhall Street, Birmingham on 3rd November 2013
Image copyright: Mark Wilson © 2013

Actor Tom Hughes is also returning to Birmingham having played the troubled Julian Luscombe in Stephen Poliakoff’s 1930s Jazz Band drama Dancing on the Edge, which filmed at the Council House (Victoria Square) and The Grand Hotel (Colmore Row).  I was fortunate enough to catch up with Tom taking a break from filming The Game in Waterloo Street, Birmingham where we had a lovely five minute chat.

Meeting Tom Hughes

Tom, as he was to later introduced himself with a firm handshake as we exchanged names, was wrapped up in a long coat and wore grey jogging trousers which were tucked into his socks and on his feet he wore furry grey slippers, in fact if it wasn’t for the fact he was scrolling through pages on his iPad, as he sat on the bench, I may have offered him some change for a coffee.

Searching for a suitable opening for our conversation I chose to congratulate him on the success of Dancing on the Edge and in particular his own performance of such a strange, complex character. He was quick to point out that he was personally nothing like Julian and we joked about me thinking he may be slightly unhinged if he hadn’t have clarified the situation.

After he pointed out that Dancing on the Edge had filmed in the Council House, right behind where he was sitting, we got onto the subject of this blog and chatted briefly about concept of the Birmingham TV & Film location tours and he seemed genuinely interested in the programmes and locations it covered, although with actors you never can be too sure can you.

He said he loved acting in the 1930s jazz series but like me wasn’t a huge fan of that music genre before filming the show, however he thought the songs written for the show really set the tone for the whole series and he also praised, writer and director, Stephen Poliakoff for creating such a wonderful series. He was happy to chat briefly about The Game and a little about his character Joe Lambe and also confirmed the names of some of his co-stars in the new series.

He said he was loving being back in Birmingham as he had grown to like the city a lot when he was filming Dancing on the Edge, however he did say that he felt it needed a few more parks near the centre, but he seemed pretty happy to be back.  He told me that the filming on The Game will keep him busy right up until Christmas, with a tough 11 in 14  filming schedule.  After a well earned festive break he may well be treading the boards in the West End in early 2014 as he explained that he was currently considering an offer of a role, although he didn’t reveal what that may be, so keep an eye on the theatre listings in the New Year.

Our very pleasant chat was cut slightly short as he was called into make-up for his scene, which probably explains his somewhat scruffy appearance, he addressed me by name, which he’d retained from the early part of our conversation, shook me firmly by the hand and thanked me for stopping to chat, I wished him well for the series and he headed off into the building opposite for his appointment with the make-up and costume departments.

Back to The Game 

Having been filming down in Wales and taking a break between blocks The Game returns to filming in Birmingham from mid-October until late-December which may explain any odd 1970s cars and costumes you might spot around the city in the next 8-10 weeks.

Sneak Preview

Being the inquisitive sort and having learned to keep my eyes and ears open I can give you an exclusive preview to a brief extract of the script from Episode Two, I hope it whets your appetite for what promises to be a cracking series.

Cornwall Street, Birmingham - 20th August 2013

The Game filming in Cornwall Street, Birmingham – 20th August 2013. 1970s cars, artificial rain and a fake red period phone box completes the scene on a summer evening in the city centre.

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EXT. MORNING 6. STREET

Tom saunters down the steps of the police station, tying his tie back up.
A smug grin on his face.

DADDY (V.O.)
He can’t teach us much about Operation Glass from a police cell.

Tom strolls along.  Arkady falls into step next to him.

ARKADY
Mr Mallory, I bring greetings from your aunt in Somerset.

TOM MALLORY
What? I don’t have an aunt in…

He stops. He grins, slow and toothsome, like a pike.

TOM MALLORY (CONT’D)
My aunt. Well well well. How is the old girl?

Tom slips his arm through Arkady’s and they walk off.

———-

I’m not aware of a proposed release date for The Game as yet but the writer of the series promises us some exciting characters that will deliver a thrilling mystery, so make sure you look out for it on the BBC sometime in 2014. You can read more about The Game and see images and video from various filming locations on this site.

NB: script extract obtained by totally legal means and no copyright infringement is at all intended

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Behind the Scenes at Dancing on the Edge

As I write I still have the final episode of this great period drama to watch, but the first four episodes have been gripping.  After a slow first twenty or so minutes the drama really kicks in, especially as the character personalities start to develop, adding extra intrigue to the drama. The music, whilst not my normal listening pleasure, has been fabulous and really helps set the mood of the period.

The cast are all excellent with star performances from Matthew Goode and Chiwetel Ejiofor and Stanley and Louis respectively. I should also add that the vocal performances from Angel Coulby and Wunmi Musaka are simply breathtaking and lift the Jazz band sound once they are added to the line up in episode one.

If you’ve missed the series the DVD and soundtrack are available to order on Amazon and I highly recommend them both.

Birmingham Film & TV Tour update

I recently met with Film Birmingham again and we have discussed the possibility of including some of the locations used in Dancing on the Edge in some TV & Film walking tours later this year. I’ll update this site with details as and when they become available, so watch this space.

Meanwhile you can check out some fascinating behind the scenes photographs of Dancing on the Edge from Creative England on their Facebook page, including the stunning Ballroom at the Grand Hotel on Colmore Row and the impressive Banqueting Suite at Birmingham’s Council House. They also feature other West Midlands and Warwickshire locations with details of scenes filmed at Dudley’s Black Country Living Museum and Alcester’s Ragley Hall.

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Dancing on the Edge – Date Confirmed

New BBC drama Dancing on the Edge has appeared in TV listings for Monday 4th February 2013 at 9pm (confirmed by Cultbox)

Airing on BBC TWO and BBC HD channels the drama set in the early 1930s, follows a black jazz band in London at a time of extraordinary change.

Music journalist Stanley Mitchell befriends The Louis Lester Band and helps its rise to fame from playing in a basement jazz club to the illustrious Imperial Hotel. At first, the band is treated with hostility by the hotel’s elderly audience, most of whom have never heard jazz music nor seen black musicians before. However, one table of young aristocrats love their new music and invite them to play at a garden party.

Directed by Stephen Poliakoff the series has a great looking cast including Chiwetel Ejiofor, Matthew Goode, John Goodman, Angel Coulby, Tom Hughes and Janet Montgomery

With some of the filming haven taken place at Dudley’s Black Country Museum, Birmingham’s Council House and the Grosvenor Room, Grand Hotel, Colmore Row Birmingham, there will be plenty of location spotting opportunities to be had.

You can read more about Dancing on the Edge at

BBC Media Centre

Daily Telegraph

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Dancing on the Edge – February 2013 Air Date?

I don’t normally get too enamoured about 1930s Jazz Band stories, however, I was very excited to see the BBC trailer for the Stephen Poliakoff period drama Dancing on The Edge this evening.

I’ve been waiting to see this drama series since spotting the film crews at the Grand Hotel on Colmore Row, Birmingham back in January 2012.  They also used the Council House banqueting suite (doubling as a period hotel) during their stay in Birmingham and had their production base at the old Birmingham Municipal Bank (former Lloyds TSB) on Broad Street. With scenes also filmed at the Black Country Museum in Dudley there should be quite a bit of Midlands location spotting opportunities to be had in this stylish 1930s TV treat.

The trailer and further details of the show can be found on The Cultbox website and February (see Twitter tip-off below) can’t arrive too soon.

Angel Coulby in Dancing on the Edge

The Louis Lester Band in Dancing on the Edge (starring Angel Coulby) – Picture from BBC Images (Source linked)

Radio Times feature with a lot more images, many in and around Birmingham

Jazz…Birmingham…Nice

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