Dancing on the Hedge. Spoiler alert: it’s shit

English: Louis Armstrong, jazz trumpeter Franç...
Arse trumpet, more like.

I’ve watched all three episodes of the BBC drama “Dancing on the Edge” – but why, why, why?

I saw the previews. I quite liked the idea of a drama about social prejudice and jazz in the decade leading up to the second world war. I read about it in the Graun, and there was a lot of harping on this Stephen Poliakoff wot wrote it.

Who he? I thought. I’m a vague on this kind of thing at the best of times. I mean, the one thing we know about the world thanks to the internet is that any idiot can write or take a decent photo, so I find it hard to get worked up about some TV writer. You know what’s better than five hours of television written by one writer? Five hours of television written by five writers. Or a team of writers. Let’s not be precious about it: the golden age of television we’ve been living through has shown that the best TV writing is a team effort.

But some people labour under some misguided ideal about romantic individuals.

I watch three episodes of Dancing on the Hedge. It’s utter shit, not even redeemed by music. It drifts and meanders and nothing fucking happens. It’s boring. The characters are boring. The settings are boring. Apparently, Britain in the 1930s was almost literally empty, apart from a few posh people and a black dance band. I’m fucking sick of the fucking public school educated BBC shitface tossbuckets commissioning fucking dramas about fucking posh people. Fuck, fuck, FUCK! They take a whole episode to go from the shock of finding a character apparently dead to the bit where she is actually dead – and try to get away with having two episodes in a row ending in exactly the same way.

I look up this Stephen Poliakoff on the Wikipedia. He went to Westminster School, what a fucking big surprise. And fucking Cambridge, also big shock. But not a big shock that he didn’t finish his degree. It’s not about getting a degree, is it? It’s about meeting the right posh people and having posh friends who will give you jobs, because you’re a posh boy. Oh, the struggle. He has written literally nothing that I have ever watched. As I have immaculate taste  – a fact that cannot be disputed – this proves that he has never written anything worth watching, including this. Next time the BBC is under attack from the political right, I’ll think about this shit and I’ll shrug my shoulders and say, give or take Eddie Mair, is there anything about the BBC worth preserving? Really? If you could strip away all the dumb posh people and their half-baked crap, what would be left?

Three hours of my life I’m not getting back.

Now, when’s The Good Wife on again?

2 responses to “Dancing on the Hedge. Spoiler alert: it’s shit”

  1. I must have forgotten to press ‘enter’ when I commented on this.

    It was my Mum who told me about a fella called Hutch who was a black jazz muso in the between war years. He played at fancy clubs, was supported by the Vanderbilts, had the Prince of Wales (King Edward VIII) as a fan, was reputedly bisexual and had dalliances with various socialites including Ivor Novello and Edwina Mountbatten.

    He seems to have been summarily expunged from much of history as a consequence of deliberate press embargoes after the Mountbatten thing surfaced.

    Short clip of him playing here:


    Presumably Poliakoff based DOTE on Hutch, although I somehow think the Hutch story might have more content.


    • Interesting bit of film, 1930s singing style extremely different from that portrayed in DOTE. Also remarkable how much cosier and fuller that restaurant/club in the Pathé film is than the hotel in DOTE. Apart from Hutchinson, the musicians are white.


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