An explosive drama set in the early 1930s following a black jazz band in London at a time of extraordinary change.
Britain was at a great crossroads; just out of the financial crash and before the Second World War, when movies, magazines and music were becoming powerful and jazz was taking the world by storm. The sudden death of one of the band members tests all of the characters’ friendships, love, racial equality and moral values.
Music journalist Stanley misses the end of the Louis Lester Band gig, but decides to take a gamble after hearing the rave reviews, and promptly signs them. The band is booked to play at the shabby Imperial Hotel before an elderly audience who have never seen black musicians before. Many of them walk out in outrage, but a group of socialites are intrigued and impressed, and invite the band to play at a private party for Prince George. The beautiful and beguiling siblings, Julian and Pamela Luscombe, befriend the musicians and introduce them to upper class London society. Julian flirts with singer Jessie, and Pamela begins a relationship with Stanley. The band are treated to rooms at the hotel, fine clothes and sumptuous feasts - they have never experienced decadence like it.
But when Wesley, the band's manager, is too bullish in demanding an extension of their contract at the Hotel, the owner reports him to the Alien Registration Office for deportation. As he is taken away on a bus and the band is forced to move on without him; they play for the Prince of Wales and are a huge hit.
Stanley features the band on the front cover of his magazine The Music Express, convinced they will be the biggest band in Britain. The band finds a patron in widow Lady Lavinia Cremone, who invites broadcasters from BBC Radio to their concert. They are played on the wireless and release a record; fans wait for autographs outside the hotel; they have finally hit the big time...
Ian Thomson, McAinsh Consulting
T: +44 7909 685077
Louis Lester - Chiwetel Ejiofor
Stanley - Matthew Goode
Masterson - John Goodman
Lady Cremone - Jacqueline Bisset
Schlesinger - Mel Smith
Donaldson - Anthony Head
Julian - Tom Hughes
Sarah - Janet Montgomery
Pamela - Joanna Vanderham
Jessie - Angel Coulby
Carla - Wunmi Mosaku
Rosie - Jenna-Louise Coleman
Mrs Luscombe - Jane Asher
Creator - Written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff
Producers - Faye Ward / Nicky Kentish Barnes
Executive Producers - Alison Owen / Paul Trijbits / Stephen Poliakoff