What Is 'Dancing on the Edge' and How Did It Finally Get Jacqueline Bisset a Golden Globe Award?

Victoria Leigh Miller
Yahoo MoviesJanuary 13, 2014
Jacqueline Bissett at the 71st Annual Golden Globe Award
Jacqueline Bissett at the 71st Annual Golden Globe Award

You've heard of "Dancing With the Stars," but what about "Dancing On the Edge?" The BBC miniseries was a surprise winner at this year's Golden Globes, with the legendary Jacqueline Bisset nabbing the Best Supporting Actress category for her role in the series nearly 50 years after her first Golden Globe nomination.

The 69-year old actress — who played the reclusive Lady Lavinia Cremone in the series — beat out "Nashville's" Hayden Panettiere, "Modern Family's" Sofia Vergara, Janet McTeer ("White Queen"), and Monica Potter ("Parenthood") for the award.

Bisset's win came 45 years after her first Golden Globe nomination — in 1968 she was recognized in the category of Most Promising Newcomer for her role in "The Sweet Ride" — and it was worth the wait. Upon accepting her award, the emotional actress thanked the Hollywood Foreign Press and said, "You've nominated me about five times… I'm going to get this together. I want to thank the people that have given me joy, and there have been many people who have given me sh--. My mother used to say 'Go to hell or don't come back.'"

During her rambling speech, Bisset also revealed her secret for looking fabulous at nearly 70: "I believe if you want to look good, you have to forgive everybody," she said. "It's the best beauty treatment."

While the title of Bisset's winning series may sound like a knockoff of a celeb dance competition, the Stephen Poliakoff drama — which aired this fall on Starz has nothing to do with sequins, spray tans or anyone named Chmerkovskiy. Instead, this period piece is set in 1930s London, centering on a group of jazz musicians who become involved in a murder conspiracy.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Poliakoff was inspired to write the script after reading about the friendship of Duke Ellington with members of British royalty. His murder mystery gives us Louis Lester (played by Golden Globe nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor), a rare black British bandleader who gets involved with rich white royals. The eclectic cast also included John Goodman, who plays one of the wealthiest guys in the world. (That "Roseanne" lottery win seems like a paltry drop in the bucket now.)In addition to Bissett's winning category, "Dancing on the Edge" received a Best Miniseries nomination (it lost to HBO's "Behind the Candelabra") and an acting nod for Ejiofor.

Bisset previously told PBS's Tavis Smiley that the period drama has many layers: "There's lots of different stories within this piece, but basically it's about the way racism was very prevalent in England in the upper classes, considerably in the upper classes," she said. "And in the background, mid-30s, you know, the whole rise of Hitler was rising, though it's not featured as a thing. But it's sort of something that was creeping up into Germany, and the contacts with the English royalty sort of suggested and all this horrible behavior that this band went through."

Watch the "Dancing on the Edge" trailer: