Seesaw (ITV 1998, David Suchet, Geraldine James)

Prosperous London couple Morris and Val Price (David Suchet and Geraldine James) are thrown into panic when their 17-year-old daughter Hannah (Joanna Potts) fails to return home one evening. After a sleepless night, their worst fears are realised when a ransom note arrives demanding £500,000 for her return.

Hannah, meanwhile, is at the mercy of her kidnappers – the hard-as-nails Eva (Amanda Ooms), who hatched the kidnap plot to get as much money as possible from the Prices, and the easily-influenced Jon (Neil Stuke).

To raise the money, Morris sells his shares in the security business he has spent all his working life building up and running. Hannah is returned safe, but the family’s troubles have only just started. The ransom has cleaned them out – they lose their house, their comfortable, sheltered lifestyle, cars, friends and status.

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Morris becomes an unimportant employee in the business he once owned, and has to watch while his methods and even his choice of decor are discarded for those favoured by the company’s new boss.

Val finds herself having to take the bus to Sainsbury’s instead of driving to Harrod’s, and produce low-budget meals instead of pulling something exotic out of the freezer.

One-to-One with Joanna Potts Hannah’s older brother Theo has to give up his beloved sports car, while eleven-year-old Becky, set to follow Hannah to a prestigious fee-paying school, instead has to attend the local comprehensive where her middle-class manners earn scorn and derision.

The family’s descent into reduced circumstances gradually tears them apart. The stress on Morris and Val of trying to keep their heads above water has a devastating effect on their marriage. Then Hannah makes a shock announcement that wrecks the family’s precarious stability – and has repercussions destined to pull the now-wealthy Jon back into their lives.

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Based on the best-selling novel by Deborah Moggach, who also wrote the TV screenplay, this three-part drama charts the effect of a vicious act on the lives of seven people – and how the consequences of guilt affected them all.

production details
UK | ITV | 3×50 minutes | Broadcast 12-26 March 1998

Writer: Deborah Moggach from her novel
Producer: Gillian Gordon
Director: George Case

DAVID SUCHET as Morris Price
JOANNA POTTS as Hannah Price
JADE DAVIDSON as Becky Price

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.