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Holding On (1997)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Episode 3 (originally broadcast on BBC2, 16/9/1997)

PR supremo Hilary springs from her gated community to the defence of capitalist tax-dodger August Werner when the Inland Revenue's investigation gets heavy. A burglary at home intensifies the pressure on tax investigator Shaun, so that by the time he has a meeting with Werner, his staunch moral code is ready to buckle. Shaun's principled stand against an impenetrable system of white collar crime is undermined by greed, financial hardship and a desire to protect his children from bad schooling. When Werner offers him 'insulation', Shaun finds himself, for the first time, tempted.

Claire and her parents are searching for someone to blame for Sally's violent death and Annie, the mother of Sally's murderer Alan, is an obvious candidate. Alan's psychiatrist admits his diagnosis might have been different if there were more beds on the day Annie brought him in to be assessed.

Fledgling DJ Chris loses his temper and walks out of his chef trainee position after he gets picked on by the white kitchen staff. His sister Janet thinks Chris is responsible for her poor relationship with their campaigning mum.

Restaurant critic Gary Rickey criticises the trend for loud, refectory eating; he reckons people want an element of punishment to offset their guilt for indulging themselves while others starve. He dumps his privileged girlfriend because she sees the vulnerability beneath his media celebrity posturing.

The feeling of powerlessness and alienation reaches a violent climax for Shaun and, more fatally, Chris, who picks a terrible day to challenge cab driver Bernard. Bernard has just found out that his wife Alice is having an affair with his brother. Everyone is directing their frustration and anger at the wrong target.