10

Been trying to identify this one for years.

  • Live-action UK TV miniseries in maybe 3 parts, on commercial broadcaster (almost certainly ITV at that time but might have been specific to the regional broadcaster). UK production in English.
  • 1980s, probably earlier rather than later
  • Main character, single Dad with I think a nanny/friend looking after the child. Played by an actor I knew from somewhere else, maybe had been a TV detective or such but not very famous. Was fairly rich due to a successful business he and two friends had started in their youth.
  • Gets involved in strange situations and is trying to solve some puzzles to find the answers - seems to be several people working against him.
  • I remember a "medieval style" banquet at a castle, don't think the protagonist was actually at the banquet, he ended up getting locked up in a tower in the castle, met a Jester character who was initially seen as trying to help him.
  • The scene I remember most clearly was him working in his office at home on a puzzle about a set of mysterious symbols. A woman who is suspected of being on the other side comes by to talk to him, pushes a paper onto the symbols so you can clearly see they are mirror image numbers (like these) *1
  • The denouement was set at an indoor swimming pool and it was revealed his female business partner (correlating to the Lady of the Lake) had died and it was the male business partner he had cut out of the business who was doing all the issues as a Merlin figure to make him acknowledge something about it.
  • It was only in the final episode that any of the Camelot references became overt - prior to that it was all just mysterious with possible medieval references.

Note: It is not any of the Arthurian works listed in Wikipedia and I have tried rummaging through IMDB many times, nor can my Google-fu skills detect it as any reference to Camelot gives me way too many other productions.

*1 - the reason I remember this scene so clearly - the show cut to a commercial break at that point and when the action resumed, he just tidied up his papers and lost the clue she had tried to give him. I felt that was cheating.

4
  • I've posted an answer below. If this is indeed "The One Game", I would like to thank you for introducing me to this fascinating-sounding programme - it sounds just like the sort of thing I'd like to watch on DVD! – Astrid_Redfern Apr 2 at 18:54
  • 1
    @Astrid are we to understand you didn't know of it before? If so, care to share your winning Google query? :) – Jenayah Apr 2 at 19:42
  • 2
    @Jenayah miniseries uk 1980s gave en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… as the top search result. I looked at the shows listed there and clicked on a few, including "The One Game" due to the word "Game" fitting the puzzle-solving/game aspects. – Astrid_Redfern Apr 2 at 19:54
  • @Astrid nice, thanks for the explanation! – Jenayah Apr 2 at 19:55
10

I think this is The One Game.

Live-action UK TV miniseries in maybe 3 parts, on commercial broadcaster (almost certainly ITV at that time but might have been specific to the regional broadcaster). UK production in English.

It was in four parts, not 3. Otherwise this matches.

1980s, probably earlier rather than later

Here's Wikipedia's plot summary:

Nick Thorne (Dillane) is a businessman who has achieved success by marketing games. He finds himself drawn into a "reality game" by his former business partner Magnus (Malahide), whom Nick had forced out of their games company after its initial success. Called "The One Game", this sees Nick take on a series of challenges which force him to explore his past, while both his professional and personal life come under threat.

You mentioned that someone:

pushes a paper onto the symbols so you can clearly see they are mirror image numbers

https://web.archive.org/web/20110723120604/http://fp.enter.net/~purrfect/onegame.htm contains episode summmaries, including:

As they talk, another puzzle appears on the office computer screens. It is a line of obscure symbols which when cut down the middle are the numbers 1-7.

You stated:

I remember a "medieval style" banquet at a castle, don't think the protagonist was actually at the banquet, he ended up getting locked up in a tower in the castle, met a Jester character who was initially seen as trying to help him.

Again from https://web.archive.org/web/20110723120604/http://fp.enter.net/~purrfect/onegame.htm

... On the other side of the card is an invitation to a medieval banquet. ... Nick takes the offer of a sword and fights a knight in shining armour. He loses and is dragged off to the dungeons.

The denouement was set at an indoor swimming pool

It was set at a swimming pool, I don't know if it was indoor or outdoor.

Finally, there's a way you can find out for sure. The DVD is available to buy on Amazon.

2
  • 1
    Reading the first part of the description I wasn't sure - there is clearly so much I have forgotten about it and Stephen Dillane did not look familiar (Malahide does). But getting to the later parts, the woman's hand reaching up from the water and Fay being Magnus's daughter and being rescued are definite confirmations that I remember now. Definitely ahead of its time in conception and going to be worth another look As @Jenayah said, if you didn't remember it I'm amazed you found it so quickly - please let me know how. – Dragonel Apr 2 at 20:12
  • @Dragonel I actually explained this to Jenayah. I did a Google search on miniseries uk 1980s. The first search result in the list was en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… - and although I couldn't look at all the shows listed there, I tried the most promising-sounding titles. "The One Game" was one of these due to the word "Game" fitting the puzzle-solving/game aspects of the show you described. – Astrid_Redfern Apr 2 at 20:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.