Sharon (Pauline Quirke) lives in a council flat, while her sister Tracey (Linda Robson) lives in a luxurious house on a private estate. The two women lead very different lives until their husbands are sent to prison for armed robbery. Sharon moves in with Tracey to keep her company and to help pay the bills. They quickly become close friends with their neighbour Dorien (Lesley Joseph), whose chief interest in life is chasing after much younger men.
Dorien is treating Sharon and Tracey to a Christmas trip to the Canaries, but with Tracey's fear of flying, Sharon's hopes for adventure, and Dorien's eagerness for anything in trousers, will it be plane sailing?
Sharon amazes the others when it turns out that she has a high IQ, and Dorien, under pressure to find a heroine for her next book, decides to push her towards a surprising career. Tracey however, has got her hands full with a despondent Garth, but the household joins forces to put Sharon through her paces and make sure she is the man for the job.
When Sharon and Tracey discover that Dorien has been keeping a secret for over fifty years, they decide to get involved, but Dorien is reluctant to confront her past. Meanwhile, Tracey finds motherhood is not all that it's cracked up to be.
Tracey and Sharon are both been nominated by Auntie Vera to take over her Pearly Queen title. It's war as they try to outdo each other – and Dorien has a daunting engagement herself.
Dorien's Book Group is convening to discuss Crime and Punishment – which turns out to be rather applicable to the events that unfold in Tracey's household.
Sharon has been knocking the household into shape in Tracey's absence, and meanwhile Dorien is spending money like it's going out of fashion.
Sharon makes plans to take Tracey and Dorien on a madcap 70s weekender, but there is no dressing up the news that Tracey is about to receive.