The year is 1929 and in the opening episode Jeremiah Unsworth (Freddie Jones), the proprietor of the undertakers, dies. This leaves his widow Ivy (Thora Hird) and gormless nephew Billy (Christopher Beeny) to take over the business.
As might be expected, the accident-prone Ivy and Billy have numerous mishaps, and hardly a funeral goes by without something untoward occurring.
The setting for the show is the fictional Yorkshire town of Oldshaw during the 1930s. The writer Dick Sharples chose this period as this was the time when undertakers were switching from horse drawn hearses to mechanical ones.
Jeremiah Unsworth and Co. Undertakers and Embalmers, finally go up in the world - in more ways than one!
Billy meets an old flame at the mill, and Ivy meets an even older flame when invited to present prizes for good attendance to the infants of the local school.
A return to her roots and a night in a haunted house are enough to convince Ivy that the blood running through her veins is bluer than a bottle of Stephenson's ink!
A series of anonymous phone calls brings a welcome upsurge of business - but Billy suspects Unsworths' new clients 'accidental deaths' were anything but...
As Billy finally leaves home to find a place of his own, a visitor from the past returns to comfort Ivy in her loneliness, with unexpected results.
Church organist Annie Greenhalgh books her own funeral. Billy scoffs when Ivy tells him of Annie's amazing clairvoyant powers, but later receives astonishing news.