In 1966, Catherine Macaleese (Jacqueline McKenzie) is counting the days until she meets her father, a distant childhood memory, and starts a new life with him in England. Heather Randall (Rebecca Gibney) is Catherine's cousin and closest friend who puts her marriage plans on hold to travel on the Oriana. Richard Turner (John Polson), an aspiring journalist, decides to try his luck on Fleet Street, and promises his fiancée, Sandy, that he will return in a few months. Jack Gill (Jeremy Sims), heading along a path of self-destruction, embarks on the journey at the last minute. On board, Jack disappears with the group's money and the trio arrive penniless. The only contact they have is a friend of Jack's, the mysterious Terence Foster-Burrows (Jonathan Firth). He shows little surprise for their predicament and offers them rooms in the Palace.