Rab C. Nesbitt is a drunken, string vested lay about who lives with his long suffering wife Mary and his two sons in the working class area of Govan in Glasgow. When he's not getting drunk with his pals that include the devious, womanizing Jamesie Cotter. He's offering his philosophical outlook on life to whoever will listen.
When Rab returns home he finds out that Mary has kidnapped the government minister for work as revenge for losing her job. The couple have no idea what to do next when and after a full-scale siege develops, they are believed to be terrorists.
The bottom falls out of the cleaning business, so Mary and Ella put their singing talents to good use by forming a girl band - and after a successful first gig, they set their sights on winning Govan's Got Talent. Meanwhile, Rab and Jamesie set themselves up as `Hunks for Hire', sexy male cleaners for bored housewives - and a misleading advert means they get plenty of interest.
Jamesie's philandering ways finally catch up with him when he learns he is about to become a father - and when he comes clean to Ella, she performs a spot of amateur surgery on her unfaithful husband. Meanwhile, Rab ends up in the next hospital bed to his friend after an accident with the cake knife at Peaches' birthday party.
The drop-in centre falls victim to council cuts, so Rab fights back, but when a spot on local radio and a meeting with the council leader amount to nothing, he feels it is time for a grand public gesture - burning himself at the stake. As the string-vested hero prepares to become Govan's answer to Joan of Arc, Mary wastes no time in getting herself a new flame as she considers starting an affair with one of her cleaning clients.
Peaches chooses Rab as her role model for a school project, but when he recognises her teacher as a fellow member of his self-help group, he wonders how he can live up to her expectations when Miss Carruth knows he likes more than a tipple. Jamesie hits 60 and starts a much-needed business venture - a crack den for OAPs.
The new minister arrives at Rab's church with two serious drawbacks - she is a woman and English.