Blisteringly funny, offbeat drama following the rollercoaster lives and loves of an anarchic family from Manchester. Meet the Gallaghers. Mum went AWOL years ago, Dad stayed at home with the six children only to hit the bottle. And sometimes the kids... The real head of the family is big sister Fiona (20), who looks after Carl (11), Debbie (9) and baby Liam (3). She is occasionally helped, more often hindered, by reluctant virgin 'Lip' (16) and the actively gay, but very private, Ian (15).
Welcome to a hectic world of sexual adventures, triumphs, love, scams and a fair bit of crime on a rough Manchester housing estate, where wheel-less cars are the norm and the moving ones are stolen.
Ian is attacked and left shaken and confused as to what he could have done to provoke it. When the stranger strikes again, Ian is left hospitalised and there's more bad news when he regains consciousness: he's got amnesia. Suddenly he's an alien amongst his own family and friends, and even his own sexuality is a mystery. Meanwhile it's Debbie's 16th birthday. Tom decides it's time to go public with their relationship, but Debbie has doubts about whether their relationship was ever really serious. Kelly has bad news for Shane about her pregnancy; Frank and Monica are faced with an impossible challenge when they hear the voice of newborn baby Stella: but do they want to know what she has to say about her parents and Chatsworth? And Ian's amnesia brings him a whole new perspective on his life, leaving him questioning if Chatsworth is the place for him after all.
With the launch night of the newly redecorated Jockey looming, Jamie and Karen are feeling the pressure in their relationship. The honeymoon period is well and truly over - but can a lesbian encounter put the spice back into their marriage? In the wake of Ian's departure, Micky looks to expand his horizons and enrols on a film course. Soon Micky discover a hidden talent and new friends; his tutor Liz and her husband Ady. The couple soon introduce him to the world of swinging when together they seduce him into their bed. An accident sends Carl to hospital where he takes up a job and is befriended by auxiliary nurse Maxine. Maxine is introduced to the rest of the Gallaghers, but Carl feels left out when Debbie and Maxine spark up a friendship. Meanwhile Stan's attempts to bond with Chesney and Meena land them in trouble with the police and Norma makes a grim discovery while refurbishing the Jockey. And Mandy meets a new man in the form of Jamie's football team mate, Joe.
Frank is not happy when he finds out that he has been a victim of identity fraud. He finds that he is eligible for jury service after his criminal record is wiped clean. Shane and Micky scam some local tourists but Carrie is soon on their case.
Monica feels unwanted when Frank rejects her advances, and attends a hypnotist's show at the Jockey in the hope of regaining her sex appeal. Carl's new job leads to an intimate encounter, but after discovering he has an STI, he sets out to track down all his previous partners. Meanwhile, Paddy sets out to catch the people who desecrated Fergal's grave and Mickey's love life hits a stumbling block
Karen's relationship with Jamie is put under strain when she suffers a miscarriage, unaware she was pregnant to begin with, and matters are made worse by the Maguires' extreme reaction. Liam wins a modelling competition that Debbie entered him in, Tom takes his prank war with Stan too far, and Carl gets into trouble with the female residents of the Chatsworth estate
Paddy wakes up to find himself chained to a bed in a strange room, unable to remember how he got there, and tension arises between Frank and Monica following a DSS investigation. Carl schemes to discover Micky's sexuality, Tom's last-ditch romantic gesture to regain Debbie's affection backfires, and Carrie decides it is time for a change
Ian drives a car back to the United Kingdom following his travels overseas unaware there is something hidden in it. With her wedding anniversary just around the corner and a party planned, Mimi becomes even more worried about Paddy's absence.
Paddy returns and is determined to keep his heroin addiction a secret from the Maguires, while Mimi starts to think that he's got cancer. Meanwhile, when Frank inherits a house from an aunt, the Gallaghers celebrate a possible new start outside Chatsworth however, thing's aren't all as they first appear. After Kelly resigns from Lillian's brothel, she and Shane scam unsuspecting male clients in hotels across the city, until a sting goes horribly wrong leading to life threatning circumstances. Meanwhile, Jamie sabotages Karen's application for a wedding licence, and she reacts in a shocking way by standing strong ang making it clear that she'll never let the Maguires get hold of The Jockey.
Nobody is sure if Shane will ever be the same again after he is left partially paralysed by the accident, while Mimi and Kelly clash over who will help aid his recovery. After the departure of Monica, Norma contemplates her own future on the estate and a figure from the past offers her the chance of a fresh start. Elsewhere, Jamie settles back in with the Maguires and alarm bells ring for Karen when she suspects all is not right in Mandy and Joe's relationship
Norma steps into Monica's shoes to help Liam's parents appear conventional in front of his head teacher, but Frank looks set to spoil his son's place on a scholarship. Meanwhile, Paddy is increasingly agitated by Mimi's efforts to wean him off drugs, and Karen sacks Jamie - only for Joe to propose taking his place. Lillian gets a surprise visit from her son Rodney, and Kelly recruits Meena to do Shane's physiotherapy
Jamie beats Joe up after he discovers that he has been hitting Mandy. Mimi decides to take the blame for the attack to save her son from being sent back to prison. Paddy's secret comes out.
Ian becomes angry with Liam when he discovers that he has been skipping school. He soon finds out that Danny is responsible for Liam's absence and suspects that there is more to this than meets the eye. Patrick goes cold turkey and faces his demons, but can he come out clean and make a fresh start? And although Mimi faces an uncertain prison sentence, her main concern is Patrick's past infidelity. With Joe recovering, Mandy is under mounting pressure from all sides to leave him, but the decision is hers alone. And Meena takes her modelling career in a raunchy direction, much to Yvonne's disapproval.
The Gallagher unit is rocked when an unexpected visit from the social services catches them off guard and the family fall apart. In the aftermath Debbie unleashes her fury on Frank, which propels him on an almighty bender, but can Frank realise the solution to their problems won't be found at the bottom of a pint glass, before it's too late? Every teenage boy's fantasy becomes reality for Chesney when he is introduced to a married housewife who pops his cherry and he quickly falls head over heels.
Yvonne's past catches up with her and she tries to stop Chesney and Meena from learning the truth.
After Debbie throws him out for the night, Frank ends up in a confessional booth where he hears a neighbour's shocking confession. Frank finds himself drawn into what is going on.