In mid-1983 Sydney a band called The Takeaways is formed. Initially it consists of Carol Howard, Martin Kabel and George Poulopoulos.
Carol Howard (Tracy Mann) is an attractive vocalist and novice guitarist from Melbourne; she had pursued an acting career with little success but is now focussed on her music. Carol wrote her first song on the train to Sydney.
Martin Kabel (David Reyne)is an established, albeit unsuccessful, guitarist who wants to branch out from his current band: he would like to sing his own songs. Martin gets his chance with The Takeaways.
George Poulopoulos (Arky Michael) is more interested in playing soccer for the Combined Hellenic Travel Agents but reluctantly joins to play bass. He learns how to play at the band’s first practice session; slowly he overcomes his shyness to become a confident performer.
Darrell Winters (Ric Herbert) sees a quick dollar to be made as their manager; Darrell talks the talk and tries to walk the walk. He sets out to organise their first gig: a backyard barbecue! Fortunately better gigs followed in various Sydney pubs.
Their first jam sessions are in an old boot factory.
Meanwhile Christine Yates (Sandra Lillingston)breaks into their house and rather than turn her in to the police they offer her a spot in their band. Christine's father, legendary 1960s saxophonist Shrug Yates (Martin Vaughan), taught her to 'feel' music while playing sax. Christine sings lead vocal on some songs.
Initially they play their gigs using a drum machine until Johnny Black (Robin Copp), an established drummer, joins.
Some six months later, The Takeaways release an independent single, Sweet and Sour, and await the pressing of their first album. They meet recording executives and media personalities including Ian "Molly" Meldrum and artist Jon English. They undertake a tour of Melbourne to promote the first single.
There is some romantic tension between Carol and Martin, and between George and Christine. Martin is brash and confident but his Lothario image is belied by his naivety when he deals with a female music executive (Megan Williams). Darrell starts to believe his own PR and eventually becomes more interested in his music video career than the band. Manipulation by music industry insiders sees both Martin and Carol tempted by solo deals; eventually the group splits.