Some men just disappear. They kiss their wives and children goodbye, saying they'll be home for tea and are never seen again. Stuart Leach is one such man. Thirteen months ago he set off from home to his job at Mackintosh Textiles and never returned. Until now...
And now that he's back, he cannot remember where he has been. In fact, as far as Stuart is concerned it is as if the last year does not exist. He has lost his memory, or so he claims. His wife, Sue (Alison Swann), and brothers - Martin and Kev - want some answers. Although happy that he is alive, Martin is not exactly pleased to see his brother back. Perhaps time may have stood still for Stuart, but while he was away, Martin and Sue had to deal with his disappearance, became close started sleeping together. Suddenly all Martin's hopes for a relationship with Sue are threatened.
Martin is desperate to find out exactly what did happen to Stuart in the last year. How did he come by the knife wound on his back? Who was he trying tRead More
Exactly what is a woman supposed to do when the man she sleeps with kicks her out of their home, leaving her and her children with no where to go? This is the question facing Yvonne, a machinist at the factory. The one thing she does know, is that she will not take it lying down.
Burning down her house to claim the contents insurance seems like a good idea - that's the kind of woman she is. Yvonne is no victim. A sexy, funny and attractive woman, she has a history of relationships with aggressive, sometimes violent men, but she is a survivor who gives as good as she gets. Her absolute priorities are her three children, coupled with her determination to be independent and in control of her life. But her plan almost ends in tragedy when a misunderstanding means that Yvonne's children are asleep in the house when she sets fire to it. What has she done?
Fortunately for her, her next door neighbour, Jim Calvert, comes to the rescue, risking his life to save Yvonne's family. Jim is a happy bRead More
KT's life is about to be turned upside-down. At the bottom of the factory's hierarchy, KT works the shopfloor and lives with his grandparents at home. The last thing he expects is to be seduced by Katherine, the glamorous wife of factory owner Mack. For KT, it is straightforward. He has fallen in love, pure and simple. Katherine's motives, on the other hand, are rather more complicated...
Young and attractive, Katherine appears to be the perfect partner for a successful, self-made businessman like Mack. Powerful, charismatic Mack is absolutely besotted with his wife. She is his most cherished possession; the only thing that matters more to him than his business. Katherine, however, does not feel the same way. On the outside, she has a fairytale life - a lady of leisure, with time on her hands to shop and lunch. In truth, she feels stifled and isolated as her inability to just walk out drives her further into this complicated entanglement.
By sleeping with Mack's youngest and most vulneRead More
Steve Robinson, factory foreman and Mack's right-hand man, is trying to save his marriage. His wife Sylvia suspects he has had a fling, although Steve is admitting nothing. Steve has, in fact, been unfaithful once (with Mack's wife) but feels terrible about it. On the night of their wedding anniversary, he woos Sylvia back with a home-cooked meal and champagne. They manage to clear the slate and make up.
All seems well, but as they drift off to sleep, they are rudely awakened by an armed burglar. Steve fights the intruder, but this is only the start of their nightmare. When the police call round to investigate the assault, they find they are being victimised again - this time by the police, who are more interested in the remains of a spliff in their ashtray than in Steve and Sylvia's account of the break-in. Deciding to search the house, the police uncover a bundle of Ecstasy tabs in Steve and Sylvia's son Robbo's (Jason Sampson) bedroom. The discovery deepens the severity of the policRead More
Trudy, Mack's secretary, has spent her whole life looking after other people: her father, Mack, the employees at the factory. So busy has she been sorting out other people's problems that her own life has been on hold. And then her father dies - and suddenly Trudy doesn't have a role to play. In the midst of her bereavement, she is suddenly facing the hardest question in the world - what I am going to do with the rest of my life?
What do people tell you when you're bereaved - don't make any quick decisions that you might regret. But Trudy is not listening, she needs to make a change in her life. Actually, what she decides is to make two major changes.
She takes three weeks off work and checks herself into a private clinic to have her breasts enlarged. Anyone would tell her that this is the worst time in the world to have cosmetic surgery. But Trudy has not told anyone. Not a soul. The trauma of surgery leads Trudy to face the pain of her bereavement and the senselessness of her life. DRead More
On the morning after their wedding anniversary, Mack lavishes Katherine with gifts in a bid to hold onto her. After yet one more night of loveless sex, Katherine packs a few things into a case and - saying nothing - leaves the marital home for ever. When Mack discovers her half-empty closet, he realises that his marriage has finally disintegrated. But there is worse to come. As if losing his wife were not bad enough, Mack now risks losing the second most important thing in his life - the factory.
The deeds to the factory building are in Katherine's name and, wanting to make a clean break from her marriage, she asks Mack to buy her out. But by keeping her financially dependent on him, he prevented her from leaving him in the past. If he bought back the building now, he would be severing any remaining connection.
Mack's refusal forces Katherine to give him an ultimatum: he has 24 hours to sign the contract, or she offers the premises to his main competitor. Mack calls her bluff and the bRead More
Ever wondered what goes on behind the neighbours' doors? Sometimes its best not to delve into other people's lives, as Kev Leach finds out. Kev is pretty happy with his life - steady job, cute hairdresser girlfriend, Babs, own home and nights out with the boys.
Then his work-mate, Brian Pringle, a machine engineer at Mackintosh, moves in across the road following his divorce. At first, things run smoothly - the pair share the petrol on the factory run and go for a quick pint after work. But then Kev gets nosy. Through his video camera, usually reserved for taping his more intimate moments with Babs, he takes a peek at Brian surfing the net. What Kev sees, or thinks he sees, is so unexpected, so awful that he can hardly process the information.
Is he living across the road from a paedophile? Well, he might be, and then again he might not. The problem for Kev is that however much he thinks he sees, he's never quite sure if his suspicions are justified. As the weeks go by, Kev watches BriRead More
Good-time girl Bev likes a drink and a laugh, but life hasn't turned out quite as planned. She's lonely, her only son is nothing but trouble and it seems like the fun times are gone for ever. When Mal, widower and regular nice guy, turns up to service a machine at Mackintosh's, Bev suddenly glimpses a possible future and, from where she sits, it looks just fine.
Knowing that Mal has always had a bit of a thing for her, she flirts and he asks her out. Mal's teenage sons Alex and Scott (Nicky Evans and Bryan Dick) take an instant dislike to Bev, but Mal is besotted, feeling alive for the first time since his wife died.When Bev moves in, bringing her tacky knick-knacks with her, Mal's eldest son is furious. The situation worsens when Bev tells him that his mother and father's relationship was not perfectâ€”especially when it came to sex.
Even Bev realises that this was a bad move, but she is a fighter and in pursuit of Mal and everything that comes with himâ€”nice house, nice life, she is a fRead More
After sitting all week at a sewing machine at Mackintosh, Freda is ready for a girls' night out. However, she has to tell her friends to go on without her. She has been babysitting her two small grandchildren and, not for the first time, her daughter Lindsey never arrives to collect them.
Now Freda's life is about to change - either she looks after the kids or Social Services will. At first, it's a nightmare. How can she cope with the kids and a full-time job with not enough money and not enough time? She tracks down their father, Tony (Jonathan Wrather), who is less interested in his children than in getting back to his game of pool. Freda doesn't know where to turn.
Luckily, a chance meeting with Mack offers her an opportunity to explain the situation and he gives her the space to sort herself out. Gradually, Freda stops seeing the children as an imposition in her life. With extra income from a new venture in curtain-making, part-time hours at work and friend Julie's open-hearted wilRead More
Life has not been good to Barry Jackson. His wife ran off with his previous boss, leaving him to bring up two young daughters in his mother's house while he works nights as a security guard at Mackintosh. But though he's a loser, he is not bitter.
Then one day, he wins £20,000 on the football pools. To Barry, this is a fortune. It could change his life - not that he has a love life or even a social life. So when he meets Trudy's sister, Janice, he is smitten. But Janice is everything Barry is not - worldly, cynical, mercenary - and she has her eyes elsewhere, on Mack. Since her husband ran off with all her money and left her reduced to selling flowers at a roadside stall, love takes second place in her thoughts to cash.
Mack has cash, but isn't interested. When Trudy suggests a date with Barry, Janice dismisses the idea out of hand. Not only is he Trudy's 'cast off' but he is also only a security guard, hardly in a position to support her in the style to which she was accustomed. The nRead More
For over 20 years, Mackintosh truck driver Ronnie Anderson has cared lovingly and devotedly for his wife Jess (Kate Fitzgerald), a wheelchair-bound victim of multiple sclerosis. What no one knows is that Ronnie now wants out, out of caring for Jess, out of his life. He feels he has given enough and it is time to start again.
Ronnie is in love with Jess' home-help Trish and she loves him back. Everything changes one day when Ronnie's truck is hijacked. He is beaten, dumped in a car boot and the truck's contents are stolen. Rumours fly around the factory after Ronnie is questioned by the police, who believe that the hijack was an inside job. He proclaims his innocence but, like many things in his life, it is a lie. It was Ronnie who tipped off the robbers and the violence was just to make it look good.
For the couple are hoping that the robbery will give them enough to provide for Jess and for them to be together. They get a scare when one of the hijackers is caught, but he keeps quiet,Read More
After a night on the town, Ade, Barney, Kev and Nick are waiting in the taxi queue when some drunks start a fight, during which someone is knifed. At the sound of sirens, they run. The next morning, the stabbing is all over the news: the victim is in a critical condition.
For the Mackintosh lads, the big question is who used the blade? Accusations fly, although no one suspects Ade because he didn't want to get involved in the first place and he is as dangerous as a cuddly toy. Then Barney phones the hospital to find out how the injured man is, the police trace the call and he is arrested.
The knife has also been found. One of the injured men's sidekicks is brought to the factory to identify Barney's accomplices. Kev has had enough and willingly walks into the trap. Nick wants to do the same, but Ade tries to stop him. He was the one with the knife. Ade hides while Nick and Kev are arrested.
Both deny knowing the fourth man. Whatever they think of Ade, they will not grass. A witness conRead More
Martin and Trudy are together and very happy. Martin's relationship with Mack, however, is not so good. Mack is jealous that Trudy, who was always devoted to him, has settled for Martin and, as transport manager, Martin gets the blame when the insurance company refuse to renew the policy on the Mackintosh trucks.
Trudy, however, suggests that she and Martin take over running the haulage as an independent company. Things go well, they get married, and Trudy cuts the final cord with Mack after he pushes her too far, leaving him with the realisation that he needs her a lot more than she needs him.
Then Martin's sister-in-law Sue (Alison Swann) turns up, eight months pregnant and with her husband, Martin's wayward brother Stuart, in jail with no hope of release. Martin had a relationship with Sue before Trudy and it's not long before Trudy realises that the baby is not Stuart's but Martin's. Sue swears she will never tell Martin but Trudy knows this is a secret she cannot live with.
She seRead More
Franny is one of those people who cannot admit defeat. Whatever he's up against, he'll keep going, until it breaks him in two. And if he decides that a course of action is right, then he pursues it, no turning aside, no consultation. No matter what the cost.
He's a cook in the Mackintosh canteen. Nice enough bloke, good at his job but something of an unknown quantity. Franny doesn't let people in, not even his wife Imogen (Jane Slavin). They are trying to conceive a baby, but he won't talk about it. He just repeats his mantra that everything will work out in the end.
Then his troubled sister, Terri (Clare Kerrigan) commits suicide. Distraught, Franny discovers that she has had a child, now in foster care. Franny tracks down the father, an arrogant young copper called Jason Woods (Marc Warren). When he doesn't seem interested, Franny decides to try to adopt the child himself. Imogen is taken aback by the lack of discussion, but she wants a child too - maybe this is the only way. But wheRead More
Tasha (Katie Blake) is a textile design student, doing work experience at Mackintosh. She's a posh girl from a leafy suburb and she doesn't fit in. She desperately wants to but she comes from another world. Mack (Philip Glenister) is feeling his age. Living alone in his suburban family house, his dissatisfaction with life is growing. This is not what he wants, surrounded by housewives driving 4 by 4s, spending his weekends at elderly neighbour's barbecues. There's got to be something more.
Tasha is thrilled when the girls invite her to the pub. Everyone is drinking up and having a good time, when she offers some coke around. They're not shocked, but it highlights the differences - they don't live the life where people can afford to snort coke. Just another thing that marks her out. Mack comes to the pub to get the keys to his filing cabinet but unusually he ends up staying. Normally, he avoids uncomfortable, social situations with his workers but he definitely has things in common withRead More
Sometimes the reality of who people are is so terrifying, even to themselves, that it must remain hidden. Mark Talbot (James Murray) is one of these people. Someone with darkness in his past and in himself, a darkness from which he cannot escape, however much he wishes that he could. He seems like a nice enough lad, excitedly getting ready for his first day at Mackintosh. He's fit, clean, nice to his Mum - ex-army, Parachute Regiment no less, if his tattoo is anything to go by. He approaches his new workmates with confidence, he's charming, friendly and obviously one for the ladies, as his instant rapport with resident babe Hannah Phillips (Katisha Kenyon) demonstrates. The other blokes can't believe how quickly he's in there!
However, after his first day at work, Mark is picked up by the police. He's obviously known to them and they are giving him some kind of warning now he's back in the area. But what has he been in trouble for? And why would the police be checking up on him if he'sRead More
Julie (Siobhan Finneran) is a Mackintosh old hand. She's a strange girl really - mid thirties, lives at home with her parents, popular, kind and generous but not truly close to anyone. As for a love life: non-existent. She feels a vague emptiness inside, but nothing she's ever dealt with. Life just goes on, day by day, same old thing. Its not as if she's actually unhappy.
Then her brother, Robert (Phil Cornwell), the big success of the family, comes over for a visit from his home in Hong Kong. Julie is over the moon because although he's a bit of a bolshie bloke, she adores him. He's done well - successful job, happy marriage, two beautiful girls. And out of the blue, he offers Julie some of his good fortune: why doesn't she come out to Hong Kong too - they'd be together, she'd see more of her nieces, earn loads of money, make a new start. Back in the bedroom she's had since she was a kid, Julie realises how small her world is. Hong Kong looks tempting - frightening but tempting. CouldRead More
Jenny (Sophie Okonedo) has a pretty good life. She drives a forklift at Mackintosh alongside her best mate, Suzie (Nicola Stephenson), so work is a real laugh. Their eight-year-old sons, Tom and Ryan, go to school together. And best of all, Jenny is marrying Suzie's brother Sam (Nicholas Sidi), who she loves big time. Perfect. Except Jenny has created this life, like a house of cards. It is a fiction, based on lies, and all it needs is for one card to get knocked out of place, and the whole thing falls...
It's the day after Jenny's hen night. Nursing a whopping hangover, she's not feeling much like fork lifting, but she's still happy as anything. Until she glances at one of the heating contractors (Sean Gallagher), working on Mackintosh's cooling system. There's a jolt of recognition and her face contorts. Whoever he is, this man has put the fear of god into her. Nauseous, she runs to the toilets, but not before he has clocked her too. Jenny tries to carry on as normal, avoiding him. BRead More
Alan (Bob Pugh) is always the life and soul of the party. In his mid-forties, he's not quite one of the lads anymore but still sees life as a giggle. He has a wonderfully happy marriage to Sally (Lorriane Ashbourne), who although she's the much quieter, more sensible half of the partnership, watches all his shenanigans with fond amusement. They have two teenage sons, the oldest of whom Chris (Ciaran Griffiths) is about to go off to university, a cause of enormous pride for them both.
For Sally's fortieth, Alan throws a big do, inviting all the lads from Mackintosh. It's a night to remember - everyone drinking, dancing, having a wail of a time. You can tell that Sally would rather have had a quiet evening with Alan, that the party's more for him than her, but she enjoys herself none the less. When the evening's in full swing, Alan makes a little speech and tells Sally about her present - in front of everyone, he announces he's going to have a vasectomy so she doesn't have to take the piRead More
Gary (Marshall Lancaster), works in the off cuts department at Mackintosh, and has a beautiful, expensive home, full of costly antiques and erudite scientific tomes, everything just so. The only thing that doesn't fit is him. The problem is he's had a letter from a solicitor, informing him that he had been left a house and a substantial amount of money. In his father's will. All well and good, except that the only father Gary had ever known was still alive. Both Gary and his brother Stephen (Lee Ingleby) were adopted, only their adoptive parents never got round to telling them. A bit of a shock. Especially for Stephen who got the news without the financial bonus.
Suddenly strange things start happening - Gary finds a piece of paper with versions of his signature on it, although no credit cards or cheque books have been stolen; then he comes home after a day at work to find the kettle warm as if it had just been used; or there's a beer bottle top on the floor which he didn't leave thereRead More
Mack has never exactly been a bundle of laughs but over the last few months, his bitter disappointment with life has been increasing, day-by-day. Is the factory with its big pressures and small triumphs, all there is? As crisis point looms, Mack needs to carve himself a future that makes him happy. On the surface, things seem surprisingly good. Mackintosh is on the brink of the most lucrative deal ever and despite his disillusion, Mack is still a sucker for the pull of success, big money. He's also got a nice looking woman on his arm, Miranda (Katie Carmichael). She's a posh girl, bit of a bitch but classy. Makes him feel good. She's too quick to hear wedding bells, but that can always be dealt with later.
Then Eddie (Craig Kelly) turns up, Mack's good-for-not-very-much brother. Eddie was the one with the brains, the brilliant future, all of which he wasted. He's become a drifter, full of vaguely formed plans, none of which come to fruition. Whilst Eddie has always envied the fact thatRead More
Suzie Davidson is getting married to Jamie, the man of her dreams, but she disappears through the bathroom window in her wedding dress, leaving him at the altar. She later confesses that she has slept with bad boy old flame Stuart, and no-one at the factory seems to be in the mood to forgive her. And the strain she's put on her father suddenly takes its toll.Read More
Pat is given a target of doubling the factory's production and is determined to get the staff on her side. However, success at work is marred by problems at home. She discovers her husband Roy, a compulsive gambler and alcoholic, has lost his job and has been stealing from their joint account. Then the bailiffs arrive.Read More