In the working-class London district of King’s Cross, yuppies are moving into old houses, restoring them, and driving out the locals who’ve lived there for ages. Old Mrs Bender, a widow, lives in one house; her neighbors are the fearfully uppercrust Booth-Braines and they treat the old lady with ill-disguised contempt.
Mrs Bender’s two children are an ill-assorted pair. Cyril, with long hair and beard, works as a courier, lives with his down-to-earth girlfriend Shirley, and despises the British establishment.
Daughter Valerie, on the other hand, is a would-be yuppie, married to a crass used-car dealer, and living in a garishly over-decorated home. She’s completely self-centered and insensitive to her elderly mother’s needs.
Around these characters, Leigh builds a slight story intended to be a microcosm of today’s London.