Ed Hartlepool has been living in self-imposed exile for five years, but with a settlement regarding his inheritance looming, he must return to his ancestral seat, Hartlepool Hall. On his return, he discovers that his father has left him, along with the house, a seven million pound tax bill, two massive overdrafts, an 80-year-old butler, and a vast country estate that is creaking at the seams. Not only that, but there is a strange woman in residence at Hartlepool Hall who seems to have made herself very much at home. It turns out that 'Lady Alice' was his father's first mistress and she tells him more about his father than he ever discovered during his life. With the debts mounting, it seems that Ed's only recourse is to turn to his friend Annabel's new boyfriend, a property developer who plans to turn Hartlepool Hall into luxury flats and a golf course.