South London in the 1930s - Mrs Hilda Jones is fed up with her dull husband. She thought marriage would liven him up, but after 25 years, he's just as boring as the day she married him. Now she wants to lead her own life. Her newly married daughter, Olive, is shocked, but Hilda is adamant.
Meanwhile, a heavy East End gang has moved into the area from Shoreditch and has established a lucrative protection racket, bringing drama and anxiety to this closely-knit neighbourhood.