Eighteenth century comedy of manners. Richard Lovell (Paul Nicholls) secretly weds Fanny (Natasha Little), the daughter of his employer Mr Sterling (Timothy Spall), after getting her pregnant. Fanny's sister Betsy (Emma Chambers) is engaged to Sir John Ogleby (Tom Hollander), but the union comes under threat when Sir John decides that he would rather marry Fanny. Sterling will agree to the union only if his sister, Mrs Heidelberg (Joan Collins), approves. Desperate, Fanny turns to Sir John's father, Lord Ogleby (Nigel Hawthorne), for assistance, telling him that she loves another. However, matters become even more complicated when Lord Ogleby misunderstands, and, thinking that he is the object of Fanny's affection, offers to marry her himself!