In the early 1900s Alfred Polly, still hankering after his dream girl Christabel, marries Miriam Larkins and they open a shop, but, as the years go by, the marriage becomes stale and Polly feels trapped. He decides to stage his own death by burning down the shop but becomes an accidental hero when he saves a deaf old lady from the flames. Giving Miriam the insurance pay-out he decides to go walkabout and gets a job at a country pub, the Potwell Inn, run by a kindly landlady. However, her violent nephew Jim is driving the customers away and Polly reluctantly faces up to him. Jim is drunk and falls in the river and drowns, wearing a pair of trousers stolen from Polly with Polly's name inside and so at last Polly has his perfect escape as it is assumed his is the corpse. After a visit to Miriam, now perfectly happy running a tea-shop, he returns to the Potwell Inn and the idyllic life he has always craved.
Script written by Adrian Hodges based on the novel by HG Wells