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Kate Linton (Shirley Henderson) is a stuffy academic, who enjoys a conventional and somewhat emotionally tepid romance with her boorish husband David (Steven Mackintosh). She shocks her boss Ian (Ian Hart) by deciding to become a social worker at Alpha House, a home for wayward teenagers. Two of the residents are 17-year-old Jamie Harrison (Letitia Wilson) and best friend Leanne Dixon (Isabella Laughland), who went on the rampage during the 2011 riots that gripped London. The girls have birthdays looming and know they must leave Alpha House to fend for themselves when they turn 18. Kate's arrive fail to impress Jamie but over time, they find common ground in their love of soul music and Kate encourages the teenager to chase her seemingly impossible dream of attending music school.