This mini-series charts the life of Emma Harte, from kitchen maid at the beginning of the twentieth century, to respected business woman and grandmother in the 1980s. From humble beginnings, Emma Harte (Jenny Seagrove) starts her business with a small shop, but over the next twenty years, she expands her stores and invests in the growing textile industry in Leeds. By the time of World War II, Emma is the head of a major retail and manufacturing empire, but she has struggled all her life to find love. After an illegitimate daughter and two marriages, she finally meets the love of her life, Major Paul McGill (Barry Bostwick), but their affair is cut short by a tragic accident, leaving Emma with his daughter. In the 1980s, Emma (Deborah Kerr) faces one of her biggest tests, her children's attempt to remove her as head of her company, but she is far from the senile old woman they think she is, she is determined to stop them at all costs.