When her son, Peter, phones from boarding school, Abby's housekeeper, Mrs Transon, calls her inside. Abby is pleased to hear from him but concerned about a flu bug that is spreading throughout the country. She tells him that the village school has been closed down and that she thought they may have been sending him home. They agree that he will call again later in the week.
Once off the phone, Abby tells Mrs Transon that the school has taken up measures to prevent infection from outsiders. Abby realises the time and tells her that she must set off to pick up her husband David from the early train from London. She asks Mrs Transon to turn off the tennis trainer. Mrs Transon reveals that she is worried about her sister, Doris, who didn't answer her phone call that morning. She adds that she couldn't get through at all this afternoon. Abby thinks its nothing to worry about but agrees that she should go to her to check everything is alright. Abby goes to get changed, whilst Mrs. Transon discovers the phone is dead.
On the way to the station they drive past Dr. Gordon, who stops his car and reverses it to speak to Abby. He tells her that he will pop by that night to give her and David a shot of the flu vaccine. Abby thanks him and suggests he brings his wife Margaret along as well for a drink. He agrees to visit them at 9pm.
Abby and Mrs Transon arrive at Brimpsfield station. The stationmaster, Mr Pollard, advises them that there is a London train just about to set off. Mrs Transon just catches it in time. Abby asks Mr Pollard about trains coming from London. He tells her that the timetable is all to pot and that he doesn't know what's going on at the Paddington end.
Abby goes to sit and wait in her car. She turns the radio on and listens to reports of traffic congestion and the rapid spread of the mystery virus. Mrs Transon meanwhile is on her way to London and appears to be in some discomfort.
A young woman called Jenny Richards, is tending to her flatmate Pat, who is very ill with some sort of fever. She complains she is cold and about lumps under her arms. Jenny tries to make her comfortable, but soon realises there is little she can do for her. She tries to use the phone but it isn't working, so decides to set off to the hospital instead. She tells Pat that she won't be long.
David arrives at Brimpsfield and wakes Abby who has fallen into a deep sleep. The time is 8.30pm. He is angry because he has been travelling for seven hours, having got a lift, a train and a bus to get there. He tells her that cars are bumper to bumper on the roads and that he thinks it will take days to sort things out. As David starts the engine, Abby feels some lumps under her arms.
Jenny makes her way towards the hospital. The roads are in chaos. Arriving at the hospital she tries to get some help from a nurse but is told to ask at the desk. Long queues of people are waiting for medical assistance.
Jenny spots a doctor, who she addresses as Andrew and tells him about Pat, who is his girlfriend. He is harassed and tells her that they have begun to turn people away from the hospital. He explains that the flu bug they are injecting is as much use as squirting water into people's arms and that they are trying to keep up a fiction of order to avoid panic.
Andrew goes on to tell her that there have been over seventy deaths so far and that there will be double or treble that by morning. Only one patient has so far made it past the crisis point. He promises Jenny that he will try to grab half an hour later on. Jenny offers to help at the hospital in the meantime.
Back home, Abby and David are relaxing in their lounge. David tells her that he doesn't think it is a flu virus. He asks if she is going to make dinner. She heads off to the kitchen to make it and asks him to join her so she can talk to him at the same time. David tries the phone and finds that it is dead. He tells Abby that he has hears that millions of people have died of the virus in India and China.
As she cooks bacon and eggs for David she tells him that Peter sounded fine when she spoke to him on the Phone. David tells her that he and Peter have a shared secret relating to her forthcoming birthday. David tries the radio but can't find Radio 4 or anything else.
Abby asks David how bad he thinks the virus is. David has decided that he won't return to work until it is sorted out. Abby muses that it will burn out in time and that the city (London) is like a big pampered baby and that under these circumstances it won't be cleaned up after. David thinks that if things get really bad that a state of emergency will be called. He thinks that whatever happens that they'll manage as they've got a well stocked freezer. There is a power cut.
Dr Andrew is with Jenny at her flat. Pat is now dead. Jenny finds Andrew's almost casual attitude towards Pat's death difficult to understand given they were having an affair. Andrew tells her that she must leave London at once and that he knows that he has the disease himself.
He wonders if she might have a natural immunity to the disease. He repeats that she must get out of London and tells her that so far only one has person has gone beyond the crisis point. He thinks it is a mutant virus to which there is no cure and that in a few days the dead will outnumber the living.
Abby and David are now in bed together. Abby wonders if they should get Peter out of school. David agrees that they will if things 'get tricky'. He tells her to stop worrying and go to sleep.
Jenny has taken Andrew's advice and is leaving London with a few belongings. However she is soon intercepted by some youths who are busy looting shops. They attack her but she escapes.
Abby gets up in the night in a wretched feverish state. David comes to her and she tells him she thinks she's dying. David tries to call Dr. Gordon but realises the phone is still dead as Abby slides to the floor unconscious.
Jenny, now fearful of everyone, hides behind a car as she seems some people go past. Meanwhile David has found Dr. Gordon, who tells him that his wife died that afternoon and that in total seventeen people in the village have died. He fears that within a week millions will have succumbed to the virus and died.
David asks Dr. Gordon if he will return with him to see Abby. He agrees. Jenny meanwhile has found shelter in an abandoned car.
Time passes as Abby sleeps fitfully under the grip of the virus. Eventually after days have passed she wakes to find she is alone in her bed.
A very weak Abby makes her way to the kitchen where she finds the cheese and the contents of the fridge have gone off. She goes to the sitting room and suddenly sees David lying behind her on the sofa. He is dead.
Jenny is still wandering alone. She meets a Welshman who tells her to keep her distance. Jenny tells him that she passed through a village the previous night where a church bell was ringing. She went to the church where some people were still alive, but they wouldn't let her in.
The man tells her that all they have to do is wait for the doctors to clear it up. He thinks its a bit like the war and that 'the Yanks will have the cure'. Jenny wishes him good luck and leaves him be.
Abby is still sitting in shock near David's body. After a time she gets up to dress herself.
Abby has managed to dress herself and leaves her home to explore her village, which appears to be deserted.
She goes to Dr. Gordon's house but finds that he is dead. She tries the church next.
Abby discovers the church to be full of corpses. She leaves the church and turns to the heavens crying out aloud 'Please, God, don't let me be the only one!'
Abby returns home and suddenly remembers her son Peter.
Jenny hears the noise of a car engine and rushes towards the road to try and intercept the car. Abby is at the wheel.
Jenny fails to attract Abby's attention and misses her by seconds. She is alone again.
Abby arrives at Peter's school and sounds her horn to attract attention but no-one responds. She enters the school and goes to Peter's dormitory, fearful that she may find his corpse there.
Abby is relieved to find Peter's bed is empty. She is about to leave the school when she notices a light coming from one of the outhouses. She goes to investigate.
Abby finds a man there, who she initially thinks is dead. The man wakes from sleep and introduces himself as Dr. Bronson. He tells her that Peter and some other boys went off with one of the teachers, Mr Fielding, five days ago and that 300 died at the school.
Bronson was the only survivor. Meanwhile, Bronson shows Abby the wireless set he has been using, from which he has learned that the same events have happened globally. He knows that a state of emergency was declared but it was too late as there was no-one left to administer it.
Meanwhile, Jenny approaches a man who is sitting by a campfire. He tells her to keep away but she decides to stay by the fire, telling him she is too tired to move on.
Night has passed. Bronson is now telling Abby that he believes that the real survivors will be those who come through what has happened, beyond the stockpiles which will last for a few years. Scavenging can only sustain the survivors of 'the death' for so long. He thinks that everyone left will have to learn again. He asks Abby if she could make a candle? He thinks that himself he could perhaps fashion some sort of stone tool and finds it ironic that they are of the generation that put man on the moon.
Bronson thinks the survivors have a breathing space of several generations but that they must learn in this time. He doesn't think he will be a very good survivor as he is almost deaf. Abby bids him goodbye.
Jenny wakes to find the man dead and discovers that he was carrying bags of now useless five pound notes.
Abby arrives back home, picks up some petrol from the garage and goes inside. She then has a shower.
After her shower, Abby cuts off her hair. Soon after she douses the house with petrol and leaves with a few belongings.
Abby parks up her car some way off from the village and watches mournfully as her house burns. She then turns away, gets in her car and drives off.
Nothing can prepare the viewer for the shock value of the first episode which is both compelling and terrifying. All the clichés of disaster drama are avoided as events concentrate around just a few individuals and their experiences. Abby and David's discussion of how it 'could never happen here' whilst Abby dutifully cooks is particularly effective. The viewer has all the clues that that this is probably the last supper Abby will prepare in the old world. It is also her very last day as a...