Charlie agrees to take part in a charity boxing match to raise money for the local school,safe in the knowledge that his opponent,Arthur,is a typing teacher. However,when he discovers that Arthur is a massive and competitive typing teacher he begins to have second thoughts. Fortunately Caroline is there to help,not just as his trainer but to subtly tip the judges into making the right decision as to the winner.
Jo and her friend Julia are late for the school's Go To Work With a Parent planning evening so the only work experience left is with Caroline and Charlie. Fearing Caroline may be a hard boss to work for Jo opts to help Charlie but soon sees herself as a drudge whilst Caroline is delighted with Julia's initiative. Jo bribes Julia into swapping jobs but it is not a good idea as everybody discovers.
Tom is standing for form rep at school and brings home prospective voters to bribe them with cake and promises of a date with Jo. Then Laura walks in with the cover of the new 'Mature Woman' magazine, a periodical for elderly ladies which,to increase sales,features Laura in a very low-cut dress. Next day Tom returns from school with a black eye,having been in a fight defending Laura and tells her he hates her. After he wins the election though he is prepared to forgive her.
Al forms a punk band and,impressed by Jo's ideas for publicity,asks her to manage it, to which,despite Charlie's protests, she agrees. When Charlie tries to help she is resentful but even more so of prospective hirers who belittle her for being a young girl. Inspired by Caroline,on the night of the band's first gig,she takes a stand against the patronising club owner and gets her own way.
The two families go on a Caribbean holiday paid for by one of Caroline's grateful clients but Charlie feels out of things as all the other members of the group find romantic attachments and Caroline shocks him by going skinny-dipping with hunks and then performing a raunchy karaoke. When he injures himself she comes running but when he ponders his future both he and Caroline,whilst admitting their mutual fondness,wonder if marriage is the right option.
Regretful of the fact that she was a good girl in her adolescence Caroline decides to make up for lost time and creates a list of naughty things to do. Having accomplished most of them she moves on to dating Jake the Snake,the bad boy at her youth club,and he takes her to see his band play. Laura and Charlie have their doubts as to whether Jake's intentions are honorable so Charlie follows to make sure that Caroline is all right.
When Charlie's auntie Pat comes to stay everybody loves her home cooking though, in the case of Laura's new boyfriend Clifford,the attraction goes a little deeper and Charlie catches him kissing Pat. When Clifford asks for the opportunity to choose which woman to date Charlie and Caroline both encourage their respective relatives but ultimately both Auntie Pat and Laura come to see that such a weak-willed man is no good for either of them.
Four years have passed since Caroline first employed Charlie but when they exchange presents she is perturbed that,whilst she gives him a watch,she gets car seat covers. His idea of a day out is to take the two families to a funfair and,for a laugh,he and Caroline visit cold-stricken and possibly fraudulent clairvoyant Madame Alexandra,who nonetheless recognizes the couple's attraction and tells Charlie that he will marry the last woman he kisses before midnight. This is how Carolone and Charlie find themselves in the tunnel of love just as the fair is closing.
Following their night in the Tunnel of Love Caroline and Charlie declare themselves to be officially a couple but are not keen to go public so they send the family out so they can have a romantic meal together but Laura and Tom return,causing them to hide in a cupboard. They then go to a hotel but experience so many interruptions they end up in their car but when the car rolls into a river their secret is exposed.
Caroline is finding Charlie's amorous attentiveness stifling though Jo is enjoying the emotional freedom of not being smothered by her father. When Caroline is laid up with a sprained ankle Charlie sense of caring goes into over-drive and she has to escape to a nearby cafe. Charlie follows but the pair learn a lesson from the bickering couple who are the owners.
Jo goes to a party where she gets drunk and is consequently ill. Caroline feels that Charlie is over-reacting in his anger so, to set an example, he persuades his friends who come to watch the match on television that they should all also abstain from drink. However Charlie is the first to weaken and has to apologize to Jo.
When Caroline goes away Laura takes over at the office but insults Caroline's best client Douglas Hamilton by rejecting his advances and giving him a piece of her mind. To rectify matters Charlie goes after Douglas and catches up with him at his duck hide. However Charlie is dismayed to see that Douglas is about to shoot a duck and in the resultant scuffle almost loses Caroline's biggest client - literally.
Visiting his local pub in London Charlie runs into feared hard man George Carver,who once did him a good turn and in return wants Charlie to act as minder to his spoilt daughter Claudia and teach her some proper values. Unfortunately Claudia falls for Charlie,which does not endear him to her father. However Charlie decides to actually stand up to George and tell him that he needs to be a proper father figure instead of passing the responsibility onto others. What's more,his plan works.
Laura needs cheering up after another failed affair so Caroline and Charlie take her to the casino,where she meets personable Jason McCloud. Jason initially brings Laura luck at the roulette wheel but when she starts to lose he takes advantage of the situation by lending her her stake money in exchange for Caroline's car as collateral. With the car gone it is down to Caroline and Charlie to win it back via their expertise at poker - and bluffing.
Caroline brings hot-shot young footballer Gary Grant to the house to sign a deal endorsing trainers for her company. Knowing Gary will offer perks, for which the other family members are keen, but Charlie is shocked at how greedy and materialistic Gary is,putting financial rewards above the pleasure of playing. As a result everybody else falls out with Charlie - but he is proved right when Gary reneges on his deal with Caroline to go for a better offer.
Charlie gets a fortnight's work filling in as a teaching assistant in physical education at a local school so Caroline agrees that she will take over the duties of being the house-keeper. Unfortunately she is hopeless and discovers it far harder than she thought,whilst having to look after young Danny whilst his mother is in hospital and cooking a meal for Charlie's headmaster only increase the pressure. She is very relieved when the fortnight is up.
After Charlie has gone out to play darts with his pub friends rather than go to dinner with her Caroline is cross with him. His mates tell him he is hen-pecked so,in order to get out of escorting Caroline to the ballet he feigns illness and has a poker night with the lads but when Caroline arrives home and rumbles him they have a massive falling-out with Charlie staying out all night. Ultimately they reach a compromise though again Caoline seems to have the upper hand.
When Caroline refuses to give Tom a holiday job at her agency to prevent charges of nepotism Charlie persuades his old friend Terry to employ the lad as a steward at the cricket ground he manages. With an important England match coming up the family turns out to support Tom. Unfortunately Tom manages to destroy the match by picking up a ball still in play - which is why Charlie now refuses to help Jo get a Saturday job.
Nick is released from prison so Caroline lets him come to stay at the house. He has written a cookery book but Charlie believes it will not sell and is angry when Nick refuses a sales job he has fixed up for him. When the book is taken on by a publisher and looks like being a best-seller Charlie is forced to apologize - until he discovers that the book was written by another prisoner,who will shortly be released and is likely to come after Nick.
Charlie has become over-competitive and bad-tempered so Caroline goes to a health spa with Laura and Jo to relax. Here she meets Nigel,who is Charlie's exact double - except that he is totally laid -back and stress-free. Back at the house Charlie gets jealous when he finds an extra-long pair of men's trousers but when Caroline returns and tells him who owned them he gets a surprise.
Al has to move out so,to increase his chance of getting a new flat,Jo poses as his wife but Charlie finds out and,as a result,Al fails to get the flat so Charlie lets him sleep on the sofa at Caroline's. Unfortunately he screams in his sleep,keeping everybody awake so Charlie has to approve another lie to help him get another place. Having told Jo that honesty is the best policy Charlie finds it is true when marketing a foul-tasting health drink Caroline is trying to promote.
Caroline tentatively accepts an offer to merge with a larger advertising company but Laura is not included in the deal. Annoyed to be cast aside Laura becomes the tea-lady at the new company but realises that Caroline is not free to make her own decisions and is being urged to drop some of her smaller clients and asks her to call off the merger. Fortunately Caroline has already done so.
Following a friend's funeral Charlie sees that there are many things he still wants to do in his life and takes the others on an adventure holiday,which they all hate. However when Caroline gets injured during a cycle race he appreciates that she took part because she loved him and decides to treat her to a series of romantic interludes - most of which misfire,until he finally proposes and she accepts.
Learning that Laura put Charlie up to the proposal Caroline feels under pressure and withdraws her acceptance. Charlie tries to make a grand romantic gesture by taking her to a football match and arranging for Marry Me,Caroline to be shown on the scoreboard but she sees this as a stunt and does not change her mind. A heart-broken Charlie becomes zombic and neglects himself. Finally,after Laura has asked her to take stock of how she genuinely feels Caroline makes her decision and ends up proposing to Charlie on one knee.