Frank ends up in hospital after mistaking an electrical generator for a toilet and is told his life style is catching up with him. Lip returns from university but Alex,his girlfriend there,has followed him home,ending his relationship with Mandy. Karen takes over the Jockey and Lillian opens a brothel.
Monica believes she might be pregnant and is the only family member to be disappointed when the test proves to be negative. The Jockey is robbed on the eve of Mimi's birthday and the Maguires set out to replace the stolen furniture though Karen is more concerned for the pub's future after a visit by a man from the brewery. Community policeman Stan starts dating shop keeper Yvonne Karib.
Frank puts it about that he has won the Lottery - but only so that people will buy him drinks to keep in with him. However Debbie knows that he hasn't even bought a ticket and arranges a 'kidnapping' of Liam for ransom money from his winnings to expose the truth. Karen's marriage is on the line after Ian admits to Jamie her fling with Frank.
With the council dishing out initiative grants Debbie invests in hens and potatoes to supply the estate with free egg and chips. Shane meets a desirable woman but gets a shock when they go back to Lillian's and,whilst Yvonne encounters trouble from a girl gang,Stan accidentally runs a woman over. After his admitting that he should be wearing glasses Carrie agrees to take the rap to save his job - until the woman threatens to sue.
When Monica finds out that she is pregnant, Liam,envisaging being roped in to change nappies,leaves home. Baby Katie eats an E tablet which she mistakes for a sweet and Frank is blamed for leaving it around. The family throw him out and he joins Liam on the streets. Paddy pays Kelly,Kev's sister and Shane's new girlfriend,to leave the estate for reasons of his own.
Following a gas leak at the Gallaghers sexy fireman Sean is in attendance and both Ian and Mandy are out to get into his pants. Eventually it's Ian whose suspicions that Sean is gay are proved right and a relationship seems on the cards until it turns out that the boys are half-brothers and Ian becomes aware of his biological father. Frank ends up in a wheelchair after another binge and Carl starts dating the mother of a girl he went out with at school.
Whilst Paddy attempts to blackmail Carrie into being his nark,Debbie,to raise money for a family holiday,takes in two American students, the strait-laced Brandy and her silent brother Barney. Brandy is very religious - but a trip to the Jockey soon has her letting her hair down. Frank thinks he has found love and a new life with antique dealer Rosie,only to find that she will not leave her sick husband. He attempts suicide - in the process saving Lillian from being attacked by a robber she has identified.
Monica's mother Joan turns up with Alzheimers and a bag full of pills. Years earlier she had neglected Monica and let her boyfriend abuse the girl. Now,though only half lucid,she begs forgiveness before over-dosing. The Maguire boys plan a party with Mimi and Paddy away and trust to a scam instigated by Carl to finance it,only to find he has outsmarted them. Stan declares his love for Yvonne in the shop.
Karen is wary when Jamie's cell-mate Mark turns up and tricks Jamie into abetting a robbery. Fortunately the Maguires pull together to force Mark to tell the truth. With poor GCSE grades Carl feels he is a somebody at last when Paddy encourages him to box,where he does well . Unfortunately his last fight involves taking a dive. Yvonne is shocked when her schoolgirl daughter Meena declares that she is going to Islamabad for an arranged marriage though Meena's auntie Shaza makes her see sense. Shaza also invites Norma out for a drink and at last Norma seems to be over ...
When Frank snorts three grand's worth of Mimi's drugs she demands payment. Ian robs the till at the Jockey,leading to temporary suspension,but Debbie and Liam's resourcefulness as pushers saves the day. Paddy is caught on CCTV robbing a chemists and enlists the help of his estranged,gay,law-abiding twin Noel to help him out,which he does - at a price. Carrie passes her sergeant's exams but colleague Tom discovers a secret from her past.
Stan's efforts to intervene in Yvonne's on-going row with Meena over her arranged marriage do not endear him to the shop-keeper. However,when the shop is subject to an armed robbery and Yvonne is held at gun-point Stan charges to the rescue and is wounded for his pains. Monica considers inducing the birth of her unborn child in order to get it over with whilst Carl,feeling there is little for him on the estate, ponders joining the Army,where at least he should be able to have a variety of sexual conquests.
Stan moves in with Yvonne and witnesses her feud with Mimi after catching Chesney,her youngest,with drugs. Chesney decides he prefers the Maguires as his parents,until he ingests an E,whilst Shane becomes Yvonne's pet, working in the shop. Mandy goes on a date with the handsome Dex,only for him to croak after drug-fuelled sex. She and Karen dispose of the body but next day he turns up in the Jockey with no recollection of the night's events.
The Maguires are subject to a stake-out,which causes Mimi to lose her rag and lash out at Mickey. As a result she attends an anger management course which makes her too mellow,so that Paddy's profits from his regulars see a sharp decrease. Mandy sets out to help Tom find his birth mother,bringing in an impostor to help,only for him to have tracked down his family himself. In the process Mandy discovers Tom's relationship with Debbie but agrees to keep silent.
Whilst Carl gets brewer's droop Ian finds himself oddly attracted to Mandy and Norma wakes up after a drunken night wondering why she is wearing a stranger's jogging pants - though the answer is a let down. Tom and Debbie find a young girl who has been raped and left unconscious and Tom is charged. Debbie is anxious to come forward but Tom forbids it as their secret will be exposed. However Frank admits to Debbie he has known all along and the real rapist is caught. Paddy subjects Shane to a violent beating in the Jockey over Kelly - before asking her to dinner. After...
An earth tremor rocks Manchester,knocking Frank off his bar stool and hitting his head on the floor. In a temporary coma in hospital he fantasises about an alternative world where he is actually a success. The tremor has caused Monica to go into labour but she's meaning to hold out for Frank. Meanwhile Kelly announces that she is pregnant and accepts Sane's marriage proposal and Carl finds success with the women by pretending that he is a single parent - until somebody runs off with the baby.