Kev spreads more than a little festive cheer by selling knocked-off meat at the Jockey, stretching goodwill to the limit as an outbreak of food poisoning strikes the Chatsworth estate, and it's not long before all thoughts of peace on Earth have gone down the pan.
As the Army moves in, Veronica's arsonist brother turns up unexpectedly homeless at Fiona's door and a strung-out Sheila goes into labour, prompting Frank to rally the troops the best way he knows how - by inciting a riot. Christmas special of the dysfunctional family drama, featuring theme music written and performed by ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, and starring David Threlfall, Maggie O'Neill, Anne-Marie Duff and James McAvoy
Frank's estranged fathwe Neville visits Chatsworth to meet his new grandchildren. Whilst the rest of the family welcome him with open arms, Frank finds his life turned upside down, as he is forced to relive painful memories from his childhood. Meanwhile, Karen Jackson returns to Chatsworth and gets a job at the Jockey by convincing Jez that she is a lesbian. Veronica is riled when Karen becomes flirtatious towards Kev, and a feud between the two women begins.
Kev and Veronica foster a child called Eric for the week in order to get a taste of parenthood. After a rocky start, Kev strikes a bond with Eric over boxing. But he soon discovers "his son" is being bullied by a gang of girls. With Frank's help, Kev intervenes and nearly gets himself and Veronica in big trouble with social services. Desperate to be a good dad, Kev and the Gallagher boys begin toughening Eric up with a series of boxing lessons, a move they will come to regret. Meanwhile, Steve and Fiona's cosy life is threatened when Steve accidentally steals a car belonging to a Chief Inspector, forcing him to ask Tony for help, whilst Carol's romance with a spanish youngster sends Marty on the warpath.
When the council launch a garden competition for the prize of a years free rent, Veronica and Carol go head-to-head for the prize. Veronica's bitterness towards her mum sees her alienating wveryone, even Fiona and Kev, and things turn nasty at Carol's birthday party. Meanwhile, Frank turns Sheila's house into a drinking den when the Jockey is closed down. Things are going well - until baby Nigel is snatched by an alcoholic tranvestite called "Psycho Sally". Elsewhere, Fiona uncovers a big secret from Steve's past that threatens their relationship.
Wedding fever hits Chatsworth as Fiona and Steve's big day approaches. Whilst the Gallagher family make preparations for the big day, Steve teams up with a gangster on a big drugs deal, convinced the job will set him and the family up for life. But when a vengeful Tony begins plotting against him, it sets in motion a chain of events that changes life for the Gallagher family forever. Meanwhile, Frank nearly discovers Ian's secret, so Ian asks Mandy Maguire to be his "fake girlfriend" in order to cover his sexuality, whilst Carol's dog causes trouble for Marty.
After agreeing to look after Sheila's friends house whilst she is away, Lip is framed by a corrupt cop called Neary when the house is burgaled, and unfortunatley for him, Frank is called to represent him and makes matters a lot worse. With Lip facing a prison stretch, Fiona and the family call upon Tony and Stan to help them deal with Neary, whilst Ian unmasks the real culprits and finds himself taking part in a burgalery with Marty and Carl. Meanwhile, Debbie begins a video rental business. She comes across a video of the local lollypop lady having a dalliance with an Elvis Presley impressionist and the video soon spreads around Chatsworth, leaving the residents wondering who the mystery man is.
When Mandy Maguire falls pregnant with Lip's baby, everyone thinks Ian's the father and the Maguire family welcome him into the family and scare him into proposing. As the Gallagher family unite with Chatsworth's most feared family, Lip, Ian and Mandy find their lives unravelling. Meanwhile, Frank is debt-ridden by Cassie Weston, the no-nonsense new landlady of the Jockey. Unluckily for him, she comes up with a plan to clear his large bar tab. Elsewhere, a late-night encounter with a tearaway bringa a new man into Fiona's life.
After ladies night at the Jockey, Fiona wakes up with soon-to-be married Joey Dawson. But she has no time to ponder her mistake when Liam is rushed to hospital after swallowing pills. It's not long before social services get involed, and to Fiona's horror, the social worker assessing the family turns out to be her school nemisis Katerina Webb, who is also the future Mrs Dawson. Meanwhile, Ian discovers Frank is not his biological father and sets off in search of a family he never knew existed. What will he find?
After getting hit in the face by Kash's shop door, Frank decides to sue the Karibs with the help of two shifty accident claim reps. Yvonne is unable to pay Frank's claim and is forced to close the shop, which results in the whole community turning against Frank and Sheila. Meanwhile, Fiona discovers she is pregnant. But with money troubles at an all-time low at the Gallagher household, she is unsure whether she wants to keep it. Torn, she tries to track down the father, Craig.
Fiona's new romance with Craig comes under threat when Craig's scheming wife Sue begins dating Marty, and when she dumps him, a heartbroken Marty goes on a downward spiral that threatens to land him back in prison, whilst Craig discovers his father has died. Meanwhile, Kev's sister Kelly arrives in Chatsworth and enlists the help of her brother and Frank to deal with her drug-addicted ex-boyfriend. But Veronica soon discovers everything is not what it seems.
Fiona's life is turned upside down when Steve returns to Chatsworth to persuade her to flee to Amsterdam with him. She is in turmoil about leaving her family, not to mention the father of her unborn baby. Who will she choose? Meanwhile, Frank sees a way to make easy money when Lillian's husband is killed. But he is forced to look after a clingy dog called Sadie, whilst the Gallaghers discover one of their own is responsible for the crime and, alongside Veronica and Carol, try to cover it up.