Set during a heat wave on a rundown Thamesmead estate, Beautiful Thing is an urban fairytale full of characters that abound with attitude, energy, frankness and humour. The story follows Jamie, an introvert, troubled teen whose dislike of football is reason enough for his classmates to bully him at every opportunity. Living with is pre-occupied single mum, Sandra, Jamie finds himself infatuated with his next door neighbour and classmate Ste. Ste, who is living with his drug-dealing brother and abusive, alcoholic father in the flat next door, is one night beaten so badly that Sandra takes pity and lets him sleep over. In the absence of a third bed, Ste has to make do with sleeping 'top-to-toe' with Jamie. Much to his delight, Jamie is able to provide Ste with the comfort and reassurance he craves and also a little massage with some peppermint foot lotion.
The boys' relationship is helped along by Leah, a sassy, Mama Cass-obsessed neighbour and Sandra's dippy neo-hippy lover, Tony, as they discover themselves, each other and a Beautiful Thing.