Set in the 1930s, the world of the Bright Young Things is one of nightclubs, dancing, jazz and speed. Their lives revolve around an endless series of parties and pleasure seeking: motorcars, jazz bands, gossip journalism, drugs, gramophones… Inevitably, however, the frantic pace of living takes its toll and one by one they begin to crash and burn in the search for newer and faster sensations.
Starring Emily Mortimer, Stephen Campbell Moore, Dan Aykroyd, Jim Broadbent, Stockard Channing, Fenella Woolgar, James McAvoy, David Tennant
The primary characters are earnest aspiring novelist Adam Fenwick-Symes and his fiancée Nina Blount. When Adam's novel Bright Young Things, commissioned by tabloid newspaper magnate Lord Monomark, is confiscated by customs agents at the port of Dover for being too racy, he finds himself in a precarious financial situation that may force him to postpone his marriage. In the lounge of the hotel where he lives, he wins £1000 by successfully performing a trick involving sleight of hand, and the Major offers to place the money on the decidedly ill-favored Indian Runner in an upcoming horserace. Anxious to wed Nina, Adam agrees, and the horse wins at odds of 33-1, but it takes him more than a decade to collect his winnings.
Meanwhile, Adam and Nina are surrounded by a young and decadent crowd, whose lives are dedicated to wild parties, alcohol, cocaine, and the latest gossip reported by columnist Simon Balcairn, known to his readers as Mr. Chatterbox. Among them are eccentric Agatha Runcible, whose wild ways eventually lead her to being committed in a mental institution; Miles, who is forced to flee the country to avoid prosecution for his homosexuality; Sneath, a paparazzo who chronicles the wicked ways of the young and reckless; and Ginger Littlejohn, Nina's former beau, who ingratiates himself back into her life, much to Adam's dismay. The pastimes of the idle rich are disrupted with the onset of World War II, which eventually affects their lives in often devastating ways.