Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford head up an experiment to send 70-something pensioners back into full time work in the city of Preston. The experiment reflects the Government's plans to raise the state pension age. They're more used to judging thrusting young apprentices, but this time the pair pluck 14 older workers out of retirement and set them to work in a chocolate factory, building site, restaurant, health clinic and estate agency.
Over the course of the week sceptical employers cut the 14 older workers no slack. Most of the bosses have never even considered employing workers of this age before and one admits that if he got one of their CVs he would normally just discard it. The recruits are expected to keep up with the production line despite spillages and fatigue, work in the wind and snow on an open building site and keep up to speed on the busiest night of the week at a high end restaurant.
Some pensioners are stuck in the past with woefully outdated knowledge of their profession and others have tools which wouldn't look out of place in a museum, but a few undergo their own personal transformations, embracing new techniques, loving the cut and thrust of the workplace and putting all their energies into trying to prove they're up to the job in a way that makes bosses and fellow workers begin to reassess their views of OAPs.
Nick and Margaret, who are both in their sixties themselves, are genuinely concerned by the issues the programme brings up but they start the series with differing viewpoints. Nick is shocked to hear that his grandchildren may have to work until they're 77 and feels strongly that by 70, after a lifetime of work, people have earnt the right to some rest. Margaret on the other hand is convinced that with life expectancy now nearly ten years higher than when the state pension was introduced, many pensioners are perfectly capable of working longer.
At the end of the programme, the five bosses have to decide whether to continue employing the pensioners who made it through, or send them back into retirement.