School teacher Mr Hey meets Polidori, Lord Byron's doctor, who convinces him that dreams are a higher and preferable reality.
Mr Hey is an insomniac. His brother creates a dream machine which gives him his first decent night's sleep since he can remember. The dream machine also conjures up Polidori, the insistent but charming doctor of Lord Byron. As Mr Hey struggles with work at school, especially the marking, and his passion for poetry, he meets Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley and Lord Byron. It becomes necessary that Mr Hey joins their party at Villa Diodati on the Lake Geneva, Switzerland, for Mary to write her novel 'Frankenstein'. Meanwhile his new neighbour Elizabeth with her collection of demi-johns takes an interest in both Mr Heys.