Edinburgh, 1827. In their shabby lodging house, William Hare encourages his drinking partner William Burke to think about the future, about an easier way of making a living. When one of Hare’s lodgers dies, the scheming duo plan to take the body to the medical school where corrupt surgeon Dr Knox exchanges cash for cadavers...
"D'you ever wonder why we're here? On the Earth? I don't. Oh, I know there's some that have a yearning for all that 'secrets of the universe' shite. That's what education does for you. But people round here…they're just ordinary. Don't want much. Don't expect much. I mean, why should they give a bugger? For most of them life is one long round of working, sleeping, eating and f*****g. If they're lucky, they get a glass of whisky now and then.
"I think people come in two sorts - those that drink and those that don't. Me - well, you know which sort I am. Anyway, getting to my point…it's like we're all sitting down at this huge great table. You don't know what's on the menu - you just sit there waiting with your spoon. First there's the toffs. They get the steak and they eat it off big shiny plates that have pretty patterns round the edge. Then there's the ordinary folk. They get beef stew, 'cos they're not wealthy or particularly educated, just…you know…ordinary. And then there's the beggars, the common folk, the poor f*****s who can't hold down a job, never have enough to eat and spend most of their time wondering if they're going to see another day. They get the slops, the crap from the bottom of the pan that no-one else wants. And wouldn't you know it, they're the ones that get ill, or have their arm caught in a machine, or catch some horrible disease. Or get murdered. If you've got money, you enjoy a better life, it's as simple as that."