Set in the late 1920s against the backdrop of the early days of British cinema, this story is told in 101 numbered parts. By 1925, the rate of 24 frames per second had been established worldwide for silent films. So 101 frames - the pieces of the title - make about four seconds. Four seconds of film is enough for 16-year-old Sarah Freebody to become an object of fascination for a young producer who will not rest until he has secured her for his next project. Sarah becomes Clara Hope, acts in films, meets exciting people, falls in love and, in the end, has to decide whether a life in film is right for her.