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Michael “ Mike” Young is a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Neighbours,

played by Guy Pearce. He made his first on- screen appearance on 20th January 1986. Mike’s storylines included being physically abused by his father, moving in with Des and Daphane Clarke, making friends with Charlene Mitchell and Scott Robinson, his relationship with Jane Harris and becoming a teacher. Mike departed Erinsborough to be with his mother, on 6th December 1989.

Character creation and casting

When he was 18, Pearce’s drama teacher advised him to TV companies asking for auditions and he wrote to the Grundy Organisation, which produced Neighbours at the time. Pearce was then the cast as the troubled and lonely Mike Young. Following his last year 12 exam, he began filming on 3rd December 1985. Seven Network dropped Neighbours shortly after Pearce joined the cast, but Network Ten soon picked the show up and Pearce’s debut was shown in episode number 171, the first episode broadcast on Ten. In 1989, the Neighbours producers did not want Pearce to play Errol Flynn in a biopic film and Pearce decided to leave the show. Of being apart of Neighbours, Pearce said “ I experienced hysteria at a pretty high pitch with that show. Pearce also added “ I’m not embarrassed by having done it now, not at all. It was an amazing experience, an amazing opportunity. And I was also 18.

Storylines

Background: Michael “ Mike” Young and his mother, Barbara, lived in fear of being beaten up and abused by Mike’s father, David, throughout Mike’s young life. This meant Mike grew up into a lonely, quiet young man who didn’t socialise much until he began attending Erinsborough High School and became good friends with Charlene Mitchell and Scott Robinson.

1986- 1989: Through his friendship with Scott, Mike came to Ramsay Street and befriend Scott’s neighbour Daphane Clarke, who cared for him, later giving him a part- time job at her coffee shop. Mike opened up to Daphane and Des about his problems at home with his father and Daphane tried to get Mike and Barbara away from David. However, Barbara was too scared of her husband and she didn’t want to leave, but Mike was determined to go and moved in with Des and Daphane when they offered to become his illegal guardians. Mike briefly dated Scott’s cousin Nikki Dennison, but he later fell for Jane Harris when she moved in with her grandmother, Mrs Mangle. Jane fell for Mike straight away, but it look a while before Mike realised his feelings due to Jane’s plain image. Helen Daniels and Daphane gave her a makeover for a school dance, which consisted of replacing her glasses with contacts, a new haircut and makeup. Mike liked her new image and they began dating. Mrs Mangle wasn’t happy that her granddaughter was dating Mike and when she received letters about Mike’s ’ reputation’ with other girls, Mrs Mangle stopped Jane from seeing him. Daphane eventually caught with school bully Sue Parker posting the letters because she was jealous of Mike and Jane’s relationship. Mrs Mangle then let Jane and Mike continue with their relationship. When Nikki Dennison returned to Ramsay Street, Mike helped comfort Nikki when her mother became ill, leading Jane to become jealous of their friendship. Mike also became jealous when Shane Ramsay showed attraction to Jane, but she told Mike that he was the only one for her. Following their final exams, Jane focused on a modelling career and Mike decided to become a teacher. As they were leading separate lives, Jane and Mike split up amicably and remained friends. Not long after, Daphane was killed in a car crash and Mike left feeling guilty as he hadn’t been round for weeks. Mike was angry and upset and he found the two men who had crashed into Daphne’s car and he attacked them and was later arrested. When Mike finished university, he got a job teaching Maths at Erinsborough High. Mike came close to one of his students, Jessie Ross, who admitted that she had an abusive father too. Mike confronted her father and became close to Jessie, even sharing a kiss with her. The principal, saw them together and suspended Mike, who left Erinsborough for a while on his motorbike. On his return, Mike found Des and Jane had a forged a strong friendship. Mike became moody as he settled in and when Jenny Owen’s came to see him, it was revealed that Mike and Jenny had a ride on his motorbike and they had an accident. Jenny fell from the bike and was left paralyzed and confided to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Mike blamed himself of Jenny’s condition and couldn’t bring himself to accept that the event was an accident. Jenny eventually convinced him that it wasn’t his fault. At the same time, Des and Jane began dating and Mike was disgusted with the both of them. He refused to accept the relationship and left Erinsborough again. He returned in the middle if Des and Jane’s engagement party and Mike interrupted the party. Mike eventually accepted that Des and Jane loved each other and gave them his blessing. Mike began to feel like there wasn’t much for him at Erinsborough and when he heard that his mother had been in a plane crash, and with his father long dead, Mike decided to leave Ramsay Street and join her to help her recovery.

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