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Guest Character Profiles > Russell Brennan Russell Kiefel

Russell Brennan 2015
Children: Mark, Tyler, Aaron
Occupation: Mechanic

Father to three sons and a daughter, mechanic Russell Brennan hoped that one of his children would follow in his footsteps, and was left disappointed when eldest son Mark left the Brennan home in Port Lincoln to become a police detective. With his ex-wife and daughter living together in Adelaide, it wasn't long before middle son Aaron also left home, after Russell caught him in bed with another man. Wrongly believing that his father didn't approve, when actually he was just struggling to express his feelings, Aaron moved away and Tyler was left along with his dad. Soon, teenager Tyler was bearing the brunt of Russell's anger, receiving regular beatings, something he never revealed to any other members of the family. Tyler, however, became the only one of the Brennan children to continue as a mechanic into his twenties, eventually using it as an excuse to escape Port Lincoln and move to be with Mark in Erinsborough, where they were later joined by Aaron who, following a stint in the mines in Western Australia, had become an exotic dancer.

The Brennan brothers had all been together in Erinsborough for a couple of months when Mark's girlfriend Paige convinced him to call his dad, who he hadn't spoken to in years, and try to reconnect. The phone call had the unexpected effect of bringing Russell to town, and although Mark was happy to see him, Aaron was a little more distant, whilst Tyler, who'd been due to move back in with his brothers that day after a falling-out, disappeared on his motorbike, not ready to come face to face with his dad again.

After catching Aaron practising a dance routine, and learning about his new career as a dancer, Russell did his best to be supportive. When Aaron then accused his dad of being homophobic, Russell insisted that he wasn't - he only ever wanted his sons to be happy and comfortable with themselves - but he just hadn't known how to discuss the matter. After father and son patched up their differences over a beer and a footy game, Tyler then also did his best to try to act normal, returning to number 24 to join his father and brothers, though still keeping a distance from Russell. Later that week, Russell insisted on tagging along when Aaron attended an LGBTI event at The Waterhole, and although he felt like a fish out of water, he did manage to make a new friend in bar manager Sheila Canning. The pair quickly hit it off, and later that night Sheila's daughter Naomi was shocked to return home to find her mum and Russell, in their underwear, drinking champagne in the spa together. Russell's sons were amused when their dad then returned home, dripping wet, and explained what had happened. The incident managed to bring the family together for the first time in a while, and by the end of that week, Russell was helping Tyler work on some bike parts. Though Russell almost flared up when Tyler accidentally knocked something over, he quickly calmed down, but noticed that Tyler was frozen with fear. Afterwards, father and son finally spoke about what Russell described as their 'rough patch' and he insisted that he'd changed and was no longer like that. Tyler explained that he hadn't told his brothers about the violence, as he didn't want them to see him as weak, but later that day, he finally agreed to move back into number 24.

After Mark had a frank discussion with his dad about his intentions towards Sheila, Russell backed off, leaving Sheila worried that he'd changed his mind about their relationship. However, he returned and apologised, explaining that he just didn't want to mess things up with her, but he was serious about them - and he wanted to stick around in Erinsborough. Sheila quickly suggested that he could sell his garage in Port Lincoln and buy the one in Erinsborough, and she'd be happy to help out by giving him some money. Russell was amazed by her generosity, but it soon emerged that the money had been given to her by her son Gary, who'd received it from Paul as payment for beating up Ezra Hanley. Shortly before handing himself in to the police, Gary had given the money to his mum, but it wasn't long before Mark got to hear about it. Realising that this might be the link they needed to catch Paul for the crime, Mark went to speak to Gary, who continued to insist that he had acted alone, and with no other way of proving Paul's involvement, the case had to be dropped again, and Russell was left without an investor. He did, however, insist that he still wanted to stay in Erinsborough, though when Tyler found out, he reacted badly, and Russell realised that there was still a long way to go before their relationship was fixed. Meanwhile, Russell offered to help make some alterations at number 30, with a wheelchair-bound Toadie due to come out of hospital, and soon Toadie's mum Angie was busy flirting with him, much to Sheila's annoyance. It wasn't long before the arguments between the two women turned physical, and Sheila pushed Angie onto the sofa. Believing that her terrible behaviour had ruined things with Russell, Sheila was surprised when he later tracked her down and admitted that he'd never had two women fighting over him like that, and he'd really enjoying the whole experience.

Whilst things were going from strength to strength for Russell and Sheila, his attempts to make up for the past with Tyler weren't going quite so well. After offering to help Tyler and teenage neighbour Ben with some work on Tyler's motorbike, father and son started playing pranks on the youngster, but when Ben got his own back by pulling Russell's trousers down, his temper got the better of him. As Russell shouted at Ben, a passing Karl - Ben's grandfather and the only other person who was aware of Tyler's history with his father - saw what was happening and intervened, furious to see Russell picking on a teenager. When Karl later went to number 24 to confront Russell, Tyler made it clear that he didn't want his own abuse to be mentioned, and Sheila was left confused by what she saw as Karl's overreaction. With his past abuse of Tyler still a secret - for the time being - Russell focused on finding a way to buy Fitzgerald Motors, as it looked like his business in Port Lincoln was no closer to selling. When another offer came in for Fitzgerald Motors, Russell worried that he was going to miss out, but then, much to Tyler's horror, Mark and Aaron offered to use their savings to help their dad buy the business, meaning that he'd definitely be able to stick around in Erinsborough.

When tensions finally boiled over between Russell and Tyler, an argument broke out, but as Russell started pushing his son and telling him to grow up and get over it, Tyler snapped and punched his dad. When Mark saw what had happened, he went looking for Tyler to confront him, and was sceptical when his younger brother finally opened up about the abuse he'd suffered at their father's hands. Returning home, Mark spoke to Russell and realised that Tyler had been telling the truth. Mark and Aaron were left feeling terrible as they spoke to Tyler about everything that had happened, and they asked Russell to stay somewhere else. He turned to Sheila, who agreed that he could stay with her that night. The next day, the brothers told Russell to go back to Port Lincoln, and he asked Sheila to go with him - she turned him down, but said that maybe if he found a counsellor and came to terms with what he'd done, they might still have a future together. The brothers then watched down from number 24, as Russell and Sheila said goodbye, and their father left Ramsay Street.

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Biography by Steve