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Character Profiles > Des Clarke Paul Keane

Desmond Kingsley Clarke 1985-1990, 2015
Lived: 28 Ramsay Street
Parents: Malcolm and Eileen Clarke
Marital Status: Daphne Lawrence (1986-1988; died), Fiona (1991-)
Children: Jamie
Family Tree: Clarke
Occupation: Bank Manager

Des Clarke was born in Perth, growing up with only his interfering mother Eileen. His father, Malcolm, had left while Des was still an infant resulting in Des never knowing his father. After studying business and commerce at university, Des was appointed assistant manager of the Pacific Bank in Erinsborough, Melbourne. Des found romance here with bank teller Julie Robinson but true love came for Des in the form of Julie's best friend, Lorraine Kingham.

Des and Lorraine soon became engaged despite the objections of Lorraine's snobbish father who felt his daughter was marrying beneath her. The couple took out a mortgage before their wedding and bought No. 28 Ramsay Street, next door to Julie's family home, although Lorraine planned to stay with her parents until after the wedding. As the wedding day approached, both bride and groom began to have their doubts - Lorraine more so than Des. Events came to a climax when Julie talked Lorraine out of marrying Des on the eve of the wedding. Much to the delight of Mr. Kingham, Lorraine called on Des the morning of the wedding and called things off.

Although Des was upset at being jilted by Lorraine, he soon got over things and was faced with another problem - the mortgage on the house. The solution was to take in a lodger and when the stripper from his bucks party, Daphne Lawrence, arrived on his doorstep looking for a lost earring, she mentioned that she needed a new place to live and agreed to live with Des. Although the relationship was strictly platonic, Des was obviously smitten with Daphne, but had to watch to be content with admiring her from afar.

Daphne began dating Des’ mate and neighbour Shane Ramsay soon after, but all along, it was clear that there was chemistry between Daphne and Des. After Daphne split with Shane, she and Des secretly became engaged, and agreed on a quick, private wedding with only Eileen present. But the arrival of Daphne’s old friend, Zoe Davis, meant one more person knew as Zoe put two and two together when she saw a wedding dress in Daphne’s bedroom. Eileen also let the cat out of the bag to the entire Robinson family and Madge Mitchell, meaning that Des and Daphne had to give in and invite the whole of Ramsay Street to their wedding. But on the day of the wedding, Des once again found himself stood up when Daphne's car was hijacked on the way to the wedding by a bank robber. Although Daphne eventually found her way back to the church, Des had been so convinced he was being jilted again that he had already left.

Daphne was furious with Des having so little faith in her, and when he returned to Erinsborough after a few days away to clear his head, he found Daphne moved out of No.28 and across to No.22 to share with Clive Gibbons. Des desperately tried to win Daphne back, but she was so angry with him that she couldn’t forgive him for the embarrassment he had caused her. With Daphne gone, Des rented her room to Zoe, and tried hard to put the past behind him. It wasn’t made easy for him, though, as Shane asked Daphne to marry him and they became engaged.

But just as it looked like Daphne was softening towards Des and beginning to reconsider the engagement to Shane, Andrea Townsend, an ex-girlfriend of Des' from Perth, showed up with a ten-year-old son, Bradley, claiming that Des was his father. Des was determined to do the right thing and asked them to move in. But the rest of Ramsay Street smelt a rat and weren’t as convinced as Des was that Bradley was his son. Daphne was particularly hurt by Andrea and Bradley’s presence in Des’s life but matters were resolved when the meddlesome Eileen found out Andrea was lying about Bradley being Des' son just so Des could support them. Des was quite upset when Andrea confirmed Eileen's accusations because he had grown quite fond of Bradley over the months and had begun to look on him as a son. Andrea and Bradley remained with Des for a while longer, before moving into Eileen's unit when she moved out. Soon after, Andrea married local tycoon Jack Lassiter and she and Bradley left town with him for Europe and a new life.

Daphne and Des finally declared their feelings for each other and became engaged. They finally married in a beautiful church ceremony followed by a disastrous honeymoon where Des put his back out forcing them to return early. On their return, the couple became legal guardians of teenager Mike Young, the schoolfriend of next-door neighbour Scott Robinson. Mike was the victim of physical abuse by his violent father and had been taken in by Daphne when she was living at No.22 with Clive. It took Mike a while to settle into life in a proper family environment but Des and Daphne - and even Eileen - treated him as a fully-fledged Clarke. Another addition was added to the family when Daphne became pregnant and gave birth to James Kingsley Clarke nine months later.

Shortly after Jamie's birth, Daphne was reunited with her estranged father and was shocked to discover he was dying. Daphne decided to stay with him for the last months of his life and left with Jamie to nurse him. While Daphne was away, a mysterious woman came to Erinsborough looking for Des who turned out to be his half-sister, Sally Wells. Sally was the result of a relationship Malcolm had been in after leaving Des and Eileen. Des and Sally soon formed a strong relationship particularly since both had grown up only children and often lonely. Through Sally, Des finally met the man who had abandoned him and his mother so many years ago and after a while, got to know him better. Ironcially, Malcolm had been living in Erinsborough all along.

Tragedy struck the Clarkes when Daphne was involved in a fatal car crash on the way home from her father's funeral leaving her in a coma for months. Des spent his days and nights sitting by her bedside talking to his beloved wife and praying that she would recover. Daphne woke briefly to tell Des she loved him before succumbing to cardiac arrest and dying. Des was devastated. He was now faced with the difficult task of bringing up a little baby without his mother. To add to his problems, Eileen suffered a nervous breakdown following a disastrous reunion with Malcolm and her daughter-in-law's death, and went away to a nursing home to recuperate.

It took Des a long time to get over losing his beloved 'Daph'. He found it difficult to look after Jamie alone. And with Mike starting university and Sally and Eileen moving to England, he decided to advertise for a nanny. The first person to apply was young country girl called Bronwyn Davies who had already met Des when he had lost Jamie earlier that day in the shopping centre. Bronwyn had found Jamie and gave Des a telling off for being so careless with his son. Bronwyn immediately turned to leave when she realised the job was with Des but he recognised a good quality in her and gave her the job.

A brief romance came for Des with his assistant at the bank, Penelope Porter. Although it seemed like they were made for each other, Penny admitted to Des that she was having an affair with the head of the Pacific Bank, Gordon Hemmings. Feeling ashamed, Penelope called off her relationship with both men and left Erinsborough - just as Des was preparing to propose to her.

True love blossomed for Des with the most unlikely woman soon after - Mike's ex-girlfriend, Jane Harris. At first Des didn't want to get into a relationship with Jane due to the age gap between them but they eventually realised that it was their happiness that mattered and not what the neighbours thought. But things didn't run smoothly for the couple. Mike still had feelings for Jane and couldn't bear to watch her and Des being intimate and loving around the house. A rift developed between Des and Mike prompting Mike to visit his mother for a while. During his absence, Des and Jane became engaged. They had a double engagement party with Jane's uncle, Joe Mangel and Kerry Bishop at the Robinsons' only for it to be interrupted by a jealous Mike who had only learned of it from one of the neighbours outside. A bitter Mike made plans to move out but after a good talk with Jane the three patched up their differences and Mike swallowed his pride to wish them all the best.

But Des was about to be jilted at the altar yet again. When Jane's grandmother had a heart attack in the airport on the way to Australia for the wedding, Jane flew out to London to be with her. The wedding was postponed indefinitely and Des longed for his fiancee to return. But when Des' new lodger Melanie Pearson took a phone call from Jane and told Jane how much she was hurting Des by staying away so long, Jane called Des later and told him she was staying in England with her nan and called the wedding off. A devastated Des flew out to London to try to get Jane back but she told him that things would never have worked out between them and it was best that they just got on with their lives.

Des then went through a mid-life crisis of sorts, trying to change his image and develop a more youthful approach to life. With help from Melanie, he spiced up his CV to get a more challenging job. But his plan backfired when Melanie listed canoeing and rock-climbing on the CV as Des' favourite pasttimes only for his boss to invite him on an outdoor pursuits weekend in which Des nearly fell off a cliff. Nonetheless, Des was kept on at the firm and was even sent on a six month business trip to Perth. On Des' return to Erinsborough, he shocked his neighbours by putting his house up for sale. But they were delighted when Des announced he had fallen in love with a fellow widow, Fiona, who had two children of her own, Michael and Elyse. Des and Fiona had become engaged in Perth and he planned to move out there to marry her. After selling No. 28 to builder Doug Willis and his family, Des and Jamie left Ramsay Street behind to make a fresh start in Perth, where Des later married Fiona.

Sadly, the marriage didn't go the distance. Des and Jamie moved down to Adelaide, where Des suffered a nervous breakdown and Jamie disappeared from home, later turning up in Erinsborough. Happily, Des' old friend and neighbour Harold Bishop managed to get in touch with a friend who worked in social services, who located Des and a reunion between father and son was arranged.

In 2015, Des was surprised to receive an invitation from Paul to come back for a visit, but was delighted to return and catch up with his old friend. It soon became clear that Paul was up to something, when he introduced Des to Daniel, Scott and Charlene's son, and lied that Des was back in town for a bank managers' convention. As Paul explained that Daniel was about to get married to Amber Turner, and started talking about how it was 30 years since Lorraine had jilted Des, it quickly became clear that this trip down memory lane was intended to make Daniel see that he and Amber were too young to marry. The plan failed, as Daniel stormed off, and Des only stuck around a little longer, so that he could visit the Erinsborough Festival and take a look at the photo exhibition of many of the area's past residents.

Trivia Notes
• Des was a huge fan of Elvis Presley

1-1309, 7082

Magic Moments
Episode 295: Des and Daphne's Wedding

Biography by Moe