> Guest Character
Mitch Foster Hugh Sexton
Mitch Foster 2001-2002
Occupation: Rig Supervisor
When Stephanie Scully was in the pub one day, she found herself receiving unwanted attention from a rowdy group of men who were playing pool. As she tried to put them off, she was assisted by a mysterious man, who, as he returned to his table, called her Steph and she was left wondering how he knew her name. Later that day, Steph was at the garage when the man turned up again, this time to deliver a rig that Steph’s dad, Joe, had been hired to drive. The man, Mitch Foster, asked Steph to go for a beer with him and he explained that he was a friend of her ex-boyfriend, Woody – they’d been in prison together – and was stunned to learn that Woody had been killed in a car accident a few weeks earlier. Still grieving for her boyfriend, Steph was happy to have Mitch around, as he had also been close to Woody, but her parents weren’t at all pleased as she grew closer to yet another former jailbird, especially as Mitch was quite evasive when asked why he was in prison in the first place.
Although their friendship was blossoming, Steph still tried to find excuses when Mitch asked her out on a proper date. However, her attempts to avoid him proved futile, as Mitch was often at the Scully house due to his job as Joe’s rig supervisor, and Steph’s younger sister Flick soon picked up on the chemistry and encouraged Steph to ask Mitch out to dinner. When Mitch came to the house for the meal, however, Lyn wasn’t happy about leaving the two of them alone, so she decided to join them. A nervous Steph then managed to burn the food, but Mitch pretended to enjoy it. Later, the conversation once again turned to Woody and the couple began to wonder if he was all they had in common. Mitch wasn’t prepared to give up that easily though, and he took Steph for a bike ride along the coast, where the pair had a wonderful time. He managed to impress the family too, when he smoothed things over with his employers, after Joe had an accident in the rig.
As Steph and Mitch once again got close, he warned her that, if she was serious about him, she should be prepared to learn things about him that she would find unpleasant. It was too late for Steph, though, as she realised that she was falling for him and they shared a kiss. And, as Joe looked like he was facing financial ruin, due to one of his clients, Vic Beeson, refusing to pay up, Mitch dealt with the situation. When Mitch turned up with a cut on his fist, Steph was suspicious and Lyn warned her daughter to be careful. However, when Steph then saw Mitch being friendly towards a little boy, Jamie Gilchrist, who’d become lost at Lassiter’s, her feelings changed. She decided to confront him about Vic Beeson, and Mitch admitted that he’d threatened him, but hadn’t used violence – he’d actually hurt his hand when getting off one of the rigs. Steph decided to put her past doubts behind her and agreed to go away for a holiday in Sydney with Mitch, but, just as they were leaving, everything was thrown into doubt when Woody turned up on the Scullys’ doorstep. Steph’s feelings were torn, as Woody admitted that he’d been in hiding from the criminal Kev Kelly, who had since died, meaning that Woody could be reunited with Steph. In a bid to win her back, Woody proposed and told Steph that Mitch had been in prison for killing a man. Although it turned out that it had been an insurance job which had gone wrong and a man had died, Steph decided that she could no longer trust either of them and told both Mitch and Woody that she didn’t want to see them again.
Six months later, Mitch made a dramatic return to Erinsborough, when he suddenly emerged from the bushes one night with serious injuries and begged Steph for her help. She took him back to 22 Ramsay Street – where she’d been lodging with Drew Kirk and Libby Kennedy – and tended to his wounds, with Mitch explaining that he fell from his motorbike. Although Steph, Libby and Drew were suspicious, Mitch refused to tell them what was going on and he disappeared again, arranging to meet Steph in the park the next day. The next morning, the Erinsborough News front page carried a story about an armed robbery, and, when Mitch called number 22 looking for Steph, Libby decided to call the police, scared for her family’s safety. After spotting the police hanging around the park near Steph, Mitch failed to turn up to their meeting. Later that day, he turned up at her place of work – MOCO – and threatened her with a gun, telling her that she’d betrayed him. After he leaned in for one final kiss, witnessed by Steph’s friend Toadie Rebecchi, who was passing, Steph gave Mitch the contents of the till and he disappeared, leaving Steph looking like she’d assisted in a pre-meditated robbery.
Desperate to avoid jail, Steph tracked down Mitch, with the help of her friend Stuart Parker, where they found him hiding out in the bush, seriously ill from his previous injuries. As he passed out, they took him to the hospital, where he still refused to admit that Steph hadn’t been involved in the robbery and was found to be suffering from septicaemia and pneumonia. In a final attempt to clear Steph’s name, Stuart – who worked at the hospital as an orderly – went into Mitch’s room to give him his lunch and struck up a conversation about the robbery, during which Mitch admitted that nobody would ever prove that Steph was innocent. Outside, Stuart took a recorder from under his shirt and handed the evidence to the police. Realising that he’d got nowhere left to run, Mitch apologised to Steph for everything he’d put her through and the police took him away.
• Hugh Sexton previously appeared in 1998 as Jake Nichols
Biography by Steve