Darren Stark Scott Major, Todd MacDonald
Darren Stark 1993, 1996-1998, 2004, 2007-2008
Lived: 22, 24
Ramsay Street, Libby and Darren's house
Parents: Cheryl and Maurie Stark
Siblings: Janine, Danni, Brett and Louise
Family Tree: Stark
Occupation: Handyman, Barman, Electrician
Having spent time in prison with Michael Martin, Darren Stark headed to Erinsborough when he was released to meet the family of the man he despised. Michael had warned his family and friends about Darren, but little did he know that Darren was actually working his way into Debbie’s life under the assumed name of Freddo. Darren made sure to alienate Debbie from her friends and make her feel special, so that when she found out his true identity, she didn’t immediately walk away from him. Meanwhile, Darren’s mum, Cheryl, had developed a bit of an obsession with resident Lou Carpenter, so she rented number 22 and she and Darren moved in. This, of course, helped him to get closer to Debbie.
As Debbie’s ex-boyfriend, Rick Alessi was determined to get her away from Darren, but it seemed that every attempt to convince her simply made the situation worse. After a string of petty thefts, it seemed that Darren had a bigger plan to get Debbie in trouble – by robbing a service station at gun-point. When Rick then witnessed Darren kissing Louise Barker, he realised that Darren had absolutely no interest in Debbie and was stringing her along completely. Darren’s plans were coming closer and closer to fruition, so Rick was forced to visit the detention centre and help Michael to escape. In a bizarre plan, they dressed up as woman and managed to get out to rescue Debbie. Michael ended up being shot, while Darren was arrested and Debbie realised how wrong she’d been about him.
Three years later, Darren was released from prison on parole and returned to live with his mother and grandmother in Ramsay Street. However, not realising that his mother now lived at number 24, he broke into number 22, where Lou was living alone, and took some money from the fridge. He struggled to fit back in to normal society, but Cheryl was determined that her son wouldn’t stray from the straight and narrow this time. Darren had learnt some valuable carpentry skills while in prison, but couldn’t find anyone to employ him once on the outside. When Narelle Allen, the girlfriend of one of Darren’s former cellmates, visited him with an offer of illegal work for quick cash, he was very tempted. When he found out there was some cash hidden in a house that was about to be demolished, he broke in there. Unfortunately, the house was knocked down with Darren trapped inside, underneath a wardrobe, and he was lucky to walk out of the situation alive.
On the romance front, Darren found that Debbie was, unsurprisingly, very cold with him, but that another neighbour, Libby Kennedy, seemed to be more interested. The two of them got very close, despite the disapproval of her father, and she stopped him acting irrationally and trashing a building site when the foreman refused to give Darren work on account of his criminal record. After weeks of arguments with Karl Kennedy, Darren was the prime suspect when the surgery was the target of a home-made bomb. It didn’t help that Debbie saw Darren outside the surgery in the aftermath of the explosion, but it later emerged that the culprit was the father of a boy Karl had helped.
Darren seemed unable to avoid trouble, however, and, while in a record store, he found himself framed by a shoplifter, who thrust stolen CDs into Darren’s hands as the alarms went off. Because he was on parole, this brush with the law sent Darren straight back to prison, and seemed to confirm all of Karl’s beliefs that the boy was trouble. However, Libby and Cheryl were convinced by Darren’s pleas of innocence and Cheryl set out to get to the truth. Meanwhile, Darren didn’t want Libby to be burdened with him if he was going back to prison, so he told her that he no longer wanted to see her or even cared for her. Libby was devastated, but when Cheryl found a security tape that proved Darren’s innocence, he was released and immediately visited Libby to explain. They vowed to stick by each other, but it seemed that Cheryl and Karl weren’t so keen on the union, so the young couple made the decision to find a place of their own.
Only days later, as Darren realised that Libby couldn’t cope living in a bedsit during her VCE exams, he managed to patch things up with their parents. Poignantly, that same day, Cheryl was killed while trying to stop Lolly from wandering into the road. Darren was devastated, and went to see her body at the morgue, before taking his frustrations out on Karl, the man he viewed to be responsible for his mother’s death. As it emerged that Cheryl had been taking anti-depressants, which had reacted with the painkillers he had given her at the scene, it threatened Darren’s relationship with Libby, as well as his professional relationship with Mal, with whom he’d taken over the odd-job business, Handy Sam’s. Things were eased slightly when an enquiry revealed that Cheryl would have died anyway, as her injuries were so severe.
Meanwhile, the return of Lou Carpenter, in the wake of Cheryl’s death, put Darren at loggerheads with someone else. Darren was determined that Lou shouldn’t have control of the pub, as stipulated in the will, and tried to fight it. However, he eventually realised that all the arguing was doing no good, and, for the sake of Lolly, he agreed to try and get along with Lou, even moving into number 22 along with Marlene. Meanwhile, the business was also back on track when Lou offered Handy Sam’s the job of renovating the pub.
After several weeks of ups and downs, Libby and Darren’s relationship also seemed to be back on track, but that was all about to change when he offered to teach Catherine O’Brien to drive. After several arguments, including one where he left her in the middle of nowhere to get home on her own, they realised that it was less to do with a personality clash and more to do with a mutual attraction. Darren decided to pull out of the lessons and avoid Catherine at all costs, after a warning from Marlene. However, when Sarah decided she wanted a picture rail put up at number 30, Darren and Cath ended up in the house alone and gave in to their desires. Unfortunately, Marlene popped over at that moment with a message from Luke and Danni, and witnessed the whole thing. Although they heard the door closing, they didn’t know who had witnessed the kiss and a guilt-ridden Cath decided to cut her losses and confess to boyfriend, Mal. This revelation led to the end of both relationships, and a huge bust-up in the street between Darren and Mal. However, as Mal and Cath patched things up and left for Europe together, Darren fought to win Libby back.
In typical Darren style, he went in feet first and proposed marriage. Libby turned him down and told him she wouldn’t go back to him, leaving Darren devastated. With Handy Sam’s falling apart following the departure of Mal, Darren was delighted when Debbie offered him a job renovating the Coffee Shop for her. Darren also roped in his dodgy old mate, Wayne Peterson, who almost led Darren back to a life of crime. However, as dodgy Wayne began to romance Debbie and cause a great deal of trouble, Darren and Debbie got closer. With Wayne gone, Darren decided to make a move, which Debbie rejected. However, despite their history, she eventually decided to give him a go, as he insisted he was a reformed character. Their relationship was fraught with problems, not least when they tried to keep Helen entertained when she returned home after her stroke. When Libby then started getting close to Rohan Kendrick, Debbie got jealous, wondering if Darren was still interested in his ex. After a brief break up, they got back together, but quickly realised that they weren’t at all suited, and ended things for good.
When a group of Ramsay Street residents went out for dinner together, Libby and Darren ended up amongst those trapped in a lift together. When Darren climbed out the hatch in the top of the lift to try and see what was wrong, it suddenly started up again and the hatch slammed shut, with Darren about to be crushed as the lift neared the top of the shaft. Fortunately, Libby managed to rescue him and the incident made her realise that she still had strong feelings for him. Meanwhile, Libby had been neglecting her uni studies and was on the verge of failing the whole year. When Darren found out, he decided to talk to her parents about the problem – something that she deeply resented him for. Then, while putting up a banner on the side of the uni building, Libby slipped and was left hanging over the edge, before Darren rescued her. It seemed that fate had a way of always bringing the two of them together, when they most needed it.
After several more weeks of tiptoeing around each other, they were no closer to reuniting, so Darren made the surprise decision to leave town and head up to Byron Bay. However, just as he was on the bus, leaving town for good, she managed to chase it down and convince him that she loved him and wanted him to stay. For a few weeks, everything seemed fine for them. When Darren got work renovating an old house, he was less than happy to realise he’d be working for Martin Pike, an old flame of Libby’s. While working on the house, Libby and Darren began hearing mysterious noises and, convinced it was possums, Darren climbed up into the loft to take a look. However, he lost his footing and fell, landing hard on his back and leaving Libby worried that he might be paralysed. Fortunately, he was left with little more than a bruised ego.
When Martin’s sister, Sondra, took over the surveying of the renovation project, she quickly made it clear that she was interested in Darren. Though he made it clear he wasn’t interested, risking his job and livelihood in the process, he was hurt that Libby didn’t trust him more and they almost broke up once again. A few weeks later, Darren supported Libby when she messed up in her exams and decided to repeat a year. He also bought her a moped to make life easier when travelling to and from uni, though Karl was distinctly unimpressed with this mode of transport.
The next time that Darren was tempted, he didn’t do so well to resist, and it finally brought about the end of his and Libby’s relationship. When Toadie took along his new friend, Shannon, to the university ball, while Darren was there with Libby, he and Shannon both felt a little out of place. When Libby had to leave unexpectedly, Darren started chatting to Shannon and they shared a kiss. Though Darren owned up and Libby forgave him, she was shocked to witness a second kiss that had been videotaped by Caitlin for a school project. This time, she realised that despite Darren’s constant forgiveness, she couldn’t trust him and she called things off completely. With things apparently over with Libby, Darren decided once again to leave town. After a farewell dinner, he set off out of Erinsborough. By a huge coincidence, a days later Libby was on her way to Grandpa Tom’s to get over her heartbreak, when she stopped at a pub. She was shocked to find Darren there and, after a long chat about their relationship and their future, they finally said goodbye for good. Or did they?
Six years later, Darren returned to Erinsborough, where he took over Macauley’s electrician business. However, he didn’t get in touch with any of his old friends in Ramsay Street for several months. It wasn’t until the Kennedy family had problems with the wiring that he suddenly turned up at number 28, giving Libby a huge shock. It seemed that he had never gotten over Libby, and was determined to make something of his life before he tried to win her back. Libby seemed impressed with the way Darren interacted with Ben, and he explained that he knew all about her relationship with Drew, as Brett had kept him informed about everything.
Although it was obvious to everyone that they wanted to get back together, Darren and Libby both tiptoed around each other for several weeks. Darren tried to wind Libby up by pretending to go on dates with other women, while Libby met a man online and agreed to go out with him. However, when her date didn’t show up at the Coffee Shop as arranged, she was embarrassed when Darren turned up instead. As Darren chatted to her about her internet date, it wasn’t until later that she realised that she’d never told Darren who it was she was meeting. She caught Darren using the computer in the pub office and realised he’d been taking her for a ride all along. But Darren told her that he was only trying to prove to her that he’d changed, without any of their past problems prejudicing her opinion. Libby was delighted, and the pair soon picked up where they’d left off six years previously.
After a few dates had ended with Darren leaving Libby on her doorstep, she began to wonder when they were going to take things further. Darren had already spoken to Lou about the situation, who had advised him to take things much slower this time. After attending Max and Stephanie’s wedding together, they finally got the whole situation out in the open and slept together. Darren was thrilled to have won her back, but it seemed that Karl wasn’t delighted with the situation. He warned Darren not to ruin his daughter’s life all over again, but it seemed that Darren had truly changed, and wasn’t about to let anything, or anyone, spoil things.
Unfortunately, the decision was taken out of his hands, when he started working as an electrician on some of Jack Scully’s sites. Soon afterwards, corrupt police officer Olivia Mcpherson arranged with Jack to set up some robberies on the sites with her accomplices, in order to make back some money they’d used on drugs and partying. Because Darren had spent time in prison, Olivia’s partner, Stuart, immediately jumped to the conclusion that Darren was behind the robberies. This worked out well for Olivia, who allowed the investigation to continue. Libby was suddenly left confused, but Darren assured her that he was innocent, and she seemed to accept this. However, when Libby then turned up on the site, apparently innocently, Darren realised that she was checking up on him. He told her that the trust between them would never return completely. He then announced that he would be selling his business and leaving town. He told Lou of his plans, and revealed that he’d been planning to propose to Libby. When Libby found out that he’d be selling to Karen Buckley, a teacher at the school, she rushed there to stop the deal, but was too late. She begged Darren to stay, but he told her that he couldn’t. Libby was left devastated, and, as he left town, Darren made one last call to her, before leaving the ring in the telephone box and saying goodbye to Erinsborough once more.
After setting up a new life in Shepparton, Darren found that he still loved Libby and was finding it hard to live without her. After he sent her some flowers, she called him and he asked her and Ben to come and live with him. Libby decided that it was worth the risk and packed up and left Erinsborough for a new start with the love of her life. Things were going very well between Darren and Libby for the first couple of years, then it all started to go wrong when Libby found out that Darren had cheated on her with one of their neighbours. After learning that it was just a one-night-stand, Libby started trying to forgive him, and made plans to head back to Erinsborough to see Susan, who was in court after falling asleep at the wheel of her car and knocking down 16-year-old Bridget Parker. But, on the day she was set to go, Libby found out that it had been more than a one-night-stand - it was a full-blown affair. Unable to deal with Darren letting her down yet again, Libby took Ben and headed off to stay with her parents, where she ignored his calls and avoided questions from friends and family about when her boyfriend would be joining her. Eventually, he turned up in Erinsborough and, after saying hi to old neighbour Harold Bishop and buying some flowers, he went to see Libby, who immediately told him that she never wanted to see him again. Soon Karl was involved and he forced Darren to keep away, with Libby later telling her dad all the sordid details of why the relationship had ended. Darren, meanwhile, managed to remain on Ramsay Street by using Lou and Harold's spare room and made it clear to Libby that he wasn't going to give up on her without a fight.
As Karl tried to comfort his daughter, she struggled to take him seriously, knowing that he had hurt Susan in similar ways over the years. Things grew more complicated when Susan, who had just been diagnosed with MS and was suffering from temporary blindness, was released from hospital and confused to learn that Darren was in town but staying across the street. Desperate to make up for his past mistakes and be honest, Darren told Susan about his affair. She was horrified to learn that her little girl's heart had been broken all over again and promptly threw Darren out of her home. Having been roped in by old friend and housemate Toadie, who was now living at number 32 and engaged to Libby's best friend, Steph (whose marriage to Max had only lasted three short years), to take a look at some dodgy wiring, it wasn't long before Darren was confiding everything. He explained that he felt like Libby was pushing him further and further away, unable to move on from her memories of late husband, and Ben's dad, Drew. After Libby had refused to allow Darren to adopt Ben, feeling that it would diminish his memory of his real dad, Darren had found comfort with neighbour Lynda, who was also going through a hard time. As Toadie had gone through something similar with Steph and her memories of ex-husband Max, he sympathised, but Steph, who had been hearing a different side to the story from Libby, came home and threw Darren out. After realising that Libby had enrolled Ben at the local primary school and was planning to stick around in Erinsborough, Darren was upset, and Libby realised how unfair it was to punish Ben, so she allowed him to spend the day with Darren whilst she did some Christmas shopping. When Darren then bought Ben a fishing rod and promised to take him fishing when they were all back in Shepparton, Libby was furious, but Darren pointed out that it hadn't been a deliberate ploy to win her back and he would never use Ben in that way.
It wasn't long before Libby was softening towards Darren once again and agreed to give the relationship another try, as the pair celebrated the news that he'd won the contract to do all the wiring for a big new housing project in Shepparton. As he presented her with an expensive pendant as a Christmas gift, Libby broke the news that she had decided not to move back to Shepparton, and if Darren wanted to continue the relationship, he would have to give up the contract or commute. When Darren agreed to give it all up for Libby, she had another bombshell - she wanted them to have relationship counselling and wasn't prepared to live with Darren again until they had done so. Meanwhile, facing problems with his van, Darren visited Janae Timmins at the garage, and agreed to fix her dodgy wiring in return for her sorting out his engine. Janae, too, was having relationship problems and it wasn't long before the pair were crying on each other's shoulders, which led to a kiss, which was witnessed by Kirsten. The mother of Mickey, Janae's (almost) step-son, Kirsten wasted little time in blackmailing Janae with what she knew, but the whole thing was overshadowed when a nearby warehouse collapse whilst hosting an illegal rave. With her stepbrother Zeke trapped inside, Libby had raced in to help, only to become trapped by a secondary collapse. Once Libby was safe, she and Darren agreed to make a fresh start with each other, repairing their relationship, with Libby even offering to make the move back to Shepparton.
However, as they were sorting things out, Janae was confessing the kiss to Ned, who told Darren that he wouldn't say anything to Libby, but if she asked him, he wasn't prepared to lie. Hopeful that his secret was safe and that he and Libby could move back to Shepparton for a fresh start, Darren set off, leaving Libby in Erinsborough. He returned later that day, to find everyone gathered at number 30 for a party to celebrate the birth of little Chloe Cammeniti and announced to Libby that he had a surprise for her - he'd put in motion plans to buy them a cottage that she'd been admiring for a while. But Janae was unable to cope with the guilt of what she'd done and told Darren that they should come clean to Libby, unfortunately choosing the wrong moment to say this to him, just as the loud music at the party went off, allowing several people to overhear. Amongst the crowd were Karl and Susan, and Darren realised that he now had no option, so he confessed everything to a devastated Libby. She then told him that it was over, he'd blown his final chance with her and she never wanted to see him again, nor did she want him to have any contact with Ben. Devastated, Darren spoke to Lou, asking whether he could have forgiven Cheryl for her affair with John Allen, had he known about it when she was alive. Lou admitted that he might have been able to, eventually, while Toadie told Darren that he was an idiot for messing things up with Libby yet again. Darren left, but returned to Ramsay Street later that day, desperate to speak to Libby, only for Karl to send him away, warning him against ever coming back. Realising that the relationship was over for good this time, Darren made plans to return to Shepparton, but first, he and Libby had to explain things to Ben, who took the news badly, and Darren agreed to stick around at the Kennedy house for a few hours to spend some time with him. The following morning, Darren packed up his van, said his goodbyes to Lou, Susan and Ben, before an awkward final exchange with Libby, who told him to take care of himself, before he drove out of her life for good.
• Todd MacDonald played Darren from the character's return to Ramsay Street in 1996 onwards. He returned for two guest stints in 2004 and 2007
• In 2005, Darren made a cameo appearance in Annalise's 20th Anniversary Documentary
• To read our interview with the original Darren, Scott Major, click here
1962-1963, 1972-1998, 2653-3035, 4498-4542, 4773, 5352-5378
Episode 3053: Darren's Departure
Episode 4498: Darren's Return