Des Clarke (Neighbours)
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|Portrayed by||Paul Keane|
|First appearance||18 March 1985|
|Last appearance||11 October 1990|
|Created by||Reg Watson|
|Introduced by||Reg Watson|
Co-owner of Daphne's Coffee Shop
Desmond Kingsley "Des" Clarke is a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Neighbours, played by Paul Keane. He made his first on screen appearance on 18 March 1985, the show's first episode.
Des is the manager of the Pacific Bank. He briefly dates colleague Julie Robinson (Vikki Blanche) but it does not last long. Des then dates Julie's friend Lorraine Kingham (Antoinette Byron) and they become engaged. They buy Number 28, the house next door to Julie and her family. The wedding is cancelled after Lorraine has doubts after a conversation with Julie. Lorraine is unimpressed to learn that Daphne Lawrence (Elaine Smith), the stripper from Des' buck's party is moving in to help him pay off the mortgage and has the furniture repossessed. Daphne buys some new furniture and Des is grateful. Des falls for Daphne but she prefers Des' friend Shane Ramsay (Peter O'Brien). After Shane and Daphne's relationship breaks up, Des and Daphne are drawn together and Des proposes and Daphne accepts. They have numerous false starts during the engagement including Daphne being kidnapped, Des' ex-girlfriend Andrea Townsend (Gina Gaigalas) claiming Des is the father of her son Bradley (Bradley Kilpatrick) and Shane trying to win Daphne back. Des and Daphne finally marry in spite of all the problems, with their friends and neighbours present.
Des and Daphne foster Mike Young (Guy Pearce) after his abusive father David (Stewart Faichney) begins beating him and his mother Barbara (Rona McLeod) and they form a family unit. Daphne later becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son, Jamie (S.J. Dey). Daphne reconnects with her estranged father Allen (Neil Fitzpatrick) and learns he is dying and takes Jamie with her to nurse him during his final days. Sally Wells (Rowena Mohr) arrives in Erinsborough looking for Des and explains she is his half-sister, the product of a relationship their father Malcolm (Noel Trevarthen) had after leaving Des and his mother Eileen (Myra De Groot). Des and Sally bond and track down Malcolm, who has been living in Erinsborough for many years.
Des is delighted when Daphne tells him she will be returning home after Allen's funeral but she and Gail Robinson (Fiona Corke) are involved in a car crash. Gail and Jamie are fine but Daphne is left comatose for several weeks. Daphne wakes up briefly to tell Des she loves him before going into cardiac arrest and dying. Des is devastated and struggles to raise Jamie alone and matters are not helped when Mike's University studies take up a lot of his time and Eileen and Sally relocate to England. He decides to advertise for a nanny and Bronwyn Davies (Rachel Friend) answers the call, much to Des' surprises as she had earlier admonished for losing Jamie in a supermarket. They call a truce and Des invites her to move in.
Des begins dating again and has a brief romance with Penelope Porter (Nicki Wendt) but the relationship breaks down after Penny admits she has been seeing Gordon Hemmings, the head of the Bank and leaves Erinsborough. Des' next relationship is with Jane Harris (Annie Jones), He has reservations as Jane is younger than him and was previously in a relationship with Mike. The relationship causes friction with Mike and he leaves to stay with his mother for a while. Des and Jane get engaged, which upsets Mike who plans to move out but the three of them sort out their differences. The engagement collapses when Jane leaves for England to tend to her grandmother Nell Mangel (Vivian Grey) who has suffered a heart attack. Jane stays in England calls off the wedding.
Des tries to change his image and become more active with his life. Melanie Pearson (Lucinda Cowden) helps him to get a more challenging job by embelleshing his CV. On an outdoor pursuit weekend, Des nearly falls off a cliff. However, his boss keeps him on at the firm and sends him on a business trip to Perth. After Des returns, he puts the house up for sale and announces that he's moving to Perth after meeting a new partner, Fiona, a fellow widow with children of her own. Des sells Number 28 to the Willis family and moves into a flat before leaving. Des and Fiona's marriage does not last long and he and Jamie movie to Adelaide. Des suffers a nervous breakdown and is hospitalized and Jamie is placed in care. Jamie runs away to Erinsborough in 2003 and is found by Stuart Parker (Blair McDonough). Harold Bishop (Ian Smith) asks a friend to help locate Des and Jamie returns to Adelaide and reconciles with his father in time for Christmas.
In 2010 to celebrate Neighbours' 25th anniversary Sky, a British satellite broadcasting company profiled 25 characters of which they believed were the most memorable in the series history. Des is in the list and describing him they state: "Say Des, think Daphne. You can't be a happy couple in a soap for long, and the Clarkes were no different, as Daphne was mowed down by a car in 1988. You also can't be single in a soap for long, either, so it was only a matter of time before Des saw Jane, the ex-girlfriend of his adoptive son Mike 'Guy "out of Memento" Pearce' Young. He left for a new life with a fellow widow, but misery continued to haunt him even off screen: his son Jamie briefly appeared in 2003, with Des apparently having suffered depression and putting his son into care."
British tabloid newspaper The Daily Mirror joked over Des and Keane's appearance branding him as "Jug-eared", they also labelled him as the "lovable bank manager". Orange UK describe Des as a "Jug-eared Mr Nice" and state he was one half of the serial's most popular couples. A writer from Inside Soap said that Des was a "boring banker" and a "jug-eared dullard". They included Des and Jane in their feature on unlikely relationships, adding that even they realised their romance was "very silly".
- "Neighbours: 25 Top Characters". Sky. 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
- Jackson, Kate; Wallis, Sara (3 March 2007). "Whatever Happened To Alan's Neighbours?". Daily Mirror (UK: Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 10 June 2010.
- Pattison, Claudia. "Neighbours stars – where are they now?". Orange UK. Orange. Retrieved 23 January 2011.
- "Is she really going out with him?". Inside Soap (Hachette Filipacchi UK) (3): 45. 17–23 January 2004.