Mark Brennan (Neighbours)
|Portrayed by||Scott McGregor|
|Duration||2010–11, 2013, 2014–|
|First appearance||30 August 2010|
|Introduced by||Susan Bower (2010)
Richard Jasek (2013–14)
|Brennan on the Run|
|Home||24 Ramsay Street|
Mark Brennan is a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Neighbours, played by Scott McGregor. He made his first screen appearance on 30 August 2010. McGregor initially had a four-week guest contract with the show, but this was increased to six months. Shortly after, it was announced that McGregor's contract had been extended again to twelve months and that he would become a regular cast member. In February 2011, McGregor announced his departure from Neighbours, so he could pursue modelling opportunities in Europe. He filmed his final scenes at the end of April and departed on screen on 22 June 2011. On 4 November 2012, it was announced that McGregor had reprised his role and Mark returned on 20 May 2013. He made another return from 5 February 2014.
After an attempt on Paul Robinson's (Stefan Dennis) life, Mark is introduced as the lead detective in the case. When he received conflicting information from the suspects he interviews, Mark struggled to identify the culprit. McGregor told a writer from SX News that he enjoyed being involved in the storyline, as he had never had that much responsibility before. To prepare for the role, McGregor chose to research his character's job. Mark was described as being handsome, charming and a perfectionist. He was dedicated to his job as a police detective and often put his work ahead of everything else. As a consequence, Mark struggled to balance his work and personal lives. McGregor stated that he shared some similarities with Mark and he enjoyed getting into character.
Mark's storylines often revolved around his relationship with Kate Ramsay (Ashleigh Brewer). He was initially wary of getting involved with Kate because of her ex-boyfriend, Declan Napier (Erin Mullally), and the age gap between them. Mark's focus on his work eventually forced him to choose between Kate and Paul's case. Following the end of his relationship with Kate, Mark had a one-night stand with her best friend Jade Mitchell (Gemma Pranita). He also faced problems at work after reporting a fellow officer for corruption, which led to his life being threatened. Mark left for witness protection during a special real-time episode. Mark returned during an eclipse and tried to win Kate back. The character was mostly well received by critics and viewers during his time on the show.
In August 2010, it was announced that model and television presenter Scott McGregor had joined the cast of Neighbours as Detective Mark Brennan. McGregor was originally given a four-week guest contract, but this was increased to six months. McGregor said that Mark is his "first decent part" after appearing in bit roles in other Australian dramas, such as Underbelly. McGregor's contract was then increased again to twelve months when Mark proved proved popular with viewers. In December 2010, it was announced that Mark would become a regular role. McGregor told a Herald Sun reporter that he was enjoying working on Neighbours, but he did not "realise how full-on it is."
Shortly after he was cast, McGregor said that Mark is "a no-nonsense type. Work is his life, and when he's not at work, he's thinking about work". McGregor told the show's official website that he did some research on police officers to prepare for the role. The writers also went through their research with him. Jackie Brygel from TV Week described Mark as being "handsome" and a "charming investigator." Mark is a perfectionist, who puts his work ahead of everything else and he struggles to hold down a relationship because of it. His dedication to his job means that he does not have much time to socialise. When McGregor was asked if there were any similarities between him and Mark, he said that there was and that he liked getting into character.
Mark struggles with balancing his career and personal life and McGregor told Nate Micó from SX News that he would like to see Mark either grow in his job or get "tempted by the wrong side of the law" in the future. Mark manages to develop friendships with some of the other male characters, like Lucas Fitzgerald (Scott Major). Of this, McGregor said "Even though we're friends there are always references to me being a cop and they're always quite wary." When Mark becomes involved in an illegal street racing investigation, he expresses an interest in buying a motorbike. Inside Soap said they would like to see Mark on the road letting his "wild side" out. McGregor said he "loved" the storyline as he was given the chance to ride a motorbike.
Who Pushed P.R.? investigation
After Paul Robinson (Stefan Dennis) is pushed from the Lassiter's Hotel mezzanine, Mark is introduced as the lead detective on the case. Mark has his "work cut out for him" as he begins to question each suspect, as they point the finger at someone else. He also receives conflicting information as everyone has their own suspicions as to who committed the crime. McGregor revealed that Kate Ramsay (Ashleigh Brewer) gives Rebecca Robinson (Jane Hall) a false alibi, Lyn Scully (Janet Andrewartha) gets Diana Marshall (Jane Badler) into trouble when her earring is found at the crime scene and Andrew Robinson (Jordan Smith) does not help himself with his attitude to Mark and the investigation. Of the case, McGregor told the official Neighbours site, "Brennan is in the thick of the investigation so it's pretty exciting, I've never had so much responsibility." McGregor later explained that it had been "great" to be involved in the storyline, even though he did not share many scenes with Stefan Dennis, as he was in a hospital bed. Rebecca Robinson is revealed to have been the one who pushed Paul and McGregor said that he knew early on in the storyline that it was her. However, Mark does not know that Rebecca is the culprit and McGregor said that it is because he is thrown by the false alibis. McGregor later said his first week on Neighbours, filming the Who Pushed P.R? storyline, has stuck in his mind as there were many long interview scenes he had to get through.
Relationship with Kate Ramsay
In November 2010, it was announced that Mark would begin a relationship with Kate Ramsay (Ashleigh Brewer). Mark first meets Kate when he interviews her during the Paul Robinson case. Of their first meeting, McGregor said "[He] thinks she's pretty cute but not a lot comes of it later, but there's a bit of a spark there." McGregor opined that Kate and Mark are a good match. Mark asks Kate out, but she turns him down. However, when he rescues her from lawyers, Toadfish Rebecchi (Ryan Moloney) and Samantha Fitzgerald (Simone Buchanan), she agrees to go to dinner with him. Brewer welcomed the storyline and said that her character is ready to move on from her previous relationship with Declan Napier (Erin Mullally). Declan appears during Kate and Mark's date, which makes Kate "furious" as it means he still has a hold on her life. Despite Kate telling Declan that she is over him, Declan believes that Mark is a threat. McGregor said that Mark puts Declan's nose out of joint. Declan becomes a nuisance and tries to control Kate by telling her that Mark threatened and attacked him. Kate believes Declan at first, but when she discovers the truth she has to work to get Mark back.
The incident helped push their romance into "top gear". When Kate goes to the station to see Mark, they end up kissing in front of his colleagues. McGregor said it was "awkward" filming his first on-screen kiss with Brewer. Mark likes Kate as she is "a pretty easy-going girl who doesn't let too much get to her", but McGregor told TV Week that Mark is wary of starting a relationship with her because of Declan and because he is focused on his work. He is also hesitant because of the age gap between them. McGregor told Holy Soap "Kate's 19 and my character is about 25. It's funny because a few friends of mine have mentioned it, but I think it's because of what they do and where they are in life. At one point Kate's having driving lessons, and I'm working as a detective who's moved up through the ranks quickly, so we do seem quite different in age, but it's better left unsaid I think!" He added that Mark and Kate's relationship "may not be the easiest of rides."
Mark and Kate break up after Kate confesses to lying in her police statement during Paul's investigation. McGregor told Inside Soap that Mark has not stopped loving Kate and that since he has time to think about it, the issue is not "black and white." Mark realises that Kyle Canning (Chris Milligan) has taken an interest in Kate and he does not like the idea of Kate moving on, especially with Kyle. McGregor admitted that Mark thinks Kyle is an idiot and when he sees him with Kate, Mark comes up with a plan to get close to his ex-girlfriend. McGregor explained, "He comes up with a reason to summon her to the station - which Kate sees right through!" Mark later asks Lucas, who lives with Kate, for his advice, but Lucas is not much help. Both Kate and Mark want to get back together and Brewer explained "They both have a lot of history, such as the lie that Kate told to protect Rebecca and then Mark does something which really hurts Kate, and this prevents them from moving forward." The actress also reveled that she believes Mark is "the one" for Kate as they are both academic and focused.
One-night stand and police corruption
A TV Week columnist wrote that Mark would have a one-night stand with Kate's friend, Jade Mitchell (Gemma Pranita) in April 2011. After he reports colleague, Constable Wes Holland (Daniel Hamill), for corruption, Mark goes for a drink at Charlie's to escape his troubles at the station. McGregor told an Inside Soap writer, "Mark's life has been turned upside down since he blew the whistle on Constable Holland" and that he is now being treated like he did the wrong thing. After playing pool together, Mark and Jade begin kissing as "Jade proves to be the perfect distraction." Inside Soap said that of all the women Mark might seek comfort in, Jade seems the most unlikely as there is tension between them. Jade believes Mark sided with Toadie against her sister and she has been telling Kate not to give him a second chance. Jade challenges Mark and Lucas to a game of pool and "sparks of a different kind" begin to fly between herself and Mark. McGregor explained the situation, saying "Mark has had a really bad day at work, so he's out for a fun night. To his surprise, he enjoys Jade's company. Lucas goes home early - and Mark and Jade end up sharing a kiss." The next morning it becomes clear that Mark and Jade spent the night together and Mark is full of regret. McGregor said Mark is "terrified" that Kate will find out and even though Jade agrees to keep quiet, he does not feel any less guilty. Mark's problems at work continue and he becomes a victim of harassment, when his car tyres are let down. Mark talks to his superior officer, but nothing happens and he feels like he has no support from people at his work place.
In February 2011, it was announced that McGregor was to leave Neighbours after contract negotiations led to his role being written out of the show. A Herald Sun reporter stated that McGregor's contract was up and it was not going to be renewed. They added that the actor was "keen to pursue his acting career elsewhere." McGregor told a TV Week writer that he was leaving to pursue modelling opportunities in Europe. He added "It's been tough [on Neighbours]. I didn't realise how many hours were involved, and I had to knock back so many modelling jobs." McGregor shot his final scenes at the end of April. McGregor explained that Mark's exit storyline would not be a happy one and that his character would be forced out of Ramsay Street. In May 2011, McGregor revealed a little more of Mark's exit storyline, saying "Things get very difficult for Mark, and he's forced to make some tough decisions - both about his career and his feelings for Kate." Mark was forced to go into witness protection after his exposure of Wes Holland led him to be stalked and threatened. As he was the star witness for the trial, he needed to be in protective custody.
Mark does not want to leave Kate behind and tries to convince her to go with him. She then has thirty minutes to decide if she wants to pack up her life and leave with Mark or stay behind in Erinsborough. Executive producer Susan Bower promised viewers that Mark's departure would be dramatic, saying "A beloved character was leaving us. We didn't want him to go out with a whimper. We wanted him to go out with a bang." Mark's departure unfolded during a real time episode, which was broadcast on 22 June 2011. It focused entirely on a thirty-minute timeframe between 6.30pm and 7pm, which is when Neighbours is broadcast in Australia. McGregor revealed that the show's bosses took inspiration from American drama 24 while writing his character's exit. A week after McGregor's screen departure, it was revealed that Mark would be killed off while in witness protection. McGregor commented that he was fine with Mark's death and believed that he could still return in the future, saying "There have been plenty of other characters who've come back from the dead - but that's not to say I'd want to. But if Brennan ever does pop up again, I'd like to be asked first for the role."
On 4 November 2012, it was announced that McGregor would be returning to Neighbours for one month. TV Week's Erin Miller stated "Fans of Scott's character, Detective Mark Brennan, will be overjoyed to discover he didn't die in witness protection as they'd been led to believe – and his return could potentially see him reunite with ex-girlfriend Kate". In April 2013, Brewer revealed that Mark's return scenes had to be filmed within one week because McGregor was only in the country for a brief time. The actress explained, "They tried to get a bracket where Scott was free, because he's quite busy living in LA and they wanted to rehash this storyline, so they brought him back, and we filmed about five weeks worth, in one week! So it was really quick." McGregor told a reporter for The Newcastle Herald that he had a feeling he was going to be asked back eventually, but still thought it was a surprise as he was living in LA at the time. The actor stated that Mark would only be on the show for a week and he was unsure what the future holds. He added that he could see himself staying for a long time, but it would have to be right for himself and the show. McGregor made his screen return on 20 May 2013.
New executive producer, Richard Jasek, later revealed that Mark would return during an eclipse and Kate would be left questioning whether she has really seen him. Jasek added that the character's return would be interesting. Brewer said that her character would be torn when Mark returns, as she has finally moved on with somebody else and Mark's reappearance "just throws it all out of whack". When asked whether Kate and Mark's reunion would be bittersweet, McGregor explained "Brennan and Kate definitely have chemistry and their parting was not because they had fallen out of love. But things are different now and Kate has a new boyfriend. When Brennan tells her he still loves her it's hard because she thought he was dead and had let go of him."
On 28 October 2013, it was confirmed that McGregor had returned to filming the previous week at the show's studios and on location in Lysterfield. The following month, McGregor explained that he could not turn down the opportunity to come back to Neighbours, as he is building a house and has bills to pay. Mark returned on 5 February 2014. McGregor told Sarah Ellis from Inside Soap that he liked the way Mark returned and how he was more laid back and not so highly strung as before. He also said that Mark definitely wanted Kate back and added "Brennan is honest that he's still in love with her – but she isn't going to make it easy for him!"
Following the attempt on Paul Robinson's life, Mark arrives to investigate the crime scene, before going to the hospital to speak to Rebecca Robinson. Mark goes to Harold's Store to question Lyn Scully and she tells him that an earring found at the scene belongs to Diana Marshall. Mark manages to stop Diana from leaving the country and she tells him about her affair with Paul. Mark questions Rebecca again. He also interviews Kate Ramsay and Declan Napier. When Summer Hoyland (Jordy Lucas) gives her statement, she tells Mark that Andrew Robinson was really angry with his father. Mark then brings Andrew in for questioning. The West Waratah Star prints a story about a key witness in the case and Natasha Williams (Valentina Novakovic) admits that she spoke to the reporter, but her words were twisted. Mark gives her a warning. Mark also warns Andrew to stop trying to do his job for him, when he is handed a mobile phone from Diana's associate. Mark later arrests Diana for conspiracy to commit murder.
Paul wakes up from his coma and Mark tries to question him. Paul mentions Diana's name and Mark goes to get her, but discovers that she has gone. Mark goes to Harold's Store and he flirts with Kate. He helps her out and asks her to dinner, which Kate initially turns down. After she changes her mind, Mark and Kate go to Charlie's, but Kate cuts the date short. Kate apologises to Mark for leaving early and he and Declan trade barbs. Kate and Mark have coffee together and he asks her out again. Mark tells Declan to let Kate move on. Kate later confronts Mark about him making threats to Declan, which he denies doing. Kate realises that Declan made the story up and apologises to Mark. He tells her that she needs time to sort things out, but Kate returns to the station and kisses Mark. Mark later rechecks Kate's interview and believes she may have lied. He asks her about it, but Kate tells him that she was nervous. Mark decides to choose his relationship with Kate over the case.
When Mark sees Lucas Fitzgerald with Billy Forman (Jez Constable), he tells him to stay away as Billy has a record. Kate's home is trashed and Mark realises that Lucas has something to do with it. Lucas explains that he owes money to someone. When Lucas sees Mark with Megan Phillips (Cate Commisso), Mark has to explain that he and Megan are working undercover. It is revealed that Mark is trying to bring down an illegal car rebirthing and street racing ring run by Garland Cole (Jack Finsterer). Mark attends a race under the name of Rob and he runs into Lucas. He tells Lucas to race, so it does not raise suspicion. He later asks Lucas to wear a wire when he next meets Garland. Garland delivers a car to Lucas to rebirth and he and Mark work on it together. Mark is not happy to learn that Lucas told Billy to stay away. Garland returns and finds Kate hiding in the garage and Mark tells him that she came to meet him. Once the parts are loaded up, Garland reveals his suspicions about Kate turning up and Billy pulling out. However, the police then arrive and Mark arrests Garland.
Kate confesses to giving Rebecca a false alibi and Mark ends their relationship. Mark charges Kyle Canning with indecent exposure and gives a talk at Erinsborough High about responsible partying. He raids a dance party being thrown by Andrew and Tomas Bersky (Tim Munley), but he does not find anything. Andrew later tells Mark that Tomas was selling drugs and Mark arrests him. Mark briefly moves in with Toadie, when his home has to be fumigated. Kyle tells Mark that he is being threatened by Constable Wes Holland and Mark agrees to help. After seeing Wes accept money from Kyle, he arrests him. Mark's colleagues turn against him and he gets angry with Detective Sergeant Wilks (Simon Maiden). Mark goes to Charlie's and meets up with Jade and Lucas. Mark and Jade start kissing and they have a one-night stand. Mark feels guilty and he tries to tell Kate, but Jade stops him. Kate eventually discovers the truth and she is angry with Mark.
Mark helps organise a search for Charlie Hoyland (Jacob Brito) when he goes missing. After his flat is let out, Mark moves in with Kyle and Jade. A brick is thrown through Mark's car window and he starts receiving threatening texts. Mark and Kyle discover their house has been trashed and a threatening message has been painted on a door. Mark tells Superintendent Duncan Hayes (Paul Ireland) that he is being stalked and Duncan suggests Mark goes into witness protection. Mark tells Kate that he loves her, but she just wants to be friends. Mark then tells Duncan that he will enter witness protection. Mark and Kate have dinner together and make up. Mark tells Kate that he is going into protection and wants her to go with him. Kate agrees and Mark starts packing. Kyle realises that Mark is leaving and they say their goodbyes. Mark and Duncan wait for Kate, but she does not arrive in time and they leave without her. Mark sends Kate a text from Duncan's phone, telling her he loves her.
Two years later, Mark returns to Erinsborough during a solar eclipse. He watches Kate, before leaving. Mark later shows up at Kate's home and he reveals that his death was faked after Wes Holland put out a hit on him. He explains that he has been living in Sydney teaching abseiling, but has not stopped thinking about her. When Wes died, he was allowed to leave witness protection and came looking for her. Mark catches up with Lucas, who tells him about Kate's new boyfriend, Mason Turner (Taylor Glockner). Paul also tells Mark that Mason is a convicted criminal and when Mark confronts Kate, she defends Mason. Kate and Mark go out to dinner and when they return to her home, Mark kisses Kate. The following day, Mason reveals to Kate that Mark has a girlfriend back in Sydney. Mark tells her that he was planning on proposing to his girlfriend, but needed to see if Kate still loved him. Kate tells Mark that she has chosen Mason and he leaves.
While he is in Lysterfield, Mark helps Joshua Willis (Harley Bonner) after he suffers a fall while abseiling. Mark drives Mason and Joshua's sister and girlfriend to the hospital. He waits to hear news about Josh's injuries and chats with Mason about what went wrong. When Mark goes to leave the hospital, he runs into Kate and they talk. Later that day, an upset Kate runs to Mark and he comforts her. When he goes to Paul's apartment to check up on her, Paul informs Mark that Kate is upset because her relationship with Kyle is over. Mark decides to stay in Erinsborough and accepts Danni Ferguson's (Laura McIntosh) offer of a job at the garage. He gets Danni to confide in him about her abusive ex-partner and when he moves into Number 24, he later invites her to move in with him. Mark asks Kate if there is any chance they can get back together, but she rejects him.
To coincide with the character's return in February 2014, the serial released a series of webisodes called Brennan on the Run that focus on Mark's time in witness protection. A trailer for the spin-off was released the day before Mark's return to Neighbours. Producers announced that viewers would be able to choose the outcome of the story and take control of Mark "as he faces challenges, dodges danger and encounters a little bit of romance". Each webisode ended with a "yes" or "no" answer, which then took viewers to a different video. The series featured the character Sienna Matthews (Sarah Roberts), who was Mark's girlfriend during his first return stint, although she remained off-screen. The webisodes were shot using a Red Scarlet camera by digital producer Ric Forster, which gave them "a different, edgier look and feel" compared to the show's usual episodes.
A Daily Star reporter said McGregor's contract was extended because female viewers "went mad for him." Nate Micó of SX News praised the casting of McGregor, saying "As the brooding Detective Mark Brennan, handsome actor Scott McGregor has bought a welcome dose of eye candy to Ramsay Street." Television critic Andrew Mercado called Mark a "hunky new investigative cop." Alan Fletcher (who plays Karl Kennedy) said that McGregor is "fantastic" as Mark and he added "He's not only spectacularly handsome, he's also a very fine actor." Holy Soap said Mark's most memorable moment was "His first kiss with Kate – at the police station in front of all his colleagues!" In March 2011, Mark came second in a poll run by Inside Soap magazine to find reader's favourite "hunky" soap detective. He received 31% of the vote. In April, the magazine's letters editor, Sarah Ellis, said she would like to buy a calendar featuring Mark, as she would love to have the "hunky policeman [...] adorning the walls of Inside Soap towers."
A writer for Buzz magazine became bored of the repetitive nature of the storyline surrounding Mark trying to ask Kate out again. They said "honestly, how many times have we been through this with these two?" They later branded him "one angry man" during the police corruption storyline. They said he slept with Jade because "too much stewing over work and not enough play makes Brennan a dull boy". TV Week described Mark's departure episode as "edge-of-your-seat." While a reporter for the Daily Record said "Goodbye Brennan - we enjoyed having you and your hunky good looks around, but all good things must come to an end." Nicky Branagh from Studentbeans.com included Mark in her list of the "Top ten hottest Aussie soap guys" and she stated "As Ramsay Street's resident hottie back in 2010, Scott McGregor graced Neighbours as the coolest kind of police investigator (he rode a motorbike). Unfortunately for us, Scott fled his neighbourly friends to flaunt his devilishly handsome face to the world as a model."
Following Mark's return, Claire Crick from All About Soap commented "Yay! We've been waiting for weeks and finally hunky Brennan's back on the street. All we need now is for Kate to fall into his arms and for them to be back together forever… Oh, hang on a minute. That's definitely not going to happen!" Crick went on to say that Kate was more suited to Mark than Mason and that picking between the two should be a no-brainer.
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