In 2005, it was announced that former Family Affairs actor and youngest winner of the Best Actor Award at the New York Independent Film Festival, Ash Newman had been cast as Mark. The character was given a backstory as the old boyfriend of fellow character Jessica Harris (Jennifer Biddall).
Mark arrives in the village to see his ex-girlfriend Jessica, who did not know he was visiting. Mark attempts to rebuild their relationship. He decides to switch courses and transfer from his old university to study at Hollyoaks Community College. Mark is glad when Jessica agrees to resume their relationship. However, he discovers that Gilly Roach (Anthony Quinlan) also likes Jessica. Mark is shocked when Jessica reveals that she has been going out with them both at the same time.
Mark begins feuding with Gilly for Jessica's affections, however she grows tired of their arguing and refuses to go out with either of them. Mark cannot cope with the rejection and contemplates quitting university to escape Jessica. When Olivia Johnson (Rochelle Gadd) discovers his plans, she talks him out of it. Following her advice he transfers to another university and leaves Jessica behind.