Michael first appeared in Emmerdale when he came to check on the fridges at the Home Farm shop, which his company supplied. Later in The Woolpack, Michael saw Debbie but assumed she was in a relationship after seeing her with Cain Dingle. When his car has problems, he was forced to take it to the garage Debbie owned and he discovered that Cain is Debbie's father and not her boyfriend as he assumed. He asked Debbie out for lunch but Debbie failed to tell him about her four-year-old daughter Sarah. Michael visited Debbie the following morning and Cain delighted in telling him about Sarah as he hoped it would scare him away, but it didn't.
Debbie and Michael began dating but in September, but soon Debbie learned he had a girlfriend and was later devastated when Michael admitted he was engaged with a baby on the way. He told her he had called off his wedding and wanted to be with her but Cain was suspicious. Cain's suspicions were confirmed when he found a text on Michael's phone from his best man confirming the wedding was still going ahead, so he beat Michael up.
Debbie and Cain attend Michael's wedding. Debbie intended to stop the ceremony but they were shell shocked to discover they know both the bride and groom. Michael and his bride Charity were both surprised that the other knew Debbie and Cain. Cain revealed Michael and Debbie's affair to Charity and Michael was stunned when it was revealed Debbie is Charity's daughter. Despite the revelations, Charity and Michael agreed to go ahead with the wedding, but Debbie told Michael that Charity was tricking him into marriage by pretending she was pregnant. Charity was forced to admit she wasn't pregnant so Michael called off the wedding. Cain then revealed Charity's past as a prostitute to a disgusted Michael. Michael said goodbye to Charity's five-year-old son Noah, who called him dad and later stopped Charity's credit cards and bounced her calls although he does try to get in contact with Debbie, but she ignores his calls.