1990-1994: Early years in Beckindale
Michael first appeared in 1990 with his mother, Elizabeth and sister, Elsa when they were evicted from their house by Frank Tate. In his early years, Michael sought employment at Emmerdale Farm, working for Annie and Jack Sugden. He was accused of arson when a barn burnt down but this was later proved to be the work of a labourer from another estate.
In 1992, Michael took part in an armed robbery of Home Farm, which left Joe Sugden badly injured and fighting for his life. The robbery was organised by Neil Kincaid's stable hand, Steve. Following his mother's marriage to Eric Pollard, several months later, Michael was arrested for his involvement and sentenced to four months imprisonment. Michael had long disapproved of Elizabeth's relationship with Eric. Soon after the relationship began, Michael attacked Eric in The Woolpack, and punched him. However, after the Emmerdale plane crash of 1993, in which Elizabeth died, Michael accused Eric of his mother's murder. Elizabeth had discovered Eric had framed Michael for cheque fraud and left to report him to the police. However, she died en route, apparently killed by falling debris from the plane.
However, Michael was not the only villager to suspect Eric of murder. This accusation was strengthened in January 1994 when Eric wanted Elizabeth cremated rather than buried. Two months later, Michael's suspicions about Eric was also strengthened when Eric's first wife, Eileen appeared, claiming that Eric's marriage to Elizabeth was bigamous. This led to a heated confrontation between Michael and Eric in June 1994, and the two men had a fight which left Eric unconscious. Scared that he had killed Eric, Michael fled in Eric's car, which was later found abandoned at the airport, revealing that Michael had left the country. Michael settled in Spain and contacted Elsa to say he was not coming back to England. Eric was finally able to move on with his life, now that Michael had absconded.
2010-2011: Brief return
Nothing was seen or heard of Michael for 16 years, but he always kept it in mind that Eric may have killed his mother, so did plan revenge. In December 2010, Eric began receiving letters, messages and cards, claiming to be from Elizabeth. Originally suspecting the messages to be sent by Amy Wyatt, it was revealed on 30 December that the messages had instead been sent by Michael. Michael, who had been spending periods of time in-and-out of jail, confronted Eric at Elizabeth's grave, and revealed he was the culprit who kept sending the "Elizabeth" cards. Michael later followed Eric back to The Grange, where he again confronted Eric, prompting him to reveal his history to his current wife, Val. Michael vowed that Eric would pay for what he did to Elizabeth, and was then was thrown out by Eric. However, he later informed Amy that he wanted Eric to pay him a large sum or money, otherwise, he would reveal Eric to be a murderer. Eric told Michael to come in his car with him, and he would pay him off. Eric drove Michael to a remote area, however, and, after an exchange of words, Eric produced a tyre iron, advancing on Michael, who cowered into a corner. The result of the incident was not revealed. Eric returned to Emmerdale alone, appearing at edge and nervous, telling Val that he had given Michael a lift to the station.
In fact, he hadn't dropped him off at the station but he wasn't dead either and turned up on 4th January 2011 to confront Eric again. Eric said that he couldn't have any more money and Val told him that he had probably seen the coroner's report that stated his mother was killed by falling debris and that it was time to give up blaming Eric. He agreed and after a calm discussion, Eric persuaded Michael to take the money for looking after himself. Michael then got in a car and drove out of the village into the night, and left Eric alone forever.
"What are you doing here?" (first line)