Michael Sturgess played by Graham Harvey
Episodes 141 - 148 & 173 - 262
When Michael Sturgess arrived in E Street he quickly ruffled a few feathers, not least those on Lisa Bennett. Ordered by his father Sir Angus to take over the Westside Advocate, Michael was quickly thrown into the deep end when a story accusing Chris Patchett of sexual harassment came to his attention. Determined to impress his father with a strong story, Michael ignored the advice and pleas of Lisa and decided to go ahead with a story that could ruin Chris’ career and marriage. However at the eighth hour the story was proved to be false and Michael learned a hard lesson in how to deal with the people of Westside.
Graciously admitting he was wrong, Michael took time out to get to know Lisa. He explained how journalism was his fathers’ idea and how, since his parents had separated several years ago, he had grown up leading a life dictated by his rich and successful father. Having spent several days together Michael and Lisa developed a bond and she invited him to be her guest at Ernie and Abby’s wedding. Never one to miss opportunity, Michael ensured that a photo taken of he and Lisa at the wedding was published in The Advocate. Unsurprisingly Sir Angus was less than pleased to see his son flouncing around town with a local girl like Lisa and he ordered the two of them to his estate. Sir Angus’ treatment of Lisa was pretty harsh and Michael did little to stick up for her. He realised that he had a lot of growing up to do and told Lisa he would be leaving The Advocate and Westside. Before going he thanked her for helping him to learn a lot about himself and his relationship with his father.
Several months later, and on the eve that Westside had witnessed Sonny Bennett’s final swansong, Michael arrived back in Westside and turned up at Lisa’s flat. He was shocked to learn of the tragedy she had encountered and turned his attentions into cheering her up. Lisa was thrilled to have Michael back but before long he had to explain the real reason for his return; he was competing in the Sydney to Tokyo yacht race and would be leaving in just a few days. After her recent heartache Lisa decide to accompany Michael on the race and the two set off on their adventure.
During Michael’s absence his sister Sheridan arrived in Westside to take over The Advocate. Her first day in Westside was met with the new that Michael and Lisa’s yacht had gone missing. A major search took place but only Lisa was found. Once back in Westside she tried to convince everyone that Michael was still alive, but as he was still missing at sea no one would believe her and Sir Angus and Sheridan hastily performed a memorial service in Michael’s name. However As Lisa arrived back from the service Michael was waiting in her flat. Unable to recall who she was or what happened, and only remembering that the flat had significance to him Michael was looking answers. When Sir Angus and Sheridan found out that Michael was alive they rushed to the flat to take him away from Lisa and to teach him about his life. Michael didn’t stay there for long, he realised he had a connection Lisa and returned to her. She filled him in on their relationship and Michael decided to stay with her. After spending time with Lisa, Michael’s memory slowly returned and he told Sir Angus that he and Lisa were now officially an item. Sheridan didn’t approve and did what she could to undermine Lisa, things came to a head at Sir Angus’ birthday party when Michael and Sheridan argued and Sir Angus had a heart attack. He later died in hospital and given that Michael had only just come back into his life he had yet to amend his will – meaning that Sheridan inherited the entire estate. She hastily closes down The Advocate and seizes control of the family television station WTV8. Michael moves in with Lisa and tries to fend for himself but pretty soon he is working for Sheridan as head anchorman at WTV8. However before he takes the job he makes her find a position for Lisa and tells her that is the only way he will work for her. Sheridan does so and Michael and Lisa join WTV8.
Working and living together provided Michael and Lisa with many problems and more often than not their integrity suffered in the name of good stories. After one particular case Lisa was so touched by the dignity Michael had shown she asked him to marry her. He accepted her proposal and the countdown to the wedding of the year begun. However in the lead up to the big day their relationship was rocked when Lisa’s old flame Wheels arrived back in Westside. Michael wasn’t fully aware of their history but when Lisa didn’t turn up at the wedding he instantly knew that she’d be with Wheels. As he stood in front of the gathered guests to tell them the wedding was, he was shocked when the church doors swung open and Lisa and Wheels rode down the aisle on his motorbike! Lisa apologised to Michael for being late and it was clear she had chose her man, Michael and Lisa married and went away together on a luxury honeymoon.
On their return they learned that Alice was pregnant and the news made Lisa decide she wanted to start a family. However relations become tethered again when Lisa started to spend more time with Wheels. Michael noticed the distance between them and also noticed the change in his wife when she began to drink and do things that were out of character. Things get too much for Michael when he finds Lisa sobbing one evening, when he asks her what’s wrong she tells him that Wheels had told her he no longer loves her. Unable to take anymore Michael walks out on Lisa. The shake up is what Lisa needs and she gets her act together and tells Michael she wants to make their marriage work. They decide to hold off having a family and concentrate on just being husband and wife.
Whilst working on several stories, Michael forms a friendship with Virginia Travis. He is shocked when she suddenly leaves town and even more shocked when her lover Steven Richardson turns his attentions to Sheridan. Despite Sheridan’s protestations of love for Steven, Michael is not convinced, especially as Sheridan used to be freaked out by Steven’s presence. Michael does some detective work and tracks down Steven’s mother in hospital. She is of frail health and when Michael mentions Steven she asks him if ‘Mr Bad’ is back. Michael is disturbed but before he can question her further, Steven arrives and puts a stop to Michael’s visit. Never one to give up Michael visits Steven at his house and finds him burning clothes. He later tells Lisa that he’s sure he saw an item of Virginia’s amongst the fire. Lisa doesn’t believe there is anything wrong with Steven and reminds Michael how popular he is within the community. But Michael is convinced and leaves Lisa alone to go and investigate further. Knowing Steven is at Sheridan’s, he goes to Stevens house and breaks into his garage. He immediately finds Virginia’s car and a suitcase full of her clothes and belongings. Before Michael can do anything about it Steven arrives and hits him on the head with a shovel. Left for dead and with a huge head injury, Michael crawls out of the car and onto a street. However he was soon found by Steven who took him to the forest and buried him next to Virginia. Amazingly Michael was still alive and broke out of his grave to be found by an old bush walker. The man cleaned him up and looked after him, whilst Michael begged to be taken to the open road in order to warn Sheridan of the danger she may be in. The bush walker, who had grudges against the road that killed his family, refused to take Michael all the way and when Michael took off on his own he was knocked over by a lorry driver. This time he was dead and the news was broke to Lisa that his body had been found. Searching for answers, Lisa made it mission to find out what Michael was doing in the bush and when her journey led her to Michael and Virginia’s grave she had completed the journey that Michael started – she had exposed Steven Richardson to the world.