All Saints: articles

A deadly diagnosis

All Saints' Mitch has been behaving rather oddly… and in this dramatic episode we find out why

Since he reappeared in her life four years ago, Dr Mitch Stevens has done everything he can to capture the heart of the only woman he's ever loved—Sister Terri Sullivan.

Along the way, there were many hurdles to clear and much heartache. But Mitch (Erik Thomson) never gave up and to our delight he got his girl at long last.

Lately, however, we've found ourselves wondering whether the couple's troubles are all really behind them.

And, now, in one of the most moving All Saints storylines to date, TV WEEK can reveal that Mitch is about to be dealt his cruelest blow yet—he will be diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Viewers will have noticed that in recent times Mitch's behaviour has become increasingly erratic.

Drinking heavily, getting into brawls, administering incorrect medication to patients, Mitch has been far from himself.

And in this week's gripping episode, Mitch's alarming lapses reach a terrifying climax when he turns violent towards the woman he cares about the most.

Hitting Terri (Georgie Parker) in their home, he awakens the next day hung over and filled with remorse, only to find his fiancee has gone. Desperate to locate her, he goes to her sister Margaret's house where he again lashes out, this time punching Margaret's husband and trashing some of their belongings.

He leaves, but Terri is beginning to suspect there is something terribly wrong with Mitch. Her worst fears are realised when she finds him at the hospital. Having already reached the same conclusion, he undergoes a CT scan.

"Terri had said to Mitch 'Do you realise how much you've been drinking since Christmas?'" says Erik. "He's not feeling 100 percent and I think the stress of that has been making him drink.

"He hasn't consciously known that something was wrong, but perhaps subconsciously he did.

"He asks Terri if she thinks he's going mad and she says 'no'."

But when Mitch hits Terri, it comes as a complete shock to them both, says Erik.

"He's never been violent with her, although he has a had a bit of a violent streak," he muses. "Now he's in dire straits.

"It's a terrible scene when he hits her—just terrible. It comes out of the blue. He then unravels during the day until he goes around to her sister's place where she's hiding. It's there that he really goes nuts."

As for the moment when Mitch and Terri are given the devastating news that he has a tumour, nothing could have prepared them for it.

"It's about as bad as it gets," says Erik, simply. "Terri goes straight into coping mode and says,'Let's go overseas. It doesn't matter how much it costs. We'll go and do everything we can.'"

"At first," he continues, "Mitch can't deal with it, but then he begins to calm down and focus very clearly on everything."

Born in Scotland and raised in New Zealand, 35 year old Erik, who in real life is married to Always Greener star Caitlin McDougall, has now appeared in more than 170 episodes of All Saints. The show has, he says, changed his life in many ways.

"Although I'd been a busy actor for nine years before I joined the show, I'd never been on a show with as high a profile as All Saints," he reflects.

"So it has changed things completely for me in terms of being recognised and spoken to—and that's a really good thing. Sometimes you want to turn it off, but the positives far outshine the negatives.

"I ran the Olympic Torch at Broken Hill," he recalls fondly. "I walked into a bar afterwards and within five minutes I was pulling beers for people and they were speaking to me like they knew me—like I was an old friend.

"What television fame brings with a character like Mitch, is that most people feel they can chat to you."

Now, as the character Erik has made his own faces his greatest battle, there's little question viewers will find themselves empathising with him more than ever.

"Things are going to get very emotional," says Erik. "The storyline will bring a tear to even a glass eye. It's a beautifully written sequence of events."

By Jackie Brygel
February 22, 2003
TV Week