Daniel 'Dan' 'Fitzy' Fitzgerald 1999, 2000, 2007-2009
Daniel Fitzgerald Brett Tucker
Lived: 30, 32 Ramsay Street
Parents: Patrick Fitzgerald
Marital Status: Samantha Grieves (?-2008; divorced), Libby Kennedy (2009-2010; divorced)
Family Tree: Fitzgerald
Occupation: Teacher/School Counsellor at Erinsborough High School
When Erinsborough High trainee teacher Daniel struck up a friendship with his new colleague Teresa Bell, he didn’t realise that it was about to get him involved in her messy personal life. He’d been teaching at the school for a while and had already had run ins with several Ramsay Street residents, including Lou, who sold him some flowers which made his mother ill, when he moved in with Tess. Having just returned from the year 9 camp, Daniel needed a place to crash for a few weeks, until he could move in with a mate and, when Tess’ housemate Anne Wilkinson heard about his problem, she offered him their spare room but quickly realised that Tess wasn’t comfortable about sharing her home with a colleague. Anne soon realised that Tess was also worried about how her abusive ex-husband Brendan would react if he found out she was sharing her home with a man, but Anne refused to accept her excuses, pointing out that Brendan was no longer a part of her life and shouldn’t have control over who she chose to live with. In the end, though, Daniel turned up on Tess’ doorstep and pleaded with her to allow him to move in, telling her that it wouldn’t be for long, and he promised not to talk about work at home, so Tess reluctantly agreed and, on the day Anne moved out, Daniel moved in.
Things were going well, and Tess and Daniel were getting on like a house on fire, until one of Brendan’s friend, Trevor Marshall, spotted the pair playing darts and laughing in Lou’s pub. He approached Tess and started making small talk, interested to hear that Daniel was her new housemate and telling her that he would mention this to Brendan when he next saw him. Meanwhile, the two teachers also found themselves struggling to keep their private lives private from their students, several of whom lived in the same street and, even during the holidays, called by for help with assignments or turned up during their attempts to escape to the beach. And further confusion arose from having their boss, Susan Kennedy, as a neighbour, particularly when she called by to ask Tess over for a movie night, only for Daniel to walk out of the bedroom with a bottle of massage oil and tell Tess that he was ready for her. Though it was all innocent – Tess was simply massaging Daniel’s shoulder after he pulled a muscle doing martial arts moves – Tess became concerned about the gossips, though easy-going Daniel refused to let it bother him and was more worried that his shoulder injury would prevent him from going surfing. When Brendan then turned up on the doorstep, assuring Tess that he’d changed and he wanted her back, Daniel realised that he didn’t want to get caught in the middle and, after assuring Brendan that he was nothing more than a friend to Tess, he found a floor to crash on elsewhere and moved out.
But his friendship with Tess would be the catalyst for a shocking accident a few months later, when Brendan once again came back into his ex-wife’s life and found out that she’d gone out clubbing with Daniel. In a jealous rage, Brendan sped out of Ramsay Street and crashed into the motorbike carrying Stephanie Scully and soon-to-be-married Libby Kennedy, Susan’s daughter. The accident left Brendan dead, and Libby facing great difficulties in her chances of ever becoming a mother. Several weeks later, Daniel called ‘round to see Tess, apologising for giving her the cold shoulder lately, and for his part in the accident that killed Brendan. Tess insisted that none of it was his fault and was happy when Daniel explained that his flat was being demolished and he again needed somewhere to stay. Grateful for the company, Tess agreed to him moving in for a second time, this time complete with his new pet lizard, Barney.
As Daniel started hitting it off with the men of Ramsay Street – inviting Drew Kirk and Paul McClain to train with his footy club, he also made friends with some of Tess’ female friends. But when Steph noticed that Daniel and Tess were getting along terribly well and pointed this out, an angry Tess snapped back that it was too soon after Brendan’s death for her to even contemplate a new relationship. When Tess then made it clear that she wouldn’t go on a date with Daniel to his footy club fundraiser auction, he started to turn his attentions elsewhere and, just as Tess was started to develop feelings for her housemate, particularly when he supported her over her controversial choice of Rainbow Alley for the VCE English class, he announced that he’d fallen for tomboy Steph. Though Steph didn’t quite share his feelings, she was desperately trying to move on from her unrequited love for Drew, who only had eyes for Libby, so she agreed to go out for dinner with Daniel. The evening went badly, as Steph clearly didn’t want to be there and ended up deliberately pouring water on her dress so that she’d have to go home. Though she turned Daniel down for a second date, seeing how upset he was she agreed to go out again, but was left wondering how she was going to let him down gently.
However, when Daniel tried to ask Steph out on more than one occasion on the days that followed, she turned him down, opting to go out with her biker mates instead. As Tess started badgering Steph, telling her what a great guy she was turning down, she finally admitted that she had fallen for Daniel, and felt guilty about having those feelings so soon after Brendan’s death. That night, when Barney was let loose in the house and ended up in bed with Tess, she angrily told Daniel to stop being so thoughtless, but, by the next morning, she had decided that she couldn’t tell him her true feelings and was moving out. Daniel was shocked and demanded to know what was behind her sudden decision, but their conversation was interrupted by a call about the footy team and he had to go out. Upon his return, Daniel explained that he should be the one to move out if there were problems and he’d already arranged things but still didn’t understand why they couldn’t remain as housemates. Tess finally blurted out the truth and Daniel thanked her for being honest and explained that he had liked her when they first met but had quickly backed off due to her problems with Brendan. They both agreed that perhaps in another place and time they could have worked as a couple but, for now, they’d be better off living apart.
By 2007, after a few years away, Daniel was back at Erinsborough High, working as a teacher and the school counsellor. When sport and health teacher Pepper Steiger accepted a job up in Cairns, to be closer to her sick father, she asked Fitzy to keep an eye on one of her students, Ringo Brown. Ringo had developed an eating disorder but Pepper had been trying to help him without bringing too much attention to it, and Fitzy agreed to her request, before putting his foot in it with Pepper's boyfriend Adam by mentioning her new job up north, when Adam had believed she was only going to visit her dad for a couple of weeks. It wasn't long before Fitzy realised what was wrong with Ringo when he passed out during a swimming trial, and he worked with his family to get the boy some help. After weeks of trying, and failing, to beat his problem, Ringo finally realised that he had to try, if not for his own sake, then for his mum's, as she had already seen one son die and couldn't cope with it happening again. Ringo agreed to counselling sessions with Fitzy and signed a contract, promising that he would do his best to start eating properly again.
Fitzy then started catching up with his old Erinsborough mates, including Steph, who was now running her own bar, Charlie's, and Libby, who had herself only recently returned to the area after some time away. At work, Fitzy had problems when humourless teacher Helen Carr found a cartoon of herself had been photocopied and plastered all over the walls. Fitzy had drawn it, and accidentally given it to Ringo with some leaflets about eating disorders and he, unhappy with his teacher constantly interfering in his life, had decided to copy it, changed his mind, and then accidentally left it in the photocopier for student Jess Wallace to find. Though Ringo and Jess both denied any involvement, Ringo had a change of heart when he realised that Fitzy might lose his job, and owned up to everything, even claiming to have drawn the cartoon in the first place.
In the weeks that followed, Dan settled into the area, moving into the spare room at 30 Ramsay Street and taking a central role in the Eastside Dingoes football team. He also found himself growing closer to Libby, who had taken a job teaching English at the high school, but before they could begin a relationship, Dan was forced to come clean about his years away from Erinsborough. He explained to Libby that he was married, to a girl called Samantha who he'd met at university. Soon after they had both graduated, they'd married and moved up to Sydney. After a happy few years, Sam tragically miscarried at six months and, with her behaviour growing increasingly erratic, was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. Things had only got worse for them, and Sam eventually walked out on Dan, not wanting to burden him any longer. He moved back to Erinsborough, and, in the two years that followed, Sam got her life back on track and found medication that helped her condition. Dan, however, realised that he had to track her down and get a divorce if he could ever move on with Libby. He made a few enquiries with friends and relatives and, a couple of days later, Sam turned up in Erinsborough, hopeful that Dan might be willing to give the marriage another try, and quietly devastated when she heard his request for a divorce. Realising that he was already trying to move on with Libby, Sam agreed to the divorce, but found another reason to stick around in town when Rosie, an old friend from law school and now, coincidentally, one of Dan's housemates, offered her some temporary work at her legal firm.
Things took an awkward turn for Dan, Sam and Libby when he was involved in an accident whilst out doing SES training. After falling into an abandoned mineshaft, he and Steph were trapped together, with Steve and Ned Parker also getting trapped when they tried to stage a rescue. When Steph and Dan were found first, Dan insisted on leading the rescue of the Parker brothers, but later collapsed at the hospital, suffering from internal bleeding. As Dan recovered, he and Sam started talking about their past, and Dan tried to get her to open up about the baby she'd lost, since her bi-polar diagnosis had never really allowed them a chance to grieve. She admitted that she had blamed him for the stress that had caused the miscarriage, as he had been suspicious of her close relationship with Nicholas, a work colleague, but insisted that nothing went on. Dan then showed her some photos and a newspaper obituary for baby James that he had kept, and Sam was moved. It proved to be a turning point in their relationship and she continued to support him as he was released from hospital before announcing that she planned to leave Erinsborough. Though Dan was slightly confused, Libby could barely hide her happiness at the news, but Sam had a change of heart after finding out how much pregnant Rosie was enjoying having her around. With Rosie and husband Frazer about to go for their first scan, Sam headed up organising a surprise baby shower, which turned to disaster when the expectant parents returned home in a solemn mood. Sam quickly realised that there'd been bad news, and Rosie explained that there was no baby - she'd suffered a phantom pregnancy. But as Sam did her best to support her friend, Dan started to worry that the tragedy might be too much for her to cope with.
• Brett Tucker previously appeared as Davo in 1992, a pub patron and a builder in 1994, a golf instructor in 1995 and Ned Goodman in 1996
• Dan is left handed
• Brett Tucker recorded a scene and some audio dialogue before leaving in 2009 to be used in 2010
• Episode 6196 featured a flashback to Lucas and Daniel's childhood with a 7 year old Daniel played by James Roach
3383, 3386, 3424, 3500-3513, 3558, 3594-3613, 5332-5832, 5971, 5976, 6011
Biography by Steve