Matthew Jackson is the manager of the local music store. He is first seen on screen in May 1988 as a new love interest for the social worker, Carmel Roberts. Matthew had had an unhappy childhood. His mother Lynna Jackson had become pregnant at 16 and after bringing him up for 15 years, she had been forced to put him into custody. Matthew was fostered by another family and he had subsequently refused all contact with his mother and rather resented her for abandoning him.
Matthew is initially a kind, easy-going man. Everyone loves him, except Carmel's brother, Darren Roberts , who objects to his sister dating him because he was white. His racial hatred eventually leads to Carmel kicking him out of her flat and Matthew later moves in instead. Darren subsequently flees Walford, leaving Carmel and Matthew to look after his two children, Junior Roberts and Aisha Roberts.
Carmel is really besotted with Matthew, so when he proposes marriage in November that year, she gleefully accepts. Carmel wants to invite Lynna to the wedding, but Matthew is totally opposed to the idea. His ire rises at her mere mention, but Carmel pursues it, which causes Matthew to blow his top and viciously scream at her. Carmel is left dumbstruck at the sudden outburst, but this is only a small taster of what is to come in the following months.
The two marry in January 1989, but the day is ruined when Matthew sees his mother is in attendance. Carmel had got in contact with her, thinking that Matthew would be pleased to have her at the wedding. She is wrong and Matthew is furious. After shunning their reception party, he threatens to pack his things and leave. Carmel cannot understand his reaction and when she attempts to stop him leaving he grabs her by the throat, holds her up against a wall and berates her for her interference. Carmel is petrified, and upon seeing her fear Matthew immediately releases her and begins apologising profusely for his violent outburst. Carmel is shaken, but is convinced that his apology is sincere, so she drops the matter.
Things do not go much better for the newly weds in the following months. Matthew is finding it increasingly difficult to put up with Junior's presence in his life. The two regularly clash and this in turn causes major animosity between him and Carmel. This eventually evokes Matthew back into violence and he punches Carmel in the face one night during an argument about Junior. Carmel is left with a heavily bruised face, but yet again a tearful Matthew manages to convince her to forgive him. Matthew's behaviour continues to alternate from contrite and caring to hot-tempered and violent, for seemingly no reason. Nevertheless, Carmel remains with him as she believes she can help him combat and contain his rage. Despite his despicable behaviour, she still deeply loves him.
It isn't long before Junior works out why his aunt is constantly covered in bruises. He tries to put a stop to it by informing various people about the abuse, which doesn't impress Matthew and this only makes his temper worse. Matthew begins to grow irrationally jealous over Carmel's friendship with Dr. David Samuels, and during a family meal one night, he begins to get violent towards her in front of Junior. In a desperate bid to protect his petrified aunt, Junior stabs Matthew with a kitchen knife. Matthew spends time in hospital, but once again he manages to convince Carmel that he has changed and she allows him to come home when he recovers. She tries to get Matthew to seek professional help, but Matthew is appalled by the idea, and true to form, he begins smashing up the house and threatening her with more violence. This is the last straw for Carmel and she wisely decides to end their relationship. She throws Matthew out and he leaves Walford in July 1989.