Michael first appeared when he settled in Walford as a Market Inspector in 1996. He He initially had very few storylines in his early years. He had a crush on April Branning but no relationship ever developed between him and April. Then there was the arrival of his teenage son Matthew Rose and ex- wife Susan Rose in 1997. He was chosen, randomly, to be the best man at Terry Raymond's wedding (which was later called off).
His ex-wife Susan was suffering from multiple sclerosis and Michael ended up caring for her. Eventually he and Susan got back together and seemed happy until the arrival of Lisa Shaw who was also a Market Inspector. He and Lisa became attracted to each other and had an affair behind Susan's back. Michael ended the affair and decided to leave Walford with Susan and start a new life in Leeds, with Susan unaware of the affair.
He returned occasionally in 1999 when his son Matthew was wrongly imprisoned for the murder of Saskia Duncan. The real culprit was Steve Owen and Michael became one of his enemies for framing his son. Michael's last appearance was in October 1999.