Samuel Irving (Stefan Dennis) 2001-2002

First Regular Appearance: 5.1 (#229) Passports Out  Sunday 16th September 2001

Last Regular Appearance: 5.32 (#260) Forsaking All Others  Sunday 5th May 2002

Duration: EP: 229 - 260½ SE: 5.1 – 5.32

Position: Harchester United Chairman (2001-2002)

Last Seen: Passing on the club to daughter Claudia, then having to dispose of it to Phil Wallis after her death in the crash.

 

 

Samuel Irving is an Australian businessman who made his money at a young age, but has been astute enough to know how to keep it and keep on making more! At the end of the 70's he was a father of three, with two sons Max and Harry and a daughter Claudia, the youngest. In 1985 however, when Claudia was six, Sam's wife died and it brought big changes to the family dynamic. Since he became her sole-guardian when she was at such a young age, Sam didn't know how to bond with his daughter and appointed others around him to take over the mothering role for Claudia. This included having her raised at boarding school and when home, by the Nanny. Sam was better with his sons, whom he could hide his pain away through moulding them into articulate businessmen like him. As she grew into a young woman, Claudia felt restricted by her father; Sam reserved the best positions within his companies for her brothers, and often wanted Claudia kept in a nice safe role away from the cut-throat world of business he knew.

In the summer of 2001 Sam felt he'd found the business venture he'd held a long time ambition for - ownership of his own English Premier League football club. Harchester United had sat dormant without a chairman for two months since the murder of previous owner Prashant Dattani, and the club having qualified for the Champions League was an attractive prospect, for Sam is an actual football fan unlike other previous Harchester owners. He has watched and fallen in love with the club, and knows exactly the woman he wants to run it. Unfortunately for Claudia (again) it isn't her, but former Chairwoman Lynda Block. Early in the season the Dragons are playing in Mallorca and Sam takes his chance to approach Lynda while she is staying at Jeff Stein's villa. After the pain and drama the club recently caused her, Lynda has no plans to return, but Sam, ever the charmer, talks her round and she is persuaded into the chief executive role.

Sam brought in European-class manager Alan Rothman and his assistant David Spears to give Harchester the best privileges in Europe and the Premier League. But when Rothman is forced out for personal discrepancies, they are left with just David, who is backed by Lynda. With Claudia working as Lynda's PA, she brainstorms an ill-thought publicity campaign for a risqué photoshoot involving her posing with football's instead of lingerie, which will be on billboards in the town. On top of this, Claudia is having an affair with the married David, which results in her furious father firing him, bringing in his third manager in a season with Patrick Doyle. Sam may be embarrassed and disappointed in Claudia's actions, but he is scared witless when she is attacked by David's wife Dawn and put in hospital.

Claudia may have her father's attention here but all season she has seemingly had to compete with Lynda, who Sam has become very close to. She has seen many "stepmother's" come and go in her time, but is not ready to accept Lynda, especially when her father vows to protect her when it is revealed Lynda killed Prash. Although she left Fletch on trial for her crime, Lynda cares deeply for him, and is briefly seeing him while Sam is preparing for their wedding. With Claudia's influence, Sam witnesses Lynda and Fletch together, and waits until they are standing at the alter to humiliate her, with a classic line of how Lynda is "A two-timing murdering slut and she's not even good in bed!". With things over between he and Lynda, Sam gives Claudia just what she's always wanted, a business of her own to run - Harchester United!

Sam ultimately puts Claudia on the team coach to the UEFA Cup Final, which crashes on the M1 on the way to the airport. Claudia dies and Sam is consumed with bitterness and guilt. Now left with the club full of bad memories to get rid of, he rejects Jeff and Patrick's bid and sells to Phil and Jacqui Wallis, two lottery winners who are big Harchester fans, just like he was.