We first saw Spencer as a drunk hanging round Holby A&E in series 14. At the beginning of series 15, however, he was recovering from his alcoholism and was starting a new job as Health Service Assistant in the department. The first episode saw him making a home for himself in the basement of the hospital. When Patrick discovered this, Spencer told him he had been kicked out of his bedsit during the night, for trying to break up a fight. Patrick offered Spencer his room in the hospital until he found somewhere more permanent.
Spencer was treated with much hostility by Barney, who couldn't stand alcoholics because his father was one. Spencer made an effort to change Barney's attitude, but to no avail. Things changed however when Spencer helped Barney out of another fix, when Barney was stuck in a trench which was filling with water. After that, Barney was grateful and shook his hand.
Attending the funeral of one of his old navy pals, Spencer got into another fix after meeting his friend Tommy, who was seeing the daughter of Reg, their superior in the navy. They were hiding from Reg, who disapproved of their relationship. Spencer and Patrick, whom he had roped in to help the daughter who was ill, ended up being taken hostage when Reg turned up. Before they managed to escape, Spencer told Patrick something of his past: five years ago, he was on a boat taking cargo to the South Pole when they got cut off from the mainland by the ice. A young lad fell in the water; they got him out and Spencer got into a sleeping bag to try to warm him up, but the lad died. Spencer couldn't stop blaming himself, and kept writing to the boy's parents, telling them what happened, until they wrote back asking him to stop. He left the Navy, turning to drink, and lost his family - he hadn't seen them since.
In series 16, when Spencer collapsed after vomiting blood, Jack managed to contact his wife Shirley, who came in to see him. She was impressed when Spencer told her how long it had been since he'd had a drink. But when Dillon mentioned to Shirley that Spencer's illness could be caused by him drinking again. Shirley, telling Spencer it was the same old story, Spencer swearing he'd given up the drink but carrying on, walked out before the test results came back to prove that it was nothing alcohol-related. Spencer was angry with Dillon, thinking he'd never see Shirley again, but Shirley turned up in A&E a week or so later, and Spencer started seeing his children again. He got a surprise when his daughter Gilly turned up on reception, to cover for Jack while he was away - she was working for an agency but knew nothing about hospitals, and Spencer often ended up taking the blame for Gilly's mistakes. When Anna came to Spencer saying she thought Gilly was dealing ecstasy at work, Spencer didn't believe her. After Gilly's friend Simone was brought into A&E after collapsing due to ecstasy, Anna convinced Spencer to ask Gilly about it. Gilly denied knowing Simone, but eventually gave him her parents' phone number. When the police, called by Anna, arrived to arrest Simone, she called her father a Judas. Spencer accused Anna of ruining his daughter's life.