Dirk van der Stek was a Dutchman who called into the Corner Shop one day in January 1981 on an errand. He worked in the same company as Ray Langton who heard that Dirk was on a business trip to Manchester and asked him to deliver a birthday present of a doll's house for Tracy Langton's fourth birthday. Deirdre was not pleased to receive the present, telling Dirk that Tracy was asking questions about her father, such as why she didn't have a daddy like her friends at playschool and this would only prompt further interrogations.

Dirk's business trip was to recruit British workers for Holland. He brought Deirdre up to date on Ray's relationship with a Dutch girl called Annie who had been expecting his baby but she had subsequently lost the child. Although they had then split, Dirk correctly identified Ray as a survivor and told Deirdre that her ex-husband was now thinking of moving on to Germany. Dirk had to go to a business appointment but he returned afterwards and asked Deirdre out, saying he would like to know more about her, and offered a night out the next evening saying no other night was possible as he had to fly back home. Deirdre reluctantly refused as she already had a date with Ken Barlow at a pub in the Peak District.

Dirk called back the next day, unwilling to take no for an answer and pointing out that Ken as a neighbour could go out with her at any time. Deirdre admired Dirk's persistence and agreed, having the embarrassment of having to explain to Ken in front of Dirk that he was dropped for the evening. Though Ken seemingly took the news like a gentleman, he managed to hide the jealousy he felt.

Although Deirdre thought Dirk had flown back home, he unexpectedly had to stay for another three or four days and asked Deirdre out again. She agreed but later had to cancel when Alf Roberts was unable to babysit Tracy. Instead, he spent the evening in the Corner Shop with her as she completed the late shift. Afterwards, they went for a drink in the Rovers where Ken wasn't pleased to see them together. When he saw Dirk in the Rovers again the next day, he asked for a word with him and asked what his intentions were towards Deirdre. Dirk got an admission from Ken that he was nothing more than a friend to Deirdre and made it clear that his relationship with her was none of his business, rightly divining that he was jealous. Dirk told Deirdre of their altercation, admitting that he didn't understand Englishmen of Ken's nature and an amused Deirdre realised that Dirk was jealous as well. He invited Deirdre to visit him in Holland but she never took him up on the offer.

Before he left, Bert Tilsley, unemployed for some time, asked Dirk if there were any job opportunities for him. He was offered a three-month contract but found himself unable to leave Ivy.

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