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Thanks kglad. Although this does work (and the next bit is an oversight by me). I am actually creating the variable to act as a dynamic name for a movieclip that I can work with after the onPress action. This requires the variable to not be enclosed in"" marks but when I remove the quotation marks I'm getting undefined.
Again, I have the very same thing and it is working on a var that I'm creating that is already on the _root timeline.
Regards and thanks again,
if panelActive is supposed to store a reference to a movieclip, you need to use the movieclip's instance name (or path/name if it's not on the timeline that contains that code). if you're getting undefined, it means you're not using the correct name (or path/name).
you can always use trace(this) from the movieclip's timeline and from the timeline where you want to reference the movieclip to see the correct path/name.