Always Greener: biographies

Cast | Characters

John Taylor (John Howard)

Howard

John's a good bloke. He has lived in the city all his life and has enjoyed a lot of success. Politically and socially aware, John has been a compassionate and dedicated social worker over the last two decades, and counsels and supports those with social impediments, such as homelessness or drug dependency.

But no matter how much empathy and optimism he shares with the community, John has become jaded and cynical dealing with an apathetic bureaucracy which values profit before people. When John discovers his own daughter is using recreational drugs, his decision is final. Move to the country and straighten out his kids or watch them succumb to a similar fate to the cases he works with: dependency, depression and poverty.

John believes moving to the country will allow him to take a step inside himself and re-assess how he wants to confront the rest of his life. It's also an opportunity to show his kids that the world is much larger than their own social circles. But John's personal mission is to remind himself that life is meant to be enjoyed and not endured.

John wants to rediscover himself, and moving to Inverness is an opportunity he is going to grasp with both hands.

Liz Taylor (Anne Tenney)

Tenney

Liz is the backbone of the Taylor family. No matter what problems the family encounters, Liz is always on hand with a sympathetic ear, a warm hug or just a home-baked dinner. Liz considers her greatest accomplishments are her three kids, Marissa, Jason and Kimberley and her most treasured possession is the "World's Best Mum" mug that Jason gave her when he was eight. She knows it's tough growing up in these modern times and recognises that her kids are struggling to find themselves in a big city where alienation leads to reckless pursuits.

Marissa's recent foray doing recreational drugs concerns her and she believes that moving to Inverness would be a positive experience not just for her children but for herself. You see, Liz's marriage has hit a rough patch and her relationship with John is beginning to struggle. She understands he is undergoing immense pressures with his work and although his sullen silences and sudden outbursts upset her, she knows that she has to be the strong one in the family in order to hold it together. Like any mum, Liz just hopes she has made the right decision for her kids.

Marissa Taylor (Michala Banas)

Banas

Marissa Taylor is a teen with a lot of spunk. She has a lot of attitude but that is just the image she likes to present to the world. Smart and attractive, Marissa knows she can be successful at anything she puts her hand to. It's just that she is 18 and extremely impetuous. She wants everything to happen in-this-moment for her and gets frustrated when she can't instantly make her dreams into a reality. She wants to be Madonna, she wants to be successful and beautiful like the models in the magazines, she wants to be a fashion designer but her ambition is cut short by her lack of confidence, experience and money. She has recently fallen into a fast crowd, who hang out all night, go to raves and take a lot of drugs. Marissa has a good head on her shoulders and is just out to have fun and forget her everyday worries. Her parents, however, are extremely concerned and feel as if her attitude towards life is destructive. Her Dad, John has seen first hand what drugs can do to a wide-eyed teen and is determined not to let Marissa stray down the same road. Her parents sincerely believe a year in the country will be good for her, and will allow her to reach some adult conclusions in her mind. Only problem is, Marissa's got other ideas…

Jason Taylor (Daniel Bowden)

Bowden

Jason is 16 years old and is basically a good kid. He is always polite, good to his mum and extremely protective of his two sisters Marissa and Kimberley. Like any 16-year-old kid, he has serious aspirations to be a rock star. He is so dedicated to his dream that he has his own band that he started with his best mate and next-door neighbour Mickey Steele.

Jason feels invincible when he is playing music and all his worries seem to disappear when he is jamming with the band or tinkering with a new riff. He knows he wants to make a career out of music and spends most of his money buying new CDs and listening to other garage grunge bands.

Jason isn't overly academic, and he feels a bit insecure that he doesn't get the good grades his little sister Kimberley gets. Just recently, he made the decision to quit school and devote his energies into ascending into the rock hall of fame.

But there's one tiny problem. Jason's parents want to move to the country, an idea that could not fit less with his plans. But on a Christmas visit to Inverness, Jason meets the intriguing Katy Turnbull and just can't get her out of his head. Maybe there is more to life than music after all…

Kimberley Taylor (Natasha Lee)

Lee

Being fourteen isn't easy and no one knows this better than Kimberley Taylor. Riddled with insecurities about her looks, Kim often doesn't feel she makes the "cool" grade. She is shy, gawky and has braces which in her opinion makes her look like a freak. Other girls in her year who are pretty and popular surround her, and Kim wants nothing more than to be accepted by them. She escapes into her schoolwork for solitude and is extremely diligent, always getting good marks.

As a result, Kim is a bit of a loner and likes to hang out by herself to read or just listen to music. Her parents, John and Liz, are worried about Kim suddenly losing her "spark" as she spends most of her time with her head in a book and talking to no-one.

You see the problem is, Kim has a nemesis and her name is Shelley. Shelley is one year above Kim at school and is always paying out Kim for any reason she can find. Kim has started to retreat into her own head as a result of the bullying and spends most of the time wishing she could just snap her fingers and disappear.

Moving to Inverness for Kim is a welcome relief and she sees it as an opportunity to grow into the girl she has always wanted to be.

Sandra Todd (Caitlin McDougall)

McDougall

Sandra grew up in the city and has always wanted to make a triumphant return. When she married and moved to Inverness, she left her dreams in Sydney but was blissfully happy being married to Rob, and considers those years the best years of her life. But she does regret not going to university after scoring a top HSC score and undertaking a job that would have complemented her "people" skills.

Funny and outgoing, Sandra is well-liked at Inverness, but as her kids start to grow up she realises that she has become extremely restless and wants to follow other pursuits. Unfortunately, when Rob was killed in a bush fire, Sandra's emotional world crumbled around her, but she kept herself together for the love of her two kids Campbell and Pip. Ever since, she has been supporting her family working as a receptionist, but the job is a dead-end one and does not satisfy her.

Sandra realises that she needs to escape from everything familiar, everything that reminds her of her husband and their marriage in order to move forward herself. She understands that she needs to go somewhere so she can re-invent herself and be open to new opportunities.

Moving to Allanhurst could be the best move she has ever made.

Phillipa Todd (Bree Walters)

Walters

If Pip were anymore down to earth, she would probably sprout potatoes. She's fifteen and very much an outdoorsy sort of girl. She loves living in the country and she is a nature lover at heart and likes nothing more than playing with her pets — going for long walks or just challenging herself to a tricky tree-climbing competition.

Her cousin Marissa, who seems incredibly "grown up" and trendy, fascinates Pip but she has no aspirations to be like Marissa. She couldn't care less for girly stuff such as make-up and dresses, and boys — well — as far as Pip is concerned they don't even make a ping on her mental radar. But when she discovers that moving to the city is on the horizon, Pip couldn't be more thrilled. She has visited the city before and loves the excitement there, so she is open to the changes relocation has to offer.

Only problem is — can a country girl survive the big city?

Campbell Todd (Abe Forsythe)

Forsythe

Campbell is extremely mature for his sixteen years — well, he has to be. Ever since his Dad passed away, Cam feels that he has to assume the role of the father figure. He does the very best he can and is always charming, polite and easy going. He possesses a maturity beyond his years which is noticeable to all those around him. However, the lack of a male role model has made Cam very insecure about becoming a man himself. He has not yet learned that exposing his sensitive side only contributes to his journey into manhood so he tends to bury it. Instead he hides his sensitive side, in fear of being exposed as vulnerable.

Meanwhile, Cam is academically bright and a keen sportsman, playing soccer and cricket for the high school team. He is extremely excited to move to Allanhurst as it may afford him a chance to try out for one of the professional soccer teams in the city. But sport isn't he only agenda on Cam's mind, as living in the city begins to change his outlook on life.

Tom Morgan (Scott Major)

Major

Tom has lived in Inverness all his life and considers himself a loner. He doesn't get along well with many people and he has been tagged as the troublemaker of the district. It's probably because Tom has come from an abusive background and he finds it difficult to connect with other people. Underneath, he is incredibly giving — but he has just never been given the opportunity to belong anywhere.

This was until he formed a friendship with Sandra's now-dead husband, Rob. His job on the farm gave him a sense of purpose and belonging and for once Tom felt as if he had found a small little place in a big world that was just for him. When Rob died in a bushfire, the sense of loss he felt was immeasurable.

Not only had he found a job he enjoyed but he also gained a surrogate family in the Todds, who treated him as their own. And now that the Todd family is moving to the city, Tom feels he has been discarded and dismissed again, just like any relationship he has ever tried to forge.

Tom couldn't be called "smart" but he is bright, and he approached the world around him in a charmingly offbeat manner. See, that is what is so appealing about Tom. Although life has dealt him a raw hand of cards, he still tries to evolve himself. Even though he has serious literacy problems, a bad reputation and is seen as an object of pity, Tom is determined to prove himself, before his already tortured psyche gets lost in the dark areas of his soul.

Mickey Steele (Clayton Watson)

Watson

Mickey is an army brat and he doesn't care what anybody thinks of him. He is streetwise and is a little left of centre, but Mickey enjoys that. He is always looking for an opportunity to raise an eyebrow. His mum died when he was 10, and his dad has raised him ever since.

On the surface he seems independent and confident, but he shows little sensitivity mainly because his army captain father, Greg has drilled it into him that "men and emotion do not mix". Despite being on the receiving end of negative energy, Mickey is extremely creative and likes nothing more than to make music.

His band, the Mickey's Mouth Club is a good outlet for his angst and all his pent-up frustration comes out as industrial grunge. His best mate is Jason Taylor, and secretly Mickey wishes he were part of a "normal" family. But Mickey is hiding a deep dark secret, something which he must overcome — if only he could confront it head on…

Greg Steele (Grant Bowler)

Bowler

Greg Steele lives next door to the Taylor family with his son Mickey. He is a pretty straight up and down sort of bloke, who doesn't mince words and often disregards any social protocol. He says exactly what is on his mind in any given situation.

His own parents sent him to the army at a young age, which explains any abrasive personality traits. Greg found his focus in the army, and completely embraced the military lifestyle. The only person he has ever shown emotion to, was his wife Angela who struggled with and ultimately succumbed to breast cancer.

Through this entire process he showed no emotion except in his solitary moments and the whole experience shut down his sensitive side even more. Greg unwittingly wants to expose a less uptight part of his personality. Nobody has challenged his beliefs on life, not even his son Mickey who manages to rebel in a non-confronting way.

Greg has a healthy and romantic sex life, but more as a late-life player of the field than with an eye to ongoing interest. A good bloke like Greg never has any problem picking up women, but he often has problems when women expect a lot more than what he is prepared to offer.

Shelley Southall (Bree Desborough)

Desborough

Shelley Southall is seventeen years old and the most polite way to describe her would be — well — trailer trash.

Shelley walks around with a scowl permanently etched on her face. She has a big chip on her shoulder, probably because deep down Shelly has a massive inferiority complex. She expresses it by unleashing a reign of terror upon any girl who is smaller and younger than she is. Shelley is a bully plain and simple, and nobody knows this better than Kim Taylor who has been the subject of her taunts and harassment for quite some time.

But Shelley's exterior hides a sad and damaged creature — 'Shitty Shelley', the butt of all the jokes amongst her peers. The question is — is Shelley beyond redemption?

Katy Turnbull (Georgie Shew)

Shew

Poor Katy has many expectations thrust upon her. Her mother, Isabelle has extremely high expectations of her young beautiful daughter, but Katy is happy being a country girl. She is a romantic at heart and her biggest ambition is to find Mr Right, fall in love and settle down. She is aware of the effect she has on young suitors. Barely a day goes by when she doesn't receive an admiring glance or a wolf whistle, but no boys have sustained her interest…yet.

Then one fateful afternoon, Katy meets Jason Taylor. She is instantly attracted to him and the feeling is mutual. Who else has been inspired to write a love song for her? Despite her mother's proscription against romance with locals, she finds Jason too intriguing to resist.

Isabelle Turnbull (Denise Roberts)

Roberts

Isabelle is Katy's mum and could be excused for being called pretentious. She is a very savvy businesswoman, but Isabelle has endured many hardships over the years, including a loveless marriage, which resulted in her husband's premature death.

Isabelle has adjusted well to being on her own, but she is extremely protective of Katy and wants to offer her daughter all the opportunities she never had access too. She is nouveau riche, combined with a born-again Christian mentality — fertile ground for pride…and prejudice.


Derek Unn (Andrew Clarke)

Clark

Derek could be considered a shonky real estate agent, for want of a better word. His lack of honesty in self-appraisal is eclipsed only by his lack of honesty in appraising the real estate on his books. He's a good bloke to have a drink with down at the pub, but you couldn't exactly call Derek a "Lady's Man". He hasn't found Miss Right yet despite his self-perception of being hot-to-trot. His self-delusion is only a mirror of his acute insecurities.