Chances: cast and characters
Note: biographical information is contemporary with the time of the series' production.
John Sheerin as Dan Taylor
John is an actor with a great depth of experience whose past work embraces film, stage and television—from comedy to high drama. His series roles include appearances in A Country Practice, Sons & Daughters, The Young Doctors, Willesee's Australians and Richmond Hill. John was also in the acclaimed mini-series, The Dismissal. His theatre credits include the Les Darcy Show, David Williamson's The Club, and the Sydney Theatre Company production of Cyrano De Bergerac. John has also featured in top Australian films including The Journalist, Starstruck, Hostage, Colleen McCullough's An Indecent Obsession, Goodbye Paradise and Bullseye.
Dan Taylor is happily married to Barbara and has three children—son Alex and daughters Rebecca and Nicki. He's a complex but likeable guy with a great sense of humour, a measure of shrewd understanding and a cheerful, optimistic outlook on life. Dan works for a drainage, concreting and landscaping business and loves it. Working outdoors has kept him bronzed and fit. Of course, he thinks the world of his children—particularly Rebecca and Nicki. As for Alex…well, that's a more complex story. Dan is proud that his son has succeeded in the world of advertising but it's a foreign world to him and he gets exasperated by Alex's cynicism and the way he manipulates people. Still, he's not a bad kid and Dan's sense of humour prevents any real bitterness. Two years serving in Vietnam no doubt contributed to Dan's philosophy that happiness means having enough—not having more. So, he's quite content with his lot and believes life doesn't have to be complicated. You keep your word, do the right thing, never let a mate down, and pay your way…
Brenda Addie as Barbara Taylor
Although she has had numerous guest roles in television, Brenda has worked more extensively in the theatre, both in Australia and England. Brenda featured in the English productions of David Williamson's Don's Party, Two & Two Make Sex, Darling Mr London, Caught On The Hop, Double Edge and, most recently, Blind Salome. Her appearances in Australian theatre productions include Guys & Dolls, A Touch of Silk, The Dean Case, Damn Yankees and Kiss Me Kate.
Barbara Taylor is 45 years old—loving, sensible and organised. She is the ideal mum. Her children Alex, Rebecca and Nicki love her, although she fights a running battle with 16 year old Nicki. Barbara was born in King Country, in the middle of New Zealand's North Island, but at the age of 18, when she started growing too close to a local Catholic boy, she was sent to live with an aunt in Melbourne, Australia. She got an administrative job at a large hospital and met Connie Taylor, who introduced Barbara to her brother, Dan. Barbara and Dan were engaged within six months—and married soon after, just before Dan was shipped off to Vietnam.
Jeremy Sims as Alex Taylor
As a recent graduate of the prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney, Jeremy Sims has concentrated on acting for the theatre, in productions including A Midsummer Night's Dream, Pravda and Caucasian Chalk Circle.
Alex Taylor is Creative Assistant at a large advertising agency—a hot-shot go-getter up to his ears in accolades, fast cars, fine clothes and a frantic lifestyle. Alex has his sights firmly fixed on reaching the top. He's ruthless about getting what he wants—and that includes his relationships with women. He'll use and exploit anyone and any situation to suit his plans, even his own family (but only if he has to!) Despite all of this, Alex always comes through when his parents or sisters Nicki and Rebecca really need him.
Natalie McCurry as Rebecca Young
Natalie has an impressive range of credits in an acting career which began in Perth, where she trained with the Chimera Theatre. She has appeared in feature films such as Going Sane, Cassandra, Les Patterson Saves The World and Dead-End Drive-In and has also featured in such national television series asSons & Daughters, A Country Practice, E Street and Hey Dad.
Rebecca Young, the eldest daughter in the Taylor family, is beautiful and vulnerable. Her father always calls her "Princess"—and the whole family is very protective towards her.
Cathy Godbold as Nicki Taylor
The role of effervescent Nicki Taylor marks the TV series debut of talented newcomer, Cathy Godbold. Her only previous TV experience was playing Sarah O'Grady in the ACTF telemovie, His Master's Ghost. But Cathy is exceptionally well qualified, coming from a showbusiness family and having made her first public appearances as a model at the tender age of eight. Two years later she began studying drama and all facets of dance including classical ballet, jazz and tap. Now she's studying drama at the highly-respected National Theatre in Melbourne, and is a first year student at the Victorian College of the Arts, after being accepted on a singing scholarship.
Nicki, 16, is the youngest daughter of Dan and Barbara Taylor—a happy, healthy teenager looking for excitement, parties and boys. She idolises the fast-lane lifestyle of her brother, Alex, but thinks older sister, Rebecca, is a bit of a wimp. Nicki has too many plans for an exciting and glamorous career to even think about marriage. She loves school—particularly the social aspects, parties, discos, new music, new clothes… Nicki's always on the move and tuned into what's hot and what's not. And as far as Nicki's concerned, her parents are definitely pre-historic!
Yvonne Lawley as Heather Mcglahan
Yvonne Lawley is a New Zealander who had a major role in the NZ television series, Gloss, until it ceased production last November. She brings considerable experience to the new Nine drama series, CHANCES, having been a television regular since the medium was introduced in NZ early in the 1960s and having performed in many radio plays for NZBC. Yvonne began acting in her teens, and has since worked consistently ever since in all acting mediums.
Heather McGlashan is Barbara's mother—a widow who travels from her home in King Country, New Zealand to visit Barbara and the family every couple of years or so.
Tim Robertson as Jack Taylor
Tim comes to the exciting new drama series, CHANCES, with a distinguished reputation as something of an actor's actor. An honours graduate in English, Tim has contributed not only some superb performances on stage, in films and on television, but has also shared his deep knowledge and understanding of the actor's craft both as a lecturer in drama and visiting Professor, Dramatic Literature, at an American university.
Jack Taylor is the oldest member of the Talyor clan, a former detective sergeant who quit the force to start a security business. Dan is his younger brother, Connie and Sharon his younger sisters. Jack's first wife, his childhood sweetheart, died when their daughter, Phillipa, was just three years old. Then he met Sarah—an attractive woman who adored the baby and Jack. They married, and 12 months later their son, Ben, was born. Jack's been running his business for 20 years with great success, and he enjoys all the rewards of that success: nice house, cars, pool and the fact that women are attracted to him. In fact, he sees nothing wrong with the occasional fling.
Anne Grigg as Sarah Taylor
Since graduating in 1970 from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney, Anne Grigg has worked in film, theatre and television, with an extensive list of credits.
At 43 Sarah Taylor is attractively sexy and, while husband, Jack, doesn't always seem to appreciate it, she is probably his greatest asset. Sarah might be a lousy cook but she's a superb hostess. And not a bad trumpet player, either! In fact, Sarah's approach to life somewhat betrays her background. She comes from a Bohemian-but-wealthy family who certainly didn't approve of her choice for a husband. Having graduated from university with a degree in psychology, Sarah has started a marriage guidance practice, run from home. When she isn't working or entertaining, Sarah keeps in shape with jazz ballet dancing and aerobics, and is inclined to favour a diet of brown rice and lentils. She has two children—step-daughter, Phillipa, from Jack's first marriage, and son, Ben.
Leverne Mcdonnell as Phillipa Taylor
Singer, dancer, actor—Leverne McDonnell has packed a lot into a career scaling more than a decade. After three years as a member of Adelaide's youth dance theatre company, Energy Connection, Leverne was accepted to study at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), graduating in 1985.
Phillipa Taylor is 26 years old. And she's a policewoman. Her father, Jack, who quit the force when he was just a couple of years older than Phillipa, is proud of his daughter but doesn't really approve of her chosen career. Phillipa is independent and cautious. She loves her step-mother, Sarah, and sure, she had a few teenage romances, but nothing really stirred her emotionally. She's buying her own apartment and she expects nothing from anyone and is happiest approaching life in that way.
Simon Grey as Sam Reynolds
Simon Grey is an energetic as he is talented. Apart from possessing a range of musical abilities—from singing to playing piano and drums—Simon also enjoys martial arts, snow-skiing, tennis, soccer and dancing! At just 14 years of age, Simon has already had a major television role—the lead in the telemovie His Master's Ghost from the acclaimed Winners series.
Sam is very much his father's son. A real charmer with a great sense of fun -and a natural con artist!
Rhys Muldoon as Ben Taylor
Rhys Muldoon graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in 1989, having appeared in numerous College productions including King Lear, Engants Du Paradis, A Flea In Her Ear and The Seagull. Commercial and radio work, along with appearances in the popular comedy series Acropolis Now and the film The Madding Cloud, hint at the rapidly developing career of a bright new talent.
Ben Taylor is good-looking, cheerful, easygoing… and a hairdresser. His Dad, Jack Taylor, hangs his head in shame every time he thinks about his son and his outrageous approach to life. Ben is a slave to style and loves his freedom. The moment he has any money, he takes off travelling. Luckily, he usually falls on his feet.
Deborah Kennedy as Connie Reynolds
Deborah Kennedy makes her TV series debut in a regular role for CHANCES, having previously appeared in guest roles in shows such as Rafferty's Rules, Home And Away, Prisoner and A Country Practice. She also starred in the award winning mini-series Fields Of Fire. An impressive list of film credits includes Tim, The Empty Beach, Can't Get Started, Bodily Harm and Death In Brunswick.
Connie Reynolds is a nursing sister and a 45-year-old divorcee with two children, Christopher, 19, and 12-year-old Sam. She's a warm, attractive woman—just the person the rest of the family can turn to when they need advice or a shoulder to cry on.
Mark Kounnas as Chris Reynolds
Mark is one of Australia's most experienced young talents, familiar to movie fans for his work in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Ginger Meggs and Winds Of Jarrah.
Chris Reynolds is smart, introspective, shy and sensitive. He's also a gym junkie who enjoys any activity that makes him sweat and keeps him busy, including windsurfing, rowing and canoeing. Chris, 19, has a good give-and-take relationship with his mother, Connie, and tries hard to protect her—even if she will stubbornly make up her own mind no matter what he suggests. But he hates his father, Dennis Reynolds, because of the way he treated Connie. Chris says he'll never marry, believing it's a sure way to get hurt.
Michael Caton as Bill Anderson
Logie Award-winning actor, Michael Caton, is probably best remembered by Australian TV audiences—and fans in many other countries—as everyone's favourite uncle, Uncle Harry, in the long-running series The Sullivans. Among his many other TV credits are Homicide, Cop Shop, Five Mile Creek, A Country Practice, The Flying Doctors, Mike Willesee's Australians—Les Darcy, Home And Away and the mini-series ThePaper Man, Come In Spinner and Shadows Of The Heart.
Bill Anderson and Dan Taylor have been lifelong friends. They grew up together, went to war together in Vietnam and are now neighbours. But more than that, there's a special bond which comes from the fact that Bill acted heroically to save Dan's life in Vietnam. Bill, 46, has never really recovered from his war-time experiences. His violent outbursts and wild mood swings cost him his marriage to Cheryl. Yet despite the permanent scars and the fact that he's had a bad trot lately, Bill tries to maintain a sense of humour. "You gotta laugh, misery loves company, always a silver lining," he says.
Mercia Deane-Johns as Sharon Taylor
A graduate of the London College of Music where she earned a diploma in singing and music, Mercia has managed to integrate her love of music and acting into a varied and challenging career. As well as the mini-series Vietnam and Body Business, Mercia's TV work includes roles in Homicide, Division 4, The Restless Years, Cop Shop, The Young Doctors, The Box and The Sullivans . Her film credits include Heatwave, A Cry For Help, Going Down, and Demolition.
Sharon Taylor—the younger sister of Dan Taylor, Jack Taylor and Connie Reynolds—is selfish and cunning, with a sharp tongue and an eye for an attractive man.
Kimberley Davenport as Charlie Gibson
Originally from New Zealand, Kimberley graduated with a diploma in Dramatic Art from the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, having studied drama and movement. Kimberley has performed in various theatre, television and film productions.
Is a strong intelligent and confident 20 year old woman. She does Ag. Science at university and is from a wealthy background. Charlie is not what you'd call graceful but she has an awkwardness which men find beguiling. Charlie is the sort of woman who looks equally at home in a ball gown or overalls. She's aware that men find her very attractive but is fed up with the fact that, generally, their interest in her goes no further. Charlie is further burdened by an unfortunate attraction towards men who are bastards. She always ends up being hurt but she tends to keep seeking out exactly the wrong guys. She almost seems to be punishing herself . After a particularly bad experience, Charlie has decided to not get emotionally involved with men. Physical stuff is OK, but she will keep her heart out of it. She's made herself tough but that doesn't stop her laughing.
Rodney Bell as David Young
Rodney Bell seemed destined for a career a a dancer from an early age. He started lessons at the age of four and over the following 11 years studied all forms of dancing and acrobatics.
David Young quite likes the idea of one day 'making it' in the music industry. He has a lot of talent as a musician and songwriter, but is content for now to stick with his job as an electrician and play synthesiser with a part-time band. David is a down-to-earth and honest young man—and he's in love with Rebecca Taylor.
Peter has had an extensive international career in both film and television. He has starred in half a dozen feature films including THE LIGHT HORSEMAN, BREAKING LOOSE and UNCLE SAM'S AT THE DOOR. His television credits include THE DIRTWATER DYNASTY, A COUNTRY PRACTICE and BUTTERFLY ISLAND. He also starred in Willesee's Australians as Les Darcy in THE LES DARCY STORY.
Diane Craig is probably one of Australia's most respected television actresses. She has appeared or starred in over forty television series and half a dozen films. She has also had a successful theatre career starring in EMERALD CITY and HOBSON'S CHOICE to name but a few.
Sandy Gore appeared as Joy Kuhl in EVIL ANGELS (A CRY IN THE DARK) and stars in the new film LUIGI'S LADIES. She has appeared in over fifteen films and numerous television productions including RAFFERTY'S RULES, THE FLYING DOCTORS, PRISONER and TWENTY GOOD YEARS. Sandy also starred in the ABC production of I CAN JUMP PUDDLES. She has appeared in nearly thirty theatrical plays including BIG RIVER, SONS OF CAIN and THE ALCHEMIST.
Marcus has had a strong theatrical training and has appeared in over fifteen plays or musicals and has appeared in a few films, most notably A FORTUNATE LIFE. CHANCES was one of his first television roles, and he is currently appearing in E STREET on Network TEN Australia. Marcus has skills in fencing, jazz and tap dancing, archery and guitar.
Peter Kowitz as Steve Harland
He has vast Television experience through his lead roles in over 30 professional productions, ranging from the classics though to modern Australian drama and has appeared with the Queensland Company, Melbourne Theatre Company and the legendary Nimrod Theatre Company. Peter has twice received the Australian Film Institute's highest achievement award: in 1980 the AFI award for best actor in a Telefeature for his portrayal of vietnam veteran in the film The Long Way Home, and in 1989 for Best Actor in a Mini-series for his performance as architect David Lang in Bodysurfer.
Steve Harland is the honest, straight forward politian. The New-wave canditate for prime minister that believes in being honest with the public, keeping no skeletons in the cupboard.
Annie Jones as Paris
Annie Jones is one of Australia's most popular actors. With a list of credits which begin in 1984 with a lead role in Run Chrissie Run. In 1984, Annie also appeared in the mini-series Robbery Under Arms, and a list of documentaries; Changes and Choices, Get To Know Your Dep Of Lands and Fair Deal. The mini-series The Henderson Kids in 1985 and a three month run in the Australian series Sons and Daughters as a regular cast member. From there Annie became a regular cast as Jane in the popular on-going series Neighbours in 1986 to 1989.
Paris is a young hairdresser at "Heads" salon—charming, flamboyant, outrageous and tough in business. Paola, the owner of "Heads" spotted her at a city salon where Paris has built a clientele of celebrities. Paola enticed Paris away with an offer of a 20% share is the salon. But Paris has a secret past—and one that she goes to great lengths to conceal. She has given herself a completely fictional background. The truth is that her "Daddy" owns a huge property in Queensland at Long Reach—a place far enough away from her that no one would check. Her mother died when Paris was small.
Kevin J Wilson as Sir Malcolm
One of the few actors still working in New Zealand who has made the distance since the first days of television dramas in the mid sixties. He is able to play a wide range of characters for the screen, from comedy to drama. He has proved in the past he is very capable of carrrying leading roles in film and television, although at his own admission prefers playing supporting roles or strong character roles. Apart from the occasional job in Australia he has spent his entire career working in New Zealand.
Sir Malcolm—a rich man with interests in politics. He is the father of Paris, the one woman that Alex has fallen in love with. His wife died when Paris was very young and he "mothered" her with a string of unsympathetic housekeepers. He has interfered with his daughter's love interest once too many times and has lost the love she may have once had for him. He is tormented by the hatred his daughter now holds for him—but still lays his heave wheeling and dealing to acheive what he wants, even if his daughter is hurt in the process.
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