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.
Guest roles in national TV series include The Flying Doctors, Prime Time, Henderson Kids, Cop Shop and Carson's Law.

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.
His role of Alex Taylor in CHANCES, marks Jeremy's television debut.

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.
In 1989, Natalie was crowned Miss Australia.

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.
Age 20, Rebecca works as an assistant at a kindergarten—and is about to follow in her mother's footsteps by marrying early. As far as Rebecca is concerned, marriage is the next natural step in life. She wants a family, a blooming future with children, and lifelong happiness.
Thanks to her protective and secure family, Rebecca has yet to discover the pitfalls and dangers of life…

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.
Yvonne's film credits include The Middle Age Spread, The Scarecrow, Constance, Other Halves, Among The Cinders, The Front Lawn and, most recently, as Sam Neil's mother in the successful Australian releaseDeath In Brunswick.

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.
Heather—or Hettie, as everyone calls her—is devoted to Rex, a loveable old border collie. And of course she loves her grandchildren, but doesn't let that stop her from having opinions about them. She reckons Alex is a good sort… and can see right through him. Rebecca is the perfect granddaughter and Nicki… well, she is a bit too cheeky for her own good. As far as Hettie is concerned, son-in-law, Dan is terrific too. Her relationship with Barbara, though, is difficult.
Hettie loves playing grandmother to the Taylors' extended family. She really likes Ben, approves of Sarah and her family (but draws the line at Jack!), gets on well with Connie, adores little Sam, understands Christopher, thinks Sharon should be put down as soon as possible….and that Phillipa, her being a policewoman really isn't natural…

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.
Tim's many film credits include the The Chant Of Jimmy Blacksmith, Dimboola, Eliza Frazer, Bliss, The Big Steal, The Irishman and Evil Angels.

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.
He loves being the successful, generous member of the family, but beneath his brash exterior, he's a bit of an old softie.

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.
She has appeared on stage in A Toast To Melba, Annie, No No Nannette and Exposed To Danger, as well as scoring guest and lead roles in series such as A Country Practice, Carson's Law, Certain Women, Lane End and Chopper Squad.

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!
He loves his mum, Connie, and is well aware just how hard she works to keep the family together.
But he won't stand for a word of criticism against his dad, even though Dennis left home when Sam was just nine years old. Sam's older brother, Chris, tries to father him but as far as Sam is concerned, no-one can take his fathers place.

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.
Hairdressing might not be Jack's idea of a meaningful career, but there's no denying Ben's talents, particularly with music. Ben plays guitar, piano and drums…he can get a tune out of just about anything! By utilising his contacts in the mixed worlds of music and hairdressing, Ben has no trouble finding places to stay on his travels around the world.

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.
But who can Connie turn to as she struggles with the problems of being a divorcee—and still attracted to ex-husband, Dennis Reynolds? Connie is close to sister-in-law, Barbara Taylor, and she has plenty of male friends, but none she considers potential lovers.

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.
He has had roles in TV series including The Young Doctors, A Country Practice, E Street, Zoo Family, The Flying Doctors, Bellamy and Richmond Hill. Apart from acting, Mark is something of a petrol-head and like his character in CHANCES, enjoys all sports.

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.
He has taken on the role of father to his younger brother, Sam, whom he feels needs discipline now and then.
Chris works for his uncle, Jack Taylor, as an armed security guard. But he is not that fond of money—he doesn't trust it after watching his father lose so much.

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.
He has appeared in numerous films, among them The Last Of The Knuclemen, Hoodwinked, 13th Floor and The Fluteman, and has a long list of stage credits from Jesus Christ Superstar and Hair, to Between The Lines and Move Over Mrs Markham.

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.
She's 35 going on 29 (at least that's what she thinks!) and retains some characteristics that come from having been the spoilt baby of the family. Among these is the family's nickname for her—Bub. Sharon is now a beautician who is well aware of her own attractiveness, and enthralled by the sound of her own voice. Her search for Mr Right means researching any candidate very carefully. On social occasions she can be dynamite with her acid tongue and roving eye. Sharon hasn't really had much luck in love. She has lived with a number of men but each time she has been thrown out, sending her running to her big brothers to sponge off them. Connie can't stand Sharon, but Jack and Dan always look out for her.

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.
Her film credits include Earthbound and the lead role in Hungry Heart . On television Kimberley's credits include the documentary dramaDamned Whores and Evil Bitches, plus music videos for The Models, Rich Kids and Marginal Era. Modelling, both photographic and catwalk, has also been part of Kimberley's career.

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.
But since making his stage debut at the age of eight in Pippin, he has developed into an outstanding young actor with an impressive array of performances to his credit in theatre and on television. TV credits include Rafferty's Rules, Zoo Family, Nargun & The Stars, Earthwatch, Secret Valley, Runaway Island, Possession and Shout—The Story of Johnny O'Keefe.
Rodney, who graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art in 1988, also appeared in the film The Crossing.

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 Phelps

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.
Peter has just completed principal photography of an Italian horror movie entitled MAYA which will be released in 1989.

Diane Craig

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.
Diane starred as Sophie in the highly acclaimed David Williamson film TRAVELLING NORTH. Her television credits include PRISONER, TAURUS RISING, TRUE BELIEVERS and ALL THE RIVERS RUN.

Sandy Gore

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 Graham

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.
Now a widow, his wife died when he turned off the life support machine in an act of love. He has no regrets about doing this and is ready to accept his fate if he is found guilty. This is an issue that he admits to in public in order to keep to his belief that honesty is best on all accounts. He is put on trial… Rebecca becomes Steves campaigner in his political party. His affections for Rebecca become more substantial and they soon realise that they are in love with each other. But, the obstacle of politics and marriage becomes a prominent entanglement in their lives. Rebecca also has difficulty in coming to terms with what Steve chose to do for his wife.

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.
In 1989 Annie won Best Actress in the mini-sries Jackaroo. In 1990 she appeared in a number of guest appearances in Flying Doctors, English at Work, Embassy and The Comedy Company, crossing into 1991 with The Main Event, The Colin Carpenter Show.

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.
All Helen ever wanted to be was a country girl—riding her horses, mucking out in the stables. She learned early she had a talent for bulldogging, entered rodeos and won. But her father was a stern forbidding man who resented Helen for her mother's death. She was brought up by a series of unsympathetic housekeepers, against whom she continually rebelled. When her father caught her with a boy, he sent her off to a strict Catholic boarding school. Helen hated it, loathed it.
Back home on the property, Helen had been in love with a boy her father thought was unsuitable. He had the lad run out of town. This was the last straw for Helen, and she ran away herself—to the city. She hasn't seen her father since.
In the city, Helen got a job as a junior in a hair dressing salon. After four years hard work, Helen won the highly esteemed Apprentice of the Year Award and was launched spectacularly to see the world. She worked for a while in London then found a home fo sorts in Paris—where she won her nickname. Helen became Paris. She speaks colloquial french. On her return from a two year contract in Paris, she became the manager of the big stylish city salon where Paola found her. She conceals her background—the only thing that ties her to her roots is horse riding. She keeps a horse stabled near by that she gives all her affection. She can express her feelings on the back of a horse—she feels free riding long and fast along a deserted beach.
Paris is the first person Alex has fallen in love with.

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.
Kevin was born in Auckland and is now living on his 50 acre property north of Wellington, where between woring in theatre, film and television he breeds and trains horses. He is a proven horseman who has competed in Dressage, Horse Trials and Hunting. He has many other skills, but sadly these do not include singing and dancing.
He has worked extensively in theatre over the years as a director, actor, writer and designer. His theatre history includes a five year period as Aritstic Director for the Auckland Independent Theatre Company.

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.