Worst Year Of My Life, Again: profiles

Alex King (Ned Napier)

Alex, 14, is a born optimist which is a good job because fate is about to conspire to knock every sliver of positivity out of him during his 'worst year'. He's confident enough in himself to think that someone like popular girl Nicola Grey might actually go out with him, although he knows he has to work to impress her. He's friends with Maddy because they grew up together as next-door neighbours, and deep down he finds her oddness endearing (not that he'd ever tell her that!). He's more into soccer than AFL, and is genuinely good at it (unlike his best friend Simon who just pretends he is!). Along with a love of soccer, Simon and Alex enjoy a shared love of tearing each other down. What kind of mates would they be if they didn't laugh at each other's misfortunes?

Despite his endless misfortune, Alex isn't a downbeat person and he's also slow to learn the lesson that he really can't change fate. He's resigned to his lot in life and bears the slings and arrows with a dry, sardonic, self-deprecation and an ongoing belief that next time, things will be different. He's funny and likeable, with an admirable dose of stamina and fortitude. While many people would be crushed by the ordeal of having to live over their nightmare year again, for Alex it becomes a welcome opportunity to fix the mistakes of the past, and become the Alex King he was meant to be. Ned describes Alex as an ideas man. "Whenever a plan fails, he always has a backup. He takes time to learn important life lessons, but eventually works out to put his family and friends first."

Simon Birch (Laurence Boxhall)

Simon, 14, was born in England but has lived here for almost two years. He'd describe himself as 'cool', 'streetwise', 'athletic' and 'popular'. Whether anyone else would agree doesn't faze him: his shallowness is matched by his self-delusion. He has no shame in lying about his abilities and is narcissistically unaware of how obvious the lies are. He's not a bad person, or a particularly bad friend. Sure, sometimes he laughs at Alex's humiliations, but only because they're funny! And only as long as he's not humiliated as well. At the end of the day, he's (mostly) there when Alex needs him... and if his friend's Nostradamic-like abilities also happen to help him too, that's just an added bonus.

Simon and Maddy are very much friends-in-law and find it difficult to communicate without Alex around. Simon gets Alex's obsession with Nicola but considers himself way above mere schoolboy crushes. In his eyes, he's a man and therefore needs a mature woman who'll be his intellectual equal — someone like Alex's sister Sam. "While Simon learns many of the same lessons that Alex does, he also learns that pursuing something wholeheartedly will lead to success."

Maddy Kent (Tiarnie Coupland)

Maddy, 14, has been Alex's next-door neighbour for as long as they both can remember. She's one of his oldest friends — and very much an irritating thorn in the side to the image- conscious Simon. She's a bright but eccentric girl who seems to drift through life utterly unencumbered by the woes and worries that trouble everyone else. She's a daydreamer who can find magic in unexpected places whilst at the same time remaining utterly underwhelmed by it all. So Alex's bizarre announcement that he's stuck in some kind of temporal loop comes as no surprise to her. She duly appoints herself as his guide through this weird world and, more importantly, as his 'voice of reason'.

Maddy's crush on Alex has developed in the last year or two. As kids, they played together constantly and it's not surprising that when Maddy's teenage hormones kicked in it was Alex who became the object of her 'love' fantasies... She likes the status quo, and just wishes he could see how deep their friendship is rather than pining after the superficial Nicola. Actor Tiarnie Coupland says throughout the series, Maddy learns to accept that Alex is just a friend and that she can't control everything. "If it's meant to be, it's meant to be!"

Parker (Xander Speight)

Parker is the school bully. He's interested in nothing except getting out of school work and making sure he brings vengeance on anybody who crosses him. He generally won't fear consequences for his actions unless they involve having to stay at school longer than he needs to. He has no friends other than Howe and shows little interest in wanting any. His full name is Teddy Parker, but kids at school have quickly learnt to never use his first name, unless they enjoy having their head shoved down a toilet. Xander says Parker is very confident in himself, until he gets firmly put in his place, which completely confuses him.

Howe (Liam Erck)

Howe is Parker's best mate and also a school bully... though there's a sense he probably wouldn't be if he wasn't hanging around with Parker. In fact although he usually does as Parker says and isn't opposed to threatening people, he also has a weirdly soft side that often comes out when he's thinking aloud... in particular he seems very keen on cuddly animals, unicorns and making his mum happy! He's not especially bright and is easily confused. His slightly off-the-wall insights into situations often mean that he is on the same plane as Maddy. "Howe is a follower", says Liam. "You could say his mind isn't really connected to his mouth, as he blurts out random thoughts, much to Parker's embarrassment."

Nicola Grey (Lana Golja)

Nicola is the school-belle and queen-bee. Traditionally beautiful and ultra-cool. Head of the netball team... probably head of just about everything else too. She's popular with teachers, parents and students alike. Basically everyone loves her. But she's not a bimbo; she does very well at her studies. Her aspirations are to be an actress. She's essentially a nice person but can be prone to temper fits if someone crosses her. "Nicola sees something in Alex that her A-listed friends do not", says Lana. "Over the course of the series, she learns to give the 'nerds' second chances."

Loren (Kaiting Yap)

Loren is part of Nicola's entourage. Not quite as attractive as Nicola... Not quite as cool... Not quite as smart... But getting there! She's part of the school A-List and endorses everything Nicola does. She is much more of a nasty character than Nicola though, and is prone to viewing everyone who isn't part of their clique as being losers. She has no real interest in anything outside of fashion and popularity. "Loren is an acolyte to Nicola in every sense", says Kaiting, "but eventually learns that she doesn't need Nicola as much as Nicola needs her."

Amy (Jessie Blott)

The third member of the A-List entourage... Quieter than Loren she tends to just follow the other two and do as she's told. She's got a sweet nature, which comes out when Nicola and Loren aren't around. "Amy has a small secret crush on Alex but she'd never admit this", says Jessie. "She's mean and kind of intimidating, but does have a nice side."

Hannah (Bellamy Duke)

Hannah is TALL, very tall — hence her nickname 'Big Hannah'. She's a very sweet and pleasant girl who is a little self-conscious about her height. She's probably an average student and generally gets on well with everybody though doesn't fall into any particular clique. She has very sensitive feelings which can easily be hurt, but then bounces back just as quickly. When anyone shows her some positive attention, she responds with enthusiasm. It also means she's built up a strong resistance to any negative attention and is more inclined to bite back than run away if she feels under attack. Her favourite time of year is Easter because she loves chocolate!

Toby (Fergus McLaren)

Toby is a slightly weedy boy who constantly tries hard to please — he wants to be everyone's best friend, teachers and students alike, and succeeds in being nobody's! He poses no great threat to anybody so is never particularly bullied or picked on... if anything, he's just ignored. He always seems to be getting into some scrape or other — often the result of Alex's action. He has no real instinct of how he's perceived.

Troy (Kingsley O'Connor)

Troy is the year level heart-throb. He's captain of the football team and an athletic superpower in all other sports. With the exception of Maddy, he is fancied by every girl in their class ... but nowhere near as much as he fancies himself. While he's got good looks and charm in bucketloads, his personality is bland and uninteresting.

Mr Norris (Syd Brisbane)

Mr Norris is the school maths teacher and year head. He has no love for students and views his occupation as a 'job' rather than a 'calling'. He is contemptuous of just about everyone (including other staff members) and speaks with both cold, piercing sarcasm or rage-fuelled yelling.

Alex's Mum (Annie Jones)

Devoted to her family, Alex's Mum is an excitable, sweet woman who thinks her children are the most amazing creatures and almost can't believe she had a hand in making them. She loves festivities and will go to town decorating the house for every holiday or anniversary she deems special — from the logical, like Christmas, to the 'unique', like the first-year anniversary of Alex and Samantha's first steps... She still views her offspring as 'her babies' and is quite oblivious to any embarrassment this might cause them!

Alex's Dad (Jeremy Stanford)

Dad is a typically male sports-loving blokey bloke who would be completely lost without his wife and would only be able to exist on barbequed food. He tends to keep quiet around the house unless he's being told to say or do something by Mum. He loves his children but has so little in common with the current generation that he never really knows how to communicate with them properly: he misses the time when they were young and thought the world revolved around him.

Samantha (Arielle O'Neill)

Samantha, 17, is Alex's older sister... and is perpetually irritated and embarrassed by him. She's cool and fashionable — she would probably have been the Nicola equivalent when she was in their year. She has a similar sardonic wit to Alex but is far more self-conscious about herself than him. She considers herself 'grown up' and Alex a 'child' despite the fact there's only three years difference. She goes to the same school as Alex but will never deign to talk with him or even look at him if they cross paths there (which they rarely do).