And so we hand over to our resident commentator, Red Ranger 1….
Welcome to the 8th biennial Back to the Bay Most Popular Character Poll! A lot has happened in the last two years, including me learning the difference between biennial and biannual, so let’s see how it’s affected your votes!
As ever we start with those on one point, which with the new rules means all of these are someone’s seventh favourite character.
141. Andy Barrett (1 point)
Played by Tai Hara
Andy has managed to lose one of his points from last time round but is still, surprisingly, the more popular Barrett brother, despite the fact that he’s presumably now doing about 30 years in jail for murder and manslaughter…
141= Axel Hay (1 point)
Played by Trent Dalzell
A surprising debut for a character from 2008, possibly benefitting from those new extra two votes. Axel was expected to be another troublesome teenager who’d eventually turn good, which he sort-of did, but attempted rape is often harder for viewers to forgive than attempted murder so he got abruptly killed off anyway.
141= Ben Astoni (1 point)
Played by Rohan Nichol
The Astoni family are up for votes for the first time and the family patriarch got…one. Ben didn’t got off to a good start with either the viewers or the townsfolk by being a bit of a violent jerk, but has softened considerably this year as we’ve seen him supporting Maggie through her cancer battle.
141= Ben Murray (1 point)
Played by John-Paul Jory
You have to feel sorry for the poor blighters who have the likes of Kat and Colby as workmates. After years of being so nondescript I never recognised him from one appearance to the next, over the last two years, Constable Murray has evolved into being a lovable if rather inept member of the supporting cast.
141= Cheryl Braxton (1 point)
Played by Suzi Dougherty
The Braxton matriarch continues to manage her one point, despite not really doing much at all ever. She has managed a handful of appearances since the last poll, turning up for a few episodes to snark at Heath and Bianca and scam a meal off Irene.
141= Dan Baker (1 point)
Played by Tim Campbell
A return to the poll for one of Leah’s dead husbands, who last got a vote back in 2008, the year he fell off a cliff off-screen. Dan was one of those characters who was kind of stuck in the nice-but-dull camp, at least when he wasn’t getting addicted to gambling or getting drunk while looking after VJ.
141= Doris Peters (1 point)
Played by Gwen Plumb
It was something of a running joke in the first year that characters often mentioned Doris Peters gossiping about the latest scandal, even though she was never actually seen. However, this 80s Madge Wilkins did make a fleeting appearance in the pilot, eavesdropping on Pippa and Ailsa.
141= Hugh Sullivan (1 point)
Played by Rodger Corser
Another return by another 00s character. Hugh was a bit like Nate would have been if he’d been on a short-term contract, a handsome doctor who popped up once to try and romance Leah while she was separated from Dan, and once to try and romance Rachel while she wasn’t separated from Kim.
141= Jai Fernandez (1 point)
Played by Jordan Rodrigues
And yet another returnee which really does suggest people were waiting for those other two votes. Jai was a decent but very neglected member of the late 00s teen group, who had a decent quasi-father/son relationship with Miles but very few storylines, especially after the death of best friend Axel above.
141= Joey Rainbow (1 point)
Played by Alex O’Han
Joey continues to experience a minor renaissance, despite the 7TWO repeats ending some months before we would have got to his debut. Joey was kind of like Jai a decade or so earlier but with more storylines, a slightly geeky character who manages to be one of the most memorable things about that era.
141= Lance Smart (1 point)
Played by Peter Vroom
The first of the original characters to appear in this poll, Lance acted as the constantly bemused wingman to original lovable rogue Martin Dibble as they purported numerous scams that inevitably left them out of pocket. He was also nice to Sally.
141= Lynn Davenport (1 point)
Played by Helena Bozich
The second of the original characters to appear in this poll, Lynn held the dubious title of shortest-serving regular, barely making it to the six month mark, until the past couple of years when Skye and Scarlett came along. Yet she’s still managing to rake up a vote thirty years later!
And to continue an age-old tradition for at least four years, this year there were two members of the current regular cast who got less votes than Ben Astoni. Let the guessing commence!