Home and Away fans have crowned the show’s most popular character. For the 9th time, Back to the Bay invited fans of the show to vote for their favourite character, and we have been counting down the results over the past week.
Every two years since 2004, we have invited members of the Back to the Bay forum to place their votes for who they believe are the best Home and Away characters of all time.
With voting open for a month, members were asked to list a total of seven characters. We then allocated seven points to their favourite, six points to their second favourite and so on.
We started counting down the results on Sunday 13th December by revealing the characters who scored just one point. Each day a further set of winners were revealed, with the top 3 characters announced on Christmas Eve.
Without further ado, here are fans’ Top 20 Home and Away Characters.
20. Vinnie Patterson (23 points)
Played by Ryan Kwanten
At the tail end of the Top 20, we have Gypsy’s one-time housemate. Presumably Ryan Kwanten is still waiting for the call to come back for Leah’s departure story, assuming she ever has one. Vinnie is actually meant to be dead, unless they change it again.
18. Darryl Braxton (24 points)
Played by Stephen Peacocke
Brax slides out of the Top 10 for the first time, although he’s still pretty high. He’s another one who was denied a return bout with former arch-enemy Angelo by virtue of not being on the show anymore, leaving a pair of apprentices who were never on the show with him to deal with it instead.
18= Jasmine Delaney (24 points)
Played by Sam Frost
Having failed to pick up a point two years ago, Jasmine has rallied to become this poll’s highest new entry.
Her romance and ultimate marriage with Robbo didn’t seem all that popular, possibly because she spent most of their marriage in a bad mood about people constantly trying to kill them. But she’s gained a few fans as she mourns Robbo and attempts, not always rationally, to co-parent his daughter with Tori.
17. Belle Taylor (26 points)
Played by Jessica Tovey
Now this is unexpected. By the end of Belle’s time on the show, it felt as though a lot of Belle fans were really Aden fans who kind of liked her by association. But now he’s slid right down the poll and she’s right up here. Could it be that those first few years when she was a bad girl with a heart of gold have finally eclipsed her period as Aden’s social worker?
15. Gypsy Nash (27 points)
Played by Kimberley Cooper
Gypsy has actually managed to climb five places, despite the fact that she’s had very little exposure in the last decade or so. In fact, the last time we saw her on the show, she turned up to support Irene through her cancer only to be told to stop helping and go away.
15= John Palmer (27 points)
Played by Shane Withington
John has also risen five places, remaining level with Gypsy. I said last time that if he was still around for this poll he’d have been on the show longer than both Pippas, and here he is.
John seems to be a bit of a love him or hate him character, perhaps for Marilyn as well: Their slightly abrupt split has left him hanging around the surf club looking for someone to grumble about.
13. Ailsa Stewart (28 points)
Played by Judy Nunn
Continuing the mix of early years characters and current cast, here we have Alf’s other wife. Yes, Alf was married to someone else, although that fact seems to have escaped his memory since Martha turned up. She and Bobby started up the first Diner together so it’s appropriate that they both appear here.
13= Tori Morgan (28 points)
Played by Penny McNamee
Now officially the most popular Morgan after four years on the show, Tori managed to survive the rather bizarre plot twist of her having a baby with someone she barely ever held hands with, and also the jinx that sees most mothers leave within a year or so of giving birth.
Will she manage to outlast the likes of Alf, Irene and Leah, or disappear faster than you can say “I think Zac will be a long-term character”?
12. Ziggy Astoni (30 points)
Played by Sophie Dillman
At the time of the last poll, Ziggy and Brody were practically still in the honeymoon period, even if the spectre of Simone was already looming over them. Since then, Ziggy’s been with Dean and apparently gone from him too, and is the last Astoni left standing. So it’s a good job she seems to be quite popular!
11. Bobby Simpson/Morgan/Marshall (35 points)
Played by Nicolle Dickson
Bobby died before quite a few of the forum members were born, but she remains etched in the memory of anyone who watched the early days and finishes just outside the Top 10.
It’s hard to say whether we were introduced to the Fletchers through her eyes, or to her through theirs, but as the first tearaway teen to get the Summer Bay treatment she’s got her place in history.
9. Pippa Fletcher/Ross (50 points)
Played by Vanessa Downing & Debra Lawrance
It’s easy to get complacent about Pippa being in the Top 10, even if she has dropped three places from last time, but there was a period when it looked like she was destined to be stuck round about where Phoebe Nicholson is.
Pippa pretty much was Home and Away for its first decade and her leaving seemed unthinkable, but eleven years on from her last appearance, we’re still here!
9= Ryder Jackson (50 points)
Played by Lukas Radovich
Ryder put in a creditable showing last time round, but this time he’s got more than twice as many points to crack the Top 10.
In some respects, it’s been a quiet year for Ryder, as he hasn’t had a sniff of romance since that girl that posted a sex tape of him online last year. In other respects, it’s been a busy one, as he managed to meet both his father and his uncle (who never met each other!) in short order.
7. Leah Poulos/Patterson (61 points)
Played by Ada Nicodemou
In September of this year, Leah surpassed Sally’s tenure of 4,610 episodes to officially become the show’s third longest-serving character, and celebrates by making the Top 10 for the first time since 2010.
She was in the doldrums a bit last time out, but her romance with Justin and post-kidnapping storyline have given her a much needed burst of life.
7= Marilyn Chambers/Fisher (61 points)
Played by Emily Symons
If you add all Marilyn’s stints together, she may just about be right behind Leah in the tally if she’s still on the show in two years’ time.
This year saw a bit of a shake-up for her as well, as she broke up with John and ended up taking Leah’s old place as Alf and Roo’s lodger. This… does not feel like as much of a burst of life, but she’s kept her place in the Top 10 anyway.
6. Donald Fisher (66 points)
Played by Norman Coburn
Don slips a couple of places but still puts in a respectable showing.
I’m not sure when the last time he got even an oblique mention from ex-wife Marilyn was, so he’s doing well to stay in people’s minds. The firm-but-mostly-fair headmaster for most of the show’s first decade and a half remains a favourite among those who’ve seen him.
5. Dean Thompson (67 points)
Played by Patrick O’Connor
A phenomenal rise for Dean, who was right down in 37th place last time round but more than triples his point score to make it into the Top 5.
Whilst he’s never quite shaken off the mantle of the new River Boy, his popular romance with Ziggy and cute scenes with his recently discovered son have even managed to win John Palmer over, along with the forum members!
4. Irene Roberts (69 points)
Played by Jacqy Phillips & Lynne McGranger
Irene actually rises a place and picks up a few more points from her showing last time round, helping to push Donald Fisher down to the previous update.
It’s hard to remember much of what Irene’s done this year, but she’s being put to good use. Given that her attempt to look after Bella was fairly disastrous, perhaps the show’s finally stopped pretending she’s only one generation on from the teens!
3. Alf Stewart (71 points)
Played by Ray Meagher
After tying for first last time round, Alf slumps a lot, but can take comfort in the fact that he’s the highest of the current cast.
This year, Alf managed to have his second wedding in the show’s lifetime, over thirty years after the first. He’s pretty much taken up the baton from Pippa and Sally as the one insisting Summer Bay is there to give a home to anyone that needs it. But only if they’re on a long-term contract.
2. Morag Bellingham (97 points)
Played by Cornelia Frances
Up one place from third last time round, despite a conspicuous lack of mentions during that period.
Some people consider the show leaving Morag in limbo, following the death of Cornelia Frances, to be somewhat disrespectful. But maybe there’s a comfort to be had in believing that she’s still out there, failing to stop innocent people going to jail but getting them out again on appeal after about two weeks.
1. Sally Fletcher (121 points)
Played by Kate Ritchie
After the shake-up two years ago with the tie for first place, normal service is resumed: Sally finishes fifty points above the character she shared the top spot with last time, and over twenty points ahead of her nearest competitor.
She spent twenty years pretty much embodying what the show was about, but like Pippa, the unthinkable happened and the show has actually managed to carry on without her.
You can view the full list of winners, and a list of all the regular characters who received “nul points“, on the Most Popular Character 2020 mini site.
If you disagree with the winners, don’t worry – you’ll have another chance to vote in 2 years’ time, as we celebrate a major milestone and host the 10th ever Most Popular Character vote in late 2022.
Thanks to everyone who voted, to Red Ranger 1 for the commentary, and to Dan and Chair for compiling the votes.
While you wait for Home and Away to return, read our bumper 2021 Spoilers article, running through everything we know about next year in Summer Bay. You can expect:
- A ghost from the past to cause trouble 👻
- An engagement 👩❤️👨
- Romance for Ryder 😻
- Some happiness for Dean! 😄
- Multiple returnees 💃
- Another health scare for Justin 😷
Plus lots more!