TV Week previously asked its readers to vote for the Greatest 100 Australian characters on television.
From the 70s to present day, characters from all types of genre’s were included. You voted, and here are all the answers ranking from first place to 100.
1. Home And Away, Alf Stewart – Ray Meagher
Could there be a more popular No 1? For more than three decades, Alf has been a constant on our screens. Viewers love his gruff, no-nonsense attitude and colourful quips, with some of his utterances – such as “Strewth!”, “Stone the flamin’ crows” and “Ya flamin’ galah” – becoming part of popular culture.
He even has his own figure at Madame Tussauds waxworks! Loved by all in Summer Bay, he’s often a sounding board for the locals, and should anyone be in need of a yarn or advice, you’ll find him at the nearest wharf, fishing rod in hand. We’ve watched him fall in love, gasped at his close shaves with catastrophe, and savoured his homespun wisdom. We love you, Alf!
Home And Away, Irene Roberts Lynne McGranger
As the longest-serving actress in an Australian drama, Lynne has gifted us a true Aussie battler in the beloved character Irene. The resilient redhead has resonated with fans for her down-to-earth nature. She’s faced hardship, but always bounced back using her strength and “flippin’ heck” catchphrase. Irene’s open-door policy has seen all walks of life appeal to her for advice and a cuppa – the sign of a true friend.
Kath & Kim, Kath Day Knight – Jane Turner
“Look at moiye…” Kath insisted, and we did. In fact, we couldn’t look away from the “foxy moron”, who knew that keeping herself trim didn’t make her a crim. Thanks to Kath and her Fountain Lakes family, we all now mangle the language in a “noice, different and un-ewe-sual” way.
Home And Away, Darryl “Brax” Braxton – Stephen Peacocke
The quintessential bad boy came knocking on Summer Bay’s door in 2009 – and fans couldn’t get enough. Known as the leaders of the edgy River Boys surf gang, Brax and his brothers Heath (Dan Ewing) and Casey (Lincoln Younes) found themselves in trouble wherever they went and earned plenty of attention from the ladies. But it was Brax, whose tough-guy attitude fell away in the arms of the ones he loved, that kept us hooked. Years on, fans are always hopeful he’ll make a return.
Kath & Kim, Kim Craig – Gina Riley
Daughter (and comic partner) of Kath, Kim was a suburban princess, somehow managing to be lazy, rude and charming at the same time. She went through life convinced of her right to do and say anything she wanted, because her indulgent mum would always pick up the pieces.
Home And Away, Sally Fletcher – Kate Ritchie
She’s the person we’ve never met, but feel we know the most. We first encountered Sally when she was just eight when she moved to Summer Bay with her foster parents Tom (Roger Oakley) and Pippa (Vanessa Downing/Debra Lawrance). Her adorable smile melted hearts as we watched her grow up. Over the years, Sally went from schoolgirl to school principal, before having her own child – who she named Pippa.
Kath & Kim, Sharon Strzelecki – Magda Szubanski
With a heart bigger than her red-haired bob, Sharon was the enthusiastic sidekick to her best friend “Kimmy” (Gina Riley) and frequently the butt of her jokes. While she wasn’t the lead, Sharon became a hero for her naivety, obsession with netball and everyday mishaps, which provided plenty of laughs for viewers.
Mr Squiggle, Created by Norman Hetherington
What’s not to love about an affable character from the Moon with a pencil for a nose – and a penchant for space walks – who creates drawings from …well, squiggles? Originally intended to fill a six-week gap in the ABC schedule in 1959, Mr Squiggle became a national icon over his 40 years on screen.
Home And Away, Marilyn Chambers – Emily Symons
Marilyn provided lots of laughs with her kooky humour and offbeat ways, including dabbling in ventriloquism at one stage, but it was her strength in the face of hardship that won Australians’ hearts. Her battles with post-natal depression, grief and romantic woes were heartbreaking yet endearing.
Neighbours, Harold Bishop – Ian Smith
Loveable buffoon Harold has a long and storied history in Neighbours. Harold arrived on Ramsay Street to rekindle a romance with former flame Madge (Anne Charleston). Years later, a storyline where a presumed dead Harold resurfaced alive cemented his place in Neighbours folklore. Ian’s combustible character lives on in the 2023 reboot.
Skippy the bush kangaroo was the legendary female Eastern Grey roo that helped put Australia’s interesting wildlife on the map. Befriending nine-year-old Sonny Hammond (Garry Pankhurst) and his family, Skippy was intelligent, near human in her abilities, and the pair forged an inseparable bond.
Blue Heelers, Tom Croydon – John Wood
Hit Aussie police drama Blue Heelers centred around the happenings of a small country town police station in the fictional Mount Thomas. At the heart of it was their longest-serving officer, Sergeant Tom Croydon. John captured Tom’s essence as the mentor and father figure to the station’s junior officers – while simultaneously navigating his own set of tragedies.
The Dame Edna Experience, Dame Edna Everage – Barry Humphries
From her debut in a Melbourne University revue in the 1950s through decades of stage, television and movie appearances, Edna became one of the world’s most recognised Australians. Loved and feared in equal measure by the celebrities she interviewed, Dame Edna would ask the most outrageous questions, make shocking statements and generally misbehave, to the delight of her fans.
Wentworth, Franky Doyle – Nicole da Silva
Achieving top dog status was a prime motivation for Franky during the first seasons of acclaimed prison drama Wentworth. Viewers were enthralled by the lengths conniving Franky would go to in her war with arch-rival Bea (Danielle Cormack). In later seasons, Franky’s transition from prisoner antagonist to innocent civilian unearthed rich new layers in the character.
Blue Heelers, Maggie Doyle – Lisa McCune
As the first female cop at the Mount Thomas police station team, Constable Doyle felt she had something to prove, and quickly became one of the town’s most respected officers. She had an on-again, off-again love affair with her colleague PJ Hasham (Martin Sacks), but just as the couple were to be wed, her brother Mick (Terry Serio) killed her. Lisa was the breakout star of Blue Heelers, winning 10 TV WEEK Logie Awards, including four Gold.
It’s easy to see why the world has fallen in love with Bluey. The curious, adventure-loving blue heeler puppy feels more like a real kid than any other kids’ show character. Bluey has made us laugh, shown us how to be better parents – and introduced Americans to the word “dunny”.
All Saints, Terri Sullivan – Georgie Parker
The early years of this hospital drama revolved around Sister Terri, a nun and a nursing ward manager. Resilient and reliable, Terri’s world was thrown into turmoil when former lover Dr Mitch Stevens (Erik Thomson) joined the staff. After Terri left religious life, she and Mitch married, but when he died, Terri moved to Scotland for a new life. The role won Georgie won two TV WEEK Gold Logie Awards.
Here’s Humphrey, Humphrey B Bear – Edwin Duryea/Ross Hutchinson/John Maclean
Several performers played the loveable bear over the years, with Edwin, Ross and John being the most recognised. Humphrey B Bear, who is mute, is paired with a human presenter, who narrates his adventures. Set in Humphrey’s treehouse, he participates in many fun adventures that children and parents alike have loved since his debut in 1965.
Neighbours, Toadie Rebecchi – Ryan Maloney
Jarrod Vincenzo Rebecchi, otherwise known as “Toadfish” or “Toadie”, has been one of Neighbours’ main cast members since 1995. Viewers have always been intrigued by his love life, which is at the centre of many major storylines, including his marriage to Melanie (Lucinda Cowden) at the end of the 2022 series and his marriage to Terese Willis (Rebekah Elmaloglou) at the beginning of the 2023 series.
Home And Away, Leah Patterson-Baker – Ada Nicodemou
Runaway bride Leah Patterson arrived in Summer Bay with a bang – and has been drama-plagued ever since. For 23 years, Ada’s character has become a fan favourite as she navigated losing husbands, romance, surrogacy, health crises, abductions and car crashes. Leah’s a survivor – and viewers can’t get enough.
Offspring, Nina Proudman – Asher Keddie
What helped make Asher’s Offspring character – a capable and caring obstetrician in her mid-30s – so brilliant is that we got to hear Nina’s innermost thoughts, which ranged from bouts of insecurity to unbridled fantasy. Asher’s portrayal of Nina’s quest for love and fulfillment, with her misfiring family as a colourful backdrop, helped win the actress the TV WEEK Gold Logie Award in 2013.
McLeod’s Daughters, Tess McLeod – Bridie Carter
Tess was the city girl who moved to the country and fell in love – with life on Drovers Run and with tall, handsome neighbour Nick Ryan (Myles Pollard). Fans saw themselves in Tess, shared in her highs and lows (the wedding, the news of Nick’s death) and still have their fingers crossed she’ll be back one day.
McLeod’s Daughters, Claire McLeod – Lisa Chappell
This drama about women on horseback running a cattle station captured viewers from the moment it premiered, and the strong yet vulnerable Claire was at the heart of it all. Sure, a generation was traumatised when Claire went over the cliff in her ute and died, but we’ve recovered from the trauma now. Almost.
Neighbours, Paul Robinson – Stefan Dennis
Fans love to hate the powerful, arrogant and sometimes villainous businessman at the helm of Erinsborough’s Lassiters complex. Paul, who’s been in the cast of the iconic series since its first episode in 1985, is remembered for his many marriages, affairs and brushes with the law.
Wentworth, Joan “The Freak” Ferguson – Pamela Rabe
Has there been a TV villain quite like The Freak? While Maggie Kirkpatrick (above inset) was the ruthless prison governor in Prisoner four decades ago, Pamela (left) played both prison boss and inmate in its contemporary reimagining, Wentworth. The episode in which Joan returns after everyone believes she’s dead is one of Aussie drama’s great moments in recent times.
Neighbours, Charlene Mitchell – Kylie Minogue
Charlene was a rebellious teenage tomboy who quickly became a fan favourite. And once her relationship with Scott Robinson (Jason Donovan, left) blossomed, leading to a wedding watched by millions at home and 10 times more in the UK, the popularity of both characters was unmatched. Kylie was just 19 when she won the TV WEEK Gold Logie Award for her portrayal of Charlene.
All Aussie Adventures, Russell Coight – Glenn Robbins
In a mockumentary series that parodied the travel-adventure TV genre pioneered by the likes of the Leyland Brothers, comedian Glenn played Russell Coight, a “survival and wildlife expert” who, in his off-road travels around Australia, proved anything but. Dispensing nuggets of outback wisdom, Russell was inept and accident-prone, with his attempts to save wildlife or preserve historical sites usually ending in their destruction – and him injuring himself badly.
Hey Hey It’s Saturday, Ossie Ostrich – Ernie Carroll
The good-natured pink ostrich with the blue mohawk – created, operated and voiced by Ernie Carroll – first appeared on the Tarax Show in the 1950s, but became famous on the long-running variety show Hey Hey It’s Saturday, particularly for playing the comic foil to host Daryl Somers’ straight man.
Neighbours, Dr Karl Kennedy – Alan Fletcher
Although Dr Karl joined Neighbours after Paul Robinson (Stefan Dennis), he’s the longest continuously appearing character in the show. The Erinsborough GP was involved in several malpractice scandals and extramarital affairs, but nobly stood by wife Susan when she lost 30 years of her memory after slipping and hitting her head.
Neighbours, Susan Kennedy – Jackie Woodburne
Erinsborough High School teacher Susan is known for her fiery red hair and spicy storylines since she started in the series in 1994 and is the longest-running female character in the show. Married to Dr Karl, Susan has had an affair with a priest, a brief second marriage to Alex Kinski (Andrew Clarke), challenging health issues and been involved in a cyber-bullying scandal.
Play School, Big Ted
There’s a bear in there, and he’s the star of the show! Since 1966, Play School has delighted preschoolers with music, crafts, stories and games – and Big Ted (above with Hugh Sheridan) has been a part of the fabric of the show from the start (along with pals Little Ted, Humpty and Jemima.) The yellow teddy loved by generations has even starred in his own spin-offs.
Wenworth, Bea Smith – Danielle Cormack
It was a bold move to reboot iconic prison drama Prisoner, and an even bolder move to place a character called Bea Smith – played so memorably by Val Lehman in the original 40 years ago – at the centre of it again. But, thanks to Danielle, it worked. From a terrified victim of abuse, to a mother crazed with grief, to a woman in love, Danielle took us all on a white-knuckle ride.
A Country Practice, Molly Jones – Anne Tenney
A Country Practice was full of much-loved characters. Even the animals – Doris the pig and Fatso the wombat – were favourites. But free-spirited farmer Molly holds a special place in fans’ hearts because of her harrowing death in 1985. There wasn’t a dry eye in the country when Molly died of leukaemia as she lay on a couch watching her husband Brendan (Shane Withington) and their young daughter Chloe (Emily Nicol).
Doctor Doctor, Dr Hugh Knight – Rodger Corser
Rodger was a standout as the gifted but hedonistic heart surgeon whose “work hard, play harder” philosophy comes to bite him. After a spectacular fall from grace, Hugh is forced to work as a country GP in his former home town of Whyhope, filled with estranged family, ex-lovers and oddball patients.
Arguably Neighbours’ most popular character, golden retriever Bouncer had as many dramatic storylines as his co-stars. During his time on the show (from 1987 to 1993), Bouncer lived at three addresses, survived a few road accidents, a house fire, being poisoned by mushrooms. Despite getting lost more than once, he always found his way back to Ramsay Street.
Bananas In Pyjamas – B1 & B2
A catchy song, “Bananas In Pyjamas” played frequently on children’s favourite series Play School. This launched the idea for a new series that followed B1 and B2, a duo dressed in banana suits and navy-and-white striped pyjamas, while they lived in a cul-de-sac called “Cuddles Avenue” by the beach, patrolling it to keep everyone safe.
Home And Away, Pippa Ross – Vanessa Downing/Debra Lawrance
The Ross family appeared wholesome and healthy, but Pippa (first played by Vanessa, below inset, and later by Debra, left with Kate Ritchie as Sally) was dealing with grief, the loss of her husband only the start. But she was always the doting mother hen to her children and, in some regards, to all of us.
Packed to the Rafters, Dave Rafter – Erik Thomson
Erik, a familiar face thanks to his role in All Saints, was the patriarch of the Rafter family from 2008 to 2013. The show touched on the family facing work pressures and life issues, including Dave becoming a father later in life and his drunken cheating with his young employee Frankie (Brooke Satchwell).
All Saints, Dr Mitch Stephens – Erik Thomson
In Australia’s version of Grey’s Anatomy, hot doc Mitch is perhaps best remembered for his romance with Terri Sullivan (Georgie Parker), which ended tragically when he died of a brain tumour, much to fans’ dismay. “I get emotional thinking about it, because it was so powerful,” Erik told TV WEEK of his death scene.
Mother & Son, Maggie Beare – Ruth Cracknell, Denise Scott
Maggie, first played by Ruth (left with Garry McDonald as son Arthur) is one of comedy’s great creations, a woman who made us laugh while reminding that age and the problems it can bring are something we have to face head-on. Rebooted in 2023 with Denise Scott (left inset) in the role, that’s a message that still came through.
Agro’s Cartoon Connection, Argo
Voiced and operated by funnyman Jamie Dunn, Agro (above with Ranger Stacey) was – for those who grew up the ’90s – the uninhibited star of Agro’s Cartoon Connection and also appeared on shows such as Wombat and even dating show Perfect Match. Would his innuendo-laced humour fly on kids’ TV today? No, it would not.
Summer Heights High, Mr G – Chris Lilley
“Welcome to Mr G’s room”– a room filled with many questionable teaching methods. Mr G, otherwise known as Hellen “Greg” Gregson, was the “Director of Performing Arts” at Summer Heights High – a failed actor who’d become an egomaniacal drama teacher known for his withering put-downs, chihuahua Celine and his easily swayed sidekick, science teacher Rodney (Stan Roach).
Neighbours, Scott Robinson – Jason Donovan
Jason’s popularity as Scott, resident Ramsay Street “stud”, changed the way casting directors introduced male leads and what they were looking for. The charming and likeable Scott is remembered for his relationship with Charlene Mitchell, played by Aussie sweetheart Kylie Minogue. Their romance was a hit, with more than two million viewers tuning into their wedding.
All Saints, Frank Campion – John Howard
Frank was the abrasive head of Emergency at All Saints Hospital, but also good at his job, witty and big-hearted. Indeed, it was his vulnerable side, displayed in his love for his autistic daughter, that endeared him to audiences and he often felt like a beloved, if flawed, family member.
The Comedy Company, Kylie Mole – Mary-Anne Fahey
Brash and bogan, Kylie twirled chewing gum and popped out memorable lines in a sketch series filled with laughs. The scowling schoolgirl was so popular, she released a hit single, “So Excellent” and lured our other favourite Kylie – Miss Minogue – into a guest appearance with her.
A Country Practice, Esme Watson Joyce – Jacobs
The ultimate neighbourhood gossip, Esme knew (or started) every rumour about every person in her home town of Wandin Valley. Convinced she was just helping out, but usually causing trouble, she became a byword for that person in every community who can’t stop sticking their noses in other people’s business.
The Comedy Company, Con The Fruiterer – Mark Mitchell
Mark isn’t Greek, but that didn’t stop Con the Fruiterer becoming one of the most popular Greek characters ever to appear on Australian TV. Con, husband to Marika (who Mark also played) and father of daughters Roula, Toula, Soula, Voula, Foula and Agape, was so huge that then-Prime Minister Bob Hawke appeared in a sketch with him. Bewdiful!
Summer Heights High, Ja’mie – Chris Lilley
Chris created a monster when he debuted schoolgirl Ja’mie King in Summer Heights High, but a winning one at that. Although talented and charismatic, Ja’mie was also narcissistic, neurotic, manipulative and callous. The deliciously unlikeable teen helped win Chris a TV WEEK Logie Award in 2014 for Most Popular Actor.
The Paul Hogan Show, Hoges and other characters – Paul Hogan
Back in the 1970s, when so many strove to speak in “proper” accents on TV, former Sydney Harbour Bridge rigger Paul brought his broad Ocker character “Hoges” – plus others such as George Fungus, Super Dag and Arthur Dunger – to primetime TV. He got Aussies laughing at themselves long before he convinced Americans to come to Australia with his unserious tourism ads.
Offspring, Billie Proudman – Kat Stewart
Bold, brassy and boisterous, Billie was the complete opposite of her younger sister and family golden girl, Nina (Asher Keddie). Kat made the tightly wound Billy a fan favourite, but what really appealed to viewers was her on-screen chemistry with her musician beau Mick (Eddie Perfect).
Kingswood Country, Ted Bullpitt – Ross Higgins
He was cranky, opinionated and happy to toss out the kind of casually racist comments that would have him cancelled in an instant now. But Ted, a dinosaur baffled by the rapidly changing world, made us laugh at the more stereotypical dads in other shows – and showed us, through comedy, how they could be better.
Fisk, Helen Tudor-Fisk – Kitty Flanagawyer
She may only have one brown suit, but Helen has plenty of zingers in her blazer jacket. The comedy series, relatively new in the TV landscape, quickly became a favourite for its witty banter and storylines. It also happens to include some of our best comedians, who complement Helen’s capers.
Five Bedrooms, Heather Doyle – Doris Younane
Pairing Australia’s favourite bloke, Stephen Peacocke, with Doris Younane, 18 years his senior, was a big risk for the makers of Five Bedrooms to take. What if viewers didn’t believe the Ben-Heather relationship? Viewers more than believed it – they were devastated when it ended. Heather gave hope to mature women everywhere that they too could date Stephen.
Love Child, Joan Millar – Jessica Marais
In a culture very different to today, Dr Joan Millar was a beacon of hope for women who couldn’t speak for themselves. In 1969 Kings Cross, Joan battled sexism and chauvinism to do what was right for the unmarried mothers at Stanton House. A role model and rulebreaker, Joan’s courage resonated with viewers, and Jessica’s performance won her the Best Actress TV WEEK Logie Award in 2016.
Acropolis Now, Effie – Mary Coustas
Hairdresser Effie was a big-haired force of nature, famous for catchphrases such as “Hello good thanks” and “How embarrassment”. She, along with show co-creators Nick Giannopoulos, George Kapiniaris and Simon Palomares, served up Greek-Australian culture like middle Australia had never seen. Mary won a TV WEEK Logie Award for Most Popular Comedy Personality in 1993.
Home And Away, Angel Parrish – Melissa George
In the mid-’90s, Angel and her beau Shane (Dieter Brummer) were Australian TV’s golden couple. Although the teen runaway had caused trouble for Shane not long after arriving in Summer Bay, rivalry was eventually to turn into romance. Angel’s most memorable moment came on her wedding day to Shane when – paralysed after a car accident and fearing she’d never walk again – she got up out of her wheelchair and made her way down the aisle.
A Place To Call Home, Sarah Adams – Marta Dusseldorp
A Place To Call Home struck a chord with fans of period drama, who were drawn to the carefully woven stories of the Bligh family. But it was Marta’s Sarah – who finds love after returning to Australia after World War II – that audiences really identified with. Fiercely independent, she wasn’t afraid to stand up to the wealthy Blighs.
Halifax f.p., Jane Halifax – Rebecca Gibney
Proving her worth in a man’s world was straight-talking forensic psychiatrist Jane, who – with a keen eye and bright mind – didn’t just solve cases, but made her the go-to character to watch on TV. However, Jane wasn’t without her flaws, which only made her more appealing to the audience, who got to see a multifaceted character wrestle with her with own demons, as well as the monsters she pursued.
Sons & Daughters, Patricia “Pat The Rat” Hamilton – Rowena Wallace
Prepared to throw anyone under the bus to get what she wanted, nasty “Pat The Rat” was so popular, Rowena (above with Tom Richards, who played David Palmer) was the first soap star to win a TV WEEK Gold Logie Award. When she quit the role, she was replaced (after a “plastic surgery” storyline) by Belinda Giblin.
Heartbreak High, Drazic – Callan Mulvey
A bad-boy rollerblader with an eyebrow piercing and spiked hair, Bogdan Drazic was the bully of Hartley High. But there was a reason for his antisocial behaviour: with a troubled home life and few friends, Drazic was desperate for connection, and his journey from villain to hero charmed the nation, making him a teen heartthrob of the ’90s.
The Secret Life Of Us, Kelly Lewis – Deborah Mailman
Affable, funny and smart, Kelly was the flatmate who helped hold together the lives of the friends she shared an apartment block with, in Melbourne’s St Kilda. Always the one the others turned to, a more resilient side of Kelly emerged after she had to handle the trauma of a vicious assault. Debra won a TV WEEK Logie Award for her portrayal, considered a milestone for Indigenous representation in Aussie TV drama.
Police Rescue, Sergeant Steve “Mickey” McClintock – Gary Sweet
The leader of Sydney’s Police Rescue team, Mickey was always first through the door, down a cliff or just generally into danger when anyone was in trouble. As the tough but caring Mickey, Gary won fans (and a TV WEEK Logie) for the role, which displayed a side to police far from the usual law-enforcement shows.
The Paul Hogan Show, Strop – John Cornell
It’s almost impossible to imagine larrikin Paul “Hoges” Hogan’s sketch show without his bumbling sidekick Strop, who spoke out of the side of his mouth and was a bit slow, but was good-natured and loyal. The greatest of friends in real life too, Hoges and Strop were a sensational double act, with Strop inevitably paying the price for his mate Hoges’ recklessness.
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Phryne Fisher – Essie Davis
Private detective Phryne was charming, glamorous and unflappable – and Essie’s measured performance as the 1920s lady detective made the period crime drama a cult hit. In a post-World War I world, Phyrne was a maverick outlier – and yet she handled her criminal-investigation work with the style and grace befitting an aristocratic woman of her time. And in a killer wardrobe to boot!
The Norman Gunston Show, Norman Gunston – Garry McDonald
The naively fearless Norman was a satirical TV reporter with a knack for being in the right place at the right time, but saying the wrong thing. Known as “The Little Aussie Bleeder” for his razor-nicked appearance, Norman infamously subjected the likes of Muhammed Ali, Warren Beatty and Paul McCartney to his outrageous style of interviewing. Norman remains the only TV character to win the TV WEEK Gold Logie Award.
Full Frontal, Poida – Eric Bana
The creation of actor and comic Eric, Peter (or “Poida”, as pronounced in his thick suburban accent) was a wannabe TV host who drank, smoked and flipped his mullet through sketches parodying everything from A Current Affair to Play School. The role won Eric a TV WEEK Logie Award and launched his Hollywood career.
SeaChange, Laura Gibson – Sigrid Thornton
SeaChange was such a phenomenon, the term “sea change” is now part of the vernacular. Laura was a former high-flying lawyer who quit city life after learning of her husband’s affair with her best friend. A fish out of water at first, Laura learned to love Pearl Bay and its eccentric locals.
The Sullivans, Dave Sullivan – Paul Cronin
Often dubbed “Aussie TV’s favourite dad”, Dave staunchly held his family together during the trying years of World War II. Married to Grace (Lorraine Bayly) and with three kids, Dave was a foreman at an engineering firm, but struggled with the grief of the heartbreak and loss of wartime. Paul won five TV WEEK Logie Awards – the period drama’s most awarded cast member – and the series ended when Dave was killed in a car accident.
Mystery Road, Jay Swan – Aaron Pedersen, Mark Coles Smith
Aaron’s (right) brooding detective Jay Swan was too good a character to disappear after two movies. And even after two hit TV series, Australia didn’t want to let him go. So then came the prequel, with Mark Coles Smith (above) filling Aaron’s big boots so well, in 2023, he became the first Indigenous actor to be nominated for a TV WEEK Gold Logie Award.
The Flying Doctors, Tom Callaghan – Andrew McFarlane
The outback world of the Royal Flying Doctors Service was seen through the eyes of Dr Tom when he arrived in the outback town of Coopers Crossing. The dramas unfolded as Tom applied himself earnestly to the new role, determined to make a difference to the remote communities he served.
Upper Middle Bogan, Amber Wheeler – Michala Banas
With a potty mouth and ever-present scowl, unpredictable livewire Amber embodied the “bogan” Wheeler clan – the counterpoint to the stiff family her posh biological sister Bess (Annie Maynard) belonged to. When Amber was around, anything could come out of her mouth – and frequently did.
Love Child, Martha Tennant – Miranda Tapsell
As one of the unwed mothers at Kings Cross’ Stanton House, Martha faced the painful prospect of her baby being taken away to be adopted. The character’s history was one of the richest in Love Child, depicted with heartbreaking fragility by two-time TV WEEK Logie Award winner Miranda. Fans were drawn to her screen presence as Martha discovered her own identity and voice in a time of social upheaval.
Jack Irish, Jack Irish – Guy Pearce
Haunted by the murder of his wife, dishevelled detective and debt collector Jack sleuthed his way through three telemovies and three series before getting long-awaited answers in an emotional ending.
The Sullivans, Grace Sullivan – Lorraine Bayly
Matriarch Grace steered her family through the tough times of World War II, helping them find joy and reminding everyone that love will bring us through. Her death as the war came to a close stunned the nation.
Fast Forward, Pixie-Ann Wheatley – Magda Szubanski
Air-headed “entertainment reporter” Pixie-Ann’s interviews with real-life celebrities such as John Farnham (who she mistakenly calls “John Farmhand”) and boxer Jeff Fenech were comedy gold.
The Comedy Company, Col’n Carpenter – Kym Gyngell
In a show full of iconic characters, viewers loved Kym’s dim-witted but likeable Col’n, whose sketches with an ever-exasperated Mark Mitchell are still hilarious to watch.
SeaChange, Daniel “Diver Dan” Della Bosca – David Wenham
SeaChange prompted a wave of people wanting a sea change of their own – perhaps hoping a move to a coastal town like Pearl Bay might see them meet someone as appealing as David’s enigmatic character.
Against The Wind, Jonathan Garrett – Jon English
Jon was already a star of stage musicals when he was cast as Jonathan in this miniseries set in Australia’s 19th century colonial era. Not only did Jon possess huge charisma, he could sing, and the love
song “Six Ribbons” from the show’s soundtrack, which Jon co-wrote, became a hit, making the top 10 in Norway and Sweden, as well as in Australia.
The Secret Life Of Us, Evan Wylde – Samuel Johnson
The Secret Life Of Us – about a group of friends who lived in a block of flats in the Melbourne beachside suburb of St Kilda, and their lives, loves and losses as they chase their young goals – proved Samuel’s big break. He played slacker writer Evan, an aspiring author who favoured loud shirts and was in love with one of his flatmates, Alex (Claudia Karvan).
Colin From Accounts, Ashley – Harriet Dyer
When Ashley cheekily flashes a driver, causing him to accidentally hit a dog, it sets off a chain of events that eventually lead to romance. In this winning rom-com, Harriet delivers an utterly relatable performance as Ashley, a 29-year-old who’s recently had her heart broken. It’s no wonder Harriet, and the show, tasted such success at the TV WEEK Logie Awards in 2023.
The Aunty Jack Show, Aunty Jack – Grahame Bond
Aunty Jack was unlike any other character on TV – a moustachioed biker who wore boxing gloves and a dress, regularly knocked people out and threatened to “rip yer bloody arms off!” if viewers didn’t tune into the show and its cast of off-beat characters the following week. And she was played by a man, actor Grahame. This risk-taking hit changed Aussie comedy forever.
The Young Doctors, Grace Scott – Cornelia Frances
One of TV’s most formidable characters, Sister Grace – a matron at the Albert Memorial Hospital – wouldn’t stand for any nonsense from her staff or patients, cutting down to size anyone who crossed her. One of her most memorable storylines was falling down a lift shaft. The high drama of Cornelia’s performance earned The Young Doctors its only Logie nomination.
Rake, Cleaver Greene – Richard Roxburgh
Addiction takes many forms for Cleaver. It can be women, gambling, drugs – or heading to the courtroom to vigorously defend those in society who appear beyond redemption. In this astonishing character-driven TV series, Richard is a tour de force as the brilliant and gifted criminal defence barrister who also possesses an unstoppable tendency to self-destruct spectacularly.
Cop Shop, Danni Francis – Paula Duncan
Considered a feminist role model, Detective Constable Danni was as tough as any of the men at Riverside Police Station, without losing her femininity. Danni’s personal life was as dramatic as her job, including a romance with fellow cop Mike Georgiou (John Orcsik). Paula and John married off-screen as well, and she won six TV WEEK Logie Awards during the series’ seven-year run.
A Place To Call Home, Regina Standish – Jenni Baird
They don’t get much more bitter, twisted, scheming – and ultimately tragic – than Regina. She goes after her late sister’s husband, George Bligh (Brett Climo), but when Sarah (Marta Dusseldorp) shows up, and takes his fancy, it’s all-out war. Jenni earned a TV WEEK Logie Award nomination for Most Outstanding Supporting Actress for her work.
E Street, “Wheels” – Marcus Graham
Marcus played E Street’s most iconic character: Stanley Kovac, a street-wise rocker type nicknamed “Wheels” after a car crash left him in a wheelchair, Predictably, he became a bad-boy heart-throb, with plenty of steamy storylines – until he found true love with a woman on the run, Sheridan (Kate Raison, above), and, finally able to walk, he ran with her.
Please Like Me, Josh – Josh Thomas
Josh took inspiration from his own life when creating Please Like Me and the character of Josh. Viewers connected with him from the very first episode – when he was dumped by his girlfriend and realised he might be gay, and his mother tried to kill herself – and stayed with him throughout four heartbreaking, funny seasons. We liked him – a lot.
Total Control, Alex Irving -Deborah Mailman
The formidable Alex finds herself up against some of the biggest players in parliament after her noble actions make headlines. Recruited by Prime Minister Rachel Anderson (Rachel Griffiths) as a senator, Alex stands firm to speak her truth and fight injustice.
Heartbreak High, Quinni Gallagher-Jones – Chloe Hayden
Young autistic women all over the world adored the sparkly, gorgeous, autistic Quinni since her first appearance in the Heartbreak High reboot. Autism rights advocate Chloé not only plays gay Quinni, she was involved in creating the character, which is why she’s so relatable. Hopefully, Quinni opens the door for a lot more authentic characters on TV.
Number 96, Abigail – Bev Houghton
Bev, teasing viewers with low-cut tops short skirts and glimpses of flesh, was the star of the Australia’s raciest TV series and our first true sex symbol.
A Town Like Alice, Byran Brown – Joe Harman
Joe was a farmer-turned-soldier who showed enormous bravery when he and Englishwoman Jean Paget (Helen Morse) were POWs in Malaya in WWII.
Homicide, Leonard Teale – David Mackay
Detective “Mac” Mackay was a tough cop with high ideals about justice, although he mellowed and matured over the years. Leonard won a TV WEEK Logie Award for his performance.
Love My Way, Claudia Karvan – Frankie Paige
When single mum Frankie’s daughter Lou’s (Alex Cook) heart stopped, Claudia’s raw portrayal of a mother living a nightmare broke our hearts.
The Box, Judy Nunn – Vicki Stafford
Vicki was the scheming, sharp-tongued bisexual journalist whose lesbian kiss with teenager Felicity (Helen Hemingway) in 1974 was a TV first.
Return To Eden, Stephanie Harper – Rebecca Gilling
Hell hath no fury when dowdy heiress Stephanie was set up by her playboy husband and her best friend, taken to the outback and tossed into a crocodile-infested river. When Stephanie survived and reinvented herself as a supermodel, she went to wild lengths to seek revenge on those who crossed her. Through a miniseries and a weekly series, the indefatigable Stephanie proved tough to keep down.
Utopia, Tony Woodford – Rob Sitch
It’s hard being a boss like Tony– especially when it feels like you’re the only one working! In the satirical Utopia, Rob is perfect as the eternally exasperated CEO of a government organisation overseeing infrastructure projects. Tony’s managerial efforts and the staff’s shortcomings and dysfunction resonate hilariously with anyone who’s ever worked in a corporate office.
My Inbetween, Ray Shoesmith – Scott Ryan
A caring dad, attentive boyfriend and the kind of neighbour who would drop everything to help out, Ray was a likeable bloke… who just happened to work as a professional hitman. Treading a line between lethal and loveable, Scott’s intriguing creation showed how blurred the line can be when someone crosses into the underworld.
Division 4, Frank Banner – Gerard Kennedy
Hardened by his years on the police force, life had dealt Detective Sergeant Frank Banner a tough hand, so he buried himself in his work. Frank eventually proved to be a man of considerable contradictions – he would insist on playing by the book, yet wasn’t afraid to rough things up to bring criminals to justice. Popular in the role, Gerard won four TV WEEK Logie Awards, including two Gold.
Frontline, Mike Moore – Rob Sitch
Exploding the myth that current affairs hosts were truthful, trustworthy and the final word on Australian life, bumbling TV host Mike Moore took us behind the scenes of TV news to show a world where getting things right came a distant second to winning the ratings. Sharply written and expertly played, Frontline skewered an entire genre of TV.