Ryan Johnson (Ian “Stavva” Jones)
Stavva is the lovable joker of the group. At school he was the one with the whoopee cushion and the cheeky grin, and got away with it most times because his intentions were always good.
In Year 7, Stavva came to realise that his Italian heritage and unusual European-influenced packed lunches stood him apart from the rest of the kids – something he immediately embraced. He stopped using his real name, Ian, and adopted his mum’s much sexier maiden name, Stavva. He developed a real passion for food and women and nothing much has changed since he left school.
Completely genuine and cheerful, Stavva has also morphed into a true “Italian stallion” by nurturing a love for hotted-up cars, driving a souped-up Monaro known as the Stavva-mobile. Although he loves to pursue girls, he doesn’t seem to get them as often as he’d like and, in fact, he secretly harbours a desire to just find “the one” and settle down.
He sees the connection and passion between his parents as the epitome of the perfect couple but, of course, like the best Italian lads, Stavva fights with his sister, respects his father and really, really loves his mum.
As well as working in his family’s café, Stavva also still lives at home with his mum and dad. His mum still cooks for him and even does his laundry, much to his father’s dismay.
He’s best friends with Jarrod’s younger brother, Addo O’Donnell, and the instigator for Addo spending more time with the group.
Ryan Johnson graduated from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Academy of the Arts in 1999. Television soon beckoned with roles in the popular ABC series Head Start, Dossa And Joe, alongside Michael Caton and Joel Edgerton, and the Channel Nine series Young Lions. In 2004, Ryan joined the cast of the successful Australian drama series Secret Life Of Us and, most recently, the gritty drama Underbelly – based on the Melbourne Gangland warfare. His other television credits include White Collar Blue, All Saints and the US series The Junction Boys. Ryan has had a successful feature film career, appearing in a number of Australian films including the two independents: Monkey Puzzle and All My Friends Are Leaving Brisbane. His credits also include the comedy The Wannabes, directed by Nick Giannopoulos; the ACDC tribute Thunderstruck, directed by Darren Ashton; and the US blockbusters Son Of The Mask and Ghostrider, starring Nicholas Cage. His stage performances include Sydney Theatre Company’s The Beauty Queen Of Leenane, directed by Marion Potts, and the critically acclaimed Belvoir Co. B production, Jesus Hopped The A Train, directed by Wayne Blair. Ryan is also a talented director – his directorial debut, Ninja, had a successful season at the Old Fitzroy in Sydney.
Tess McManus (Olivia Bonnici)
Tess is a gentle, good-natured woman and, when she walked into a restaurant in London looking for a job and found Philip McManus, she knew she’d found her soulmate. The two moved in together and Philip embraced Tess’s religious beliefs.
When they discovered she was pregnant, they had a small, but moving, marriage ceremony and then made plans to start their lives afresh in Australia.
While Tess was excited about the move, and held postcard images of the “promised land” in her head, the reality now is quite different.
She’s feeling lonely, out of her depth and is more than a little worried. The only thing keeping her going is protecting her unborn child.
Devastated by her parents’ continual disapproval of her life and of her new love Philip, Tess married and moved to Australia without telling them.
Now trying to settle into her new life in Manly with the McManus family, Tess is feeling trapped and uncovering things she never knew about Philip.
Olivia Bonnici was born in England and lived in Edmonton, London, until her family moved to Australia when she was 10. She completed a diploma of Arts in Performing Arts at Swinburne University Melbourne before graduating from the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) in 2001. Upon graduating, Olivia moved back to London where she studied at the Actors Centre in London. Settling back in Australia, Out Of The Blue is Olivia’s television debut in a drama series, but she has presented both PJ’s Bedtime (which was nominated for a BAFTA Award in 2004) and Art Play for Playhouse Disney UK. Olivia starred in the UK feature film Those Without Shadows and the short film State Of Grace for the London Film Academy. While at NIDA, Olivia starred in various theatrical productions including The Golden Age, The Post Office, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Variety Vaudeville And Burlesque, Undiscovered Country, Bodyline, The Sea, Kiss Me Kate and Much Ado About Nothing. She has also worked with the Actor’s Company in Language Of The Gods and the Newtown Theatre in A Time For Everything as well as a national tour for Playhouse Disney. Olivia represented NIDA at the UNESCO Theatre Institute Conference in Romania, and directed Stark Raving Dad at the 2007 Melbourne Fringe Festival. While living in London, alongside her acting work, Olivia also set up a small business, Sunshine The Party Fairy, specialising in children’s entertainment.
Tracy McDonnell (Charlotte Gregg)
Every good man needs a good woman, and Tracy endeavours to be that woman for her husband, Jarrod. Even though at school she was voted the student most likely to become Prime Minister, and her light, loveliness and academic prowess made everyone sure she was destined to achieve great things, Tracy never finished university.
After her friend Jason’s tragic death on Gabby’s 21st birthday, Tracy fell into a debilitating depression and it was only Jarrod who could coax her out. Needless to say, the pair fell in love.
Nine years on, Jarrod and Tracy are still utterly dedicated to each other – although, recently, Tracy has wondered where her life would be if the events of that ill-fated harbour cruise hadn’t happened.
When she’s under pressure, Tracy disassociates and becomes a stranger to herself. In many ways, that confident, hopeful young high school student is completely alien to her now.
Although Jarrod has tried to get Tracy to go back to uni, she refuses, preferring to be a “stay-at-home” mum to Zoe and wife for Jarrod. But even this is proving difficult as Tracy now feels she is a failure because she and Jarrod can’t conceive the second child they so desperately want.
Charlotte Gregg started her career in the US telemovie Seconds To Spare, alongside Antonio Sabato Jr, and quickly moved on to appear in Fat Cow Motel, CNNNN, All Saints and the true-life crime drama Underbelly. Charlotte also played the recurring role of Charity Fernbrook in the long-running soap Home And Away. Charlotte has appeared in short films Chucky and The Statue, and the feature film All My Friends Are Leaving Brisbane and, most recently, Punishment. Theatre has also played a major part in Charlotte’s career, and she has starred in productions such as Clark In Sarajevo (La Boite Theatre), Citizen Jane (Queensland Arts Council), Nerd Formal (Bunker Productions/Griffin Stablemates), Balm In Gilead (The Group Theatre) and Sleeping Around (Night Parrot/Downstairs Belvoir).