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Character Profiles > Paul McClain Jansen Spencer

Paul McClain 1997-2001
Lived: 24 Ramsay Street
Born: 1984 (later altered to 1983)
Parents: Leo and Angela McClain
Family Tree: McClain
Occupation: Student, Grease Monkeys Assistant, The Coffee Shop Assistant, Australian Rules Footballer

Paul McClain was born the only child of Leo and Angela McClain in 1983. His father was an alcoholic and often violent man, who ultimately walked out on his wife and young son when he could no longer cope with his alcoholism and failure to support his family. Paul grew up into his teens with only his mother to care for him, and his world was shattered in 1997 when Angela was diagnosed with cancer and subsequently died.

With no other family, Paul was put into foster care, living at a youth shelter. Here Paul became shy and subdued and developed a short temper. When his case worker, Tracey Cox, found foster parents for Paul in the form of Harold and Madge Bishop, he was initially reluctant to live with them. But with no other options, Paul decided to give things a go. His relationship with the Bishops got off to a rocky start as Paul began to feel an imposition, particularly on Madge, who was less keen than Harold to foster.   However, just as Madge came to terms with the idea of playing mother again, Paul became despondent with her because he felt he would be betraying his mother by looking upon another woman as a mother figure. Madge tried to win his respect by buying him various gifts, most notably an electric guitar - something Paul had always wanted. Paul finally realised that his mum would want nothing more than for him to be happy. Having finally realised the Bishops cared a great deal for him, Paul settled into life at No.24 Ramsay Street. A stronger bond developed between him and Madge when he supported her through a serious illness she experienced, which made her lose her sight for several weeks. Paul's relationship with Harold also strengthened when they joined forces to form their own band, Tuba Electrica. The combination of Harold's tuba playing and Paul on his electric guitar may not have been the most pleasant of sounds, but it helped the two become closer and they even went on to participate in a talent show at neighbour Lou Carpenter's novelty restaurant, Little Tommy Tuckers.

Paul soon became close friends with his next door neighbour on Ramsay Street, Hannah Martin. Initially, Paul felt nothing but friendship towards Hannah and in turn, Hannah regarded him as a mate too. But as the two spent more and more time together, they began to develop feelings for each other. However, Paul was far too shy to ever admit his feelings to Hannah, and he upset her by asking another girl to the school formal instead. Despite her jealousy and annoyance at Paul not asking her to be his partner, Hannah agreed to teach Paul how to dance in the weeks leading up to the formal. Their dance partnership proved so successful that on the night of the dance itself, Paul and Hannah ended up dancing the night away together, leaving their respective dates sitting. A thrilled Hannah was overjoyed when Paul told her the following day how much he enjoyed dancing with her - but there were still no signs of the pair ever getting together.

A tense time came for Paul when Tracey Cox contacted him to tell him his father had requested a meeting with him. At first Paul refused to even consider meeting the man who had walked out on him when he was a little boy. But he was left with no choice on the matter when Leo turned up on Ramsay Street anyway. Paul had a heated argument with Leo when they came face to face, attacking him for the suffering he had caused for his mother. Leo apologised to his son, and insisted that he had changed, and had beaten his alcoholism. But Paul refused to put the past behind him, and ran away. When he finally returned to a worried Madge and Harold, Paul admitted that perhaps he had been too hard on Leo, and decided to give him a chance. The two met again and had a long talk about the circumstances that had led to Leo's alcoholism and his abusive behaviour towards Paul and Angela. Paul agreed to put the past behind him at last and before Leo left town to work on a fishing trawler, they agreed to keep in touch.

Just as Paul and Hannah's friendship appeared to be developing into something more serious, Hannah was given the opportunity of spending six months in France with her friend Claire Girard and her family. Believing this to be a sign that Hannah didn't have any feelings for him, Paul gave up on her. But on the night before she left, the two finally revealed their feelings to each other and kissed.

However in the months of Hannah's absence, Paul found himself being led astray by his classmate, Jade Cleary. At first, Paul was reluctant to get involved with Jade but she was determined to have Paul for herself no matter what. Jade craftily told Paul that she had heard Hannah had been seeing someone else in France, which made Paul so angry that he gave in to Jade and started going out with her. When Hannah returned, Paul realised that she hadn't been unfaithful to him in Paris and for a while, tried to see both Jade and Hannah at the same time. But he was left single, however, when the two girls found out and dumped him.

In time, Hannah forgave Paul and the two got back together, although they still encountered their fair share of problems. Hannah began to feel left out when Paul and his best mate, Tad Reeves, began BMX racing. In fact, Paul paid so little attention to Hannah during this phase that she started to fall for the charms of Paul's arch rival on the BMX scene, Teabag Teasdale.

Events took an unexpected turn, however, when Hannah's family decided to move to Darwin. At first, Hannah refused to go and Paul tried to persuade Madge and Harold to let her stay at No.24 with them. But since they had already taken Tad in too, they were unable to help Hannah out, and she was forced to accept that her future lay away from Erinsborough. Although Paul admitted to Hannah that he loved her, they agreed that a long-distance relationship wouldn't work and decided to part as just good friends, having spent Hannah's last night together in her tree house.

Paul soon found a new girl to interest him, however, in the form of Flick Scully, who moved into Hannah's old house with her family. Flick was interested in a more mature form of boyfriend, however, and Paul instead had to content with the advances of Flick's scheming younger sister, Michelle. Michelle convinced her parents to pay Paul to give her guitar lessons purely so that she could be near to him, and Michelle even took to stealing things from Paul's house as part of a magic spell she was concocting to make Paul fall in love with her. Paul, meanwhile, remained in awe of the gorgeous Flick and orchestrated a plot to spend a night at the Scully house as part of a school project. He was thrilled the next morning when Flick admitted she had watched him sleeping, and taking this to mean she fancied him, Paul tried to kiss her. But Flick immediately pulled away and demanded Paul get out. Tad calmed Flick down by telling her Paul was simply mad about her and hadn't meant to come across as a sleaze, and Flick forgave Paul but made it clear she just wanted to be friends. In fact, Flick set out on a quest to find Paul a girlfriend in the hope of him getting over her, and she began matchmaking between him and Simone King. But Paul rejected Simone's interest in him and while visiting his father in Port Lincoln, sent her a letter to tell her he wasn't interested in a relationship.

Paul was consumed with jealousy when, upon returning from Port Lincoln, Tad revealed that Flick had kissed him. And Paul was further annoyed when Tad started seeing Simone, and began to tease Paul about how stupid he had been to pass up the opportunity to date her. But Simone was still more interested in Paul, and after realising that Paul was now attracted to her too, she kissed him. Paul immediately felt guilty about kissing his best mate's girlfriend behind his back, especially since Tad was going through some personal problems at the time after finding out he was adopted and meeting his real mother. Paul and Simone eventually decided that they would have to be honest with Tad and tell him they were an item. Events came to a head when Tad found Simone and Paul together at the Coffee Shop when Simone had told Tad she was at home doing a school assignment. After Paul confirmed that he and Simone were seeing each other, Tad was furious and a bitter feud erupted between him and Paul. Paul's repeated attempts at making it up to Tad failed, and even Paul's decision to stop seeing Simone failed to have any impact. It was only when Harold found himself wrongly accused of an armed robbery that the boys agreed to call a truce and put their differences behind them so that they could offer Harold their full support.

Having always been a keen football player, Paul was thrilled when his teacher Daniel Fitzgerald asked him to play for the senior's footy team. But at his first training session, Paul found it tough playing against the more experienced and older players. Paul faced a tough first game when the team faced the roughest team in the league, West Waratah. One member of the team took an instant dislike to Paul and teased him off throughout the game. Daniel told Paul to call the guy by his first name - Byron - to get him back but the plan backfired after he went ballistic and knocked Paul unconscious. Paul decided to quit the seniors as a result, but Madge persuaded him to persevere and the second match of the league proved more enjoyable for Paul, as he began to emerge as the team's star player, both in skills and looks. At the football club's gala dinner, each of the players were auctioned off for charity and Paul was thrilled when Cheyenne Rivers successfully bid for him. Flick, however, was noticeably annoyed by Cheyenne's interest in Paul, and when they started dating, Flick appeared to be jealous and showed signs of attraction towards Paul after all. When Flick began to put Cheyenne down at every opportunity, Paul was furious with her, and after one insult too many from Flick, Cheyenne made Paul choose between the two. Having opted to keep seeing Cheyenne, Paul was forced to see less of Flick, but Flick and Tad started to suspect that Cheyenne was too controlling of Paul. Cheyenne's hold over Paul was clearly evident after she persuaded him to skip footy training so that he could spend the time with her instead. But Paul's actions left Daniel with no choice but to drop him from that weekend's game, meaning Paul would miss out on playing in front of talent scouts. But Cheyenne got her father, the influential Gareth Rivers, to fix it so that Paul would be able to play in the game, and Daniel was furious at Paul for getting someone to pull strings for him. Feeling guilty, Paul decided not to play unless he was picked fairly, and he only played after being genuinely called up to play when another player was unable to be there. Paul ended up giving one of his best performances ever in the game and attracted the attentions of the talent scouts, making it look likely that a career in football was on the cards for him.

Despite taking a stand against Cheyenne over the football incident, Paul was still content to bow to her demands. When the rest of his class left to see King Lear in the theatre, Cheyenne - banned from seeing the production by her father - convinced Paul to stay at school with her. It was only when Cheyenne put an expensive pair of football boots in Paul's footy bag while looking around Across The Line sports shop with him one day that Paul realised he needed to do something about her behaviour. Paul was furious with her for nearly getting him arrested for shoplifting, but agreed not to tell anyone after Cheyenne told him her father would come down really hard on her. However, Paul opted not to continue the relationship, having seen how selfish Cheyenne had been, and he dumped her. Cheyenne pleaded with Paul to reconsider, but he was adamant that their relationship was over. In a last ditch attempt at proving to Paul how much she loved him, Cheyenne owned up to being the one who put the football boots in Paul's bag. Paul was pleased that Cheyenne had done the right thing and cleared her name, but it was too late for them to renew their relationship because her father sent her to stay with relatives in the country as a result of her behaviour. The couple were reunited a few months later when Cheyenne came to Erinsborough to be Paul's partner for the deb ball, but after that, they lost contact and Paul focused on his looming footy career.

During the school holidays, Paul won a place at footy camp with the Eastside Dingoes Over 19s, but found it difficult to integrate with the other, more mature players. The team's star player, Nuts, was particularly hard on Paul and he teased Paul about being so young. The final straw came for Paul when Nuts tried to force Paul to down a glass of beer, and Paul, unable to handle the pressure anymore, fled the camp. Upon returning home to Ramsay Street, Madge and Harold tried to get Paul to talk about why he left the camp, but Paul refused to tell them the truth, insisting it had just been because he was bored. When the Dingoes' coach Pat Miller showed up at the Bishops', he tried to persuade Paul to come back to camp, insisting the blokes had just been having a laugh with him and that he would have to develop a thicker skin to succeed on the senior's team. But Paul told Pat he wasn't interested in staying with the Dingoes and had decided to return to Erinsborough's team and give the seniors a miss for a few years. Madge and Harold cheered Paul up, meanwhile, by giving him a new pair of football boots and a training bag, and a gourmet meal from Lanzini's to celebrate his 17th birthday.

Upon reaching the age of 17, Paul was keen to get his L-plates and start taking driving lessons. But his eagerness to start driving was ruined when Harold insisted on teaching him how to drive. Despite Paul telling Harold that he would rather be taught by a professional instructor to avoid arguing with him, Harold stuck to his plan and began teaching Paul with kitchen utensils on the kitchen table, before taking him into the living room and using cushions at his feet to practice using the breaks and clutch. Paul's embarrassment continued as he and Harold took their first drive together the next morning in full view of half the street. Desperate to be allowed behind the wheel of the car himself, Paul started playing around in the front seat of the car one afternoon while Harold and Madge were out. When he got out, he forgot to put the break back on causing Harold's car to slide down the driveway and get scratched on the side by a garden rock just as Paul stopped it. Paul had Lou take a look at it, and he agreed to fix it for him, but Paul had to try and find a way for the car to be fixed without Harold noticing. Meanwhile, Paul's first real experience of being behind the wheel himself ended in near-disaster when he lost control of the car as he turned into Ramsay Street and almost ran over Drew Kirk and Libby Kennedy, days before they were due to marry. Drew was furious with Paul for nearly killing Libby days before the wedding, and Paul was left badly shaken after the experience and vowed never to get behind the wheel of a car again. But Drew later apologised to him for being so angry with him and even offered to give Paul some lessons - which delighted Paul since it meant he would no longer have to put up with Harold's unconventional and embarrassing lessons.

It was a huge blow to Paul when Madge was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and history looked set to repeat itself. Madge was determined to fight the illness, and Paul looked to Karl and Susan Kennedy for comfort as he struggled to come to terms with the fact that his foster mother was now suffering from the same deadly illness his mother had died from. When Madge had her CT scan, Paul eagerly awaited the result in the hope that the prognosis would be positive. But the news was bad, and Madge broke the news to Paul and Tad that she only had a few months to live. Paul was devastated by the news, but vowed to make Madge's final months as happy as possible. He was thrilled when Madge expressed her desire to attend all his footy matches and know as much as possible about his interests before her death. In the end, her death came quick and suddenly. Having developed septicaemia, Madge's liver began to fail, and she had only days to live. In a poignant moment between the two, Paul told Madge she was the best mum he could ever have asked for, and admitted he didn't know what he would do without her. Madge promised Paul that she would always watch over him, and told him she loved him. Hours later, she passed away, with Harold and the boys by her side. Paul and Tad clashed in the immediate aftermath of Madge's death after Tad went for a drive with Jess Fielding. But after Harold sat the boys down and made them realise the importance of being there for each other at this sad time, they realised how petty they were being, and resolved to be supportive of each other. Their attentions turned to Harold when he lost his faith in God as a result of Madge's death, and Paul and Tad made plans for Harold to go to Paris with Paul after the funeral. At first Harold was appalled at the idea, but since it had been what Madge had wished for him to do, he agreed.

After several weeks in France, Paul spent a few more weeks with his dad in Port Lincoln en route back to Ramsay Street. Once he got back, he was shocked to find that Harold had decided to sell up and leave Erinsborough, since there were too many memories of Madge there. Paul and Tad desperately tried to persuade Harold to change his mind, insisting he belonged in Ramsay Street with all his friends and neighbours to support him. It was only after the boys and Lou organised a barbecue in Ramsay Street to show Harold how much he was treasured by all his friends and neighbours that Harold agreed to stay, and he thanked Paul and Tad for their support in recent months.

While in Paris, Paul had met Larissa Calwell, an Australian girl who had been travelling through Europe with her parents at the time. They agreed to keep in touch via e-mail but Paul never got round to e-mailing Larissa, and instead, Tad took to sending her messages, pretending to be Paul. Paul was initially furious with Tad for sending the e-mails on his behalf, but after seeing how interested in him Larissa had become since Tad had created a hotter, music loving Paul in the e-mails, Paul allowed Tad to continue. However, panic set in when Larissa called Paul to announce she was now back in the country and wanted to see him. Once she showed up at No. 24 and Paul was left alone with Larissa, he had to rely on phone calls from Tad to tell him what to talk to her about. After Larissa left, Paul told Tad that he had no intention of calling her again such was the stress of trying to pretend he was like the Paul that Tad had created in the e-mails. But the lure of Larissa was too appealing for Paul to give up on, and he continued seeing her. To complicate things further, Tad started to find himself attracted to her too, and he eventually told Paul he wanted to make a move on her. When the boys told Larissa the truth about their deception, she stunned them by announcing she would date them both until she decided which she preferred most. Both boys were desperate to secure the first date with Larissa, and Paul was thrilled when she chose pizza and a movie with him over Tad's offer of Lunar Park and a gig at Hemisfear nightclub. A jealous Tad anxiously awaited Paul's return from the date to see how it had gone. But when he saw Paul and Larissa kissing at the front door after the date, Tad was disgusted and resolved to win Larissa for himself on his date with her. Paul spent the evening pacing the rooms at No. 24 when Tad and Larissa went on their first date and when they finally got home and spoke of the wonderful date they had enjoyed, Paul lost his temper and demanded Larissa choose once and for all between him and Tad. She refused, however, claiming to need more time to decide who she preferred. Larissa's failure to reach a decision only increased the competition between the boys, and they ended up agreeing not to call her until she made up her mind.

However, they both secretly started seeing Larissa on the sly, and remained totally unaware that the other was doing exactly the same thing. Even Flick became entangled in the web of lies when both Paul and Tad individually confided in her about their secret relationships with Larissa. Tad became briefly suspicious when Larissa showed up at one of Paul's footy games - he had recently begun playing for the Eastside Dingoes again - and appeared to be eyeing him up on the pitch throughout the game. But Larissa managed to dismiss any suspicions Tad had by telling him how she enjoyed a stroll on the oval now and then. Paul, meanwhile had become suspicious of Tad after seeing lipstick on his shirt one night, and he refused to believe Tad's story about seeing a girl he had met at Hemisfear. Paul decided to follow Tad down to the club one night, and was stunned when he saw Tad and Larissa kissing. Paul confronted Tad about seeing his girlfriend behind his back. But Tad told Paul that he had been going out with Larissa, causing more confusion until it gradually dawned on the boys that Larissa had been seeing them both. Larissa got upset and tearfully tried to assure the boys she had never meant it to go this far. But it was too late - a fight broke out between Tad and Paul in the middle of the dance floor, resulting in Tad giving Paul a cut on his face. Paul left Hemisfear, and Larissa apologised to Tad, telling him that he was the one she wanted to stay with. But Tad told her he didn't want to have anything to do with her or Paul again. Tad decided to move out of No. 24 as a result of the bust-up with Paul, and it looked as though the long friendship between the two was over for good. However, after Paul damaged his spinal cord while doing some stunts on his BMX and ended up in a wheelchair for a few weeks, Tad agreed to move back in and help Harold care for him. As a result, Paul and Tad's friendship began to show signs of repair, and they agreed to put the past behind them.

Paul's return to the Dingoes was soured by Pat Miller's insistence that he would have to start toughening himself up and build up his muscles in order to succeed as a player. Paul agonised over whether or not to use steroids to bulk up his muscles after his team mate Nathan Tyson told him it was the only way to be a success on the pitch. After Nathan assured him that the worst side effects were a few pimples, Paul considered using the drugs more seriously. However, after asking Flick for advice on what he should do, Paul realised that it was a bad idea and told Nathan he wasn't interested. But Nathan told Paul that he would never make it to the senior's team by dieting and training alone, and warned him not to tell anyone about the offer he'd made him. Paul kept quiet but was relieved when Nathan told him he had stopped using steroids soon after. But after he witnessed some needles fall out of Nathan's sports bag, Paul confronted Nathan about his continuing use of steroids. The hassle from Paul caused Nathan to lose his temper and start a fight with Paul. Afterwards, Paul told Karl - who had started working with the Dingoes as the team's physio - that Nathan was still using steroids. Paul was alienated by his team mates for blowing the whistle on Nathan's steroid use and Paul began to find himself left on the bench for the Dingoes' games, despite the fact that he was one of the best players on the team. Paul was furious when Pat refused to play him in a crucial match, even after two players were injured during the game. Karl tried to persuade Pat to play Paul and let the injured players come off to rest, but Pat only relented in the final thirty seconds, and Paul barely got a kick of the ball before the whistle was blown. After the game, Paul confronted Pat about his behaviour, but Pat refused to back down and told Paul that for as long as he was manager, he would keep putting Paul on the bench. And he infuriated Paul even more by telling him not to think about joining another team because he wouldn't give him clearance. Paul talked through his options with Harold and Karl, but found himself in a no-win situation and he was upset when Pat left him off the squad for the Dingoes' final. Paul angrily confronted Pat about how he had never liked him from day one, and told him exactly what he thought of him. That night, both Harold and Karl tried to comfort and reassure Paul, but he was convinced that his career in footy was ruined. But when one of the team was taken ill, Pat was forced to call up Paul, and the next day at the match, Paul finally got to play after two injuries cropped up. And when he set up a winning goal, Nathan congratulated him and apologised to him for the way he had treated him over the last few months. Afterwards, Pat begrudgingly congratulated him for the way he played, but got in a snide remark about how Nathan would have scored a winning goal prompting Paul to finally lash out at Pat for the months of anguish he had put him through. Paul told Pat that he had no right to call himself a coach, and stormed off into the dressing rooms, leaving Pat to incur the wrath of Karl, who told Pat he was a bully and that he was going to hand in his resignation, along with a letter to the board telling them about Pat's support of drug use amongst his players. That night, Paul was comforted by Harold as his career with the Eastside Dingoes seemed to be at its end, but he was stunned and delighted when some of the team phoned him up and invited him down to an end of season wake, finally accepting him into their circle.

Paul's family and friends all started worrying about his future when he reacted casually to his VCE exams. Whenever anyone tried to broach the subject of studying for the exams with him, Paul insisted he didn't need to worry about getting good results since all he wanted to do was become a professional footballer. A further problem arose when Paul was expelled from Erinsborough High School on the last day of term after spraying foam and sticking streamers all over a teacher's car on Muck-Up Day and was faced with sitting his VCE exams elsewhere. When a stunned Paul told Tad and Flick, they insisted that they admit their involvement in the prank as well but Paul told them not to, since one of them being expelled was enough and they were more interested in their exams anyway. But Tad and Flick ignored Paul's advice, and went to Susan with their confession. Susan thanked them for their honesty but told them that since they had only helped Paul out slightly with the prank, they would escape punishment. However, Paul was relieved when Susan spoke to the school council and they all agreed not to expel him since he hadn't meant to do deliberate damage to the car. Paul was thrilled and thanked Susan, and he was even happy with the punishment he did get when he learnt it was helping Mr. Burke coach the juniors at football during the holidays!

When the exams got underway, Paul decided not to do anymore after the first one turned out to be a disaster. And Lyn Scully innocently remarking that exams weren't the end of the world anyway finalised the decision for him. Tad and Flick desperately tried to talk him out of such a ridiculous decision, but he wouldn't change his mind, insisting that since he didn't want to go to uni, he didn't need his exams. But after Lyn realised what he was planning, she managed to talk him out of missing the exams and pointed out to him the importance of having the option and security of a completed education. As it turned out, Paul did relatively well in his exams, and he was thrilled that he had stuck with it and achieved the marks that he did.

Paul's Śpunishment' of having to help coach the juniors at footy got off to a bad start when Paul confronted Giles Peterson, the father of one of the kids and accused him of being too pushy with his son. But Paul was stunned when the father revealed he was also a talent scout and knew exactly what he was talking about. Paul feared his footy career was over after the way he spoke to the talent scout but Harold received a phone call from Giles Peterson telling him he was putting Paul's name forward for a summer internship in the National League. A delighted Harold tried to get Paul to return Giles' call when he got home that afternoon. But a deflated Paul was reluctant to make the call, fearing it was only to tell him that he was out as coach on the youth team. However, after Harold finally managed to persuade him to phone Giles, Paul was thrilled to hear the news, and was over the moon as his career in football finally started to take off. But after his first day trying out for the League, Paul was convinced he had ruined his chances after dislocating the coach's shoulder. But he was thrilled when he got a call from the coach asking him to continue with the training and to put in a late application for the draft. And when he was selected to play for the Adelaide Crows, Paul was over the moon, and he prepared to pack up and move to Adelaide to begin his footy career.

Harold was extremely proud of Paul's achievement, and threw a farewell party for him at Lou's Place. In a poignant moment alone, Tad gave Paul a photo of the two of them and the boys hugged, vowing to be best friends always. And Flick finally gave Paul the kiss he had been waiting over two years for as she said goodbye to him. Afterwards, Paul left Erinsborough for his new life as a star player with the Adelaide Crows, and a photo of him in team kit is proudly displayed at home on Harold's sideboard.

Trivia Notes
• In 2005, Paul made a cameo appearance in Annalise's 20th Anniversary Documentary
• In 2007, Katya Kinski went to work for the Adelaide Crows, and it was later mentioned that she'd begun a relationship with Paul

2977-3917, 4773

Biography by Moe