|Home and Away character|
|Portrayed by||Ben Unwin|
|First appearance||23 May 1996|
|Last appearance||26 July 2005|
|Introduced by||John Holmes (1996)
Julie McGuaran (2002)
|Occupation||Bait Shop assistant
Jesse McGregor is a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Home and Away, played by actor Ben Unwin. He made his first screen appearance during the episode broadcast on 23 May 1996. The actor departed in 2000, but returned for in 2002 and departed once again on 26 July 2005.
Unwin quit the serial in March 2005 to pursue work in America.
Jesse is first seen when he rescues Selina Roberts (Tempany Deckert), Shannon (Isla Fisher) and Curtis Reed (Shane Ammann) from a group of criminals. Jesse settles into the area and begins a relationship with Selina. Selina becomes suspicious when Chloe Richards (Kristy Wright) tells her Jesse mentioned the name Rachel as true love while under hypnosis. When confronted, Jesse reveals that Rachel (Kelly Glaister) is his daughter and he has not seen her in several years. When Jesse's ex-girlfriend Kylie Burton (Roslyn Oades) is arrested, he becomes Rachel's guardian. Jesse later moves in with Travis Nash (Nic Testoni) and Lachlan Fraser (Richard Grieve), during this time Jesse goes into partnership with Alf Stewart (Ray Meagher) at his bait shop.
When Kylie returns, Jesse is reluctant to let Rachel go and plans to flee the state with her during the custody battle. After Selina and Irene flag down the bus, Jesse sees sense and returns for the hearing which he loses. Jesse is devastated when Selina dumps him for her former flame, Steven Matheson (Adam Willits).
After a few short flings, Kylie and Rachel reappear. Jesse and Kylie fall in love again and become engaged to be married. The event is marred when Kylie is arrested and later imprisoned. Tragedy strikes when Kylie dies in custody of a drug overdose, leaving a devastated Jesse to raise Rachel alone.
After the bait shop is burned to the ground and he is accused for it, Jesse opens his own business - a garage. Jesse at first refuses to do any illegal work but is forced to when Mick Dwyer (John Brumpton) persistently threatens him. When constable Joel Nash (David Woodley) gets wind of this, Jesse and Mick flee and a high-speed car chase ensues. The cars crash and Joel is left trapped, Jesse acts quickly to save him but is nearly shot for his trouble. Jesse handcuffs Mick to the steering wheel and Joel lets him get away. After saying goodbye to Rachel and arranging for her to live with Joel and his family, Jesse flees into the night. Several months later, Jesse gives himself up and is sentenced to two years in prison. He is later joined by former housemate Vinnie Patterson (Ryan Kwanten) who is serving after being framed for fraud. Upon his release, Jesse makes a promise to Vinnie that he will look after his wife Leah Patterson-Baker (Ada Nicodemou).
Jesse returns to Summer Bay and is welcomed by old friends Irene Roberts (Lynne McGranger) Hayley Smith (Bec Cartwright), Sally Fletcher (Kate Ritchie). However some other locals are not so keen on Jesse's presence in the area, Hayley's boyfriend Noah Lawson (Beau Brady) is immediately suspcious, Josh West (Daniel Collopy) takes an instant dislike to him and Leah's brother Alex Poulos (Danny Raco) is initially wary of him. During his first month back in the bay, Jesse has two brushes with the law when he beats up Jason Edwards (Benj Daddario) and Kelvin Matthews (James Donnellan), respectively in two incidents involving harassment of Alex and Hayley. Unable to control his anger, Jesse turns to Flynn Saunders (Martin Dingle-Wall) for help. Jesse later visits Rachel in Queensland and tries to get her to return home with him. After He realises she is happy with the Nashes, Jesse returns to the Bay alone.
Jesse develops romantic feelings for Leah and they become closer when news of Vinnie's apparent death in a prison fire is broadcast. Jesse proposes and Leah rejects him at first but later agrees to a relationship. When Jesse's former flame, Angie Russell (Laurie Foell) is found dead in her home, he is one of many suspects but is cleared. The real culprit later revealed as her son, Dylan (Brett Hicks-Maitland). Leah and Jesse's relationship is tested when Sally and Flynn ask Leah to be a surrogate mother for them. After learning Leah and Flynn shared a brief kiss, Jesse's jealousy gets the better of him and he and Leah break up.
Hayley's brother Will (Zac Drayson) returns to Summer Bay for Hayley and Noah's wedding, He asks Will for permission for him and his wife Gypsy (Kimberley Cooper) to officially adopt Rachel. Jesse is reluctant at first but agrees to it. Jesse has brief relationships with Alf's granddaughter, Martha MacKenzie (Jodi Gordon) and Angie's cousin Josie Russell (also played by Foell) but neither last very long. When Chloe returns to town for Alf's 60th birthday party, Jesse's old feelings from a kiss they shared several years earlier resurface but when he makes is rebuffed by Chloe who only wants to be friends and he leaves the party early. After Chloe is killed in a hit and run car collision, Jesse realizes he was the driver and responsible for her death. He hands himself into the police. Alf and Irene are both disgusted with him and after an emotional goodbye with, Sally, Leah and Martha, Jesse is transferred to a city jail. It is unknown how long Jesse is sentenced to in prison.
For his portrayal of Jesse, Unwin was nominated for Most Popular New Talent at the 1997 Logie Awards. He also earned a nomination for Most Popular Newcomer at the 3rd National Television Awards. In 1999, Unwin received nominations for Best Actor and Sexiest Male from the Inside Soap Awards.
- Browne, Rachel (13 February 2005). "TV & Radio". The Sun-Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 16 January 2013.
- Browne, Rachel (17 May 1997). "A bolt from the Blue". The Sun-Herald (Fairfax Media). p. 32. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
- Wallace, Richard (4 October 1997). "Tiff v Kim; Soap stars battle for top award". Daily Mirror (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 30 June 2013.(subscription required)
- "Vote in the 1999 Inside Soap Awards". Inside Soap (Hachette Filipacchi UK) (134): 34–35. 21 August – 3 September 1999.