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Neighbourhood > Guest Character Profiles > Tom Scully Andrew Larkins

Father Dennis Thomas 'Tom' Scully 2004, 2007
Parents: Pat and Mrs Scully
Siblings: Mick and Joe
Family Tree: Scully
Occupation: Catholic Priest St Joseph's Church, Courier, Principal at Erinsborough High School

Growing up with several brothers, Tom Scully was always the more sensitive member of the family, particularly compared to his brothers Mick and Joe. When Joe started dating a girl named Lyn O’Rourke, Tom began to develop feelings for her, as she did for him, and he decided to suddenly leave and do something he’d only ever thought about – become a priest.

Relations between Tom and his family weren’t great in the years that followed, but they kept in touch. When Tom was transferred to St Joseph’s church in Erinsborough, he suddenly found himself living only a few streets away from the Scully family. The situation was awkward, but with Joe away on his father’s farm in Bendigo, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Tom’s relaxed personality quickly won him friends in the area, particularly when Susan Kennedy approached him at the supermarket and asked him for a date. He was forced to turn her down, and she later found out that he was a priest when she and Lyn bumped into him at a church fair. Despite the obvious obstacles, Susan and Tom began to spend a lot of time together, leaving Lyn not only jealous, but also concerned that her brother-in-law was about to go against the his vow of celibacy.

As Tom and Susan found that they had more in common, both being members of Amnesty International, they found themselves confiding in each other. When Susan jokingly mentioned one day that she wouldn’t be able to be celibate herself, Tom became unsettled and walked out on her. Lyn was determined to prevent the couple being alone together, and she constantly found excuses to spend time with them. Tom noticed this and confronted Lyn about her feelings for him, which she admitted were still making her uncomfortable around him. Meanwhile, when Tom and Susan went to an Amnesty convention in the country, the bad weather meant that the whole thing was called off and the couple were trapped in a guesthouse together. Already feeling slightly ill, Tom spent a lot of time out in the rain and was forced to go to bed with a fever. Susan sat by his side, but was in for a shock when Tom started rambling in his sleep, mentioning his concerns for his place in the church and the fact that he was in love with “her”…

The feelings between Susan and Tom caused him a great deal of heartache. Having shared a kiss, Tom decided that it would be better if they spent some time apart. Lyn also encouraged her brother-in-law to concentrate on his career, and tried to push Susan away. However, the pull between the couple was too strong, and before long they were back together. In the meantime, Tom had received visits from a mysterious young woman, desperate to get her problems off her chest. She explained that she was pregnant, but had fooled another man into believing that he was the father. Tom encouraged her to own up for everyone’s sake. Tom had his own dilemma to face up to, eventually deciding to leave the church for Susan. Lyn was appalled by this, and found it very difficult to speak to the pair of them. But Tom’s mind was made up, and he and Susan were officially a couple. Whilst out together, they bumped into Susan’s ex-husband, Karl and his girlfriend, Izzy Hoyland. Tom immediately recognised Izzy as the woman who had confessed to him. She met with him in secret and begged him not to tell Karl or Susan the truth. Tom agreed, provided that Izzy told Karl herself, to which she agreed, and later told Tom that she had done it, and Karl had accepted the situation.

Meanwhile, Tom was forced to find a new job. He struggled to get on outside of the confines of the church, but found work as a courier. Susan and Tom seemed happy enough for a few weeks, but it then started to become clear to Susan that Tom was finding it difficult to cope in a world where he had little experience of real day-to-day life. Tom would constantly put a moral spin on every conversation and problem, which began to put a strain on everyone in the Kennedy household. After a chat to Karl one day in the pub, Tom suddenly realised that Karl had no idea that he wasn’t the father of Izzy’s baby. Tom issued Izzy with an ultimatum; if she didn’t tell Karl and Susan the truth, then he would. However, when Tom tried to explain to Susan, he couldn’t go through with breaking the confidentiality that he had previously been under as a priest. This was the final straw for him. Susan found him at the church, trying to ask God for answers on how to live his life. The following day, after an awkward afternoon together, Susan told Tom that they were never going to be able to relate to each other, as they had lived such different lives. He decided that he would have to leave town for a while, and said a final goodbye to Susan, before going to make up for lost time with his brothers and father in Bendigo.

Soon after returning to Bendigo, Tom decided to use the teaching qualifications he’d earned, but only used briefly, in the 80s. After landing some teaching work at a small Bendigo school, he quickly worked his way up to the position of vice principal. Unable to forget about Susan, Tom decided to apply when he read about the job of principal at Erinsborough High and so, three years after they’d gone their separate ways, Susan was shocked to find her ex back in town – as her new boss. Tom was shocked to hear that Susan had since reunited with, and remarried, Karl, not to mention a brief marriage to Alex Kinski, which had left her as stepmother to his two teenage children, Rachel and Zeke. With Karl away in London, visiting the daughter he’d fathered to Izzy the year before and only just found out about, Susan was confused about her feelings, but rebuffed Tom when he told her that he was still in love with her, and she deserved someone better than Karl. The atmosphere was then awkward at work, as Susan struggled with Tom’s modern teaching methods – asking the students to call him by his forename and allowing them to sit on beanbags during lessons – and when she challenged him, Tom angrily told Susan that he’d be happy to accept her resignation. But they soon realised how childish they were both being and agreed to try to be friends, with Susan soon using Tom as a shoulder to cry on as Karl barely kept in touch during his trip to London.

Upon his return, Karl was shocked to find out that Tom had returned in his absence and further concerned to realise how unhappy Susan was about him even going to London in the first place. When Susan then left town to think things through, Karl became convinced that she was actually with Tom and, after seeing him entering Lassiter’s hotel one afternoon, followed him up to his room and confronted him. Tom insisted that Susan wasn’t with him and he was only staying at the hotel until he found a house in the area, but his attitude that Karl didn’t deserve Susan finally made Karl realise that Tom didn’t know Susan as well as he thought he did and he was no threat to them. A few days later, Susan returned and called Tom, asking to meet him at the bar. He arrived, with a bunch of flowers, expecting it to be good news, only for her to let him down gently, telling him that she loved Karl and that wasn’t going to change. Things got worse for Tom as rumours about him starting spreading around the school and many of the kids turned on him for coming between Karl and Susan. After seeing some of the graffiti and posters about him, Tom decided to resign. He went to visit Susan, explaining that he was on standby for a flight to the UK and planned to spend some time with relatives in Ireland and thanked her for everything. Susan pointed out that she was never the perfect woman he’d thought her to be, but Tom disagreed, saying that it just depended on your definition of perfect. He then walked out of Susan’s life for a second time.

Trivia Notes
• Andrew Larkins previously played Dean Gardner in 1989 and Adrian Pitt in 1992

Biography by Steve



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