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Played: Lou Carpenter
Appeared: 1988, 1992-1996, 1996-
Born in Hampshire, England on 12th June 1938, Tom Oliver is Neighbours’ longest-running cast member. Starting his career in amateur dramatics, Tom pursued a career as a jockey, however failed to gain an apprenticeship due to his size, deciding at the age of 16 to join the Merchant Navy.
Having travelled the world, Tom eventually settled in Sydney, Australia in 1956, before working his way around the country as a stockman. Tom then returned to the UK, before beginning a trek across Asia on his way back to Australia, but unfortunately the journey was brought to an end by illness. Back in the UK, Tom contacted Albert Finney who at the time was planning to produce the film, Ned Kelly. Albert gave him a letter of introduction to an agency in Sydney and in 1963, Tom emigrated to Australia, later becoming an Australian citizen.
Tom soon busied himself with his acting career, both in theatre and television, guest starring in many Australian drama series, such as Contrabandits, Hunter and Riptide. In 1969, Tom was cast as Tom Grey in Bellbird, a role he would play for three years.
Further guest roles in popular series, Skippy and Homicide followed before joining the cast of Number 96 in 1972 as Jack Sellars, originally a guest roles set to last just three weeks, however having impressed producers was made into an on-going lead, a role he would reprise in subsequent feature film spinoff.
Further film roles in ABBA: The Movie as a bodyguard, a barman and a taxi driver followed, as well as roles in TV series King’s Men, Holiday Island - the set of which would later become the Lassiter’s Complex in Neighbours, Prisoner and Sons and Daughters.
Tom then started a film production company, producing film, The Right Hand Man in 1987; he has also been three-times nominated in the category of Best Supporting Actor for the Australian Film and Television Awards.
In addition to his film and television career, Tom has also appeared in many plays including How The Other Half Loves and The Club.
In 1988, Tom began what was to become his longest role to date, as Madge Ramsay’s former flame, Lou Carpenter. Initially only a guest appearance, the character was reintroduced four years later, quickly becoming a firm fan favourite, which was proved in 1996 when his axing caused uproar amongst Neighbours viewers and just 10 weeks after his departure, Tom returned to our screens.
Profile by Callum