Oliver Skeete

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Oliver Skeete (born 26 March 1956 in Speightstown, Barbados) is a British showjumper turned reality show contestant and actor.


One of a family of 10 (four brothers and five sisters), Skeete travelled to England in September 1964 to join his parents who had settled in Acton, West London, and attended local schools to the age of fifteen. On leaving school Skeete qualified as a motor mechanic three years later. He worked for a time as a door supervisor at the Haven Stables on Spring Bridge Road in Ealing. His main sporting interest at this time was football and he played for a local youth team.

Skeete was first introduced to the world of horses by a chance meeting with a Spanish countess in a night-club. However, this was not a successful introduction as Skeete was left bruised and embarrassed after being thrown in Hyde Park. After marriage to another lady and two daughters to entertain, Skeete enrolled them at a local riding school. He found that his enthusiasm grew with theirs and decided to chance his luck once more.

Skeete sold the family car to purchase his first horse, and started show jumping in 1992, aged 36. He has competed at most levels except the very top.[1] Skeete intended to represent Barbados at the Olympics in Sydney in 2000, show jumping under the Barbadian flag, but he did not gain the required number of points for qualification.

After show jumping[edit]

Skeete attained a level of fame that was out of proportion to his quite modest achievements as a showjumper.[2] This was partly due to his status as a dreadlocked black competitor in the overwhelmingly white middle-class world of British showjumping,[3] and he used this novelty factor to generate media interest. He has maintained his minor celebrity status since leaving showjumping, appearing in TV shows such as ITV's Celebrity Wrestling[4] and The Mint, Sky One's Brainiac: Science Abuse and Five's The All Star Talent Show and Diet Doctors.[5] He also had a minor role in the Bond movie Die Another Day,[6] where he delivered Pierce Brosnan a key to the London Underground "offices" of MI6.

He also had worked on a British film called Clubbing to Death, with Nick Moran, Huey Morgan and Dave Courtney, that was due for release in 2007.

Skeete's autobiography is called Jumping the Odds: Memoirs of a Rastafarian Showjumper.[7]

Oliver has played bass in a Sly and the Family Stone tribute act called Sly and the Family Clone since the mid 90s.

As of mid-July 2010 Skeete now works within the haulage industry as a lorry driver for MJD Group located in Kent.


  1. ^ "Keeping an eye on the mane chance". The Independent. 24 May 1995. Retrieved 5 February 2010. 
  2. ^ "Talent pool that has you wrestling for the remote". The Times. London. 25 April 2005. Retrieved 5 February 2010. 
  3. ^ Polley, Martin (1998). Moving the Goalposts: A History of Sport and Society Since 1945. CRC Press. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-203-02275-7. 
  4. ^ "Celebrities wrestling with ratings flop". The Times. London. 12 May 2005. Retrieved 5 February 2010. 
  5. ^ Tong, Andrew (2 December 2007). "Sport on TV: Weight of a guilty conscience but it fails to pack a punch". The Independent. London. Retrieved 5 February 2010. 
  6. ^ Metz, Walter (2004). Engaging film criticism: film history and contemporary American cinema. P. Lang. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-8204-7403-8. 
  7. ^ Smith, Giles (26 February 1995). "High jinks and low blows with Oliver's army : Sport on TV". The Independent. London. Retrieved 5 February 2010. 

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