Tom Oliver

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Tom Oliver
Tom Oliver

(1938-06-12) 12 June 1938 (age 81)
Other namesThomas Oliver
Known forNumber 96 - Jack Sellars
Neighbours - Lou Carpenter

Tom Oliver (born 12 June 1938, Chandler's Ford, Hampshire, South East England[1]) is a retired English-born actor who started his career in theatre in his native country, before immigrating to Australia where he became best known for his TV soap opera roles including Number 96 as Jack Sellers and the long-running role of lovable rogue Lou Carpenter in the Australian soap opera Neighbours in 1988 and from 1992 to 2016.



Oliver started in amateur theatricals as an adolescent in Britain before pursuing a career as a jockey.[2] However, he failed to gain an apprenticeship owing to his size. He joined the Merchant Navy at 16 and travelled the world, eventually settling in Sydney in 1956. In Australia he found work as a stockman, spending three years in this job, working his way around the country. He subsequently returned to the UK before beginning an overland trek across Asia to return to Australia. However, the journey was halted by illness and he returned to Britain where Oliver contacted Albert Finney who was then planning to produce the film Ned Kelly in Australia in 1963. Finney gave him a letter of introduction to an agency in Sydney and Oliver emigrated in 1963, later becoming an Australian citizen. Oliver became a busy theatre and television actor in Australia. He had many guest starring roles on Australian drama series, appearing frequently in the top-rated Crawford Productions police dramas Homicide, Division 4, Matlock Police and Cop Shop, and in Crawford's adventure series Hunter (1967). Oliver was then cast in serial Bellbird, playing the role of Tom Grey from 1969 to 1971, and appeared in the 1971 film Nickel Queen, directed by John McCallum. After this he returned to television guest roles for Crawfords, and other companies.[3] He also played two roles in the Gerry Anderson series UFO – a doctor in the episode entitled "Confetti Check A-OK" as well as a SHADO technician in the episode entitled "The Sound of Silence".

Oliver also served a stint as a presenter on Play School[4] in 1967.

In 1972 he joined the cast of fledgling soap opera Number 96 playing the role of Janie Somers' new beau Jack Sellars. Back-slapping rough diamond Jack, nicknamed "Jolly Jack Sellars" was intended as a guest character to appear for a run of just three weeks, but the makers of the show were impressed with his performance and the character was made into an ongoing lead regular in the serial.

Personal life[edit]

Oliver became one of the Number 96's most popular cast members. During his run in the show he married fellow Number 96 actor Lynn Rainbow, who played Sonia Lansgard and opened a wine bar in Kensington, Sydney cunningly named Jack's Cellar. In late 1973, along with much of the show's regular cast including Lynn Rainbow, he reprised his television role in a feature film spinoff of the serial. Oliver stayed in the role in the series for more than two years, finally electing to leave the series in mid 1974. After leaving the serial he quickly returned to television guest starring roles and roles of varying size in feature films. He briefly returned to Number 96 in the role of Jack Sellars in September 1975. He has been married to his current wife Jan Oliver since 1985.

Television and miniseries and stage[edit]

Oliver's film roles included ABBA: The Movie (1977). His primary role in the film is as ABBA's gruff bodyguard; however, he additionally appears in the film as a barman and as a chatty moustached taxi driver shown mainly from behind. Through the late 1970s and the 1980s, Oliver appeared in guest and regular roles in many Australian drama series and serials, including Prisoner, Holiday Island and Sons and Daughters.He also appeared in the acclaimed miniseries The Dismissal portraying Reg Withers. Oliver has been nominated for the Australian Film and Television Awards for Best Supporting Actor three times. Oliver also acted on the stage, appearing in such plays as The Knack, Cactus Flower, How the Other Half Loves and The Club.[3]


Today Oliver is best known for his long-running role of Lou Carpenter in Neighbours. He first appeared for a handful of episodes as lovable rogue used-car salesman Lou, Madge Bishop's former flame, in 1988. In early 1992 the character was reintroduced to the series and has been a key character ever since. In 1996, Oliver was written out of the show but producers relented after numerous petitions from fans and he was quickly reintroduced. By 2009, he was the show's longest serving character, both in continuous and overall duration. From the 2009 season, Oliver reduced his role on Neighbours to a part-time regular member of the cast. Oliver appeared in a documentary special celebrating the show's 30th anniversary titled Neighbours 30th: The Stars Reunite, which aired in Australia and the UK in March 2015.[5][6] In 2015, it was announced that Oliver had cut back further on his role as Lou and would only appear from time to time as a guest. In October 2016 it was announced that Oliver had quit the role after 28 years and his last appearance aired in December 2016.[7]


Year Title Role Notes
1963 Summer Holiday (film) Unknown roles
1964 Consider Your Verdict (TV series)
1965 Adventure Unlimited (TV series)
1966 They're a Weird Mod Barbecue chef's Friend
1966 Point of Danger (TV movie)
1967 You Can't See 'Round Corners (TV series)
1967 Contrabandits (TV series) Nicholls
1967 Love and War (TV series)
1968 Hunter (TV series) Hans Felburg
1969 Riptide (TV series) Dave Todd, Bruno, Mike Hallett
1969 Good Morning Mr Doubleday (TV series) Episode: "A Friend in Need"
1969–1971 Bellbird Tom Grey
1969 Colour Me Dead Dr. MacDonald
1969–1970 Skippy the Bush Kangaroo Craig, Tex n Ranger
1970 Adam's Women Stacey
1970 Thirty Minute Theatre (TV series) David
1970 Paul Temple (TV movie) Eddy Bates
1971 Nickel Queen Roy
1971 UFO (TV series) Doctor, 1st Technician
1971 The Group (TV series)
1971 Dynasty (TV series) Tom Fenwick
1970–1972 Homicide Jason Williams, Jack Smith, Jeff Roberts
1973 Spyforce (TV series) Brian Dorsey
1974 Number 96 film Jack Sellers
1971–1975 Matlock Police Charlie, Alexis Katsavakis, Neil O'Brian, Roy Martin
1970–1975 Division 4 Arnie Cooper, Jimmy Harrison, George Morris, Robert Hill, Porter
1972–1975 Number 96 (TV series) Jack Sellars
1975 Ben Hall Long Tom Coffin
1975 That Coffee Lady From Peking Coffee Shop Man
1976 Silent Number (TV series) Stanton
1977 The Outsides (TV series) Artie Fraser
1977 Going Home (TV movie)
1977 Glenview High Mick
1977 ABBA: The Movie Bodyguard, Bartender, Taxi driver
1977 The Dick Emery Show in Australia Variuos characters
1977 Say You Want Me (TV movie)
1978 Because He's My Friend (TV movie) Ian
1978 The Truckies (TV series)
1978 Cop Shop (TV series Brian Matthews, Peter Mitchell
1979 Skyways Scott Honeyman
1976–1980 King's Man Detective Sgt. Peter Weston
1980–1981 Prisoner aka Prisoner: Cell Block H (TV series) Ken Pearce
1982 Sons and Daughters (TV series) Andrew Brooks
1981–1982 Holiday Island Wally Simmons
1983 The Dismissal (TV mini-series) Reg ithers
1983 Patrol Boat (TV series) Inspector Forest
1984 The Explorers (TV documentary) Sir Thomas Mitchell
1980–1984 Kingswood Country (sitcom) Clive Lomas - Gerard Homes
1984 Special Squad (TV series) Tobin
1984 High Country (TV movie) Frank Stacey
1986 Call Me Mister (TV series) <
1983–1987 A Country Practice Ray Gardner, Ross Irving, Stuart Moore
1988 The Beachcombers (TV series) Reporter
1988 The Dirtwater Dynasty (TV mini-series) Our Dad
1989 Hey Dad! Waiter
1992 Mother and Son Sergeant
2011 A Girl Like You (short) Kid in Park
1988, 1992–2016 Neighbours Lou Carpenter


Year Title Role
unknown year of appearance Play School Host
1967 Is Anybody Doing Anything About It? himself
1971 Tempo: In the Seventies Commenntator
1976 The Celebrity Game
1979 The Great Train Robbery Performer
1995 Neighbours : A 10TH Anniversary Himself - Lou Carpenter
1996 Burke's Backyard Celebrity Gardiner
1996 National Television Awards
2000 TV special Neighbours Revealed (documentary Himself
2008 Neighbours on Five
2012 The Wright Stuff Guest Panelist
2013 Celebrity Juice himself
2015 Himself - Lou Carpenter


Year Title Role
1987 The Right Hand Man producer


  1. ^ Mark (27 February 2007). "The Inane Babble of a Backpacker: Mission Accomplished!!!". The Inane Babble of a Backpacker. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Neighbours: The Perfect Blend | Interview: Tom Oliver". The Perfect Blend. 21 March 2009. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  3. ^ a b Atterton, Margot. (Ed.) The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Australian Showbiz, Sunshine Books, 1984. ISBN 0-86777-057-0 p 170
  4. ^ "Neighbours: The Perfect Blend | Interview: Tom Oliver". Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  5. ^ Knox, David (28 February 2015). "Airdate: Neighbours 30th: The Stars Reunite". TV Tonight. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  6. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (4 March 2015). "Neighbours 30th anniversary schedule confirmed by Channel 5". Digital Spy. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  7. ^ Knox, David (25 October 2016). "Tom Oliver departing Neighbours". TV Tonight.

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