Neighbours

In The Green Room: Tom Oliver

Tom Oliver (aka Lou Carpenter) reveals his greatest source of inspiration and discusses his involvement with charity Connecting Hands.

In The Green Room: Tom Oliver

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Peach of mind

What is your greatest fear?
That the water tank along the side of my house is going splint, so I’m pretty lucky if that’s all I have be fear.

Which living person do you most admire?
Somaly Mam is the founder AFESIP in Cambodia, which assists women in distressing circumstances, in particular rescuing young female children from brothels. I am an ambassador for an organisation called Connecting Hands which works with AFESIP.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
My wife often complains I try to do too much. I’m a mad gardener and, instead of taking my time to do the pruning and what not, I tend to try to do it all at once and then I’m completely knackered.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Racism

What is your greatest extravagance?
Definitely travel

What is your favourite journey?
As the Ambassador for Connecting Hands, which works with AFESIP, traveling to the three rescue centresa we have in Cambodia and seeing how all 220 girls are developing is most definitely my favourite journey. They are so pleased to see us every time.

On what occasion do you lie?
Just back to Cambodia, one of the young girls may have AIDS and I do lie when they ask if everything going to be okay, I’ll say yes. I know it’s not because the medical facilities are so poor; that’s a lie I don’t mind indulging in.

Is there anything you would change about your appearance?
I have a big head.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I actually don’t have one.

What is your greatest regret?
I don’t have any I’m lucky to say.

What is your current state of mind?
Peaceful

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Smaller head

If you could one thing about your family, what would it be?
It would nice if we were closer. We’re scattered all over the world, including my wife’s family, who are in America.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I’ve had an amazing and adventurous life; I’ve been so fortunate. I left school and home at 15, and travelled the around the world three times with the Merchant Navy, spent three years in the Australian outback as a stockman, and I’ve been acting for over 48 years.

What is your most treasured possession?
My wife Jane and I bought these four large panels when we were in Vietnam which are the four seasons. We look at them everyday and we just love them.

What is your most marked characteristic?
It’s something I stole years ago when I was in a series called Number 96 in the '70s. In the script for my character, it said, ‘Jack gives big dirty laugh’, and I instantly thought of Sid James and his laugh, and I copied it. At first I thought the producer would be annoyed, but he loved it. And when I came into Neighbours as Lou, I thought I’ll keep [that], and I continually have people ask me to laugh and mimic the laugh themselves.

What do you most value in your friends?
Loyalty

What are your favourite names?
Jan

If you come back as someone or something, what would it be?
What do you mean; ’m never leaving! I’m 74 and still going strong.

What advice would you give Lou Carpenter?
Keep having a ball, sunshine.

When and where were you the happiest?
Gee, there isn’t just one occasion; however, I did a television movie years ago in the Victorian high country and I was riding a horse, which is a great love of mine, and I’ve been doing it since I was four years old. I remember thinking how incredibly lucky I was to be on land, riding and getting paid for it.

What is something that people would never guess about you?
I played the bodyguard in the ABBA movie.

What is your motto?
Keep on keeping on.

If you would like to learn more about Connecting Hands, go to www.connectinghands.com.au.