'Good friends': These Neighbours stars have links to Southampton and Hampshire

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Neighbours: Tom Oliver and Holly Valance
Neighbours: Tom Oliver and Holly Valance

IT HAS been all over the news that Neighbours, the exceptionally popular TV soap, is due to be axed by Channel 5.

But did you know that one of its long-running stars has strong links to Southampton – and that one of her co-stars was born just up the M27?

They are Holly Valance and Tom Oliver, who appeared on-screen as Felicity Scully and Lou Carpenter respectively.

Holly Valance

07/09/2011 PA File Photo of Holly Valance during the launch show for Strictly Come Dancing at BBC Television Centre, Wood Lane, White City. See PA Feature TV Valance.  Picture credit should read: Ian West/PA Photos. WARNING: This picture must only be
07/09/2011 PA File Photo of Holly Valance during the launch show for Strictly Come Dancing at BBC Television Centre, Wood Lane, White City. See PA Feature TV Valance. Picture credit should read: Ian West/PA Photos. WARNING: This picture must only be

07/09/2011 PA File Photo of Holly Valance during the launch show for Strictly Come Dancing at BBC Television Centre, Wood Lane, White City. See PA Feature TV Valance. Picture credit should read: Ian West/PA Photos. WARNING: This picture must only be

The now-38-year-old is an Australian actress, singer and model. Her career was kickstarted by Neighbours.

Her character Felicity appeared in episodes between 1999 and 2002, and returned in 2005.

But it is little known that her mother was born in Southampton.

Valance has never forgotten her Hampshire roots - and back in 2003 revealed she had a soft spot for Saints star James Beattie.

It was revealed by her friends that she described the Premier League goalscorer as "a bit of alright".

Tom Oliver

Tom Oliver, who appeared as Lou Carpenter
Tom Oliver, who appeared as Lou Carpenter

Tom Oliver, who appeared as Lou Carpenter

The 83-year-old has now retired from acting.

He was born and grew up in Chandler's Ford, and even started his acting career in the UK before emigrating to Australia.

Oliver also pursued a career as a jockey in Hampshire, but failed to gain an apprenticeship owing to his size.

He frequently visits Fareham, Hampshire to see his old friends.

Oliver joined the cast of Neighbours as Lou in 1988. He was initially only contracted for six months, but by 2012, he was the show's longest-serving male cast member.

Why is Neighbours being axed?

The future of Neighbours has been thrown into question after Channel 5 confirmed it will stop airing the Australian soap later this year.

The daytime drama about the residents of Ramsay Street has been shown on UK television for more than 30 years and launched the careers of stars including Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan and Margot Robbie.

Channel 5 said dropping the soap will allow funding to be diverted to original UK dramas.

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