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How does it feel to spend your first seven years on a TV show? TV Week asked Jiordan Anna Tolli and her mum…
Seven years ago, a two-month-old baby girl saw the Neighbours set for the first time. And over the years, life on Ramsay Street has become very ‘normal’ to little golden-haired Jiordan Anna Tolli.
Last week, viewers saw that normality ended for Jiordan as her character Louise Carpenter left Erinsborough to begin a new life with her biological father in Queensland. Of course, this complex plotline was lost on little Jiordan. In her mind, she was simply saying goodbye to some good pals.
“It was very sad leaving, and lots of people came to say goodbye,” Jiordan explains. “Kymmie [Kym Valentine] was there, so was Carla [Bonner] and ‘Pop’ [Tom Oliver]… and I got a present.”
Like many other girls her age, Jiordan is never lost for words. But in this instance, TV Week will rely on her mum Vanda to translate some of the emotions of the day, and also what Jiordan’s time in the show has meant to the Tolli family.
“It was very sad to see Jiordy leave, but it’s the right time,” Vanda says. “The producers, my husband Luke and I were all thinking the same way.”
Jiordan’s association with Neighbours began when casting director Jan Russ put out a call for a baby to play the role of Tom Oliver and Caroline Gillmer’s baby. Despite the old actors’ adage, ‘Never work with children or animals’, Vanda says baby Jiordan was a dream to work with.
“She was amazing,” Vanda recalls. “The crew would always comment on how easy it was – she would literally eat and sleep.”
When Jiordan was two, Caroline Gillmer’s character (Cheryl Stark) was written out of the show. This left Jiordan working with Tom – a man she affectionately calls ‘Pop’.
“As Jiordy didn’t have anyone else she called Pop, it worked very well,” Vanda recalls. “And she still calls him that today.”
While Jiordan plans to “model, dance and act” in the new year, Vanda says school will be her first priority. “But wherever she chooses to go in life later, we’ll be happy if she’s happy,” Vanda says.
“Neighbours has been wonderful for her. There are a lot of funny moments I will edit together later to make a great 21st birthday present for her.”
This article originally appeared in TV Week magazine and was written by Jason Herbison