After leaving school, Oliver worked as an actor for around 15 years, whilst also directing some stage productions. In the 90s he became more interested in cinema, and decided to bring some of his stage work to the screen. Oliver jokes, ‘my material since has been varied to the point of confusing’. However, this has obviously been his strength, for after writing and directing a thriller set in Italy, Fade to Black, he co-produced and co-directed the recent St Trinian’s films with close friend (and Old Pauline) Barnaby Thompson (1974-78). These were then followed by Dorian Gray, Johnny English Reborn, and Dad’s Army. Oliver’s next film, Swimming With Men, will be released on July 6th. (Another talented OP, Charlie Mole (1978-79), has composed the music scores for much of Oliver’s work.)
What guidance would you give to your younger self on the day you left St Paul’s?
Stop faffing around and get on with it.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I’ve always been wary of advice, so am even warier of passing it on. But if I must, never bolt a door with a boiled carrot. And don’t throw away those fives gloves.
Why did you choose your current career?
I loved drama as a kid, and the school gave me some great opportunities. My English teachers, Harry Quinn and Bryan Robson, were extremely supportive and I did youth theatre at The Old Vic. As I waded out into my career, I saw other ways of entertaining and engaging. I now enjoy writing and directing as there is always so much to learn and you never stop evolving.