Michael joins Home and Away as James Fraser, Lachie's brother (Lachie was formerly played by Richard Grieve).

Born on 10 June 1971, Michael grew up in Sydney but has travelled the world through his modelling career. Michael has been modelling for a few years now, and was based in London for the last three years.

Michael actually did his screen test for the part of James Fraser while in London, and sent the tape to producer Russell Webb. Russell asked to see Michael, as he thought he was perfect for the role. Michael left London to come back to Sydney to take up the role as James.

His character James first came to Summer Bay (in July 1998) to visit Chloe (Kristy Wright) after she was left alone bringing up her baby, Olivia, without Lachie, who was taken overseas for medical treatment by his mother Diana.

James's appearance in the Bay disturbed Chloe, because she thought he was there to spy on her for Diana. She was very uncomfortable with his presence, because he reminded her so much of Lachie — he too is a doctor. Eventually Chloe realised that he was there to be a friend, even though there was underlying tension. The tension caused James to leave the Bay to find a job in another town.

He returns, however (on 15 October 1998), realising that Summer Bay is the place he wants to be.

Michael says of his character, 'We are so similar in many ways, we both love the outdoors, sport and trekking. I really like him because he likes the simple things in life and he really does have good intentions.'

This is Michael's first role on television and he is absolutely loving every minute of it. As he says, 'It is an amazing opportunity and experience. The cast and crew have been so welcoming, which has made it much easier to assimilate, as it is so different to everything else I have done.'

While at school Michael was involved in every sport imaginable. He would give most sports a go, and excelled at tennis. He was also involved in the state competition swimming and sailing. Michael also loves skiing and surfing — basically anything that gives him an adrenalin rush!

Michael currently enjoys photography, a real passion that he devotes a lot of time to. He has actually had his work printed in Australian Style magazine — he covered the first Australian Fashion Week, which saw him landing a four-page editorial run. He also did some photography for the Vodka Finlandia campaign.

At 27 years of age, Michael has had a successful career in modelling, being based in London and also working in France and Italy, where he was involved with various commercials including Beks Beer, Wrigley's Chewing Gum, Cadbury's and, more recently, a Calvin Klein test commercial.

But a highlight was working on the Spice Girls' Aprillia Motorcycle commercial, where he kissed Posh Spice!

MICHAEL PICCIRILLI stars as James Fraser, starting as a regular cast member on 15 October 1998.