Lynda Bellingham

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Lynda Bellingham
Born Meredith Lee Hughes
(1948-05-31) 31 May 1948 (age 66)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Nationality British
Occupation Broadcaster, actress, author
Years active 1971–present
Employer ITV
Height 5 feet 4 inches (1.63 m)
  • Greg Smith (m. 1975–76; divorced)
  • Nunzio Peluzo
    (m. 1981–96; divorced)
  • Michael Pattemore (m. 2008)
  • Michael Peluzo (b. 13 April 1983)
  • Robbie Peluzo (b. 6 April 1988)

Lynda Bellingham, OBE (born 31 May 1948) is a Canadian-born English actress, broadcaster and author, who played the Mother in the Oxo gravy stock advert between 1983 and 1999. She was a panellist on the ITV lunchtime chat show Loose Women between 2007 and 2011.

Early life[edit]

Lynda Bellingham was born in Montreal to Marjorie Hughes Bond (who died in 2012), but was given for adoption aged four months because she was born out of wedlock in a strict church-going family. Her adoptive parents were Donald and Ruth Bellingham who lived in Aston Abbotts in Buckinghamshire, England. [1][2] She was educated at Aylesbury High School and trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama.


Television acting[edit]

Bellingham made her television début as a nurse in an ITV afternoon soap opera of the 1970s, General Hospital. She also starred in the films Confessions of a Driving Instructor, Sweeney!, and Stand Up, Virgin Soldiers in 1977.

Other prominent roles included the James Herriot drama All Creatures Great and Small (where she was the second actress to play Helen Herriot on television, replacing Carol Drinkwater) and the situation comedy Second Thoughts and its sequel, Faith in the Future.

She starred in the 14-part Doctor Who serial The Trial of a Time Lord in 1986 as the Inquisitor. Bellingham reprised the Inquisitor character for the Big Finish Productions audio series, Gallifrey, and most recently in the Big Finish Productions audio drama Trial of the Valeyard. In 1998 she appeared in Gleb Panfilov's The Romanovs: A Crowned Family as Empress Alexandra.

From 2000 to 2003, Bellingham played Pauline Farnell, the compassionate accountant in At Home with the Braithwaites alongside Amanda Redman and former All Creatures Great and Small colleague Peter Davison. For several months in 2004, she had a recurring role in The Bill as villainess Irene Radford.

She also had a memorable role in the ITV comedy Bonkers playing Mrs Wadlow, a man-eating suburban housewife who seduces her neighbour's teenage son and turns him into her gigolo. Later that year she filmed guest appearances in episodes of Love Soup and Robin Hood.

Television presenting[edit]

Bellingham joined Loose Women in 2007 and continued as a regular panellist until 2011, when she left.

She guest presented the ITV lifestyle programme Lorraine on 17 December 2010.

In 2012, Bellingham began presenting her own daytime cookery series My Tasty Travels. Since 2013, Bellingham has presented the ITV programme Country House Sunday.

Strictly Come Dancing[edit]

Main article: Strictly Come Dancing

In 2009, she was one of the contestants in the seventh series of Strictly Come Dancing, the BBC ratings winner where she partnered Darren Bennett. However, she was voted out by the judges in the fourth week.

Week # Dance/Song Judges' scores Result
Craig Revel Horwood Alesha Dixon Len Goodman Bruno Tonioli Total
1 Tango / "Under Pressure" 3 6 7 5 21 Safe
2 Cha-Cha-Cha / "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" 5 6 6 6 23 Safe
3 Paso Doble / "Devil Woman" 5 7 7 6 25 Bottom Two
4 Foxtrot / "Calendar Girl" 5 7 6 6 24 Eliminated

Other appearances[edit]

She was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1993 when she was surprised by Michael Aspel on the set of Second Thoughts.

She was best known as the head of the family in the Oxo television adverts from 1983 to 1999, and has been the face of online shopping brand since 2011. Her husband was played by Michael Redfern. She is generally known in the tabloids as "Oxo Mum"[citation needed].

In 2010, Bellingham was the voice-over for British rap band N-Dubz's six part reality show on Channel 4.

Live performances[edit]

Twice in the 1960s, Bellingham appeared in the Pendley Open Air Shakespeare Festival.

In October 2007, she appeared in a play entitled Vincent River at the Trafalgar Studios in London. Her performance received critical acclaim, and it was announced on Loose Women in early 2008 that the play would be moving to Broadway in July of that year, although this never transpired.

From September 2008 to July 2009 she played the role of Chris Harper in the stage version of the hit film Calendar Girls on tour and at the Noël Coward Theatre in the West End. She returned to the show for further tours in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Over the Christmas/New Year period of 2011/12 she played Fairy Godmother in the pantomime Cinderella at the Birmingham Hippodrome. She played the role again at the Alhambra Theatre, Bradford over the Christmas/New Year period of 2012/13.

Bellingham was due to star in Kay Mellor's play A Passionate Woman at the Sheffield Crucible, followed by a national tour, however, it was announced in July 2013, that the show had to be postponed due to Bellingham receiving treatment for cancer.


In 2010, Bellingham launched her book Lost and Found, a story of her life and career and toured the country for private readings.

Personal life[edit]

Bellingham has been married three times, first in 1975 to film and theatre producer Greg Smith, best remembered for the Confessions films of which Confessions of a Window Cleaner was the first.[3] Her second marriage (1981–1996) was to Nunzio Peluso with whom she had two sons, Michael and Robbie.

Her sister Barbara died of lung cancer in 2005, aged 56.[4]

On 31 May 2008, she married her boyfriend, Spain-based mortgage broker Michael Pattemore (known on Loose Women as "Mr Spain"), at St Stephen Walbrook on her 60th birthday.

She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours for voluntary service to charitable giving.[5][6][7][8]


On 16 July 2013, it was announced that Bellingham had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Bellingham released a statement saying that she was "not going to die."[9][10][11]

In September 2014, Bellingham confirmed that her cancer had metastasized to her lungs and liver, and that she has 'months to live'. She announced that she had made the choice in August 2014[12] to stop her chemotherapy in November, so that she can have 'one last Christmas' with her family[4] and die in January 2015.[12]

Further reading[edit]


External links[edit]