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Lynda Bellingham

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Lynda Bellingham
Bellingham, c. 2010
Meredith Lee Hughes

(1948-05-31)31 May 1948
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Died19 October 2014(2014-10-19) (aged 66)
Resting placeTownsend Cemetery, Crewkerne, Crewkerne, Somerset, England
Alma materRoyal Central School of Speech and Drama
Occupation(s)Broadcaster, actress, author
Years active1971–2014
Notable workLoose Women
  • (m. 1975; div. 1976)
  • Nunzio Peluzo
    (m. 1981; div. 1996)
  • Michael Pattemore
    (m. 2008)

Lynda Bellingham OBE (/ˈbɛlɪŋəm/ BEL-in-gəm; 31 May 1948 – 19 October 2014)[1] was an English actress, broadcaster and author. She acted in television series such as All Creatures Great and Small, Doctor Who, Second Thoughts and Faith in the Future. She was also known for her appearances as the mother in the long-running series of "Oxo Family" British TV advertisements between 1983 and 1999, and as a panellist on the ITV lunchtime chat show Loose Women between 2007 and 2011.

Early life[edit]

Bellingham was born Meredith Hughes in Montreal to a single mother, but was given up for adoption because she was born out of wedlock in a strict church-going family. She was adopted when she was four months old.[citation needed] Bellingham was educated at Aylesbury High School and trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama.[1]

Film and television[edit]


Bellingham's first television role was an appearance in The Misfit when she was 21.[citation needed] She played a nurse in the 1970s ATV afternoon soap opera General Hospital.[citation needed] Her early film credits included roles in Confessions of a Driving Instructor (1976), Stand Up, Virgin Soldiers (1977) and Riding High (1981) with Eddie Kidd. She also appeared in the comedy short The Waterloo Bridge Handicap (1978) with Leonard Rossiter. Prior to her brief role as Janice Wyatt in Sweeney! (1977), the first big-screen adaptation of the TV police drama series The Sweeney, she had appeared in the Sweeney episode "Trojan Bus" (1975) in which she played Nancy King, accomplice to two Australian robbers. In 1981, she appeared in the ITV comedy-drama Funny Man set in the music hall of the late 1920s.

Her other roles included Helen Herriot in the James Herriot drama All Creatures Great and Small (in which she was the second actress to play the role on television, replacing Carol Drinkwater),[citation needed] the 1980 Andrea Newman drama series Mackenzie, Blake's 7 (1981), and the situation comedy Second Thoughts,[2] along with its sequel Faith in the Future.[3] With her Oxo Family co-star, Michael Redfern she appeared in an episode of Filthy Rich and Catflap.

Bellingham appeared as the Inquisitor in the 14-part Doctor Who serial The Trial of a Time Lord in 1986.[4] She reprised the character for the Big Finish Productions audio series Gallifrey, and in the Big Finish Productions audio drama Trial of the Valeyard, (which she recorded only a few months before announcing her cancer). She starred as Emily Marlowe in the film The Scarlet Tunic in 1998,[3] and appeared in Gleb Panfilov's The Romanovs: A Crowned Family as Empress Alexandra the following year. She was in Waking the Dead A Simple Sacrifice (2001) parts one and two playing Mary Mantel.

From 2000 to 2003, Bellingham played Pauline Farnell, the compassionate accountant in At Home with the Braithwaites with Amanda Redman and former All Creatures Great and Small colleague Peter Davison.[5] She had a recurring role in The Bill as villainess Irene Radford for several months in 2004,[6] and appeared as Marlene in Devil's Gate the same year. She also appeared in Midsomer Murders "The Fisher King" as Jane Willows. She had a 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.[7] Later that year, she filmed guest appearances in episodes of Love Soup and Robin Hood. She played DCI Karen Hardwick in a 2007 episode of New Tricks (S4:E1).

Television commercials[edit]

Bellingham played the central character in the long-running "Oxo Family" series of TV commercials, starting in 1983, playing a mother who binds her family together by cooking them meals featuring Oxo products. The advertisements typically featured the family sitting down to a meal at which Oxo gravy would be served. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the family was seen to grow older. When the campaign was retired in 1999, the family moved out of the house.

Television presenting[edit]

On 17 December 2010, Bellingham guest-presented the ITV programme Lorraine.

In 2012, she presented her own cookery series called My Tasty Travels with Lynda Bellingham. The following year, she presented the ITV programme Country House Sunday.

Loose Women[edit]

Bellingham joined Loose Women on 10 April 2007, appearing alongside Carol McGiffin and Coleen Nolan, and continued as a regular on the show until 2011. In all, Bellingham made more than 300 appearances on the show, including a special appearance in 2014 shortly before her death. Two editions of Loose Women were dedicated to Bellingham after her death.

Strictly Come Dancing[edit]

In 2009, Bellingham was one of the contestants in the seventh series of Strictly Come Dancing, where she was partnered with Darren Bennett. 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]

In 1993, Bellingham was the subject of This Is Your Life when she was surprised by Michael Aspel on the set of Second Thoughts.[8]

In February 1999, she was part of the Heated Rollers comedy team alongside Gwyneth Strong and Joanna Monro, with the Heated Rollers programme being the first all-women sketch show broadcast on BBC Radio 2.[9][10][11]

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

In 2011, Bellingham featured in a short film entitled Too Close for Comfort, playing the character of a mother to her real-life son, actor and celebrity butler Michael Peluso (from ITV's fly-on-the-wall documentary series The Savoy).[12][13][14][15] Bellingham and Peluso reprised their roles for the follow-up web series of the same name in 2014. Mirroring Bellingham's personal life, her character had developed cancer.

Bellingham also appeared as a contestant on the TV show Celebrity Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

Live performances[edit]

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

In January 2005, she appeared in a play entitled Losing Louis at Hampstead Theatre before transferring to the Trafalgar Studios in London. Her performance received critical acclaim, especially from Michael Billington.[16]

In October 2007, she appeared in the play Vincent River at the Trafalgar Studios in London.

From September 2008 to July 2009, Bellingham 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 the 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 owing to Bellingham's cancer treatment.


In 2010, Bellingham launched her book Lost and Found, a story of her life and career and toured the country for private readings.[1] Her novel Tell Me Tomorrow was published in 2013. In 2014, Bellingham's autobiography, There's Something I'm Dying to Tell You, was issued shortly before her death.[17] Her final story, The Boy I Love was published posthumously in November 2014.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Bellingham was married three times, first in 1975 to film and theatre producer Greg Smith.[19] According to Bellingham in her 2010 autobiography, the marriage was one driven primarily by sex, with Smith later admitting to numerous affairs with other actresses, including some who sent nude photos to their home.

Her second marriage (1981–96) was to restaurateur Nunzio Peluso, with whom she had two sons, Michael and Robbie.[20] The couple were introduced to each other at the Italian restaurant La Famiglia in Chelsea, London, in the early 1980s by friend and fellow actor Christopher Biggins. After a whirlwind courtship and romance, the couple married but the relationship was marred by Peluso's jealousy of Bellingham's former lovers leading to a series of altercations, fights and domestic abuse towards her. Around the same time as Bellingham was being abused by Peluso, she was starring in the Oxo adverts and felt bound to hide the truth about her marriage for fear of spoiling her image in the commercials. As Bellingham revealed in her 2010 autobiography Lost & Found: My Story: "maybe if my private life had been happier I would have enjoyed doing it more. As it was, I felt I was living a lie. Being the nation's favourite mum on screen and going home to an abusive relationship was heartbreaking [...] the irony was horrific. Here I was, the Oxo mum, hiding behind closed doors, isolated from her friends and family." The couple divorced in 1996, Bellingham giving her former husband half of everything she owned, although he continued to intimidate her. A restraining order was granted in 2000 to keep Peluso away from his former wife. On 31 May 2008, Bellingham married her boyfriend, Spain-based timeshare salesman, Michael Pattemore (known on Loose Women as "Mr Spain"), at St Stephen Walbrook on her 60th birthday.[citation needed]

Bellingham was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours for voluntary service to charitable giving.[21][22]

Illness and death[edit]

On 16 July 2013, it was announced that Bellingham had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer. She released a statement saying she was "not going to die."[23]

In September 2014, Bellingham confirmed that her cancer had metastasised to her lungs and liver and that she had "months to live". She announced that she had made the choice in August 2014 to stop chemotherapy in November, so that she could have "one last Christmas" with her family and die in January 2015.[24][25][26] Bellingham died in a London hospital on 19 October 2014 with her husband Michael by her side.[27]

On 3 November 2014, her funeral took place at St Bartholomew's Church in Crewkerne. Bellingham was buried in Crewkerne Townsend Cemetery. Her headstone names her as Lynda Bellingham-Pattemore.[citation needed]


Film roles[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1976 Confessions of a Driving Instructor Mary Truscott
1977 Sweeney! Janice Wyatt
1977 Stand Up, Virgin Soldiers Valerie
1978 The Waterloo Bridge Handicap Miss Beamish
1981 Riding High Miss Mott
1998 The Scarlet Tunic Emily Marlowe
1999 Don't Go Breaking My Heart Maxine
2000 The Romanovs: An Imperial Family Empress Alexandra Feodorovna
2001 Bodywork Poppy Fields
2004 Devil's Gate Marlene

Television roles[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1971 The Misfit Wee Jeanie Episode: "On the New Establishment"
1971 ITV Sunday Night Theatre Nurse Mary Tiller Episode: "Mr. Pargiter"
1971 Kate Hattie 2 Episodes
1971 A Family at War Chrissie 3 Episodes
1972 The Fenn Street Gang Liza Episode: "From Sudbury with Love"
1972–1973 General Hospital Nurse Hilda Price 27 Episodes
1973 Tell Tarby Nurse Norma Snockers 6 Episodes
1974 Z-Cars Pauline Tyson Episode: "Pressure"
1974 A Little Bit of Wisdom Gwen Morgan Episode: "A Little Bit of Respect"
1974 Billy Liar Alison Episode: "Billy and the New Life"
1975 Within These Walls Yvonne Melton Episode: "The Slap"
1975 Z-Cars Irene 3 Episodes
1975 The Sweeney Nancy King Episode: "Trojan Bus"
1976 Couples Jack 6 Episodes
1976 Whodunnit? Suzy Booth Episode: "Dead Ball"
1976 Yus My Dear Carole Episode: "Woman Trouble"
1977 Yes, Honestly Amanda Episode: "Entertaining Mr. Roscoe"
1977 Doctor on the Go Eleanor Wilcox Episode: "What's in a Name?"
1977 Big Boy Now! Brenda Bollington Episode: "Supergirl"
1977 Cottage to Let Barbara Episode: "Second Opinion"
1977 The Fuzz WPC Pamela ‘Purrfect’ Purvis All 7 Episodes
1978 The Pink Medicine Show Various All 6 Episodes
1979 Don't Forget to Write! Angela Episode: "Enter Hitler"
1979 Hazell Vanessa Episode: "Hazell Gets the Part"
1979 Shoestring Nicola Episode: "Find the Lady"
1980 The Professionals Betty Hope Episode: "Slush Fund"
1980 Mackenzie Ruth Isaacs All 12 Episodes
1981 Funny Man Gwen 11 Episodes
1981 Blake's 7 Vena Episode: "Headhunter"
1982 Murphy's Mob Elaine Murphy 12 Episodes
1982 Angels Kathy Stone 5 Episodes
1982 Educating Marmalade Registrar Episode: "Walkies"
1984 The Gentle Touch Alison Fairbrother 2 Episodes
1986 Doctor Who The Inquisitor 14 Episodes
1987 Filthy Rich & Catflap Ms Tomkins Episode: #1.4
1987 Screen Two Mary Morris Episode: "The Vision"
1988–1990 All Creatures Great and Small Helen Herriot 47 Episodes
1990–1993 Jackanory Storyteller 9 Episodes
1991–1994 Second Thoughts Faith Greyshott All 49 Episodes
1994 Martin Chuzzlewit Mrs. Lupin 5 Episodes
1995 Julia Jekyll and Harriet Hyde Aunt Cassandra Episode: "A Fright for Aunt Cassandra"
1995–1998 Faith in the Future Faith Greyshott All 22 Episodes
1998 Casualty Steph Yates Episode: "Trust"
2000–2003 At Home with the Braithwaites Pauline Farnell 19 Episodes
2000 Reach for the Moon Penny Martin All 6 Episodes
2000 Bob Martin Lynda Bellingham Episode: "Mr. and Mrs."
2001 Waking the Dead Mary Mantel 2 Episodes
2001 My Uncle Silas Mrs. Gadsby Episode: "The Widder"
2002 Happy Together Teresa TV film
2003 Hans Christian Andersen: My Life as a Fairytale Landlady TV film
2004 Midsomer Murders Jane Willows Episode: "The Fisher King"
2004 Dalziel and Pascoe Jess Pitman Episode: "Great Escapes"
2004 The Last Detective Councillor Marjorie Balsam Episode: "The Long Bank Holiday"
2004 Monkey Trousers Various TV film
2004 The Bill Irene Radford 19 Episodes
2004 Odd Socks Magdalena Unaired TV series
2005 Murder in Suburbia Milly Goodman Episode: "The Wedding"
2006 Holby City Caitlin Lucas Episode: "Brother's Keeper"
2007 Bonkers Mrs. Wadlow 5 episodes
2007 New Tricks Det. Supt. Karen Hardwick Episode: "Casualty"
2007 Robin Hood Queen Eleanor Episode: "Treasure of the Nation"
2008 Re-extinct Marg Precious TV film
2008 Love Soup Matilda Episode: "Whose God Is It Anyway?"
2009 Mister Eleven Shirley Both 2 Episodes
2011 Just Rosie Lynda Bellingham TV film
2014–2015 Too Close for Comfort Mary All 4 Episodes


Year Title Role Notes
1969 A Man for All Seasons Margaret More Lyceum Theatre, Crewe
1969–1970 Doctor in the House Monica Lyceum Theatre, Crewe
1970 The Wheel of Fortune Amy Lyceum Theatre, Crewe
Toad of Toad Hall Ratty Lyceum Theatre, Crewe
1974 Bordello Rachel Sondheim Theatre
1975 Norman, Is that You? Mary Phoenix Theatre
My Fat Friend Vicky Theatre Royal, Windsor
1977 Castle in the Air Boss Trent Theatre Royal, Windsor
1978 The Flip Side Sharon Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Croydon
1985 Strippers Stripper Phoenix Theatre
1985–1986 Look, No Hans! Monica Novello Theatre
2002 Marry Me You Idiot Elinor Waugh Jermyn Theatre, London
2005 Losing Louis Elizabeth Hampstead Theatre,Trafalgar Studios
2006 Sugar Mummies Maggie Royal Court Theatre
2007 Vincent River Anita Trafalgar Studios
2008–2009 Calendar Girls Chris Noël Coward Theatre
2010–2012 Chris UK Tour
2011–2012 Cinderella Fairy Godmother Birmingham Hippodrome
2012–2013 Cinderella Fairy Godmother Alahmbra Theatre, Bradford
2013–2014 Dick Whittington Fairy Bowbells White Rock Theatre, Hastings

Further reading[edit]

  • Lynda Bellingham, Lost and Found: My Story (Ebury Press, 2010) ISBN 978-0091936419
  • Lynda Bellingham, Tell Me Tomorrow (Simon & Schuster Ltd, 2014) ISBN 978-1471102813
  • Lynda Bellingham, There's Something I've Been Dying to Tell You (Coronet, 2014) ISBN 978-1473608566
  • Lynda Bellingham, "tell me tomorrow" (Simon & Schuster Ltd, 2013) ISBN 978-0750539531


  1. ^ a b c "Lynda Bellingham – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 20 October 2014. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  2. ^ Cavanagh, Deborah (27 August 1994). "Guide to the week". Western Daily Press. Retrieved 4 January 2024 – via Newspapers.com.Free access icon
  3. ^ a b Hagan, Angela (8 November 1996). "My Future seems brighter; Lynda Bellingham". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  4. ^ "Obituary: Lynda Bellingham". BBC News. 20 October 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  5. ^ Penfold, Paul (25 January 2002). "Don't say the O word; Why Britain's most famous TV mum hates a certain gravy after her axing from the Oxo advert". Daily Record. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  6. ^ Maund, Allison (2–8 October 2004). "The last temptation?". Inside Soap. No. 40. p. 33.
  7. ^ Laws, Roz (28 January 2007). "TV & radio: Lynda's bonkers sexy role". Sunday Mercury. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  8. ^ "Linda Bellingham". This Is Your Life. Season 33. 1993.
  9. ^ "BBC Radio 4 Extra – Heated Rollers, Episode 1".
  10. ^ "BBC Radio 4 Extra – Heated Rollers".
  11. ^ "BBC Radio 4 Extra – Heated Rollers, Episode 4".
  12. ^ "Lynda Bellingham's son Michael Peluso joins the Loose Women to pay an emotional tribute to his late mum".
  13. ^ "The Savoy – Watch episodes".
  14. ^ "The Savoy – Welcome Back".
  15. ^ "The Savoy – Five Star Standards".
  16. ^ The Guardian, Michael Billington
  17. ^ Davies, Caroline (22 October 2014). "Lynda Bellingham's last interview screened just days after her death". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  18. ^ Lynda, Bellingham (20 November 2014). The boy I love. London. ISBN 9781471148972. OCLC 894273350.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  19. ^ Sheridan, Simon (1 May 2009). "Greg Smith: Producer of the 'Confessions' films". The Independent.
  20. ^ "Oxo mum's life of domestic violence". The Guardian. 24 December 1999.
  21. ^ "No. 60728". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2013. p. 10.
  22. ^ Weaver, Matthew (20 October 2014). "Lynda Bellingham, actor and presenter, dies aged 66". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  23. ^ Foster, Alistair (16 July 2013). "Lynda Bellingham: 'I will deal with this cancer, I'm not going to die'". Evening Standard.
  24. ^ "Lynda Bellingham may have months to live". Sky News. 28 September 2014.
  25. ^ "Ex-Loose Women star Lynda Bellingham: My cancer is terminal and I only have months to live". Daily Record. 28 September 2014.
  26. ^ Stephenson, Hannah (29 September 2014). "Ex-Loose Women star Lynda Bellingham: I want one last Christmas with my family before saying goodbye and going to sleep". Daily Record.
  27. ^ "Lynda Bellingham: Tributes paid after actress dies at 66". BBC News. 20 October 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2014.

External links[edit]