Saturday, 21 January 2012

Whatever Happened to the Oxo Family?

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One of Oxo's best-remembered advertising campaigns was launched in the UK in 1983, when "The Oxo Family" debuted on commercial television. The campaigns made household names of Michael Redfern (the father) and Lynda Bellingham (the mother), while the children were played by Blair MacKichan, Colin McCoy and Alison Reynolds. The adverts typically featured the family sitting down to a meal at which Oxo gravy would be served. The product was not always mentioned by name, occasionally appearing only as a logo in the corner of the screen at the end of the commercial. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s the family were seen to grow older, and when the campaign was retired in 1999 the family moved out of the house. But whatever happened to the famous Oxo family?
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Michael Redfern has appeared in numerous television dramas and comedies as policemen over the years, namely The Young Detectives, Crossroads, The Offence, And Mother Makes Five, George & Mildred, Robin's Nest, The Young Ones, Filthy, rich & Catflap, Boon and Fool's Gold: The Story of the Brinks - Mat Robbery
His other comedy appearances include roles in Man About The House with Richard O'Sullivan, Bless This House with Sid James and Some Mothers Do 'ave 'em with Michael Crawford. With Ronnie Barker in Open All Hours, Porridge and The Two Ronnies 1982 Christmas Special playing the barman in the famous drink ordering sketch. The '80s and '90s saw him act in episodes of Hi-De-Hi!, Never The Twain, Three Up, Two Down, Terry & June, Sorry with Ronnie Corbett, Girls on Top, The Nineteenth Hole, Bottom and The Detectives. Michael was also in 1 episode of EastEnders
After the Oxo adverts, Redfern worked as a taxi driver and restaurateur before moving with his wife Carol to Spain, where he often works as a compere for quiz nights.
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Twice in the 1960s Lynda Bellingham Bellingham appeared in the Pendley Open Air Shakespear Festival. She got her big break as a nurse in an ITV afternoon Soap Opera of the 1970s, General Hospital. She went topless for her roles in Confessions of a Driving Instructor and Sweeney! (1977).
She is best known as the head of the family in the Oxo adverts during the 1980s. Other prominent roles included the All Creatures Great & 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 Timelord (1986) as the Inquisitor. Lynda Bellingham reprised the Inquisitor character for the Big Finish Productions audio series, Gallifrey. In 1998 she appeared in 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 Peter Davison. In 2007, she appeared alongside Redman again, this time playing DCI Karen Hardwick in New Tricks. 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. In October 2007, she appeared in a play entitled Vincent River at the Trafalga 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 actually transpired.
From September 2008 to July 2009, she played the role of Chris Harper in the stage version of Calendar Girls on tour and in the West End. She returned to the show for further tours in 2010 and 2011.
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Blair MacKichan is a British Actor, Jazz Musician, vocalist and songwriter. As an actor he appeared in adverts for Oxo during the 1980s and 1990s, while as a songwriter he has written for Will Young and Lily Allen. As a musician he fronts a band named Blair and Friends.
In the Oxo adverts, MacKichan played the oldest son of the Oxo Family, starring alongside Michael Redfern and Lynda Bellingham who played his parents. He started his musical career playing drums, then later progressed to the piano. In 1997 he fronted the house band for Channel 5's The Jack Docherty Show, a nightly chat show recorded at the Whitehall Theatre in London. MacKichan writes a lot of his own material, and won a Brit Award for the 2004 song Your Game after it became a hit for Will Young. He also co-wrote Lily Allen's 2007 hit Shame For You. In addition, Blair has composed music for film and television.
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Then: From aged 13, played youngest son for 11 years. Remembered for teasing his sister about vegetarian boyfriend Troy. Now: Divorced with three sons he lives in Highgate, North London. Trained as a forensic chemist but wanted to be a professional magician - performs a cabaret magic act at weddings. Colin McCoy was a quality control manager vistiing chocolate factories Works for Woolworths says: "It definitely helped with the ladies when I was younger when people recognised me. I still do magic cabaret so I do still like the performing side.
"I was absolutely gutted when the ads were dropped. You just know you are never going to experience that again. I think to succeed in acting you need to be 100 per cent dedicated - which I wasn't able to be."

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Alison Reynolds, then: Debuted aged eight as the precocious daughter and filmed the final episode aged 23. Her catchphrase was: "What's for dinner Mum?" Now: Full-time mother in Dagenham, Essex, with two sons, Kai and Wyn. Alison met husband Andrew Levell, an electrician, at Viking battle re-enactment. Says: "People often ask me if I was at school with them or if I used to live in their area because the public have seen me grow up."

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