Lynda Bellingham's Oxo ads: a history of eighties and nineties Britain

Lynda Bellingham's Oxo ads
Lynda Bellingham's Oxo ads

Following the death of Lynda Bellingham yesterday, Campaign takes a look at some of the best ads from the long-running Oxo campaign she starred in.

Bellingham’s agent confirmed this morning that the actress had died. She had been suffering from colon cancer after being diagnosed in July 2013.

Earlier this month, Bellingham spoke about the decision to end treatment for her illness to limit her family’s distress, after the cancer spread to her liver and lungs.

The actress appeared in 42 TV ads for Oxo gravy from 1983, as the mum of the Oxo family, embodying the lives of middle-class British women during the 1980s and 1990s. All the ads were made by JWT.

Bellingham served up her last supper for the brand in 1999.

We take a look at some of the best ads from the campaign.

Eighties: "meatballs to you dear"

Mum is joined in the kitchen by her daughter who patronisingly explains the nutritional value of cooking methods. When serving the meal, mum translates this into simpler terms for Dad.

Eighties: "close the door"

Mum is exasperated by her family who each leave the back door open during snowy weather and then complain about how cold it is indoors. She manages to warm them up with a casserole, nodding knowingly.

1990: "mum’s chops usually come with gravy"

Modern life catches up with the Oxo family. This ad shows Dad doing the cooking, while mum watches a weepie film. Daughter informs him that gravy is standard fare when mum is doing the cooking.

1999: "empty nest"

Now more poignant than ever, Bellingham’s final outing shows the family enjoying their last meal in the house, prior to mum and dad clearing the property ready to downsize after the children have flown the nest.

This article was originally posted on

Read next

Is #WakeUpCall the tipping point for the social-media fundraiser?

God only knows: how the BBC pushed the boundaries of content marketing

Start Your Free 30-Day Free Trial

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to, plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events.

Become a subscriber


Don’t miss your daily fix of breaking news, latest work, advice and commentary.

register free