Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The Mothership Tribute to Lynda Bellingham

Lynda Bellingham
(31st May 1948 - 19th October 2014) 
By DJ Forrest

Lynda Bellingham was born Meredith Lee Hughes in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on 31st May 1948, and was put up for adoption when she was 4 months old because of her strict family upbringing, - as she was born out of wedlock.  Her adopted parents Donald and Ruth Bellingham lived in Buckinghamshire, England. 

Lynda’s acting debut began as a nurse in ITV’s afternoon soap opera General Hospital in 1970, from there she starred in Sweeney, Confessions of a Driving Instructor and Stand Up, Virgin Soldiers, but it was her role in ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ as the wife of country vet James Herriot that saw Lynda come into her own after stepping into an already established character played originally by Carol Drinkwater. 

In the early 80’s we were to see more of Lynda in another wife and mother role, this time as the Oxo Mum, promoting the well known brand from 1983-1999.  The adverts showed the family blossom and grow and finally move away from the family home.  The adverts ended when the whole family moved out. 

Despite her family roles from Second Thoughts to Faith in the Future, that had you comfortably settled with pipe and slippers, Lynda was to take a bigger role lasting 14 episodes in 1986, as the Inquisitor in Doctor Who’s The Trial of a Time Lord alongside Colin Baker’s Doctor.  Lynda reprised the role again in Big Finish Productions’ audio series Gallifrey and again in Trial of the Valeyard. 

Lynda was to meet fellow co-star Peter Davison again when she played the role of accountant in At Home with the Braithwaites.  If you remember, Peter played Tristan Farnon in ‘All Creatures Great and Small.’

But for me, the role I remember her well for, and one that set her apart from all other roles in the past, was her evil villainess character in The Bill – Irene Radford.  Lynda for me was an actress who could play a nice as nine pence role one minute but could with the flick of a wrist play an evil personified character the next, and there was no love in Irene Radford.  But she was a bloody great character.

On the 30th December 2013, Lynda was awarded an OBE for her charity work with Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support.  In an article on ITV news website, Lynda had said that it had been a long and tough year. "...but this award is just a fantastic way to move forward.  I feel honoured and inspired and very grateful."

On 19th October 2014, Lynda who had been battling with colon cancer died in her husband’s arms in hospital.  She had hoped to come off chemotherapy in November in order to spend her final Christmas with her family. 

Although I had never had the opportunity to meet Lynda, she oozed warmth and zest through the tv screen.  In all the time I saw her on television, I don’t think I ever stopped smiling, well maybe aside from Irene Radford...To me Lynda will always be the person who put a smile on my face.  She had such a great personality, and will be sadly missed by all.

Safe journey Lynda.

Comments left by the fans - please feel free to add your own in the comment box below.

Psyche Gry Christoffersen: Very sad. My dad is 67 and has lung cancer that's grown into his spine. I doubt he has a year left. It really is way too early an age.

Michele Fearn:  A lovely lady full of fun. So sad she went so quickly. Thinking of her family x

Ianto Tarrant:  A wonderful lady.


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