There have been a lot of very long running advertising campaigns over the years, including the PG Tips Chimps, the Gold Blend Couple, and the subject of today’s post, the OXO Family, a series of TV ads which started in 1983, and ran for 16 years, coming to an end in 1999.
During this period over 40 adverts were aired, featuring a typical middle class family consisting of Mum, Dad, two boys and a girl. Amazing really that there were that many, because I really only remember a handful, such as the “Mum’s cooked something different one” (see video below), the “Dad does the cooking one”, and the Christmas one, where the daughter narrates over scenes of the family doing the usual Christmas things, yet poor old Mum only gets credited for making the gravy.
As with most of these advertising campaigns when they come to an end, the reason for the OXO Family being dropped were that they weren’t seen as being representative of the average UK family any more, and I suppose I can see how that is true given it seems that many families no longer sit down to a home cooked meal together any more.
So who were the OXO Family? First there was Mum, played by Lynda Bellingham who at the time was probably best known for her role in All Creatures Great And Small. Try as I might, I can’t remember what the characters actual name was (though I have an inkling it may have been Helen, but I’ve nothing to back that up), and it appears nobody else on the Internet remembers either. If you know, do drop us a comment below! These days Lynda appears as one of the members of the Loose Women team.
Next there was the Dad, named Michael, played by Michael Redfern, who in real life was an actor and cab driver, and now lives in Spain giving after dinner speeches and compering pub quiz nights!
The eldest son was named Nick, and was played by Blair McKihan. Blair has had a fairly successful career in pop music, first as a singer himself, and more recently as a writer of songs for stars including Lily Allen, Will Young and Emma Bunton.
The sibling in the middle was Jason, who was portrayed by Colin McCoy. He trained as a Forensic Chemist, and had a job working for Woolworths visiting chocolate factories for quality control purposes! Not sure whether he’s still doing that now Woolworths is just an online store. He had dreams of becoming a professional magician, but has had to make do with doing stints as a cabaret magician at weddings.
Finally there was youngest child, daughter Alison, who was played by Alison Reynolds. She is now a full time Mum with two young sons.
Actually, maybe the Mum was called Lynda, given that both the father and daughter character’s names were the same as the actor’s names who portrayed them?