If you were around back in the 90s, then chances are you watched at least a few episodes of the much-loved family sitcom 2Point4 Children.
It rarely gets a look in these days, but back then, it was prime time viewing, and regularly commanded more than 10 million viewers each week. It was a sitcom that centred around the Porter family of wife and husband Bill and Ben (Bill was the wife, if you never watched it) and two children Jenny and David.
It was a true 90s sitcom, as it gave the viewers at home the chance to watch the family grow and negotiate increasingly wacky scenarios right through the much-loved decade, as it aired from 1991 right up until December 30th 1999, with the show finale being given the apt title of The Millennium Experience.
In terms of irreverent and sometimes surreal humour, it is up there with the likes of One Foot in the Grave and Father Ted, but despite the show’s success, there is a tragic side to the story of 2Point4 Children, and once you know what that is, it might give you an idea as to why the show has not been one of many 90s shows to make a comeback in more recent years.
And the reason is in fact very sad.
And to that point, if you’ve ever wondered what the cast of 2Point4 Children are up to now, well let’s find out together!
Gary Olson (Ben Porter)
Gary Olson played father Ben Porter – whose immature nature gave birth to the meaning behind the point 4 in the show’s title. The tragic story of Gary Olson is the reason, that unlike many of the show’s contemporaries such as Red Dwarf and Absolutely Fabulous, the show never got a reboot more recently, and that is because in 1999, Olson was diagnosed with cancer, after which he moved to Australia.
After battling the disease for ten months, Olson died on September 12th 2000. Of course the sitcom would never be the same without him.
John Pickard (David Porter)
John Pickard also took the route of the Doctor Who franchise and became the companion to The Doctor known as Thomas Brewster in the Doctor Who audio-book The Haunting of Thomas Brewster. After 2point4 Children, he also went on to appear in TV shows such as the airline comedy-drama Mile High, as well as playing Dominic Reilly on Hollyoaks from 2005 to 2010. He played Tony’s brother and interestingly enough, Tony was played by John’s real life brother Nick Pickard, who still portrays Tony to this day and has done so for 21 years, so I can imagine that was some easy casting!
More recently, he has appeared in Casualty, but spends most of his working time these days on the stage, as he appeared in a production of Twelfth Night at the Leicester Square Theatre, and regularly partakes in pantomimes as well as other stage productions such as An Enemy of the People, Romeo and Juliet, and Same Time, Next Year.
Belinda Lang (Bill Porter)
Given that Gary Olson was the star of the show alongside his on-screen wife Bill, the show never had the chance of being rebooted. But the tragic death of Gary Olson and the cancellation of the show had a knock on effect for Belinda too.
In a 2015 interview, the actress said: “I did a lot of tele in my early 30s. It was one thing after the other that culminated in me being in 2point4 Children for nine years. After Gary Olsen died, nobody offered me a part on TV for a long time. I was very connected to 2point4 Children.”
However Lang, now 62, has had some TV week over the years, as she appeared in episodes of the hit daytime BBC show Doctors, as well as playing the part of the ill-fated business woman Elspeth Inkpen-Thomas in Midsomer Murders. She also had a part in the a 2004 episode of the murder mystery show Rosemary and Thyme.
In 2009 she made a brief return to the sitcom world when she played the part of Margot in My Family, and in 2014 when she played the role of Marina Fairchild in Citizen Khan. These days, she tends to focus more on stage and radio theatre.
Clare Woodgate (Jenny Porter – series one and two)
Clare Woodgate left the much-loved sitcom after series two to focus on playing more dramatic roles. From there, she appeared in shows such as Casualty and The Bill. Interestingly – and in a great show of dedication – she failed to land a part in The Awfully Big Adventure, but after failing to land the audition, she went away and disguised herself, as well as changing her name, and she came back to re-audition. This time, she got the part.
She disguised herself as a red-haired girl from Liverpool that had no acting experience, and after getting the part she kept the name that she had used to get the audition, Georgina Cates, and is still known by that name to this day.
She had quite a successful stint in Hollywood too, gaining critical acclaim for her turn opposite Joaquin Phoenix and Vince Vaughn in 1998’s Clay Pigeons.
After taking a nine year break from the screen, she returned in 2007 with Sinner, and from there she continued to appear in independent films, and in 2013 had a role in Jackass’ Bad Grandpa, playing the role of Kimmie.
Claire Buckfield (Jenny Porter – series three onwards)
After Clare Woodgate left the show, Claire Buckfield took over the role of daughter Jenny Porter on 2point4 Children, and after the show ended, the appeared in shows such as Holby City and Doctors, as well as competing in the 2007 series of Dancing on Ice. She came in second place.
She dated Declan Donnelly for the majority of her younger career before the pair split in 2003. Since then, she has provided the voice for a character on Doctor Who’s spin-off audio episodes.