7 January 1967
Swindon, Wiltshire, England
Mark Lamarr (born Mark Jones on 7 January 1967) is an English comedian, radio DJ and television presenter. He hosted Never Mind the Buzzcocks from 1996 until 2005. He was a team captain on Shooting Stars from 1995 to 1997.
Lamarr was born in the Park South area of Swindon and has three elder sisters. His father is Irish. He passed five O-Levels at Park School (renamed Oakfield School) but dropped out of school at 17 and moved to Harrow, London, which was the centre of the early 1980s British rockabilly revival scene. After his poem Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Work was published in 1987, his act developed from poetry to stand-up comedy. He took to performing at London's Comedy Store in 1985, was spotted on the touring circuit for the launch of Channel 4's The Big Breakfast in 1992 and co-presented The Word.
Lamarr first came to the public's attention as a co-presenter of the early 1990s late night variety show The Word. The magazine format of the series allowed for interviews, live music, features and even game shows. The flexible late-night format meant that guests could do just about anything to be controversial. Talking about his TV career to Jo Brown of Cheers Magazine, Lamarr said The Word was:
No fun at all; it was a horrible, horrible, repulsive environment to work in, mainly due to the company. They were just very... just an obnoxious group of people to deal with, and I think that came across in the shows they ended up producing.
After leaving The Word, Lamarr was an outside presenter on The Big Breakfast from 1992 to 1996. Between 1995 and 1997 he appeared as a team captain in the surreal panel show Shooting Stars, where he displayed a mixture of dour boredom and contempt towards hosts Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer who, in turn, mocked his "50s throw-back" appearance. Lamarr declined to return for the fourth series in 2002, claiming he did not want to be typecast for appearing on panel shows. He said of his experience on the show:
Shooting Stars was strangely no fun whatsoever, because I was sort of playing a particularly moody, almost mute character and you end up just doing that... I mean it was always fun with Vic and Bob because they are old friends and it was nice working with them, but no, it wasn't fun.
Lamarr was host of Never Mind the Buzzcocks when the show launched in 1996 and continued in this role for 17 series until 2005. Under Lamarr, the show grew a reputation as a scathing, almost rebellion like stand against the boy bands and pop music that had dominated the music scene since the early '90s, a theme that was kept by his successor. Although Lamarr initially intended to return to Buzzcocks after one series away, he was ultimately replaced by Simon Amstell from the 19th series.
Lamarr has previously presented shows on BBC GLR, BBC Radio 5 and BBC Radio 1. He also often guest presented the late night BBC Radio 2 show, sitting in for Mark Radcliffe. He hosted the show on the day that John Peel died (28 October 2004). During this time he also had to cope with the BBC moving studios from Birmingham, so his link to Janice Long was often poor.
On 20 July 1998, Lamarr launched a new show on BBC Radio 2 called Shake, Rattle and Roll, where he played tracks from his own sizeable record collection of obscure rock and roll gems. He also presented The Reggae Show series and Mark Lamarr's Alternative '60s, where he presents lesser known tracks from the 1960s.
On 22 April 2006, Lamarr started a new Radio 2 show called God's Jukebox. The show aired from Midnight to 3.00am on Saturdays where he played a wide variety of music from the past 70 years including Soul, Ska, Reggae, Country, Gospel and Rap. He also, with Jo Brand, regularly covered the Jonathan Ross Saturday morning show on Radio 2 when Ross was away. His final God's Jukebox show was broadcast Christmas Eve/Day, 2010. At the end of 2010 Lamarr left Radio 2, claiming the station had lost interest in non-mainstream music.
- Uncensored And Live (17 November 1997)
- Brown, Jo (March–April 2003). "Mark Lamarr Interview". Cheers magazine. Association of Young People with ME. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
- "Buzzcocks to get guest presenters". BBC News. 14 November 2005. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
Never Mind the Buzzcocks presenter Mark Lamarr is to be replaced by guest hosts for the next series of the BBC Two pop music quiz show. He is set to return to Buzzcocks after the next series is complete. "After nine years he just wanted to take a little break," said a spokeswoman at Talkback Thames.
- "Amstell cued up to host Buzzcocks". BBC News. 23 August 2005. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
Former Popworld presenter Simon Amstell is to replace Mark Lamarr as host of TV music quiz Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Amstell will take over when the BBC Two show returns for its 19th series later this year, having been one of several guest presenters in the last series.
- "Filmography, Mark Lamarr". Film & TV Database. British Film Institute. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
- Mark Lamarr to leave Radio 2The Guardian, 3 December 2010
- Mark Lamarr hits out at Radio 2The Guardian, 3 December 2010