|Born||Mark Gerard Lawson
11 April 1962
Hendon, London, United Kingdom
|Occupation||Journalist, broadcaster, author|
Mark Gerard Lawson (born 11 April 1962) is an English journalist, broadcaster and author. Specialising in culture and the arts, he is known for his column in The Guardian, and for presenting the flagship BBC Radio 4 arts programme Front Row, and BBC Four's Mark Lawson talks to... series.
Life and career
Born in Hendon, London, Lawson was brought up in Yorkshire and is a Leeds United fan. He was raised a Catholic, and was educated at the independent Catholic school St Columba's College in St Albans. He then took a degree in English at University College London, where his lecturers included John Sutherland and A. S. Byatt. He currently lives near Towcester and is a Northampton Town FC season ticket holder.
Lawson has been a freelance contributor to numerous publications since 1984, beginning on The Universe in that year, and for The Times from 1984 to 1986. He has written a column for The Guardian since 1995, having previously written for The Independent (1986–95), and has twice been TV Critic of the Year as well as winning many other journalism awards. However, his Guardian journalism has not been universally admired and Richard Gott, a former colleague, has commented that the "prevalence of the bland and the obsequious" on The Guardian is typified by Lawson's "embedded presence".
Lawson presented The Late Show on BBC2 in the 1990s and presented its offshoot The Late Review (later Sunday Review and from 2000 Newsnight Review) until the 2005 'review of the year' edition of Newsnight Review, broadcast on 16 December, which marked the end of his association with the format. In 2004, Lawson made a documentary for BBC Four called The Truth About Sixties TV, criticising what he called "golden ageists" who, he claimed, have a rose-tinted view of television's past.
Lawson is in charge of BBC Radio 4's daily arts programme, Front Row. He has written several radio plays for the network, including St Graham and St Evelyn (2003) on the friendship between the Catholic novelists Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh and The Third Soldier Holds His Thighs (2005) on Mary Whitehouse's campaign against the Howard Brenton play The Romans in Britain. He has also written episodes of the television version of the BBC sitcom Absolute Power appearing as himself in the series 1 episode 2, Pope Idol, and is one of many celebrities impersonated by the Dead Ringers team, referred to as "Britain's brainiest potato" and "the thinking woman's potato" because of his baldness. In 2002, Viz ran a spoof of his Newsnight Review programme, featuring Lawson engaged in a desperate search for hard-core pornography, entitled "The Artful Podger".
Since 2006, he has hosted a number of in-depth, one-to-one interviews for BBC Four, entitled Mark Lawson Talks to ....
In addition to his work in print journalism and the broadcast media, Lawson has written five books, both fiction and non-fiction. His first, Bloody Margaret (1991), is a collection of novellas on late 20th century politics in the UK, including an eponymous satire concerning Margaret Thatcher. This was followed by The Battle for Room Service (1993), a travelogue of people, politics and culture encountered by Lawson as a journalist. His 1995 book, Idlewild, is an alternate history novel in which both John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe survived the 1960s. Going Out Live (2001) focused on contemporary celebrity culture and the media, and Enough Is Enough (2005) is a satire set in the government of Harold Wilson during the late 1960s.
Lawson chaired the judges for the 2011 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine
- Bloody Margaret: Three Political Fantasies (Picador, 1991) ISBN 0-330-32386-5
- The Battle for Room Service: Journeys to All the Safe Places (Picador, 1993) ISBN 0-330-32384-9
- Idlewild (Picador, 1995) ISBN 0-330-34111-1
- Going Out Live (Picador, 2001) ISBN 0-330-48860-0
- Enough Is Enough (Picador, 2005) ISBN 0-330-43803-4
- Mark Lawson's Biography: People of Today Debretts.com.
- Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Birth Index: 1916–2005 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. London, England: General Register Office.
- BBC NEWS | Programmes | Newsnight | Review | Mark Lawson. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
- "The ITV Story" BBC Radio 4
- "Inside Story: There's only one team in Soho" The Independent 24 January 2005
- Mark Lawson: My life as a Catholic Jew | Comment is free | The Guardian
- "Steve Riches: Lawson makes the effort – but draws with Leeds are best!" Northampton Chronicle 25 June 2011
- Richard Gott "The lost magic of Manchester": Book Review of "The Bedside Years: The Best Writing from The Guardian, 1951–2000",[dead link] New Statesman, 28 January 2002
- Guardian columns by Mark Lawson
- BBC Radio 4 profile
- Mark Lawson at the Open Directory Project
- Mark Lawson interview techniques, BBC Academy