Laurence Roderick Bowen
11 March 1965
Kensington, London, England
|Alma mater||Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts|
|Occupation||Interior designer, television personality|
|Known for||Changing Rooms|
Popstar to Operastar
|Parent(s)||Trefor Llewelyn Bowen|
Laurence Roderick Llewelyn-Bowen (/ɬeʊˈɛløn bˈəʊən/; born 11 March 1965) is a British interior designer and television personality best known for appearing on the BBC programme Changing Rooms.
He is sometimes credited as "Laurence Llewelyn", and the components of his name are sometimes misspelled, as "Lawrence". On Changing Rooms, he is occasionally jocularly styled "Lord Laurence", a play on Laurence Olivier and Llewelyn-Bowen's flamboyance.
Early life and education
Laurence Roderick Bowen was born in 1965 in Kensington, London, to parents Trefor Llewellyn Bowen and Patricia (née Wilks). His father, an orthopaedic surgeon at Harley Street and, under the NHS, at St James' Hospital, Balham, South London, died of leukaemia in 1974, aged 42, when Laurence was nine. He went to primary school at Julians, in Leigham Court Road, Streatham, where his favourite subject was art, especially needlework. His mother, a teacher, died in 2002. He has a brother called Edward and a sister called Frances. He is of Welsh descent.
According to his website, Llewelyn-Bowen was educated at Alleyn's School in Dulwich and later graduated from the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts (which became a constituent college of the University of the Arts London) in 1986 with an unspecified Fine Art degree.
After graduating, Llewelyn-Bowen worked for the Harefield Group of Companies and the interior design firm Peter Leonard Associates. In 1989 he started his own design consultancy.
On 13 April 2009 he presented a documentary on BBC One in the West region in which he went In Search of England's Green & Pleasant Land. The programme explored the threats to the rural way of life from urban creep and the loss of local services.
A study of Laurence's family tree featured in the BBC One show Who Do You Think You Are?, which was first aired on 29 September 2008. It showed that Llewelyn-Bowen's mother's family had a seafaring history.
Between 2009 and 2011 Laurence appeared on every episode of the ITV show House Gift.
Laurence appeared as a judge on the 2010 series of the ITV reality talent show Popstar to Operastar as a critic alongside Meat Loaf, and classically trained mentors Katherine Jenkins and Rolando Villazón. The series was hosted by Myleene Klass and Alan Titchmarsh.
Between 2010 and 2011, Laurence presented the daytime ITV show Auction Party.
Laurence appeared as a judge on the series of the reality show The Apartment from 2012 to 2019.
The BBC One series, Hidden Houses of Wales, featured Laurence as tour guide of historical houses throughout Wales. The programme premiered on 4 January 2010 and ran for two series. The series was licensed to streaming service, Netflix, in the U.S. and rebranded as Hidden Houses, premiering on the service on 31 December 2016.
Note: In Week 4, The week's challenge was for each celebrity to dance with someone else's partner in the "Wife Swap" challenge. Laurence danced once with Jackie and the second time with Oritse's partner AJ.
|Wayne Sleep||Melanie Brown||Jason Gardiner||Total|
|3||Rock & Roll||8
- The Weakest Link (20 August 2005) – Celebrity contestant, voted off seventh
- Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (11 February 2006) – Celebrity contestants, won £500,000 for Shooting Star Chase Children's Hospice; originally answered a flawed £1 million question incorrectly and lost £468,000, but were invited back to play a new £1 million question, and walked away with £500,000 (see controversy section below)
- All Star Family Fortunes (5 January 2008) – Celebrity contestant
- As Seen on TV (17 July 2009) – Guest
- Odd One In (17 July 2010) – Panellist
- The Alan Titchmarsh Show (15 November 2010, 9 November 2011, 13 September 2013)
- Lorraine (25 July 2011, 29 April 6 September 2013) – Guest
- Loose Women (3 August 2011) – Guest
- The Chase: Celebrity Special (26 November 2011) – Celebrity contestant, won £20,000 for Shooting Star Chase Children's Hospice
- Great Lives – Guest, his choice was Aubrey Beardsley (15 January 2013)
- I Love My Country (14 September 2013) – Panellist
- Celebrity Antiques Road Trip (2 December 2013) – Contestant
- Room 101 (7 March 2014) – Guest
- Interior Design Masters (25 September 2019, 2 February 2021) - Guest
- Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back (2020) - Guest
- I Became The First YouTuber To Buy A Roundabout, Max Fosh (30 November 2020) - appearance
- Instant Hotel- Australia-based reality show on Netflix, judge and host
In 2002 Llewelyn-Bowen made a cameo appearance in the comedy series The League of Gentlemen, in which he comes to decorate the garden of one of the characters. He acts as a depressed, smoking, and comically bald version of himself, and is killed by a collapsing wall.
In 2004 Llewelyn-Bowen designed the interior of the Inc Bar in Greenwich, England in a former 1830s music hall. The design features Larry's Bar, named after Llewelyn-Bowen and "the Divan", a dimly lit nook, a sort of make-out room.
He has also presented a three-part BBC special Taste (2002), about the history of interior design, and in autumn 2005 he began presenting the weekly BBC1 travel show Holiday 2006. His books include Fantasy Rooms: Inspirational Designs from the BBC Series (1999), Display (2001), "Home Front": Inside Out (2002), Design Rules (2003) and A Pinch of Posh (2006) co-written with his wife, Jackie. He has also made a guest appearance on Changing Rooms' American counterpart, Trading Spaces.
In March 2005 he starred in a one-off mockumentary as a prospective candidate for Parliament. His party, the Purple Party, "lobbied" for a restoration of Britain's heritage, and several extreme architectural measures such as tearing down all buildings that did not conform to their surroundings.
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? controversy
|Translated from the Latin, what is the motto of the United States?|
|• A: In God we trust||• B: One out of many|
|• C: All as one||• D: Striving together|
|The Bowens' £1,000,000 question|
In January 2006, Llewelyn-Bowen and his wife Jackie were offered a place on the Valentine's Day celebrity couples edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? They appeared on the show managing to reach the £1 million question, before answering it incorrectly and dropping from £500,000 down to £32,000 (a loss of £468,000). For the first time ever, Celador allowed Llewelyn-Bowen and his wife retry the show after the company claimed that the last question "didn't meet their standards". After returning and being shown a different £1 million question, the couple decided not to risk losing £468,000 for the second time and won £500,000 for their chosen charity, The Shooting Star Children's Hospice, of which Llewelyn-Bowen and his wife are both patrons. Their new question was about the first man to travel to space twice, and the correct answer to the question was Gus Grissom. They decided not to risk it this time and walked away with the £500,000. This amount is the highest amount that any celebrity couple has won on any British edition of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? The allegedly misleading question was "Translated from the Latin, what is the motto of the United States?" The answer given was "In God We Trust" which is originally English and has in fact been the motto of the United States since 1956. The intended answer had been "Out of Many, One" which is a translation of the Latin phrase E pluribus unum, which is found on the Great Seal, however it is not actually the current United States motto. E pluribus unum had been the de facto motto but was never legally declared as such.
Work since 2007
In November 2007 he and his family were depicted in the Living TV series To the Manor Bowen. Llewelyn-Bowen designed a line of wallpaper in collaboration with the British Home Decor Company Graham & Brown.
In 2009 Llewelyn-Bowen released two ranges of papercrafting products in conjunction with Trimcraft, called Retro Rose and Venaissence.
Llewelyn-Bowen was also a radio presenter for Classic FM until June 2015 when he was replaced by Alexander Armstrong.
In November 2014 he designed a Christmas attraction, Magical Journey, at the Belfry Golf Club near Sutton Coldfield, which was heavily criticised, receiving hundreds of complaints and the epithet "Tragic Journey" on its opening day; the event closed down in mid-December, and apologies were sent to ticket holders who were advised to contact their banks for refunds.
Since 2017 he has appeared on the Australian TV series House Rules in seasons 5-8 as one of three judges, co-starring with Home Beautiful editor in chief Wendy Moore, and award-winning Australian architect Drew Heath. In 2020, Moore and Heath were replaced by interior designer Kyly Clarke and builder Saul Myers.
In 2017, he was co-presenter alongside Neville Knott on the Irish TV3 lifestyle program Showhouse Showdown (Vision Independent Productions)
In 2020, he made a cameo appearance in a video by YouTuber Max Fosh about roundabouts, where he copied the dance of an 18 feet (5.5 m) inflatable man.
Since 17 August 2021 he has re-appeared as resident designer on the reboot of the popular 90s makeover show Changing Rooms on Channel 4 with new host Anna Richardson.
In 2020, Llewelyn-Bowen designed a furniture collection with British furniture manufacturer, wholesaler and dropshipper Artisan Furniture, consisting of handmade, solid wood furniture designs showcasing carving, painted and dark stained furniture pieces. The LUX collection by Llewelyn-Bowen is set to be available for both dropship and wholesale.
Until 2004 Llewelyn-Bowen lived in Kidbrooke, South East London. He, his wife Jackie and their two daughters, Cecile (born 1995) and Hermione (born 1998), moved to a 17th-century, grade-II listed manor house in Siddington, a small village near Cirencester, Gloucestershire in April 2007.
He and his wife are ambassadors to the aid agency CARE International UK and in February 2008 visited the cyclone-hit areas of Bangladesh. They are also active patrons for children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent and Shooting Star Children's Hospice.
Llewelyn-Bowen is also a patron of the children's charity MERU, co-founded by his father Trefor Llewelyn-Bowen with Bill Bond in 1970.
Other appearances within pop-culture
Llewelyn-Bowen also features as a subject within the song 'Black Metal Interior Design' by metal band Bleating Apocalypse. He has since sent the band a series of Christmas cards and videos featuring himself to show during gigs.
- "Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen: a few home truths – WalesOnline". Abbie Wightwick, Western Mail, WalesOnline website. Media Wales Ltd. 27 September 2008. Retrieved 16 November 2008.
- "Dellam Corporate Information Limited, England". dellam.com. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
- "Companies House, Change of Director's Details". Retrieved 25 August 2021.
- Hamburgh, Rin (19 December 2007). "'Renovating my home was my hardest job'". Western Mail. WalesOnline website. Retrieved 16 November 2008.
- Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen bbc.co.uk
- Llewellyn bbc.co.uk
- Lawrence bbc.co.uk
- His probate record (which also gives his first name as "Trevor") also gives this spelling of the name, rather than "Llewelyn" as used by his son: Gov.uk Find a Will service, Wills and Probate 1858-1996, Surname Bowen, Year of Death 1974, p. 958 URL= https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/Calendar?surname=Bowen&yearOfDeath=1974&page=6#calendar
- The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, vol. 57-B, no. 1, February 1975, p. 107- https://online.boneandjoint.org.uk/doi/pdf/10.1302/0301-620X.57B1.107-a
- "Bowen's Biography". 2014. Archived from the original on 16 March 2010.
- England's Green and Pleasant Land, BBC, 9 April 2009
- "Hidden Houses of Wales - Episode guide - BBC One". BBC. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
- "Netflix - instantwatcher - Hidden Houses". instantwatcher.com. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
- "DIY SOS: The Big Build on BBC1 tonight with Nick Knowles & Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen helping Mark Burrows in Wigan". Scunthorpe Telegraph. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
- "'House Rules' are meant to be broken". Yahoo 7. 8 March 2017. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
- "New judges join House Rules". TV Tonight. 8 March 2017. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
- "BBC One - as Seen on TV, Episode 1".
- "Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen Biography". Classic FM. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
- Su, Kim Min. (October 2004). "The rake's progress". Interior Design/artdesigncafe. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
- "Llewelyn-Bowen gets second chance at 'Millionaire' jackpot after unfair question". Haymarket Media Group Ltd. 13 January 2006. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
- "TV designer's second shot at £1m". British Broadcasting Corporation. 13 January 2006. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
- "Sarah Myerscough (Artist) – Decodance 2007 – Blackpool Illuminations Gallery". www.sarahmyerscough.co.uk. Retrieved 12 August 2009.
- "Sarah Myerscough (Artist) – Concept and Design – Making of a Blackpool Illumination". www.sarahmyerscough.co.uk. Retrieved 12 August 2009.
- "Sarah Myerscough (Artist) – Venus Reborn 2008 – Blackpool Illuminations Gallery". www.sarahmyerscough.co.uk. Retrieved 12 August 2009.
- Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen Paper Crafts, About.com
- What's New Archived 10 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine, Visit Blackpool
- Head Judge: Laurence Llewelyn Bowen Archived 19 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine, The Apartment
- "The Magical Journey: Llewelyn-Bowen Christmas park shuts down". BBC News. 16 December 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
- "Victorian Plumbing Launches Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen TV Campaign". InsightDIY. 2 April 2019.
- "I Bought A Roundabout To Trade It w/ WillNE".
- "Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen For Artisan Furniture", artisanfurniture.net,.
- "Drop Ship Furniture", artisanfurniture.net,.
- "Wholesale Furniture", artisanfurniture.net,.
- ITV1 – House Gift, Season 2, Episode 14, 11 February 2010
- Rankin, Robert (1999). Snuff Fiction (Fiction). London W5 5SA, United Kingdom: Corgi Books (Transworld Publishers). ISBN 0552145904.CS1 maint: location (link)
- Bleating Apocalypse (30 November 2012), Bleating Apocalypse: Black Metal Interior Design OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO, retrieved 10 June 2019
- Bleating Apocalypse (12 March 2017), Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen's Love of Black Metal Interior Design - Bleating Apocalypse, retrieved 10 June 2019