He studied history at Gonville and Caius College at Cambridge University from 1974, where he gained a double starred first in 1977. At Cambridge he had a relationship with Enoch Powell's daughter, Jenny Powell. Enoch Powell put a dedication to him in his biography of Joseph Chamberlain. After graduating, he took up a Harkness Fellowship at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Damazer returned to England to train at ITN in 1980, with fellow trainees Edward Stourton and Michael Crick. He joined the BBC World Service as a current affairs producer in 1981. From 1982 to 1984, he worked at TV-am, returning to BBC News in 1984. He joined Newsnight as an editor in January 1986. In August 1988, he became deputy editor of the Nine O'Clock News, becoming editor in 1990. In 1994, he became Editor of Television News Programmes, then Head of Current Affairs in May 1996. He became Head of Political Programmes in March 1998. He became Assistant Director of BBC News in December 1999, then Deputy Director in April 2001. He was appointed Controller of Radio 4 and BBC7 in October 2004, taking over from Helen Boaden. In 2006, he was involved in a controversy over his decision to replace the Radio 4 UK Theme with a "pacy news briefing, read by one of Radio 4's team of news readers". He is a Fellow of The Radio Academy.
Mark is a passionate listener and supporter of Radio 4. When you talk to him you realise it's in his blood. I'm sure he will build on Helen Boaden's success and take Radio 4 and BBC 7 to new heights.— Jenny Abramsky, BBC Director of Radio and Music.
On 12 April 2010, the BBC announced that Damazer was standing down as Controller of Radio 4 and leaving the Corporation to become Master of St Peter's College, Oxford. In 2013 Damazer was a member of the winning team on Christmas University Challenge, representing Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge who defeated Emmanuel College Cambridge.
Damazer met his wife Rosemary Morgan whilst at Harvard. They now live in south London with their two children, Kat and Will.
- London: Thames and Hudson, 1977
- "BBC NEWS - Entertainment - UK Theme to be dropped by Radio 4". BBC News. 2006-01-23. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- "Fellows - The Radio Academy". Retrieved 2010-04-13.
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- The London Gazette: . 31 December 2010.
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- "BBC - Radio 4 - Today Programme Iraq Report". Retrieved 2010-04-13.
|Master of St Peter's College, Oxford
|Controller, BBC Radio 4