7 January 1967
|Occupation||Comedian, radio DJ, television presenter|
|Years active||1985–2010, 2015, 2020|
Mark Lamarr (born Mark Jones) is an English comedian, writer, radio DJ, and television presenter. He was a team captain on Shooting Stars from 1995 to 1997, and hosted Never Mind the Buzzcocks from 1996 to 2005.
Lamarr was born in the Park South area of Swindon, Wiltshire. He 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 gained a reputation for scornful treatment of the boy bands and the pop music that had dominated the music scene since the early 1990s, a position that was maintained 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.
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 Sixties, playing 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 and featured a wide variety of music from the previous 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 on Christmas Eve/Day, 2010. At the end of 2010 Lamarr left Radio 2, claiming the station had lost interest in non-mainstream music.
Lamarr has continued to produce various compilation albums for several record labels, with an emphasis on lesser-known rock 'n' roll tracks. He produced a compilation for Vee-Tone Records in 2015.
- Uncensored And Live (17 November 1997)
On 1 September 2018, the Metropolitan Police charged Lamarr with common assault and false imprisonment. He was due to appear at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court on 2 October 2018 to face the charges, but on 1 October 2018 the case was discontinued, with the Crown Prosecution Service confirming "there was insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction". On 22 March 2019, Lamarr received an apology from the Crown Prosecution Service about the discontinued case, where it was observed that "the prosecutor who authorised the charges... did so in error".
- Brown, Jo (March–April 2003). "Mark Lamarr Interview". Cheers magazine. Association of Young People with ME. Archived from the original on 18 June 2004. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
- John Plunkett (3 December 2010). "Mark Lamarr to leave Radio 2". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media.
- "Buzzcocks to get guest presenters". BBC News. 14 November 2005. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
- "Amstell cued up to host Buzzcocks". BBC News. 23 August 2006. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
- "Filmography, Mark Lamarr". Film & TV Database. British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 29 January 2009. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
- John Plunkett (3 December 2010). "Mark Lamarr hits out at Radio 2". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media.
- "On Board". Lime. Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
- Nathan Olsen-Haines (30 September 2013). "Time For A Recall To The Airwaves". Famous Last Words.
- "Wild Streak Rock 'N' Roll". Discogs.
- "BBC Radio 4 - Phil Ellis Is Trying, Series 3, Billy Bonker and The Cup A Soup Factory". BBC Online. Archived from the original on 15 March 2021. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
- "Former Buzzcocks host Lamarr charged with common assault". BBC News. 15 September 2018. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
- "Former Buzzcocks presenter Mark Lamarr's assault case discontinued". BBC News. 1 October 2018. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
- "Mark Lamarr receives apology over discontinued assault case". BBC News. 22 March 2019. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
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