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Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen (born 11 March 1965 in Londonmarker) is a Welshmarker interior designer and television and radio personality best known for his appearances on the BBC television programme Changing Rooms. He is noted for his flamboyant personality and for his dandyish appearance.


He is sometimes credited as "Laurence Llewelyn Bowen" , and the components of his name are frequently misspelled "Llewellyn" and/or "Lawrence".

Early life

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen was born to parents Trefor and Patricia Bowen (née Wilks). His father, a Harley Streetmarker Orthopaedic surgeon, died of leukemia in 1974, aged 42, when Laurence was just nine years of age. His mother, a teacher, died in 2002. He has a brother called Edward.


Llewelyn-Bowen was educated at Alleyn's Schoolmarker in Dulwich before graduating from the Camberwell School of Arts and Craftsmarker in 1986 with a Fine Art degree.


Early career

Llewelyn-Bowen subsequently worked for the Harefield Group of Companies and the interior design firm Peter Leonard Associates. In 1989 he started his own design consultancy.

Television break

His wife Jackie (born in 1964), an author, had heard through her agent that a production company was searching for a designer and in 1996 he appeared on the first episode of Changing Rooms.

Early 2000s

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.

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 Parliamentmarker. 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

In January 2006, he 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 wrongly and dropping down to just £32,000 (a loss of £468,000). For the first time ever, Celador let Laurence 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 Foundation, of which Laurence and his wife are both patrons. This amount is the highest that any celebrity couple has won on any British edition of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?. The £468,000 they originally lost was also the greatest loss ever seen on the show, and to date, no other contestant has answered the final question incorrectly in the United Kingdom version. (However in the United States version contestant Ken Basin answered the $1,000,000 question incorrectly on the final day of the Primetime Summer Revival with the show's original Host Regis Philbin) The allegedly misleading question was "Translated from the Latin, what is the United Statesmarker motto?". The answer given was "In God we trust" which is original English and has in fact been the US motto since 1956. The intended answer had been "Out of many, one" which is a translation of the Latin phrase E Pluribus Unum, which is not actually the current United Statesmarker motto.

Recent work

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen opening a charity shop in Stow-on-the-Wold in 2009
In 2007 he designed Decodance for Blackpool Illuminationsmarker, featuring six illuminated burlesque beauties.

In November 2007 he and his family were featured in the Living TV series To The Manor Bowen. The designer created a line of wallpaper in collaboration with the British Home Decor Company Graham & Brown. In December of that year he and his family took part in the ITV1 game show All Star Family Fortunes.

In 2008 he began hosting a show "The Sunday Spa" on Classic FM.

Again in 2008, he returned to Blackpool Illuminationsmarker to design Venus Reborn, a theatric tableau featuring a 15 minute show of sound, light and water effects.

A study of Laurence's family tree featured in the BBCs 'Who Do You Think You Are?' programme first aired on 29 September, 2008. It showed that Llewelyn-Bowen's mother's family had a seafaring history.

On April 13 2009 he presented a documentary on BBC One in the West region in which he went "In Search of England's Green & Pleasant Land". [38789] The programme explored the threats to the rural way of life from urban creep and the loss of local services.

In 2009, Laurence also released two ranges of papercrafting products in conjunction with Trimcraft. The ranges were called Retro Rose and Venaissence. [38790]

Personal life

Llewelyn-Bowen, his wife, and their two daughters, Cecile (born 1995) and Hermione (born 1998), moved to a 17th century, grade-II listed manor house in Gloucestershire in April 2007.

He and his wife Jackie 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.

He is known as "Larry" to his friends, in homage to his great hero Laurence Olivier.

Laurence is also a patron of the children's charity MERU, co-founded by his father Trefor Llewlyn-Bowen with Bill Bond in 1970.

He has recently acquired a home in Port Isaacmarker, Cornwallmarker, which is well-known as the filming location of the TV series Doc Martin.


External links

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