Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen

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Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen
200 px
Llewelyn-Bowen in 2007
Born Laurence Roderick Bowen
(1965-03-11) 11 March 1965 (age 57)
Kensington, London, England
Nationality British
Alma mater Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts
Occupation Interior designer, television personality
Years active 1996–present
Known for Changing Rooms
Popstar to Operastar
Auction Party
Spouse(s) Jackie Llewelyn-Bowen (1985–present)
Children Cecile (b. 1995)
Hermione (b. 1998)
Parent(s) Trefor Llewelyn-Bowen
Patricia Wilks[1]
Website Website

Laurence Roderick Llewelyn-Bowen[2] (born 11 March 1965) is a British homestyle consultant and television personality best known for his appearances on the BBC programme Changing Rooms and for being a judge on the ITV reality series Popstar to Operastar in 2010.[3]


He is sometimes credited as "Laurence Llewelyn Bowen",[4] and the components of his name are sometimes misspelled as "Llewellyn",[5] and "Lawrence".[6] 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 R. Bowen was born in 1965 in Kensington, London, to parents Trefor and Patricia Bowen (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, where his favourite subject was art, especially needlework .[1] His mother, a teacher, died in 2002.[7] He has a brother called Edward and a sister called Frances. He is of Welsh descent.[3]

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.[7]

Early career

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.


Laurence presented the BBC television series Changing Rooms.

On Changing Rooms he quickly gained something of a reputation for clutter; in many ways the decluttering trend was a reaction against his style of design. Many times people were filmed in tears of sadness after having seen what he had done to their drawing room: frequently people said they were going to repaint the room with white paint.This reaction made him use darker colours for the walls which could not be painted over as easily. So infamous was his reputation that some people visibly winced when they realised they had got him as their designer. 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.[8] 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.[1]

Between 2009 to 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 has presented the daytime ITV show Auction Party.

He features frequently in the BBC programme, DIY SOS: The Big Build as a designer.[9]

Stepping Out

Laurence participated in the first series of the ITV entertainment series Stepping Out with his wife, Jackie. They were eliminated on 21 September 2013, claiming third place.

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.

Week Dance Judges' scores Result
Wayne Sleep Melanie Brown Jason Gardiner Total
1 Street Dance 4
26 Safe
2 American Smooth 6
36 Safe
3 Rock & Roll 8
39 Safe
4 Paso Doble 5
24 Eliminated
4 Jazz 8 10 7 25 Eliminated

Guest appearances


In 2008 he began hosting a Sunday morning radio show The Sunday Spa on Classic FM.[11]

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.

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.[12]

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 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".[citation needed] 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. This amount is the highest that any celebrity couple has won on any British edition of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?[13] The £468,000 they originally lost was also the greatest loss ever seen on the show and no other contestant has answered the final question incorrectly in the United Kingdom version.[14][15] The allegedly misleading question was "Translated from the Latin, what is the United States motto?" 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 not actually the current United States motto. E pluribus unum had been the de facto motto but was never legally declared as such.[13]

Work since 2007

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen opening a charity shop in Stow-on-the-Wold in 2009

In 2007 he designed Decodance for Blackpool Illuminations, featuring six illuminated burlesque beauties.[16][17]

In November 2007 he and his family were depicted in the Living TV series To the Manor Bowen. Bowen designed a line of wallpaper in collaboration with the British Home Decor Company Graham & Brown.

In 2008 he returned to Blackpool Illuminations to design Venus Reborn, a theatric tableau with a 15-minute show of sound, light and water effects.[18]

In 2009 Bowen released two ranges of papercrafting products in conjunction with Trimcraft, called Retro Rose and Venaissence.[19]

Bowen was the Creative Director For the 2010 Blackpool Illuminations, designing new illuminations including dinosaurs, vampires and ghouls.[20]

In September 2013 he was head judge on reality TV show The Apartment.[21]

Bowen was also a radio presenter for Classic FM until June 2015 when he mysteriously disappeared and was replaced by Alexander Armstrong. No news of this can be found anywhere.

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.[22]

Bowen was also a radio presenter for Classic FM until June 2015 when he mysteriously disappeared and was replaced by Alexander Armstrong. No news of this can be found anywhere.

Personal life

Until 2004 Llewelyn-Bowen lived in Kidbrooke, South East London. With his wife Jackie and their two daughters, Cecile (born 1995) and Hermione (born 1998), he moved to a 17th-century, grade-II listed manor house in Siddington, a small village near Cirencester, Gloucestershire in April 2007.[3] 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.

He has recently acquired a home in Port Isaac, Cornwall, which is well known as the filming location of the popular television series Doc Martin.

He is related to both Jim Bowen, the comedian and television presenter, and Emanuel Bowen, map maker to King George II[23]

Other appearances within pop-culture

Llewelyn-Bowen has a cameo appearance within the best-selling British alternative science fiction comedy novel Snuff Fiction by Robert Rankin.[24][page needed]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen: a few home truths – WalesOnline". Abbie Wightwick, Western Mail, WalesOnline website. Media Wales Ltd. 27 September 2008. Retrieved 16 November 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Dellam Corporate Information Limited, England". Retrieved 25 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "'Renovating my home was my hardest job' – WalesOnline". Rin Simpson, Western Mail, WalesOnline website. Media Wales Ltd. 19 December 2007. Retrieved 16 November 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Laurence Llewelyn Bowen
  5. Llewellyn
  6. Lawrence
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Bowen's Biography". 2014. Archived from the original on 16 March 2010. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. England's Green and Pleasant Land, BBC, 9 April 2009
  9. "DIY SOS: The Big Build on BBC1 tonight with Nick Knowles & Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen helping Mark Burrows in Wigan". Scunthorpe Telegraph. Retrieved 25 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. [1]
  11. "Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen Biography". Classic FM. Retrieved 29 October 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Su, Kim Min. (October 2004). "The rake's progress". Interior Design/artdesigncafe. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
  13. 13.0 13.1 "TV designer's second shot at £1m". British Broadcasting Corporation. 13 January 2006. Retrieved 22 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Born, Matt (13 January 2006). "Llewelyn-Bowen blows £1m". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 22 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Lat, David (25 August 2009). "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Ken Basin, Harvard Law '08, Sure Does". Above the Law. Retrieved 22 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Sarah Myerscough (Artist) – Decodance 2007 – Blackpool Illuminations Gallery". Retrieved 12 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Sarah Myerscough (Artist) – Concept and Design – Making of a Blackpool Illumination". Retrieved 12 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Sarah Myerscough (Artist) – Venus Reborn 2008 – Blackpool Illuminations Gallery". Retrieved 12 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen Paper Crafts,
  20. What's New, Visit Blackpool
  21. Head Judge: Laurence Llewelyn Bowen, The Apartment
  22. "The Magical Journey: Llewelyn-Bowen Christmas park shuts down". BBC News. Retrieved 25 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. ITV1 – House Gift, Season 2, Episode 14, 11 February 2010
  24. Rankin, Robert (1999). Snuff Fiction (Fiction‍). London W5 5SA, United Kingdom: Corgi Books (Transworld Publishers). ISBN 0552145904. zero width joiner character in |type= at position 8 (help)CS1 maint: location (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links