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Mark Lamaar 

Swindon-born DJ and TV personality

Mark Lamarr
Mark Lamarr
© BBC
Mark Lamarr is one of Britain's brightest young personalities and - though he won't always admit it - was born in Swindon.

The Radio 2 DJ and former compere of pop quiz Never Mind The Buzzcocksformer and team leader on cult comedy gameshow Shooting Stars, he seems to have a love-hate relationship with his home town.

Born Mark Jones in Swindon on 7 January, 1967, he was educated at Park South Infants and Junior Schools and then Oakfield School. As soon as he was old enough, however, he left for the bright lights of London.

In 1985 he was asked to perform at a Young Writers' Festival after the publication of a poem and from there he stepped on to the comedy circuit. Following success as the warm-up act for a string of top alternative comedians, he was invited to appear on Tonite With Jonathan Ross, which led to Channel 4's The Big Breakfast where he stayed for six months and made his name as a roving reporter.

But there was a time when he wouldn't pass up the chance to knock his home town.
 
In 1996 he told The Independent that it is a violent town, adding: "It's a very, very narrow-minded and bitter little town, I think. I don't want to be all London, London, 'aren't I brilliant for living here,' but in a sense, I do think you end up where you deserve or where you want to be. I think people who live in Swindon probably haven't got that much enthusiasm for life generally."

Though many of his family still live in Swindon, work commitments mean he gets to visit "home" rarely.
 
He once commented: "Because I am obsessed with work I only get to visit about twice a year. Apart from my family and a few friends, I don't miss the town."

His attitude seems to be softening, however. During an encounter with Melinda Messenger - another Swindon-born celebrity - on a chat show he admitted that his attitude to the town is not necessarily as negative as it has come across.

Take that as you will.
 
The fact is that Lamarr is one of the brightest of TV's bright young presenters and whether or not he is proud to come from Swindon, we have to say that we are proud that he did.
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