Mark Damazer
Born (1955-04-15) 15 April 1955 (age 66)
EducationHaberdashers' Aske's Boys' School, Hertfordshire [1]
Alma materGonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge
OccupationMedia executive
Spouse(s)Rosemary Morgan

Mark David Damazer, CBE (born 15 April 1955), is a former Master of St Peter's College, Oxford, and a former controller of BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 7 in the United Kingdom.

Early life and education

Damazer was born on 15 April 1955.[2] He is the son of a Polish-Jewish delicatessen owner in Willesden in North London. He is the younger brother of Benjamyn Damazer JP DL.

Damazer was educated at Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School,[1] an independent day school in the village of Elstree in Hertfordshire. He then studied history at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge (from 1974), where he graduated with a double starred first in 1977. At Cambridge he had a relationship with Enoch Powell's daughter, Jenny Powell. Enoch Powell thanked him in his biography of Joseph Chamberlain.[3][4] After graduating, Damazer took up a Harkness Fellowship to study at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.[5]


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.[2] He became Assistant Director of BBC News in December 1999, then Deputy Director in April 2001.[2] 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".[6] In 2008, he sacked Edward Stourton from the Today programme, and replaced him in 2009 with Justin Webb. Damazer is a Fellow of The Radio Academy.[7]

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.[5] He took up the appointment of Master in October 2010.[8]

In June 2020 he was announced as chair of the Booker Prize Foundation, succeeding Baroness Helena Kennedy.[9][10]


Damazer served on the boards of trustees of the Institute of Contemporary British History and the Carl Rosa Opera.[2] and Mental Health Media.

Damazer is the Senior Non-Executive Trustee of the Victoria and Albert Museum[11] and a Trustee of the BBC since April 2015.

In 2013, Damazer was the captain of the winning team on Christmas University Challenge, representing Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, who defeated Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

Personal life

Damazer met his wife Rosemary Morgan while at Harvard. They now live in south London with their two children.[2]


In the 2011 New Year Honours, he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to broadcasting.[12]


  1. ^ a b "CV: Mark Damazer". The Times. 20 September 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Mark Damazer is new Controller of Radio 4 and BBC 7". BBC News. 24 September 2004. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  3. ^ Powell, Enoch, Joseph Chamberlain, London: Thames and Hudson, 1977.
  4. ^ Luckhurst, Tim (26 September 2004). "Radio: He survived Hutton. Now for Humphrys". The Independent.
  5. ^ a b "Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer leaves the BBC". BBC News. 12 April 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
  6. ^ "Entertainment – UK Theme to be dropped by Radio 4". BBC News. 23 January 2006. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
  7. ^ "Fellows – The Radio Academy". Archived from the original on 24 October 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
  8. ^ "Mark Damazer CBE". St Peter's College. University of Oxford. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  9. ^ Carpenter, Caroline (1 June 2020). "Mark Damazer to chair the Booker Prize Foundation". The Bookseller. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  10. ^ Singh, Anita (1 June 2020). "Booker Prize juries will not be allowed to split prize again, says new chairman". The Telegraph. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  11. ^ Victoria and Albert Museum, V&A Trustees. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  12. ^ "No. 59647". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2010. p. 7.
Academic offices Preceded byBernard Silverman Master of St Peter's College, Oxford 2010 to 2019 Succeeded byJudith Buchanan