Polly Toynbee (Journalist with ‘The Guardian’)
Ed Miliband (Leader of the Labour Party) on today’s ‘Andrew Marr Show’.
Something, or rather, someone was missing…
A man on a scooter, who weaves his way through sleepy London town to deliver the Sunday papers through my TV screen…
I’m nothing, if not a creature of habit. My Sunday morning routine consists of lounging in dressing gown and slippers, spooning cereal and sipping tea in front of the early a.m. BBC TV.
At 9.00am it is usually time to exchange one set of oversized lugs for another; crisp munching Gary Lineker’s FA Cup handle-sized appendages replaced by the sticky out ears of journalist and political commentator Andrew Marr.
The Sunday morning ‘Andrew Marr Show’, an hour long weekly look at what’s happening in the world, a review of the Sunday papers, and interviews with key newsmakers, is one of my TV highlights of the week. But unfortunately, today, the former editor of ‘The Independent’ and political editor of the BBC News was missing – recovering from a serious stroke, suffered earlier this week.
As the news broke of his hospitalization, many high-profile names from the world of politics and media took to Twitter to wish the political news veteran, and host of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Start The Week’, a hasty recovery.
Although conscious, responding to medication and making progress, it will be some time before Andrew is able to return to the TV studio, but the BBC insist the show will go on, with a number of leading current affairs presenters lined up to take turns in keeping his seat warm.
First up, today, with the unenviable task was James Landale, old Etonian contemporary of ‘Call Me Dave’ and ‘BJ’ (Mayor of London). The Deputy political editor for BBC News, sensed he was on a loser from the start, opening with, “It’d be much better if Andrew were here,” before demonstrating beyond doubt that Andrew Marr’s are exceedingly big shoes to fill.
Landale’s somewhat hectoring manner and continual interruptions, during the interview with Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, owed more to the late night, ‘Newsnight’, condescension of the ‘Paxo’ school of interviewing – stuff ‘em and roast ‘em – rather than the more ‘easy like Sunday morning’ – coffee and croissants – style of Marr.
That isn’t to say that Marr’s courteous and deceptively easy, manner allows his interviewees to get away with anything. He is something of a smiling assassin, backing his political guests into corners with seemingly innocuous questions or feeding them enough rope to hang themselves.
Andrew Marr may have been described as gangly, geeky and bearing passing resemblance to the face of ‘Mad’ magazine – perhaps one better suited to radio – but he is a charming, erudite, presenter with a wry sense of humour.
And, despite his 2010 Cheltenham Literature Festival, pronouncement that, “ (A) lot of bloggers seem to be socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower nosed young men sitting in their mother’s basements and ranting. They are very angry people” – I don’t harbour any grudges.
I simply hope he is soon fully recovered and back on his Vespa, so that my lazy Sunday mornings can get back to normal.