The Andrew Marr Show

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The Andrew Marr Show
The Andrew Marr Show titles.png
Also known as Sunday AM (2005–07)
Genre Politics
Presented by Andrew Marr
Naga Munchetty (Newsreader)
Country of origin United Kingdom
Production
Producer(s) Libby Jukes
Brian Hollywood
Catherine Elgonaid
Editor(s) Barney Jones
Location(s) Studio B, Broadcasting House, London
Running time 60 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel BBC One
Picture format 576i (16:9 SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Original run 11 September 2005 (2005-09-11) – present
Chronology
Preceded by Breakfast with Frost

The Andrew Marr Show is an hour-long British television programme broadcast on BBC One on Sunday mornings from 9am. It is presented by Andrew Marr, previously the BBC's Political Editor. The host interviews political figures and others involved in the current events of the week. It replaced the long-running Breakfast with Frost programme when David Frost decided to retire in 2005. The programme begins with a review of the Sunday papers, for which Marr is joined by two different guests each week. It also features a BBC News and BBC Weather update. The programme shares a studio with Sunday Politics, Newsnight and HARDtalk, BBC World News, GMT, Impact, Global and Focus On Africa.

The show was launched on 11 September 2005 as Sunday AM, but was renamed The Andrew Marr Show for the new series in September 2007. The editor is Barney Jones and the producers are Libby Jukes, Brian Hollywood and Catherine Elgonaid. The title sequence is a pastiche of the television series The Prisoner. The programme moved to Broadcasting House in September 2012.

Guests[edit]

The Andrew Marr Show usually features one Cabinet-level UK minister, a representative from the Opposition, one big-name non-political guest and two other celebrities or 'name' journalists as Sunday paper reviewers.

Since 2009, notable guests have included: Tom Jones, Dmitry Medvedev (President of Russia), Sting, Morgan Tsvangirai (Prime Minister of Zimbabwe), Jay-Z, Tony Hayward (The then CEO of BP), Bob Geldof, Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Ban Ki-moon (UN Secretary-General), Michael Caine, Kevin Rudd (The then Prime Minister of Australia) and David Cameron (Prime Minister of the United Kingdom).[1]

Marr reviewing the papers with Armando Iannucci and Janine di Giovanni in December 2009

Viewing figures[edit]

The Andrew Marr Show averages around 2 million viewers an episode, representing a 30% audience share.

Summer replacement[edit]

Each year Marr is away for several weeks during the summer. In past years, the programme was replaced by News 24 Sunday, which was hosted by Peter Sissons. The programme had a similar format to The Andrew Marr Show, but was also broadcast on the BBC News Channel, and came from the channel's studio. 2008 onwards features a new arrangement with guest presenters through July and replaced in August by a BBC News bulletin.

The guest presenters have included; Zeinab Badawi, Sophie Raworth, Fiona Bruce, Stephanie Flanders, Huw Edwards, Martha Kearney, Emily Maitlis, James Landale and Jeremy Vine.

2013 guest presenters[edit]

In January 2013, Marr suffered a stroke[2] and was indefinitely replaced by guest presenters. Marr appeared as a guest on the show on 14 April to speak about Margaret Thatcher's legacy, and spoke about the incident and his recovery. Paralysis of the left side of his body was evident, but his speech was unaffected, and he expressed determination to return to the presenter's role. Marr conducted pre-recorded interviews with David Miliband and David Cameron for the editions of 14 and 21 July respectively, and is due to return to the main presenter's role after the series' summer break in September.[3]

From January until June, there was no fixed cover presenter. The guest presenters who appeared included; Jeremy Vine, Sophie Raworth, James Landale, Eddie Mair, Sian Williams, Susanna Reid and Nick Robinson. From 9 June, Vine and Raworth became the regular presenters and began to alternate presenting duties each week. Vine presented the final programme before Marr's return on 28 July, confirming Marr's return for the new series on 1 September. Vine sat in again on 15 December due to family commitments.[4]

Controversy[edit]

Gordon Brown mental health claims[edit]

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown

In September 2009 the BBC received hundreds of complaints over the questioning of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, after Andrew Marr questioned Brown on the health of his eyes, and whether he used prescription painkillers, during a long and wide-ranging interview.[5] Marr asked the question: "A lot of people in this country use prescription painkillers and pills to help them get through. Are you one of them?" Brown replied: "No. I think this is the sort of questioning which is all too often entering the lexicon of British politics."[6]

Public figures and politicians had a range of views on the line of questioning. Ben Bradshaw and Lord Mandelson, both members of Brown's Cabinet, criticised the questioning, with Mandelson saying it showed "personal intrusiveness" and alleged the question was based on false rumours being spread by "extreme right wing" bloggers. Others took a different line - historian David Starkey told Question Time "we have a right to know" adding that Brown's recent behaviour had "suggest[ed] this is a man not completely in control",[7] and former Home Secretary Charles Clarke suggested that Brown's health might have been a reason for the Prime Minister to stand down and that within the context of a long interview, it was reasonable also to ask Mr Brown about his health.[5][8] The editor of the show, Barney Jones, defended the questioning in October 2009, saying:

"We felt that with a general election looming and with former and current cabinet ministers warning of electoral defeat unless the party turned round its current position, a robust interview centred on the economy and the Prime Minister's leadership was appropriate. The former Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, suggested this month that health might be a reason for the Prime Minister to stand down and within the context of a long interview about policy it was reasonable also to ask Mr Brown about his health. The issue of his health and whether it affects his ability to perform the onerous job of leading the party and the country was pertinent, and has been raised with other Prime Ministers in the past."[9]

Andrew Marr himself, appearing at the Leveson Inquiry in May 2012, defending the question as "reasonable", but also regretted asking it, because it dominated newspaper headlines rather than the more serious policy points covered in the interview. Marr said: "I felt we got a lot out of that interview, with some important concessions made on the economy and other things. But the headlines were all about the pills question. It wasn’t worth it." Asked if that meant he did not feel the question itself was inappropriate, he answered: "Correct." Marr also noted that Brown did not seem annoyed by the question after the interview had ended, and that it was only "after about an hour" that he realised he had caused an incident.[6]

Boris Johnson interview 2013[edit]

During Marr's absence from the programme, on 24 March 2013, guest presenter Eddie Mair interviewed the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, asking critical questions about Johnson's known past misdeeds - the subject of a forthcoming BBC documentary by Michael Cockerell - including lying to Michael Howard, his party leader, and offering to supply the name of a journalist to a friend who wanted to beat him up, Mair concluded his line of questioning with: "aren't you in fact - making up quotes, lying to your party leader, wanting to be part of someone being physically assaulted - you're a nasty piece of work, aren't you?"[10]

Patrick Wintour, political editor of the Guardian commented that Johnson's "reputation" took "a severe pounding",[11] while Labour-supporting Daily Telegraph blogger Dan Hodges said Mair's approach was a "disgrace".[12] Johnson himself said that Mair had done a "splendid job".[13] Johnson biographer and ConservativeHome contributing editor Andrew Gimson said the interview would have "very little [impact], I think it's a storm in a teacup actually" and that "people already knew what kind of a guy he was, and those who liked him will go on liking him".[14]

References[edit]

External links[edit]