13 January 2013

Wishing Andrew Marr a speedy recovery

Experienced performers at literary festivals come equipped with a few anecdotal bonnes bouches to amuse their audience and make them feel that they are getting something extra for the price of the ticket. For example, last year I heard David Aaronovitch marvelling at the way a lefty radical student at Cambridge in the late 1970s known as Red Andy had become Andrew Marr, royal biographer. Coincidentally, it was Marr’s critical remarks about bloggers at another literary festival that had led to his first mention in a post here over two years ago. Since then he has been labeled in posts several times, usually in connection with BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show, most recently last June when Marr interviewed Tony Blair. Like most people, I was shocked to hear that Marr had been hospitalised on 8 January following a stroke (cerebrovascular accident) and I hope he makes a rapid and full recovery.

As a mere consumer of broadcasting, I wonder about the wisdom of explicitly linking a television series to a particular individual. Of course, there are numerous precedents for doing so: Parkinson and Breakfast with Frost, The Andrew Marr Show’s predecessor, for example. But Newsnight, Panorama and numerous others soldier on, their presenters having come and gone over the years. Perhaps it needs a very high profile presenter to pull in top rank politicians and entertainment personalities for a programme starting at 9 am on a Sunday and get an audience of two million. It also demands a very able and personable interviewer to cover both types of interviewee in succession. I can’t imagine any other programme finishing up with David Cameron on a sofa next to Rupert Everett as The Andrew Marr Show did on 6 January (below, the impressionist Rory Bremner is at far left).

UPDATE 16 January

From the London Evening Standard on 15 January Londoner’s Diary feature:
Things are looking better for Andrew Marr, the Londoner is happy to report.  A senior Radio 4 colleague tells me he is sitting up in bed eating and, more importantly, hungry for news from the outside.   Apparently he has even asked his radio colleagues to get him some DVDs [sic] of Radio 4 output, and one of his requests was for the Desert Island Discs recording of philosopher Isaiah Berlin, made in March 1992.
… Adds a Radio 4 colleague: “We very much hope to be welcoming Andy back to the airwaves — we think it may well happen now.”

UPDATE 1 March

The BBC have reported that Andrew Marr has left hospital to continue his rehabilitation at home and is expected to return to work later this year.

UPDATE 14 April

Andrew Marr appeared on The Andrew Marr Show this morning as a guest in a pre-recorded segment discussing the Thatcher legacy and his stroke and subsequent rehabilitation.

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