At the 2009 BAFTA awards
|Born||Andrew William Stevenson Marr
31 July 1959 1
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
|Education||Trinity Hall, Cambridge|
|Occupation||Journalist, presenter, political commentator|
|Notable credit(s)||BBC News
The Andrew Marr Show
|Spouse(s)||Jackie Ashley (m. 1987–present)1|
|Children||1 son and 2 daughters|
Andrew William Stevenson Marr (born 31 July 1959)1 is a Scottish journalist and political commentator. He edited The Independent (1996–1998), and was political editor of BBC News (2000–2005). He began hosting a political programme—Sunday AM, now called The Andrew Marr Show—on Sunday mornings on BBC One from September 2005. In 2002, Marr took over as host of BBC Radio 4's long-running Start the Week Monday morning discussion programme .
In 2007 he presented a political history of post-war Britain on BBC Two, Andrew Marr's History of Modern Britain, followed by a prequel in 2009, Andrew Marr's The Making of Modern Britain, focusing on the period between 1901 and 1945. In 2010, he presented a series, Andrew Marr's Megacities, examining the life, development and challenges of some of the largest cities in the world. In early 2012 he presented The Diamond Queen, a three-part series about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.3 In late September 2012, Marr began presenting Andrew Marr's History of the World, a new series examining the history of human civilisation.
Marr was born on 31 July 1959 in Glasgow, Scotland,5 to Donald and Valerie Marr, his father being an investment trust manager. Marr was educated in Scotland at Craigflower Prep School, the independent High School of Dundee and at Loretto School,1 also an independent school in Musselburgh, East Lothian, where he was a member of Pinkie House. He went to read English at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, graduating with a first class honours degree.56
Marr joined The Scotsman as a trainee and junior business reporter in 1981. He became a parliamentary correspondent for the newspaper in 1984, moving to London at this time, and then a political correspondent in 1986. During this period, Marr met the political journalist Anthony Bevins, who became Marr's mentor and close friend. Bevins was responsible for Marr's first appointment at The Independent as a member of the newspaper's launch staff.
Marr left shortly afterwards, and joined The Economist, where he contributed the weekly "Bagehot" political column and ultimately became the magazine's political editor in 1988. Marr has remarked that his time at The Economist "changed me quite a lot" and "made me question a lot of my assumptions".9 He admits that while working at The Economist he earned himself the jocular nickname ‘Tearound Tessa’ because of his enthusiasm for trips to the canteen on behalf of his colleagues.10
Marr returned to The Independent as the newspaper's political editor in 1992, and became its editor in 1996 during a particularly turbulent time at the paper. Faced with price cutting by the Murdoch-owned Times, sales had begun to decline, and Marr made two attempts to arrest the slide. He made use of bold 'poster-style' front pages, and then in 1996 radically re-designed the paper along a mainland European model, with Gill Sans headline fonts, and stories being themed and grouped together, rather than according to strict news value. This tinkering ultimately proved disastrous. The limited advertising budget meant the paper's re-launch struggled to gain attention, and when it did, it was mocked for reinterpreting its original marketing slogan 'It Is – Are You' to read 'It's changed – have you?'.
At the beginning of 1998 Marr was sacked. According to one version of events he was sacked after refusing to implement a further round of redundancies. The author and journalist Nick Cohen writes that Tony Blair's director of communications, Alastair Campbell demanded that David Montgomery, The Independent's publisher, sack Marr over an article which compared Blair with his predecessor John Major. Blair, in the offending article, had written "On the day we remember the legend that St George slayed a dragon to protect England, some will argue that there is another dragon to be slayed: Europe." Marr's offence was to suggest Blair was speaking in bad faith, and that the phrase "some will argue" used weasel words to create distance from an otherwise xenophobic article.11
Three months later he returned to The Independent. Tony O'Reilly had increased his stake in the paper and bought out owners Mirror Group. O'Reilly, who had a high regard for Marr, asked him to collaborate as co-editor with Rosie Boycott, in an arrangement whereby Marr would edit the comment pages, and Boycott would have overall control of the news pages.citation needed
Many pundits predicted the arrangement would not last and two months later, Boycott left to replace Richard Addis as editor of the Daily Express. Marr was sole editor again, but only for one week. Simon Kelner, who had worked on the paper when it was first launched, accepted the editorship and asked Marr to stay on as a political columnist. Kelner was not Marr's "cup of tea", Marr observed later, and he left the paper for the last time in May 1998.12
At the BBC
Marr wrote as a columnist for The Daily Express and The Observer before being appointed BBC Political Editor in May 2000. Like his predecessor-but-one John Cole and his famous herringbone overcoat, he soon developed a trademark style, characterised by much gesticulation, as sent up in the comedy impersonation programme Dead Ringers where the impressionists use ridiculously long plastic arms when portraying him. He also became known and widely praised for his ability to describe the background to Westminster gossip and intrigue and explain to viewers and listeners how it would affect their lives. A great believer in the view that "politics matters", Marr championed the democratic process and saw it as part of his role as Political Editor of the BBC to help make politics meaningful and relevant for many people who tended to see politics as the preserve of a remote, largely male and middle aged Westminster clique.citation needed
Among his personal scoops as Political Editor were the second resignation of Peter Mandelson, and the interview in late 2004 in which Tony Blair told him that he would not seek a fourth term as Prime Minister should he win the forthcoming general election. Marr was criticised for some of his on air statements during this period. John Pilger claimed that Marr "rejoiced at the vindication of Blair who, he said, had promised 'to take Baghdad without a bloodbath'" during the second Iraq war in March 2003. Pilger has attacked Marr further over an interview with Tony Blair, in which Blair was promoting his memoirs. Pilger is critical towards Marr for not questioning Blair on whether he had colluded with George Bush to invade Iraq and for not bringing up the legality of the invasion.13
During his time as political editor Marr assumed various presentational roles, and announced in 2005 that following the 2005 General Election, he would step down as Political Editor to spend more time with his family. He was replaced as Political Editor by Nick Robinson. In September 2005, he moved to a new role presenting the BBC's Sunday morning flagship news programme Sunday AM, known as The Andrew Marr Show since September 2007;14 the slot was previously filled by Breakfast with Frost and hosted by Sir David Frost. Marr also presented the BBC Radio 4 programme Start the Week until his illness in 2013, but may return as the programme's regular host.15
In May and June 2007, the BBC broadcast Andrew Marr's History of Modern Britain. He presented the series of five one-hour documentaries chronicling the history of Britain from 1945 to 2007. Unsold copies of the book of the series, a best-seller, were recalled in March 2009 by publishers Macmillan when legal action was taken over false claims that domestic violence campaigner Erin Pizzey had been a member of The Angry Brigade terrorist group.1617 According to her own account, in a Guardian interview in 2001, Pizzey had been present at a meeting when they discussed their intention of bombing Biba, a fashion store, and threatened to report their activities to the police.1819 Damages were paid to Pizzey and Marr's book was republished with the error removed.2021
Marr has written several books on politics and journalism, notably state-of-the-nation reflection The Day Britain Died (2000) and My Trade: A Short History of British Journalism (2004). The former was a three-part television series shown after Newsnight on BBC Two from 31 January to 2 February 2000. He has also written several articles for the British political magazine Prospect.citation needed
In 2008, he presented the prime time BBC One series Britain From Above. The following year, he contributed a three-part series called Darwin's Dangerous Idea to the BBC Darwin Season, celebrating the bicentenary of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his theory of evolution. He played a small role as himself in a Doctor Who episode, "World War Three"; reporting Slitheen entering 10 Downing Street, he was noted as himself in the credits. In late 2009, BBC Two broadcast his six-part television series on British politics in the first half of the 20th century Andrew Marr's The Making of Modern Britain.22
In September 2009 on the Sunday before the Labour Party conference in Brighton, Marr interviewed Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Towards the end of the interview, Marr told Brown he wanted to ask about:23
|“||Something everybody has been talking about in the Westminster village... A lot of people in this country use prescription painkillers and pills to help them get through. Are you one of them?||”|
The Prime Minister responded: "No. I think this is the sort of questioning which is all too often entering the lexicon of British politics." Marr was later heavily criticised by Labour politicians,24 the media and fellow political journalists for what was described as a vague question which relied on its source being a single entry on a political blog.25 In a later interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy of Channel 4 News, John Ward, the author of the Not Born Yesterday blog, admitted that he has no proof to back up the claim.26
Following the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on 8 April 2013, Marr narrated a memorial documentary, Margaret Thatcher: Prime Minister.29
|Wikinews has related news: Andrew Marr angers bloggers, describing them as 'inadequate, pimpled and single'|
Marr has written about the need to remain impartial and "studiously neutral" whilst delivering news reports and "convey fact, and nothing more".30
In the Daily Telegraph he claimed to be a libertarian when discussing his conflicting views on smoking bans.31 However, writing in The Guardian, he said "And the final answer, frankly, is the vigorous use of state power to coerce and repress. It may be my Presbyterian background, but I firmly believe that repression can be a great, civilising instrument for good. Stamp hard on certain 'natural' beliefs for long enough and you can almost kill them off. The police are first in line to be burdened further, but a new Race Relations Act will impose the will of the state on millions of other lives too."32
At an October 2006 BBC seminar discussing impartiality, Marr highlighted alleged bias within the BBC. He stated: "The BBC is not impartial or neutral. It's a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities, and gay people. It has a liberal bias, not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias."3334
Marr spoke at the Cheltenham Literary Festival on 10 October 2010 about political blogging. He claimed 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."35
Marr has helped support the Sense-National Deafblind and Rubella Association, and was the face of a Sense direct marketing appeal. He has also been involved with the charity Common Purpose UK.citation needed Marr is President of the Galapagos Conservation Trust.36
Marr lives in East Sheen, London, with his wife, the political journalist Jackie Ashley of The Guardian, whom he married in August 1987 in Surrey.6 She is a daughter of the Labour life peer, Lord Ashley of Stoke (1922-2012). The couple have a son and two daughters.37
On 8 January 2013 Marr was taken to hospital after suffering a stroke at home.38 He left hospital on 3 March and said he hoped to return to work later in the year.39 He appeared as a guest on The Andrew Marr Show on 14 April40 and returned twice to interview David Miliband and the prime minister, David Cameron before it was announced that Marr would return to presenting The Andrew Marr Show on 1 September 2013.
On 28 June 2008, Richard Ingrams reported in The Independent that Marr had been granted a High Court 'super-injunction' preventing disclosure in the media of "private" information, or the existence of the injunction. Private Eye had revealed the existence of the injunction earlier in the week, having successful challenged the need for its existence to be kept secret.41
On 26 April 2011, following legal action by Private Eye editor Ian Hislop, an interview with Marr was published in the Daily Mail, in which he revealed that the super-injunction had covered the reporting of an extra-marital affair with a female journalist.42 Hislop had filed a court challenge earlier in April 2011, and described the super-injunction as "pretty rank".43
He was considered for honorary membership of The Coterie for 2007.45clarification needed Marr has received two British Academy Television Awards: the Richard Dimbleby Award at the 2004 ceremony46 and the award for Best Specialist Factual Programme (for his History of Modern Britain) at the 2008 ceremony.47
- The battle for Scotland (1992)
- My trade: A short history of British journalism (2004)
- A History of Modern Britain (2007)
- Tools for peace (2007)
- The making of modern Britain (2009)
- The Diamond Queen: Elizabeth II and Her People (2011)
- A history of the world (2012)
- "MARR, Andrew William Stevenson". Who's Who 2013, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2013; online edn, Oxford University Press.(subscription required)
- Sawer, Patrick (19 February 2011). "Pigeonhole mix up lets slip Andrew Marr's £600,000 BBC salary". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- "The Diamond Queen". BBC Media Centre. BBC. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- "Andrew Marr to return to BBC Sunday show after stroke". BBC. 28 July 2013. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
- "Meet Andrew Marr". BBC Online. 13 April 2008. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
- Grice, Elizabeth (12 May 2007). "The view from Marr". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- Michael White "Robinson poached from ITN as BBC name successor to Marr", The Guardian, 21 June 2005. Retrieved on 28 April 2007.
- Politicians interview pundits: George Osborne and Andrew Marr, The Guardian, 26 September 2009
- Paul Vallely "Profile: Andrew Marr – On a roll: the BBC's all-action, 24-hour [...]", The Independent, 2 November 2002. Retrieved on 28 April 2006.
- A History of Andrew Marr
- Nick Cohen Cruel Britannia: Reports on the Sinister and the Preposterous, London: Verso, 1999, p.154
- Marr, Andrew (2005). My Trade: A Short History of British Journalism. London: Macmillan. p. 205. ISBN 978-0-330-41192-9.
- Pilger, John. "The BBC is on Murdoch's side". 30 September 2010. Retrieved 14 February 2011.
- Jones, Barney (26 September 2007). "What's in a name?". BBC News.
- Ben Dowell "Andrew Marr to return to Radio 4's Start the Week next week ten months after his stroke", Radio Times, 4 November 2013
- Jones, Sam; Kennedy, Maev (9 March 2009)."Marr book urgently withdrawn". The Guardian (London).
- "Marr's best-seller is taken off the shelves for 'legal reasons'". The Scotsman (Edinburgh). 9 March 2009.
- Rabinovitch, Dina (26 November 2001). "Domestic violence can't be a gender issue". The Guardian (London). Archived from the original on 11 March 2009. Retrieved 20 March 2009. "She was thrown out of the movement for informing on bombings by the Angry Brigade. 'I said that if you go on with this — they were discussing bombing Biba [the legendary department store in Kensington] – I'm going to call the police in, because I really don't believe in this'"
- "Campaigner accepts libel damages". BBC News. 1 April 2009. Archived from the original on 4 April 2009. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
- Adams, Stephen (1 April 2009). "Andrew Marr's publisher pays 'significant' damages to women's campaigner". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- Dolan, Andy (9 March 2009). "Marr's pulped 'fiction': BBC star's history bestseller withdrawn after legal fears". Daily Mail (London).
- Gibson, Owen (21 April 2008). "Comedies have the last laugh at Baftas". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 22 May 2008.
- "'I'm not dependent on painkillers': Under-fire Brown hits out at questions over his eyesight". Daily Mail (London). 28 September 2009. Retrieved 11 October 2009.
- "Mandelson Slams 'PM On Painkillers' Rumour". Sky News. 28 September 2009. Retrieved 11 October 2009.
- Thompson, Damian (28 September 2009). "Gordon Brown and the pills: what was Andrew Marr thinking?". The Daily Telegraph (London). Archived from the original on 25 October 2009. Retrieved 11 October 2009.
- Guru-Murthy, Krishnan (28 September 2009). "'Brown on pills' blogger admits he has no proof". Channel 4 News. Retrieved 11 October 2009.dead link
- "The Diamond Queen". BBC. 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
- "OU on the BBC: Andrew Marr's History of the World". Open University. 10 September 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
- Plunkett, John (9 April 2013). "Lady Thatcher TV tributes draw fewer than 3m viewers". The Guardian (London).
- Marr, Andrew (2004). My Trade: A short history of British Journalism. Macmillan. p. 279.
- Marr, Andrew (28 March 2007). "Britain could be in for some turbulent times". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- Marr, Andrew (28 February 1999). "Poor? Stupid? Racist? Then don't listen to a pampered white liberal like me". The Guardian (London).
- Leonard, Tom (27 October 2006). "The BBC's commitment to bias is no laughing matter". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- Douglas, Torin (18 June 2007). "Does the BBC have a bias problem?". BBC News.
- Plunkett, John (11 October 2010). "Andrew Marr says bloggers are 'inadequate, pimpled and single'". The Guardian (London).
- "Ambassadors - About Us". Galapagos Conservation Trust. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
- Vallely, Paul (14 May 2005). "Andrew Marr: Relentless rise of Renaissance Man". The Independent (London). Retrieved 6 September 2010.
- "BBC's Andrew Marr suffers stroke". BBC News. 9 January 2013. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
- "Andrew Marr leaves hospital after stroke". BBC News. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
- "Andrew Marr says he's lucky to be alive after stroke". BBC News. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
- "Richard Ingrams' Week: You try challenging an editor armed with a writ". The Independent (London). 28 June 2008. Retrieved 29 June 2008.
- "BBC's Andrew Marr 'embarrassed' by super-injunction". BBC News. 26 April 2011. Archived from the original on 26 April 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
- "Marr super-injunction 'pretty rank'". BBC News. 26 April 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
- "Panorama: Andrew Marr". BBC News Online. 24 September 2002. Retrieved 18 April 2010.
- Martin Bright, New Statesman, 22 January 2007
- "Meet Andrew Marr". BBC News Online. 3 May 2006. Retrieved 28 October 2009.
- "Bafta TV Awards 2008: The winners". BBC News Online. 20 April 2008. Retrieved 18 April 2010.
- "Journalists honoured for contribution to industry and society". The Sentinel. 11 July 2009. Retrieved 18 April 2010.
- Andrew Marr at the Internet Movie Database
- Press Office — Andrew Marr — BBC biography
- 'Marr quits as BBC political chief' — BBC News'
- TV is less up itself than newspapers — The Guardian
- Transcript – The Big Idea – BBC, 1996
- Andrew Marr, Esq Authorised Biography, Debrett's People of Today
|Editor: The Independent
1996 – January 1998
|Editor: The Independent
With: Rosie Boycott
|Political Editor: BBC News