Wednesday, 4 November 2009

J'en ai Marr?

More Marr. Couldn't help it - sort of rubber-necking car crash TV.

The undoubted highlight tonight was his Lloyd George turn. Introduced as probably the most brilliant orator British politics has ever seen, a charismatic wizard, and evidently handsome to boot.

So what better way to give one an impression of his oratory than to ask an unprepossessing little Scotsman to declaim parts of his speeches whilst windmilling his arms around, squinting his eyes and adopting an accent last heard on It Ain't Half Hot Mum?

It became great fun in the end to match Marr's impressions with their real inspiration. His Charlie Chaplin was based on Arthur Mullard; Lord Willougby de Broke on Ray Allen's Lord Charles puppet; Ben Tillett on the Ben Kingsley character in Sexy Beast; Winston Churchill on Winston Churchill.

For some reason he didn't do Edward Carson in a cod-Irish accent (based on Gerry Adams? Terry Wogan? Graham Norton?). Perhaps he was worried about offending Irish people. Thank God no West Indians have been called on to make historically significant speeches so far (Lenny Henry's Deakus character?)

Another highlight was his re-enactment of a suffragette riot in Manchester. All on his own! A whole riot! I haven't seen anything as ambitious since a friend of mine at university attempted to explain the Six Day War through the medium of interpretive dance. Bravo!

I think I caught a few more eccentric opinions though I can't be certain - I was too transfixed by the spectacle to really take in what was being said.


Recusant said...

Nothing worth while was being said. It has actually got worse than I thought it would. Does the man actually believe that nothing worthwhile was produced or existed in this country before Emily Dickinson or that mad eugenecist and Hitler admirer, Marie Stopes?

Gaw said...

I did catch a couple of gems and I do think it's got worse. The caricatures aren't confined to the impressions: full of lazy, lefty ideé reçu.

Given that, I must focus more on what's being said as it seems to have as much potential for hilarity as the visuals. It's turning into compulsive viewing.

jonathan law said...

After enduring Charles Moore at his Lord Snootiest, courtesy of your link, I watched last night's prog with a strong inclination to enjoy it: however, it soon became clear that this was just not going to happen. Marr's gurning and funny voices kept reminding me of someone but I couldn't think who; at last it came to me in a sudden unwelcome flashback -- yup, rubber-faced eighties comic Phil Cool (whatever happened to him?).

Worse still, and unbelievably, it became clear that rather than posing a distraction Marr's frantic mannerisms were not distracting enough. The script was simply awful. As far as I can see, the problem wasn't "left-wing bias", whatever that might look like, so much as a complete lack of nuanced argument or understanding (you might say that TV history doesn't do nuance, but Starkey, Schama, and others have shown that it can be done without losing populist appeal). Rather, Marr's narrative jerked forward, in so far as it progressed at all, via a series of crudely seesawing oppositions -- all more-or-less crass variants on the theme of Frock-Coated Fuddy-Duddies versus the Disruptive Forces of Change. There's also the strange lack of empathy or even curiosity that others have remarked on: if the past is indeed another country, then Marr seems to regard its inhabitants as Funny Foreigners from a school-of-Peter-Mayle book
-- oafishly unsophisticated or stubbornly self-deluding in their refusal to see things from our
21st-century viewpoint.

(Sorry, too many long sentences.)

Gaw said...

Spot on, I think Jonathan: lazy more than lefty.

The Phil Cool comparison is a beauty: from now on I shall always think of Andrew Marr as the 'rubber-faced Andrew Marr'.

I found the Charles Moore piece strayed further into self-parody than usual. He and Marr make very worthy adversaries!

Gadjo Dilo said...

Why was Andrew Marr doing this? I'm utterly confused. Though your mention of "Lenny Henry's Deakus character" brought back some great memories of when TV was good.

Brit said...

I've just noticed the Smiths reference.

Gaw said...

I've always wondered whether Johnny Marr was his real name. If it wasn't he executed a brilliantly apposite and clever pun.

However, I wasn't punning on Johnny Marr's name with this title.

I wonder if anyone picked up on a totally crap pun I did a couple of weeks ago? 'Cravats: swains and more' was a pun - so bad I still can't quite credit it - on Cravath, Swaine and Moore, probably the top Wall Street law firm. No relevance. I just like puns, the worse the better. As you may have noticed: nick berry, just beautiful.