After Frost, a comfortable morning on the sofa with Marr

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The Independent Online

There's a comforting, almost 1950s, feel about Andrew Marr's face. It's a television face only in the sense that he's got satellite dishes attached to the side of it. It gives hope to schoolchildren everywhere, however unlikely-looking they are, that they could make it in the great, gay world of the visual media. Someone called Moira was reading the news and in her own sweet way she was equally odd-looking. Had she just come from the dentist?

Putting these quibbles to one side allows us space for more quibbling. We had the new American ambassador. He told us he had been to somewhere called "Edinboro". The people were very hospitable. But then Britons are all very hospitable. (I'm bloody not). When Andrew asked him about British criticism of George Bush he said something that deserves anthologising: "You know, Androo, I think that's more of a media issue. The British people I've met support his visionary leadership."

You can take as long as you want to hoot with derisive laughter at this ambassadorial balderdash. But in the meantime, Andrew has got up and walked across the room, walked back and is now talking to Kevin Spacey. He's an American actor and runs one of our theatre companies. He's putting on Richard II. "It's about a king who becomes a man." That's the start of the elevator pitch Shakespeare must have used to sell the show to the backers. Kevin is playing Richard, and in an English accent. "I've been told, 'Don't worry; if you have the emotional life right and it makes sense it'll sound all right,' " he said. That must be right. Look how well it worked for Dick Van Dyke.

Two probing questions: "You pop over to Hollywood and do Lex Luthor for the next Superman film. What's that all about?" I thought I could be getting ready for church. "The political side of your life, does that still exist?" was another question. Yes, it does exist, Tony Blair came to see him in a play recently.

Then, blow me down, in a hark-back to Brian Walden and David Frost - the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself was there, live on our Sunday morning screen. Gordon Brown was doing that strange, sinister thing with his mouth which almost bares his teeth. "What's your instinct about the effect of oil prices on the economy?" Andrew asked. But it's no use asking Gordon questions. He hears the key word (in this case "oil") and immediately starts putting out his key messages on the subject. They all ended up in a little group on and round the sofa - two journalists, the host, Kevin the actor, Chancellor of the Exchequer and ... John Williams playing the guitar.

It's on at 8.30 next week instead of 9am, so make sure you don't miss the start.