Trial by television for Marr as presenter returns to the screen
Friday 29 April 2011
Andrew Marr returns to BBC screens on Sunday morning just five days after he outed himself as having obtained a super-injunction to stop the media revealing allegations of his extramarital affair.
The presenter will conduct two high-profile interviews, with David Cameron and Nick Clegg live on his Andrew Marr Show. Discussions are under way as to how he should deal with the political furore this week over privacy law – with the current thinking being that he should not go out of his way to refer to his own situation.
BBC sources say it will be "business as usual" for Marr, whose admission that he used the courts to gag the press prompted accusations of hypocrisy. The married broadcaster, who once forced Gordon Brown to deny rumours about his mental health on his programme, is aware that several Sunday newspapers are seeking to reveal further details about the affair which he sought to suppress.
As usual, Marr will open the BBC1 programme by displaying the day's front pages. He will review the most prominent stories with guests including the actress Maureen Lipman.
A friend said: "They will discuss the newspaper stories of the day as usual. Whatever comes up, Andrew will take it on the chin."
There was no question that Marr would duck out of the broadcast, although he is believed to be disappointed by the response in some quarters of the media after he admitted he was "embarrassed" by the gagging order, which was twice challenged by the satirical magazine Private Eye.
Marr is said to be upset that comments he allegedly made last year about the circumstances surrounding his affair, and the behaviour of the other party, were printed in a newspaper gossip column.
Private Eye's editor, Ian Hislop, said earlier this week: "As a leading BBC interviewer who is asking politicians about failures in judgment, failures in their private lives, inconsistencies, it was pretty rank of him to have an injunction while working as an active journalist."
Marr's show will also feature music from the band Noah & The Whale, whose latest album includes a single titled "L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.". The House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow, yesterday met the Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, who has been campaigning on super-injunctions. Mr Hemming was seeking the Speaker's permission to raise two cases in the Commons in which he believes that super-injunctions have been used to inhibit free speech. One involves Vicky Haigh, a horse trainer who received a courts summons because of remarks she made at a public meeting in the Commons.
The other involves a television personality, referred to in court only as "AMM", who has obtained a temporary injunction, pending a trial, preventing claims that he had resumed a sexual affair after he remarried.
Mr Hemming will suggest that, since AMM has not taken the case to court, the exisiting privacy rules do not stop him talking about it.
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