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Andrew Marr says polite interviewing style key to getting good stories

Andrew Marr said criticisms about his "polite" interviewing technique are unfounded because he creates a large amount of news stories due to garnering the most interesting quotes from an interviewee.

The political TV journalist and host of his own BBC current affairs programme said those who compare his softer style to his peers, including Andrew Neil and Robert Peston, "don't really understand the nature of interviewing and how it works".

Marr, 57, told the Radio Times: "I would say, look at the sheer number of news stories that come out of my show: it's vastly more than anybody else's.

"I think my job is to get the person in the studio to say the most interesting thing that he or she can say on the big subjects on that day."

He added: "I think you get that by being polite."

Marr said he tries hard to conceal the effects of the stroke from which he suffered in 2013 while fronting his weekly programme, because he does not want the TV audience to put more importance on his health than on the topic of the day.

"You don't want people to think, 'ooh, how is his left hand doing?' You want them to be thinking about the questions I am asking and more importantly, the answers I am or am not getting," he said.

Marr is to appear in a new documentary following his road to recovery after his stroke four years ago, entitled Andrew Marr: My Brain And Me.

He said: "One of the things I said early on was that I didn't want to become a poster boy for stroke recovery.

"I don't really like talking about these things, or certainly being filmed. I didn't enjoy watching the film.

"But when you are in public life, and something bad but very common happens to you - 1.4 million people are surviving strokes at the moment - then you have a kind of obligation to share your experience, particularly if it's positive, and is going to encourage other people."

Despite his ongoing recovery, Marr is keen to keep working and challenging himself in different ways, mainly with painting, about which he is also releasing a book.

He said that suffering the stroke gave him "a sense of mortality".

"I was very aware that I could have been dead at 53. In a way it's like being shot into old age earlier than usual," he said.

"You are physically frailer than you would normally be in your mid-50s, you have less energy and therefore the available amount of time matters more to you.

"Paradoxically - as everyone says the stroke was caused by me working too hard - I sort of want to cram a lot of things in."

:: This week's Radio Times is on sale today.

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