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Stroke forces Marr to smile less

Broadcaster Andrew Marr has said that he has been forced to smile less because of his stroke.

Marr, 54, who recently returned on-screen to present The Andrew Marr Show, said that it would be two years before he had recovered.

The presenter, who walks with a stick and has a brace on his ankle which he operates with a remote-control device when he stands and walks, told the Radio Times that he had been "self-conscious" about his comeback.

"I normally use my body a lot when I'm talking. I wave my arms about. But I can only wave one arm around, so I'd fall over if I did it too much, and also my face is slightly less mobile, so I'm less inclined to smile and sort of make strange facial gestures as I work. I'm conscious about that as well," he said.

He told the magazine that a common cold nearly delayed his return to air following the stroke in January.

"All week I had been sneezing and coughing, and I thought I'm not sure I can go through this show without blowing my nose and sneezing. That was actually what I was worrying about, not the stroke," he said.

Marr is fronting a new documentary, The Making Of Merkel With Andrew Marr. But he said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel could not have been elected in Britain because voters are too concerned about looks.

"I really like that she doesn't care about her image," Marr said. "When she met Tony Blair she told him, 'I've got no charisma and no leadership qualities, by the way'. We could never elect someone like this in our country - I mean look at how (Home Secretary) Theresa May has struggled in our system, even she was attacked for being dour and not sexy enough!"

He said that the documentary was the type of programme which "I think the BBC is for" and the "kind of film we should be doing more of," adding: "It's a film I've been trying to make for a very long time. They said, will people watch it? I think they will."

Asked whether he had changed following the stroke, he said: "You suck up experiences more intensely and you live the day more. And you're much more aware of all the people all around us who have got really, really difficult disabilities who are looking after their parents, perhaps, and who frankly most of the time, like most people, I simply didn't see. I wasn't thinking about them. That has changed. I do see them now, I do think about it."

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