Andrew Marr: ‘I’d want Vladimir Putin to play me in a film about my life’

Andrew Marr. Picture: PA/Ian West.

Andrew Marr. Picture: PA/Ian West. - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Andrew Marr, 55, is a former BBC political editor and now presents weekly politics programme The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One. The father-of-three, who lives with his wife, moved to Primrose Hill from south west London in 2013 after suffering a stroke.

Russian President Vladimir Putin. Picture: Chris Jackson/PA Wire.

Russian President Vladimir Putin. Picture: Chris Jackson/PA Wire. - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

What brought you to Primrose Hill?

I met my wife here, almost three decades ago, so we’ve always known it. We moved to south west London to bring up children but once I had had my stroke, I decided that Richmond Park, around which I could no longer run or walk, was simply too far from the centre of things. There’s lots of things I can’t do, but I can enjoy parties, theatre, music and galleries: being in Primrose Hill means, simply, that I enjoy life more.

You have a day off to spend as you wish in the area, what would you get up to?

I now have a painting studio in a kind neighbour’s house on the other side of Primrose Hill, so I would walk across the hill – good for my physio! – and then spend a happy few hours painting and chatting. After that I would head off to Primrose Hill Books to find something to read and mooch off to the Greenberry Café to watch the world go by. In the evening, I’d probably go out to eat. But where? L’Absinthe, Lemonia, The Queens, Michael Nadra, La Collina...There is almost too much choice. So I’d give up and have a quiet pint of Camden IPA in the Princess of Wales as usual.

Is there anything about Primrose Hill which you would like to see changed or improved?

We have too many shuttered-up shops. I don’t know whether rents are simply too high, or if it’s a problem of rates, but something is badly wrong. We need a really good, old-fashioned baker. A cheese shop would be nice. And I’d like to see a small, non-invasive statue of William Blake on the top of the hill.

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As guest editor of the Ham&High for a day, what one local issue would you most like to see reported?

As guest editor of your fine newspaper, I’d like to line up the politicians and officials in charge, and really cross-question them about the costs, all the costs, and the benefits of HS2.

A film is set to be made about your life. Which actor would you choose to play you and why?

I’d like to be played by Vladimir Putin because there is – people say – some kind of facial resemblance, and also because it might keep him out of trouble for a while.

Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?

The most inspiring person I’ve ever met is David Hockney - a brave man, and a kind man as well as an artist of genius - and also Adrian Mitchell, of Hampstead, no longer with us, to whom the above also applies.

If you had to write your own epitaph, what would it say?

His abilities were less, but only slightly less, than his ambitions.

Andrew Marr was in conversation with Tim Lamden.