Looking at the transcript of Andrew Marr’s interview with Boris Johnson.
I think there are a few reasons why it was a frustrating exercise...
1. the context. By agreeing to do the interview because of the London Bridge terror attack, the BBC effectively agreed to put half the interview on the subject Johnson wants to talk about. The element of surprise goes...
2. Marr is a great broadcaster but he sometimes doesn’t really ask questions. Saying “There is nothing in your manifesto” is less powerful than asking “Why is there nothing in your manifesto?” / “How do you know parliament will agree to something not in your manifesto?”
3. Similarly when Marr interrupted he was often making a point (“You’ve been in power for ten years!”), rather than reminding Johnson of a pointed question. Easier to waffle if no pointed question. Hence it quickly became a slanging match.
4. Marr moved on to new subjects rather than turning screw. The fact that Stephen Barclay and Johnson disagree on what the Brexit deal means was skated over. Andrew Neil pinned Corbyn by asking “is it anti Semitic to say X” repeatedly. Marr could have done same on Islamophobia.
To give another example - when Johnson half-accepted to do an interview with Neil, Marr rushed onto a question about Trump - rather than extracting a definitive answer.
6. I can totally understand why Marr got frustrated. But it’s rarely a good look. Compare with Neil/ Corbyn where it’s Corbyn who gets shirty.
7. All this easy to say in hindsight and from a literal armchair. I realise Marr’s show usually generates news by touching on lots of issues. Johnson is clever and didn’t spend the interview scoring own goals a la Prince Andrew / Corbyn.