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Friday, 2 August, 2002, 09:50 GMT 10:50 UK
Marr's hands-on guide to a big story
Andrew Marr
The key is in the hands
It is apparently the way to judge whether a political story is a big deal or just a fuss about nothing.

According to BBC viewer Jodie Flavell, the trick is to watch closely when political editor Andrew Marr is on screen.


He is so excited and interested that he has to gesticulate to make every point as clear as he possibly can

Jodie Flavell
If he waves his arms around a lot, you can bet that he's covering one of Westminster's lighter stories.

And if the gestures - what Mr Marr himself calls "finger woggling and palm flapping" - are under control, it's likely that he's reporting on something pretty grave.

Jodie, 18, wrote to the Radio Times this week offering her Andrew "Marr-ometer" theory.

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "He is so enthusiastic about everything, he is so excited and interested that he has to gesticulate to make every point as clear as he possibly can.

"But when the news is more serious it is as if the director has to cut him off at the elbow to make sure that it is just delivered as straight news and it's serious.

"And his personality doesn't really come through, it just has to be the news story and that's it."

'Waggling and woggling'

Mr Marr himself believes there is probably some truth in it.

Andrew Marr
A little more action: A lighter story?
"I am a little bit bemused by it but I think there may be something in it," he said.

"If you are heavily excited and exuberant about something and you want to convey it quite quickly, certainly in my case it's natural that I am sort of bouncing all over the place.

"When it is a much more serious story, about terrorism or some ghastly thing happening, you have to make an effort to be graver about it.

"That might mean that the studio comes in tighter (with the camera) to ensure that I am not waggling and woggling about."

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Marr-ometer
How the hands tell the story
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