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Boris Johnson: the Irresistible Rise

Boris Johnson: the Irresistible Rise

Mon Mar 25, 9-10pm, BBC2

By Gabriel Tate
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It’s Ian Hislop who nails the appeal of this remarkable man as ‘the only feelgood politician in Britain’. And it’s true. However abhorrent you may find his views, dismaying his extra-marital dalliances, or terrifying the thought of him getting the top job, the mayor of London makes people laugh. And this makes people underestimate him.

While Johnson’s ruthlessly revealing childhood goal of becoming ‘world king’ might be beyond him, don’t count him out for PM. In fact, as Boris concedes, ‘if the ball came loose from the back of the scrum…’. Bravo Michael Cockerell for prising this confession out of a man who is famously reticent on the subject of ambition – it’s one of several telling peeks behind the public persona. As well as Boris, Cockerell works his formidable contacts book to bring Conrad Black, Ken Livingstone and Rachel Johnson on camera to discuss the man’s life and career, from peripatetic childhood to profile-raising triumphs (and embarrassments) at Eton and Oxford, through his uncanny ability to shake off scandal while a jobbing journalist, and on to City Hall.

The caveats and haziness mount up as Cockerell’s interrogation approaches the present day, but as both sober political analysis and uproarious popular entertainment, it succeeds handsomely.
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