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The Making of Merkel with Andrew Marr

Sat Sep 21, 8-9pm, BBC2

Angela Merkel was a young communist. She lived in a squat for a while. And she spent most of her twenties in an hallucinogen-addled blur. Only one of these statements is incorrect, and that, in itself, is quite surprising.

But there’s plenty about this timely documentary which feels slightly unexpected. Even ten years ago, the primacy of the woman once nicknamed ‘the grey mouse’ would have seemed unlikely. But, as Andrew Marr demonstrates, there’s been a steely, even machiavellian streak apparent throughout her career. And it’s led to a situation where Marr can reasonably describe her as ‘mattering more to our future than 95 percent of British politicians’.

This film follows her evolution from the Red side of the Berlin wall, via a detour into quantum chemistry to her current position as ‘an unlikely political colossus’. Like Margaret Thatcher, she’s often benefitted from being underestimated; unlike our own iron lady, she’s generally welcomed constructive compromise. A crucial early twenty-first-century story, engagingly told – it’s good to see Andrew Marr back to doing what he does best.