Painting and Politics – Churchill

This is very good – Andrew Marr – who has mixed with high-level politicians frequently in his career as BBC political commentator – tackles the subject of what painting meant to Winston Churchill throughout that world leader’s life.

Screen shot 2016-06-26 at 00.07.37Still from the BBC programme

Here’s a clip from the programme – where Andrew engages with the same idea of “flow” which Martha Kearney was hearing about from the psychologist on craft making – in a recent craft programme on BBC – coincidentally viewed by myself around same time as the Andrew Marr programme.  Here’s Andrew:

“The capacity of art and its making to restore one’s mental health is something that I am coming to understand – and I’m sure Churchill did too. I’m really interested in the idea of ‘flow’ as the essence of ‘happiness’ if you like. And flow is, we’re told, being engaged with full intensity in something, doing it as much as you possibly can, as hard as you can – but something you find difficult and not easy, but you can do. So for me, it’s drawing. When I’m doing it, everything else just dissolves into mere colour and line and there is nothing except for colour and line in the world, ultimately. So that’s what it does for me, I’m sure it was the same for Churchill too.”


The one-hour programme is beautifully researched, going to places where Churchill stayed (includes former villa of Coco Chanel) and the South of France, and his very private painting studio at home in England. Andrew Marr is good, thoughtful company, and quietly comments that he has found art useful himself in his recovery from a stroke, which adds an authentic air of depth to his musings. And like the best of commentators, he leaves you intrigued and desperately keen to find out more about the subject he’s been talking about.


Whole programme to view here:


This documentary is available to view on BBC i-player, my favourite TV ‘station’ until end of June 2016.


The programme was shown first in August 2015, but I managed to miss it – so I’m very glad it’s available to see this year.


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