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Smallscreen

Marr and Neil were exemplary; Paxman, Wark and Snow were insufferable. Overall, the TV election was won by purveyors of self-important obfuscation

By David Herman   June 2005

If the 1997 election was Godfather I, 2005 was Godfather II—darker, more complex. Did British television do justice to this complexity?

We all have our favourite television election moments. Diana Gould haranguing Mrs Thatcher in 1983 about the sinking of the Belgrano; Portillo losing his seat in 1997; Mandelson losing his cool in 2001. This is politics as carnival: rejoicing at the humiliation of the mighty. Making sense of complexity, it is not.

But it is not on election night that we expect the hard work of illuminating issues to be done. That should be done in the weeks running…

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