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Marr was publicising a new series of films and books when he compared Ellis with British actress Diana Dors after the pair starred together in film, Yield to the Night, a crime drama released in 1957. He said: “Diana Dors and Ruth Ellis were in the same film more or less when the Queen came to the throne.
Diana Dors comes Britons answer to Marilyn Munroe. Ruth Ellis, just a bit less talented and a bit thicker frankly, ends up manipulated a guy, shoots a very, very abusive boyfriend and is the last woman in Britain to be hanged.
“And that death eventually ends capital punishment in Britain after a big campaign.”
But after an angry response from viewers, The One Show host Alex Jones said to the politics journalist: “The internet has erupted because you called Ruth Eliis thick apparently.”
Marr responded by clarifying: “She wasn’t as clever as Diana Dors.”
One Twitter user said: “Nasty of #AndrewMarr to call the poor Ruth Ellis ‘a bit thick’.”
Another said: ”Did Andrew Marr really just say that Ruth Ellis was a bit thicker than Diana Dors? What a bizarre turn of phrase.”
And a third said: “I can’t believe that Andrew Marr described Ruth Ellis as ‘Thicker’ This is not acceptable language.”
Another wrote: “As a journalist who understands the nuances of many complex situations, I’m disappointed that Andrew Marr was unable to apply this to his description of Ruth Ellis on tonights show.”
And a fifth said: “Ruth Ellis wasn’t as ‘clever’, Andrew Marr? She was a woman who was physically and sexually abused by a long line of men. It’s got nothing to do with being less ‘clever’ than another woman and everything to do with the fact she was a ‘victim’ of violence.”
But another leapt to his defence by saying: “It does not alter my perception of Andrew Marr by one iota.”
Marr was appearing on The One Show to talk about ‘The New Elizabethan’, a BBC series covering the last 70 years and social changes through this period.
He said he “it’s our story during the Queen’s reign”.
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“Big rows about transgender, very 2020. I’ve started it about a transgender story on the day of the Coronation.”
Marr was talking about British climber James Morris reached the top of Everest before becoming Jan.
The New Elizabethans starts on BBC2 next Thursday at 9pm.
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