IT was Andrew’s Day on the BBC yesterday. Not St Andrew’s Day, that was 24 hours before. This was another Andrew. Lots of Andrews, indeed.

There was Andrew Marr, who was interviewing Boris Johnson on The Andrew Marr Show. Andrew Marr wanted to know if Mr Johnson would appear on The Andrew Neil Interviews, as Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had done. The PM said he was happy to sit down with any interviewer called Andrew from the BBC. Which is not the same as saying he will go on Neil’s show.

He could have been pledging to sit down with Andrew Kerr, Andrew Black, Andrew Thomson, Andrew Anderson, Andrew Picken … and that’s just for starters at BBC Scotland. Auntie has lots of sons called Andrew. She may even have daughters, too. Why, at this very minute, Emily Maitlis or Emma Barnett could be changing their names to Andrew to secure that coveted one to one with the PM.

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It may seem odd for the media to be gazing at its own navel in this way, but as anyone who lived through The War of Jennifer’s Ear and Bigotgate will attest, it is not an election proper until journalists have joined in the fighting. Channel 4 felt the heat last week after replacing a no show Boris Johnson with an ice sculpture in a climate change debate. Not to be outdone, the BBC managed to get itself embroiled in argy bargy over its Andrews.

At first, it seemed Auntie had sorted matters. Appear on Neil’s show, the BBC told Downing Street, or forget about Marr. It was a bold position which duly crumbled on Saturday afternoon when the BBC said that following Friday’s terrorist attack at London Bridge it was now “in the public interest” for the PM to be on Marr. Cue outrage from Labour and others, accusing the corporation of caving in.

Come 9am Sunday, all eyes that were open and focussed were trained on Marr’s show. Given the pressing national interest the producers surely would not keep us waiting. Oh, but they did, forcing the viewer to sit through interviews with Labour’s Shami Chakrabarti and the Lib Dems’ Chuka Umunna. It was like turning up to see the big movie only to be hit with eight hours of adverts.

Finally, at 47 minutes past the hour, it was on. Johnson v Marr, the Englishman against the Scotsman. There was a lot at stake. Not the security of the nation or the country’s economic prospects. This was far more serious than any of that. This was about ego. Mr Johnson had to show that he was not scared of blokes called Andrew, and a bloke called Andrew wanted to show him that he jolly well should be scared of blokes called Andrew.

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Consider, if you will, how Marr might have felt as the row over the Neil show raged. Both big beasts in the jungle of political journalism yet there he was, by implication the softer option in comparison with his fellow countryman. If that was not the case, why would Downing Street say yes to his request but “we’ll let you know” to Neil’s? This was as much about Marr v Neil as it was Marr against Johnson.

It turned out to be a marvellously tetchy encounter, handbags and harrumphs at dawn stuff, or as near to dawn as we could get without knocking the Match of the Day repeat out of the schedule.

Marr began on the London Bridge attack, asking how a dangerous criminal could be released after 8 years in jail. Labour’s fault, claimed Mr Johnson, they brought in a law on automatic early release in 2008. But you have been in power for ten years, Marr replied, you could have changed things. I’ve been in office 120 days, said Mr Johnson.

So it went on. The two were like characters in a cartoon fight. As verbal fists and feet flew, dust clouds enveloped the pair. Every now and then a speech balloon would pop up. “Ten years, kapow!”; “120 days, crunch!” Thump, thump, thump.

Marr changed tack. “You’re trying to avoid my questions by carrying on talking,” he charged. This was a notable variation on the Mishal Husain line, in which the Today presenter, suffering a similar barrage of bluster from Johnson, told him to “please stop talking”. It did not do her any good, and the same held true for Marr as he proceeded to go down a shopping list of topics from the NHS to library closures, getting nowhere. “You are chuntering!” he told Mr Johnson. “You keep interrupting me!” the PM snapped.

The minutes were sprinting away like Bullingdon boys after a spot of bother at a local restaurant. Would Marr ask the big question, the one the media was interested in most of all. To wit: would the PM go on Neil’s show? Johnson dodged, weaved, and schmoozed, saying Neil could not have a better agent than Marr (ouch), before making his “I’ll talk to any BBC Andrew” declaration.

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Marr, running over time, brought the interview to an abrupt end. The cameras focussed on the two men while the credits rolled. Usually in these situations there is a bit of chat, even if it is only the host asking what the guest fancies for breakfast. No such bonhomie here. Marr shuffled his papers. Mr Johnson, job done according to his reckoning, watched him. You could have cut the atmosphere with an industrial chainsaw. So much for Sundays being a day for peaceful reflection.