Balls' tears at Antiques Roadshow
Published 21/11/2011 | 17:52
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has shown his softer side by revealing that he cries when he watches Antiques Roadshow.
Other emotional triggers for the Labour MP, often seen as one of Parliament's biggest bruisers, include the film The Sound of Music and a recent documentary on stammering, which he was affected by as a child.
In an interview with Total Politics magazine, Mr Balls also revealed some of the fashion blunders of his youth, admitting to having sculpted his hair like the flamboyant New Romantic band A Flock of Seagulls.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has previously admitted to crying regularly to music. But Mr Balls said that it was something quite different which prompts his tears.
"I cry at the Antiques Roadshow," he told Total Politics. "You know, when someone comes in with some family heirloom and it's often the last bit in the programme and the expert says, 'Do you know how much this is worth? It's valued at X thousand pounds'. And they say, 'I'm amazed it's worth that much, but it means more to me than money.' Incredibly emotional."
He also admitted to shedding a tear at the scene from The Sound of Music when : "When the father brings the Baroness back from Vienna... and the children sing The Sound of Music in harmony, with a guitar.
"He walks in and sings with them. He's coming to terms with the death of his wife and music being back in the household. That's the most tear-jerky moment of world cinema. All our kids not only know the words but they know all the harmonies."
Mr Balls revealed his love for Elvis Presley, whose Can't Help Falling in Love was played at his 1998 wedding to fellow shadow cabinet minister Yvette Cooper, with the whole congregation singing along.
And he told the magazine how his musical tastes led to some slightly questionable fashion decisions in his 1980s schooldays: "I used to wear a collarless shirt... (and I had) Flock of Seagulls hair. I used to have to comb it down."