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Kirsty Wark will step down as lead Newsnight presenter after the next election, BBC reveals


Kirsty Wark will step down as a lead presenter of Newsnight after the next election, the BBC has announced.

The corporation said the 68-year-old will continue to present BBC shows including The Reunion, Start The Week on Radio 4, as well as documentaries.

Wark said: ‘Today I am celebrating 30 years presenting Newsnight.

‘It is an enormous privilege to be involved in such a rigorous, creative programme with a wonderful, talented, bunch of colleagues – actually many bunches over the years, led, most recently by Esme Wren, followed by Stewart Maclean.

‘There’s not a day when I don’t look forward to coming to the office, and every day I learn something from the team about all manner of things, from aspects of American foreign policy to how to make a great mojito.

Kirsty Wark said: 'Last year I spoke to both to the director-general Tim Davie and to Stewart and signalled my desire to end my three-decade run on the show after the next election, and that's the plan'

Kirsty Wark said: ‘Last year I spoke to both to the director-general Tim Davie and to Stewart and signalled my desire to end my three-decade run on the show after the next election, and that’s the plan’

‘Last year I spoke to both to the director-general Tim Davie and to Stewart and signalled my desire to end my three-decade run on the show after the next election, and that’s the plan.

‘When the time comes it will be a massive wrench.

‘However, I’ll be leaving Newsnight but not the BBC. I’ll still be presenting The Reunion and Start The Week on Radio 4, TV documentaries too, as well as finishing, finally, my third novel.

‘There are exciting times ahead.’

Wark is the longest-serving presenter of the show, according to the BBC, having started in 1993.

The Scottish television presenter has reported on eight prime ministers along with interviewing arts figures such as the playwright Harold Pinter in 2006.

Wark conducted an interview with Lord Macpherson following his inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence, and in America interviewed victims of Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro.

She also reported and presented from Scotland after the 1996 Dunblane massacre, when gunman Thomas Hamilton shot dead 16 children and their teacher in the village primary school before turning the gun on himself.

BBC director-general Tim Davie thanked Wark after she announced she would be stepping down as lead Newsnight presenter after the next election.

In a statement published by the BBC, he said: ‘Generations of Newsnight viewers have benefitted from Kirsty’s authority, her razor-sharp insight and her journalistic flair.

‘She sets the standard for engaging yet authoritative presenting. I speak on behalf of the whole BBC when I thank her for the past 30 years.

‘I’m delighted the BBC is not losing Kirsty altogether when she steps back from Newsnight, and look forward to seeing and hearing her beyond the busy political year ahead.’ 

The corporation said the 68-year-old will continue to present BBC shows including The Reunion, Start The Week on Radio 4, as well as documentaries

The corporation said the 68-year-old will continue to present BBC shows including The Reunion, Start The Week on Radio 4, as well as documentaries

The editor of BBC Newsnight also said working with Wark has been an ‘absolute joy’.

In a post to X, formerly Twitter, Stewart Maclean, wrote: ‘Here at Newsnight we’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of @KirstyWark’s first programme as presenter, with a classy cake to mark the moment.

‘Working with Kirsty is an absolute joy – she’s one of the longest serving presenters in news and definitely one of the nicest.

‘Kirsty’s announced that she’ll step down from Newsnight after the next election. We’ll miss her massively when she does.’

Maclean added that despite being involved with the programme for such a long time, Wark ‘still bounds into the office each day with the energy and enthusiasm of someone arriving for their very first shift’.

According to the BBC’s latest annual report, Wark earned £280,000-£284,999 in the 2022/23 year.

She has also made documentaries on social media and its impact on young female mental health, the menopause, stately homes and pioneering Scottish women – along with a Newsnight special for the NHS’s 75th anniversary which asked if the health service is ‘fit for the future’.

Alongside an extensive career in journalism, the TV anchor has also written two novels and been crowned top celebrity baker on the 2013 Great Comic Relief Bake Off. 

Wark has interviewed a variety of prominent politicians and cultural figures including former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, Australian author Germaine Greer, Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker and The Libertines’ Pete Doherty. 

Wark began her career at the BBC when she was accepted into the broadcaster’s graduate trainee scheme in the 1970s. 

She started at BBC Scotland as one of two graduates on a one-year radio research assistant contract and moved to TV after a spell on Radio 4’s The World At One. 

Wark began her career at the BBC when she was accepted into the broadcaster's graduate trainee scheme in the 1970s

Wark began her career at the BBC when she was accepted into the broadcaster’s graduate trainee scheme in the 1970s

She worked as a producer on Reporting Scotland and went on to host the current affairs weekly Seven Days before she joined Newsnight in 1993 as a presenter. 

In 2001, she became a regular presenter of Newsnight Review and subsequently The Review Show. 

The BBC axed long-running arts programme The Review Show in 2018, which had been on air in different formats for more than 20 years and was also presented by Martha Kearney along with Wark. 

Wark has fronted documentaries to do with social media and taboos surrounding the menopause and has also explored the stories around some of Scotland’s most influential female pioneers in the BBC series The Women Who Changed Modern Scotland. 

Wark currently presents radio programmes The Reunion and Start The Week on BBC Radio Four. 

The journalist has won several industry awards, including the British Academy Scotland Awards 2013 special achievement gong for outstanding contribution to broadcasting. 

In 2014, Wark was nominated for one of literature’s less popular prizes – the Bad Sex In Fiction Award – for The Legacy Of Elizabeth Pringle. Her novel lost out to The Age Of Magic by former Booker Prize winner Ben Okri. 

The University of St Andrews has also awarded Wark an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt), the highest postdoctoral degree awarded in the fields of arts, humanities and social sciences. 

Her former Newsnight colleague, Lewis Goodall, wrote on X: ‘She doesn’t need me to say it but @KirstyWark is simply one of the v best TV presenters in history and a trailblazer at that.

‘Also prob the nicest person I’ve ever worked with, never cynical, fizzing with ideas every day, putting colleagues 35 years younger to shame. What a run.’



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