Scots presenter Kirsty Wark to leave Newsnight after 30 years

The 68-year-old will continue to present BBC shows such as The Reunion and documentaries.

Scots presenter Kirsty Wark to leave Newsnight after 30 years following next general election PA Media

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.

“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.

Mr Davie 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 news follows reported claims of Newsnight facing financial cuts and the departure of its editor Mr Maclean to become BBC World News Content’s Africa bureau chief in Nairobi.

While sharing images of a cake featuring a depiction of Wark and balloons in the shape of the numbers three and zero, on X, formerly known as Twitter, Mr Maclean wrote that working with her was an “absolute joy”.

He also wrote: “Kirsty’s announced that she’ll step down from Newsnight after the next election. We’ll miss her massively when she does.

“Kirsty’s been central to so much of the programme’s coverage over the last three decades, but 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 a Newsnight special for the NHS’s 75th anniversary which asked if the health service is “fit for the future”.

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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