PASSED/FAILED: Kirsty Wark

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The Independent Online
Kirsty Wark, 42, presents 'Newsnight' and 'One Foot in the Past'. She runs a television production company in Glasgow and is co-author of 'Restless Nation'.

Primary? After a year of mornings only at Mrs Tulloch's nursery, at the age of four I went to a state primary school in Kilmarnock in the west of Scotland. I was strapped for cheekiness, but I remember how wonderful the teachers were and I can still remember their faces.

11-plus? I passed, but my parents sent me to a private school in Ayr. Wellington School for Young Ladies was misnamed because it was, between 1966 and 1972, a Scottish version of St Trinian's. We rolled our school skirts up, listened to Leonard Cohen and smoked exotic Passing Clouds cigarettes. We wore grey felt gloves - in the summer.

Balloon debate? At the end of my first summer term, the whole school crammed into the gym to hear five sixth-year girls make their arguments to be one of the Three Men in a Boat. One girl, with a panama hat stuffed up her dress, started her pitch. No sooner were the words "pregnant unmarried schoolgirl" out of her mouth, than she was frogmarched away by horrified teachers.

House-proud? Wellington was divided into houses; I was in Marie Curie. You used to get yelled at and humiliated by the head of your house at the weekly meeting if your bad behaviour got you an "order mark", which counted against the whole house.

The Prime of Ms Kirsty Wark? Had I not been in the choir, the debating society and the drama society, and had I not edited the school magazine, with all its pretentious poems and essays, I might have worked harder. But it was hard work playing Mr Sowerby, the undertaker in Oliver!

Your level best? I passed eight O grades [Scottish equivalent of GCSEs]. I took five highers [A-levels], passing in French, English and history; I failed maths and Latin.

Stirling service? At the age of 17, I set off for a wonderful fine art course at Stirling University - in 1972, the year the Queen visited. The demonstration that took place was not anti-monarch but anti- university; there had been rent increases for students but a lot of money had been spent on the Queen's visit.

Edinburgh on the rocks? After a year, I switched to Edinburgh University - a practice which is not as unusual in Scotland as in England - for an Honours degree in Scottish studies, which was then very unusual. This was a four-year course from which you graduated with an MA. By the end of the second year I had credits in several subjects, but I narrowly failed on the Scottish history paper. I passed it easily in the autumn, but I had not met the honours requirement: a pass in every exam by June.

An honourable compromise? Despite the protestations of several lecturers, the professor of Scottish history would not bend and I graduated at the end of three years with only a BA - something that rankles still.

Glittering prizes? I recently got the Bafta Journalist of the Year award. If there were an Award for Persistent Nosiness, I'd get it

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