Captain Moonlight's Notebook: Kirsty the Scot goes Warkabout in London

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The Independent Online
IT'S NOT just the made-for-television cherry-dark hair and honey-coloured skin that make Kirsty Wark - Newsnight's new presenter starting in October - so memorable. Her name is made for headlines: Wark on Water, Wark on By, A Wark on the Wild Side.

Wark is used to it, and has bigger things to think about. Like Muriel Gray and Sheena McDonald, she is one of a growing band of Scotswomen in the media who are nationalists without being Nationalists; women completely comfortable with their identity. She grew up in Glasgow, did Scottish Studies at Edinburgh University and has become a household name with her political interviews for BBC Scotland.

Her gripping interview with the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1990 brought her to the attention of the television moguls in London. That, and a solid curriculum vitae with three years presenting BBC's Breakfast Time and a host of Scottish election specials, combined with Late Show slots.

'People are getting so short- changed by politicians,' she says. 'You have to ask the questions that people want answered.' Newsnight's editor Tim Gardam agrees. 'She wears her authority lightly. She has a familiarity and an independence that means she can ask the 'come-off-it' question without being offensive or obtuse.'

She plans to visit London once a week to present an average of 50 Newsnight shows a year. 'I know I'll be on that 23.35 sleeper from Euston every week. I'm quite thirled to Scotland,' she says, using a word little known south of Berwick.

(Photograph omitted)

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