How do you start your day?


I wake up with Good Morning Scotland and listen to it in bed. Then I get up, go downstairs and it’s the Today programme.

Are you a news junkie?

Yes, I have to have a newspaper in my hand every day. I range from The Telegraph to The Guardian with The Times in between.

How do you switch off ?

True Detective. I’m not a huge detective drama fan but it has a Twin Peaks feel to it, which I like. Both Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey are a real pleasure to watch.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Climbing into bed with a box set. There are only so many times you can watch The West Wing so I’m now catching up with The Good Wife. Also, the virtue of doing BBC arts programmes means sometimes I can see things ahead of time, which is terrific.

Childhood favourite?

I wasn’t allowed to watch a lot of television and never late at night. I remember being in the bath with my younger brother, trying to spell e-m-e-r-g-e-n-c-y so we’d be allowed to stay up to watch Emergency Ward 10.

Were your children subject to the same rules?

Yes, they didn’t watch lots and lots of TV. Now they’re 22 and 23 so their viewing habits are way out of my purview. They’ve introduced me to Family Guy, and Homeland was a family appointment to view.

Have you embraced social networking?

I find Twitter fun. I’m not on Facebook because I’m quite private – once you hit Facebook, you splatter your life about.

How about reality TV?

I can’t really be bothered. I’m a Celebrity... would have my attention for three minutes.

In the past you’ve turned down Strictly – have you reconsidered since dancing to Thriller on Newsnight last Halloween?

No! There’s no room for manoeuvre.

After 20 years of presenting Newsnight, are there still guests who unnerve you?

You always have to be on your mettle and it’s always exciting. There are tons of interviews I’d gladly erase from my CV – like a bad-tempered exchange I once had with Michael Portillo.

You’ve just published your first novel. How did you find the time?

I wrote much of it on my commute: I took the train from Glasgow to London instead of the plane, which allowed me three and a half uninterrupted hours. Other times I’d shut myself away for days.

Are you as tough a critic when it comes to your own prose?

Oh yes. I’m quite self-critical.

The Review Show is one of the few television programmes that caters for bookworms – would you like to see more?

I have to be diplomatic because there’s going to be a big announcement about BBC Arts and all sorts of new arts programmes for television. There’s a huge appetite for books – look at the way that book festivals are burgeoning – and I hope the BBC will always aim to reflect that.

What do you make of Sean Connery and David Bowie wading into the Scottish independence debate?

They’re perfectly entitled to say what they want to say. Obviously, I’ll never say which way I’m going to vote but I think the whole debate is hugely exciting. I will certainly be voting.

Quickfire Q&A

Call the Midwife or Game of Thrones? Oh, that’s difficult… Game of Thrones

EastEnders or Coronation Street? Neither

Rugby or football? Rugby

University Challenge or Pointless? Pointless

Radio 4 or Radio 2? Radio 4. I particularly love From Our Own Correspondant

Kirsty Wark hosts Newsnight, Friday 10:30pm BBC2. Her book, The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle, is published in hardback by Two Roads at £14.99


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