Kirsteen Anne "Kirsty" Wark (born 3 February 1955) is a British journalist and television presenter, best known for fronting the BBC Two's news and current affairs programme Newsnight since 1993, and its weekly arts annexe Newsnight Review, now relaunched as "The Review Show".
Wark was born in Dumfries to Jimmy Wark, a solicitor, and Roberta Wark, a schoolteacher. Wark was educated at Kilmarnock Grammar Primary and subsequently Ayr's independentWellington School. After studying history at the University of Edinburgh, Wark joined the BBC in 1976 as a researcher for BBC Radio Scotland and, in 1982, moved to television. She produced BBC Scotland's lunchtime political programme Agenda and eventually became a BBC television presenter, including a presenter of Breakfast Time. In 1988 she was one of the first reporters to cover the Lockerbie disaster. In 1990, Wark demonstrated her distinctive line of questioning in an interview with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Wark was a presenter on BBC2 arts programme The Late Show (from 1990-3) and the heritage programme One Foot in the Past.
She has presented Newsnight since 1993. She married the television producer Alan Clements (born c. 1961) in September 1989, after meeting on the BBC Scotland programme Left, Right, and Centre. They have a daughter (born 1990) and a son (born 1992). They founded independent TV production company Wark-Clements in 1990, which in May 2004 was merged with fellow Scots broadcaster Muriel Gray's Ideal World to form IWC Media. In December 2005, Wark and Gray severed their connections with IWC Media after RDF Media bought the company.
She replaced David Baddiel as host of the BBC Four programme The Book Quiz in 2008 and hosts a BBC Two quiz show, A Question of Genius, which started in March 2009. In 2011 she was chosen to host a BBC food quiz show entitled A Question of Taste, pitting two teams of food fanatics against one another.
In June 2006 she interviewed Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter. She made a cameo appearance in the Doctor Who TV series in the 2008 episode The Poison Sky. In 2006, she presented a series of programmes on BBC television about countries on the continent entitled "Tales from Old Europe".
Wark participated in the 2011 series of Celebrity MasterChef where she reached the final and narrowly lost out to Phil Vickery. On 1 January 2012, Wark will appear in a cameo role as herself in the revival of the BBC's Absolutely Fabulous.
In January 2013 she appeared in a special series of The Great British Bake Off. She was listed as one of the fifty best-dressed over 50s by the Guardian in March 2013.
In June 2007, Wark clashed with Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond in an interview over his response to a memorandum of understanding between the UK Government and Libya regarding prisoner exchanges. Salmond feared that this could include Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who was convicted by a court in Scotland, for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie.
The BBC, after having received 120 formal complaints, issued a public apology to Salmond regretting the "rude and dismissive" tone of the presenter. A spokesman for the First Minister said that Alex Salmond accepted the BBC's apology. According to Newsnight editor Peter Barron, some viewers questioned the premise of the interview; that the new SNP government appeared to be picking a fight with London. Other viewers thought that Wark's line of questioning was too aggressive and therefore discourteous. The biggest controversy, however, regarded how the interview ended. According to Barron, time constraints forced Wark to end the questioning abruptly, leading him to perceive her behaviour as "rude and dismissive."
Television critic A. A. Gill has criticised her hosting of the "embarrassingly rubbish" Newsnight Review, describing her as a "taut and trite Edinburgh cultural stamp collector".