Published  15/01/2002
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Kirsty Wark at BBC2 Newsnight Review (Arts)

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One of the traumas of 2001 was, for UK viewers jealously treasuring the almost uniquely intelligent comment garnered by Mark Lawson in the chair of the weekly half-hour long survivor of ‘The Late Review’ (long lamented), the peripatetic replacement of the genial but inquisitorial Lawson from time to time by the schoolmarmish cheerleader Kirsty Wark. While her Edinburgh Festival patronisations were perhaps acceptable on grounds of local representation, her know-all mediation of the Lawson team was worse even than the tail end of Craig Brown’s captaincy of Scotland. The high quality contributions of Germaine Greer and Tom Paulin were noticeably missing when Wark took the chair. Ready transferability of interview skills from politics or current affairs to the booby-trapped field of the art and literary criticism is virtually unknown. It is amazing that an elephant trap has not yet been set up by the team.

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