Celebrities choose the TV moments that have shaped their lives. Broadcaster Kirsty Wark joins Brian on the sofa to talk about the TV that shaped her.
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The magic box of delights.
As kids, it showed us a million different worlds,
all from our living room.
-That was state of the art!
I loved this.
Each day I'm going to journey through the wonderful
world of telly, with one of our favourite celebrities...
-We're going into space.
-It's just so silly.
..as they select the iconic TV moments...
-Oh, my God, this is the scene.
..that tell us the stories of their lives.
I absolutely adored this.
Some will make you laugh.
Don't watch the telly, Esther, watch me!
Some will surprise.
No way, where did you find this?
Many will inspire.
It used to transport us to places that we could only dream about.
And others will move us.
I am emotional now.
Today we look even more deeply.
Why wouldn't you want to watch this?
So come watch with us,
as we rewind to the classic telly that helped shape those
wide-eyed youngsters into the much-loved stars they are today.
Welcome to The TV That Made Me.
My guest today is one of Britain's best-loved journalists
and broadcasters. It can only be the one and only Kirsty Wark.
Kirsty started off in radio before switching to our TV
screens in the '80s,
anchoring countless current affairs shows
and ground-breaking programmes such as The Late Show and Newsnight.
The TV that made Kirsty includes a drama series that showed
young women could be independent.
Soon every mother will be unmarried.
A catchy bread commercial that stuck in Kirsty's mind.
And an iconic interview with the Iron Lady.
You were seen as a hectoring lady in London who has not achieved
any popularity in Scotland at all.
Today the expert interviewer becomes the guest.
So, I want you to relax. How do you feel about being interviewed?
Actually, I think it can be quite fun. I'm looking forward to it.
Well, today is a celebration of TV.
TV that shaped you, probably made you the person you are today.
Some classic moments that you haven't seen for many years.
But first up we are going to have a rewind the clock
and have a look at a very young Kirsty Wark.
Kirsty Wark was raised in the Ayrshire town of Kilmarnock.
The family consisted of dad Jimmy, a lawyer,
mum Roberta, a teacher, along with Alan, Kirsty's younger brother.
After attending university in both Stirling
and Edinburgh, Kirsty joined the BBC in 1976,
starting off in radio,
before gracing our screens in regional news and current affairs.
The nation then woke up to her on the morning show, Breakfast Time.
And over the years she confirmed her place as one of Britain's
most respected political journalists.
So, what was it like looking back?
-Yes. It was a lovely childhood.
I grew up in a great, it was a kind of country industrial town,
which, very sadly, doesn't have all the big industry it used to have.
It was a lovely childhood. A childhood with a lot of freedom.
That was the great thing.
You could go out in the country on your bike,
I was away from nine in the morning to five at night.
There'd be no question in the summer holidays of contacting
your parents, you just did that.
That seems, to me, completely inconceivable now.
I think that's a terrible shame. It's probably absolutely fine,
but I think, when my kids were growing up,
if I thought they were on their bikes in Glasgow from
nine in the morning, until six at night and hadn't contacted me,
I'd be worried. That's ridiculous, isn't it?
So did you have much time to watch TV as a youngster?
-I can remember watching, I remember TV being rationed.
Those early, early childhood moments were obviously all black and white.
The only time you saw colour was when you went to the pictures.
-Well, we're going to have a look at your earliest TV memory now.
Here it is.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E, starring Robert Vaughn and David McCallum.
On a street in the East 40s, there is an ordinary tailor's shop.
The series focused on McCallum, a Soviet agent, Illya Kuryakin,
and Vaughn as his American counterpart, Napoleon Solo.
The show's witty writing
and fast pace always offered up high-end spy thrills.
These two leading men really were the super sleuths of the '60s.
They both work for U.N.C.L.E.
U.N.C.L.E is an organisation
consisting of agents of all nationalities.
It's involved in maintaining political
and legal order anywhere in the world.
This was extraordinary for me, because all you
heard about as a child was, you know, about Russia being different
and people not being able to come out from behind the Iron Curtain.
And then here was this, kind of,
early detente between an agent from the West and an agent from the East.
In this tense scene, Napoleon Solo is trying to smuggle a medal
engraved with the names of enemy agents.
When Ricardo Montalban's agent, Satine, emerges from the fog, Solo
has to make a nail-biting decision about whether he is friend or foe.
We loved it. We loved the espionage. I loved looking at America.
-I loved looking at New York.
-What age would you have been?
Um, I think I was probably about seven or eight.
So very young, still.
I can remember my father had razor blades, and they came
in a little cream box, and we turned these into pretend transistors.
We used to play The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
-In the streets and in the park near where I was raised.
-So, who would you be?
-Well, I don't know, I hoped I would be David McCallum,
-because I think he was the more handsome of the two.
-Yes, I agree.
Yeah, I think you would have carried that off very well.
It has replayed, hasn't it? I think it has been out...
-And I think they should replay it again.
-Yeah. You'd watch it?
-I'd watch it.
-I mean, it looks... I mean, it was a classic, wasn't it?
-Of its era, you know.
-It was. And these were two...
Robert Vaughn and David McCallum were big actors.
-And it was an incredibly well-made show.
-Shall we carry on watching?
-Yeah, let me see.
-Let's have a little look.
Now over this side and behind the posts. Go ahead.
The climax of this scene sees Napoleon Solo trying to evade
capture. This is typical Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Moody, tense, edge of your seat stuff that made it a hit on both
sides of the pond.
Robert Vaughn, who was in Superman, of course.
-Yes. And he was incredibly suave.
-But also, it was quite dark.
-I loved all that. It was actually quite scary.
They're not like Batman and Robin or something like that,
it was definitely a lot more sinister.
-And they had gadgets.
-Oh, you can't beat a gadget, can you?
Apart from the transistor, lots of other gadgets,
and that also played into this whole idea of espionage
-and childhood and secrets, "Reds under the bed", all that stuff.
-Not that my parents actually talked to us about "Reds under the bed", but we knew about it.
U.N.C.L.E. ended in 1968, but that wasn't the end of the road for the
smooth super-sleuth David McCallum.
In the '70s,
McCallum starred as the hot-headed Flight Lieutenant Simon Carter
in the grim and claustrophobic series Colditz, where we saw
Allied prisoners of war trying to escape the infamous Colditz Castle.
In the '80s, he starred alongside Diana Rigg in the Mother Love.
McCallum and Rigg played the warring divorced parents of the main
Then, in the '90s, he joined another brilliant British leading lady,
Susannah York, when he played local gambler John Grey in Trainer,
a drama set in the world of horse racing.
And in 2003, McCallum crossed the Atlantic
and returned to investigating,
becoming Donald "Ducky" Mallard in the hit American series NCIS.
-Kirsty, can you picture what your old sitting room looked like?
Maybe you're like this. I've got this uncanny ability to see
rooms as they were, so I can remember, um,
we had a kind of rust-coloured carpet
and we had a kind of bluey-green sofa.
And that actually had been my grandparents',
and Mum, I think, had had it covered at least twice.
Mum had also gone to classes for making lampshades in those days.
-And so these lampshades would really take you back, wouldn't they?
-These lampshades would take me back,
and she did all different sizes, all different colours.
And they looked fantastic, I mean, she was incredibly good at it.
Wait one moment, Kirsty, I've done it, I've created this for you.
-There it is.
-Oh, my God, you've got a Dimple bottle.
-We've got a Dimple bottle.
-And you've got a kind of '60s shade.
-We've got an awful '60s shade.
-Yeah, the Dimple bottle is beautiful.
That Dimple bottle... You're a 15-year-old.
My father loved good whisky, but... Do you know what, I think
-I might have to steal that from you.
Well, I'll put it on the side. Let's put that there.
-Look at that!
Come on, round of applause, please.
And it's got a little adjustable bit, so if you want to move
it around, have a look at something, then you just put it back on.
-There you go, that's great.
So, I want to take you back now to an earlier time.
This was a Mum and Dad favourite, this was.
Just tell me, does this hurt?
-Does it hurt here?
Oh, my, that's worst of all.
Dr Finlay's Casebook was a medical drama set in 1920s Scotland,
in the fictional town of Tannochbrae.
-Well, she's pulled a muscle, that's what she's done.
-I ken that.
Didn't I say that, Annie? I kenned it was a muscle I pulled.
You should ken that you're getting too old to do
the Highland Fling. You're no wee lassie any longer.
You might have to translate some of this.
The thing about Dr Finlay's Casebook was, it was kind of pawkie and
kind of kailyard, as we say in Scotland, it was a bit, um, it was funny.
We thought it was funny more than anything else.
It's the well, Doctor. It's the business of carrying the water.
That's what's been killing me, Doctor. Carrying the bucket.
You'll have to draw less at a time, won't you?
You'll just have to draw half a bucket instead of a full bucket.
-I cannae draw any at all.
-Why not, it's just outside the door, isn't it?
-Aye, but it's been closed since last fortnight.
-Did the cats fall down it?
No. It was Dr Snoddie.
He came and slapped a notice on it and closed it.
You made a date for that.
You just kind of sat down, together with people,
-and watched something and then discussed it.
-It became an event.
-It became an event.
Medical shows have always been a family favourite,
and we've had decades of great dramas based on the world of medicine.
Dr Finlay transmitted in the 1960s.
And then in the '70s, a young Linda Bellingham
appeared on our screens as nurse Hilda Price,
alongside James Kerry's Dr Baxter in General Hospital.
Believe it or not, Casualty has been on our screens since the '80s,
and is in fact the longest-running medical drama in the world.
Kevin Whateley and Amanda Burton brought us Peak Practice in
the 1990s, playing rural Derbyshire doctors
Jack Kerruish and Beth Glover.
And in 2004, Max Beesley's Bodies hit our screens.
A medical drama so good,
it made the Guardian's list of top TV dramas of all time.
But for Kirsty, Dr Finlay's Casebook will always have a special
place in her heart.
But it is interesting, because they were using not quite dialect, but...
-Not far off.
-Not far off. Do you know what that reminds me of?
That reminds me of something that came much later.
-Which was a great series. Which is When The Boat Comes In.
And that was that wonderful northern accent, the Newcastle accent.
And, again, showing a slice of life you didn't know about.
And that was also a fantastic drama.
But it came out of what my father's favourite programme really was,
Para Handy, a comedy about three men in a puffer in the Clyde.
The idea of long-running network dramas out of Scotland then
-was great. That's fantastic.
-What would I want with an umbrella?
It's not raining. I mean, look. Blue skies, not a cloud in sight.
Para Handy was the skipper of a small steamboat, the Vital Spark.
This screen adaptation of Neil Munro's book was
one of Scotland's first-ever sitcoms.
It is leaving a trail of devastation.
You know, there's prefabricated house in Glasgow that used to
be in Edinburgh.
That's what my father loved.
He loved all that dry humour. Porridge, Para Handy, these kinds of things.
So, did your parents encourage you to take an interest in the world?
Absolutely to take an interest in the world.
It wasn't just comedy that Kirsty's parents opened her eyes to.
They also encouraged her to take an interest in the news,
and one heartbreaking story from the 1960s really left its mark.
I was going to say, I'm very intrigued with your next clip.
It's a major event. A truly harrowing story
about the Aberfan disaster
reported by Cliff Michelmore.
He's reporting on the disaster here.
Never in my life have I ever seen anything like this.
I hope that I shall never, ever see anything like it again.
It was October 1966 when the colliery spoil tip above the mining
village of Aberfan slid and engulfed a farm, houses, and a school.
116 children and 28 adults died.
Cliff Michelmore was visibly shaken as he reported from the scene.
Only minutes ago, someone came down with a faint hope. They said
that they'd found a child.
And the child was underneath a blackboard
and they thought that the child was alive.
10 minutes before,
they brought out a whole pile of bodies
of 20 children
where the whole of this muck had run straight through
the whole of the classroom
and literally buried them.
Does it still move you?
It does and, you know, these were miners searching for their own
children and Cliff Michelmore was a tremendous reporter there
and he really absolutely kept his - as he should do - kept his head.
Only just, but I mean, that image of a child being lifted
out from under a blackboard and thinking the child was alive...
I mean, as a child at school, of course,
you couldn't imagine what that would be like, to have the whole
classroom engulfed and not only one classroom but several classrooms.
-The whole school.
-Wiped out and parents searching for the kids.
It was unbelievably sad.
And I watched that because that was the first time I'd
seen in the aftermath of this event cameras and reporters
talking about it on television, so it really stuck with me.
I think it carries a responsibility to be...
To be a straight arrow,
if you can, and I think he showed that kind of reporting.
He held it together and was crisp, was clear, didn't over-egg it,
because it's nothing that needed to be over-egged, it was
so horrific, but gave you clear fact about what had actually
happened, and that really, I think, gave me
an appetite to see what was going on in the world.
One of my great heroes was Joan Bakewell
and I can remember her reporting on television.
I can remember Late Night Line-Up, 24 Hours, Tonight.
All of these programs that I would
watch and they were really enjoyable.
I can remember Late Night Line-Up actually had arts material
on as well and all sorts of...
There was actually someone
sang at the end of the programme.
I can remember that as well, so I mean, I loved all that,
I thought that was a really...
A great way to kind of imbibe television.
This is a family favourite that you used to all laugh like drains at.
Ah, Minister. Allow me to present Sir Humphrey Appleby,
permanent undersecretary of state and head of the DAA.
Hello, Sir Humphrey.
Hello and welcome.
This is, of course, Yes Minister.
Stars Paul Eddington and Nigel Hawthorne were magnificent.
Dry, wry, and very funny.
Opposition is about asking awkward questions.
And government is about not answering them.
Well, you answered all mine anyway.
I'm glad you thought so, Minister.
They embodied the '80s attitude towards politics.
Poking fun at a world full of doubletalk and jargon.
..known as the permanent secretary.
Willie here is your principal private secretary.
I too have a principal private secretary and he is
the principal private secretary to the permanent secretary.
Directly responsible to me are ten deputy secretaries,
87 undersecretaries and 219 assistant secretaries.
Directly responsible to the principal private
secretary are plain private secretaries
and the Prime Minister will be appointing two parliamentary
undersecretaries and you'll be
appointing your own parliamentary private secretary.
Can they all type?
None of us can type, Minister. Mrs Mackay types.
She's the secretary.
I absolutely adored this and we did as a family
because it was just so accurate, so funny,
that you imagine the civil service being
so superior to the politicians, which I still think they are.
I think they think they are anyway, and they probably are.
And the actual civil service are the ones that are doing the hard graft,
the checking, holding things back, holding everybody to account and the
civil service are the high flyers
and they just watch the politicians come and go.
Yeah, and you think this was the beginning of it all.
I think this was the first real light that was shed on what
actually happens in Westminster.
So you watched this religiously?
Religiously. I loved it.
-Look at those performances.
They're just amazing.
Real division-one acting team, wasn't it?
-The dialogue was amazing.
I know, and you can watch them now and still laugh your head off.
Yes Minister was the catalyst for many political sitcoms and satires.
But it wasn't the first on our screens.
Only Fools And Horses creator John Sullivan brought
Robert Lindsay's young Marxist Wolfie Smith and his own
peculiar brand of politics to our screens in 1977 with Citizen Smith.
A decade after Wolfie, The New Statesman arrived,
when we were treated to Rik Mayall's
backbencher, Alan Beresford B'Stard.
Then, in 2003, Charles Prentice and
Martin McCabe came to our screens.
A pair of PR gurus played by Stephen Fry
and John Bird in the series Absolute Power.
And, of course, who can forget Doctor Who star
Peter Capaldi as Malcolm Tucker,
keeping everyone on their toes in the multi-award-winning
The Thick Of It.
So, have you ever met a politician that has reminded you of Yes Minister?
I think I've probably met lots of politicians that have.
I think the funny thing is, politicians,
the ones that are most confident of their brief,
and the better politicians, do not come with massive entourages
and are actually much more sort of straightforward.
The ones that are nervous about things always come
with about eight people
and they cram on to the side of the Newsnight set like this
and, of course, they have to come with one or two maybe
but some bring a whole kind of slew of people with them
and I always think that's just to shore up their confidence.
Ah, right, interesting.
And then you get the odd civil servant who'll come forward
and say things like "Now, now, you're not going to ask the Minister
"that" or, "What might your first question be?"
And it, I think, I'll just save that for the live broadcast because
there are certain people you would help along who'd never been on television before, not politicians,
if you were wanting to have an illuminating interview about
something that's not necessarily of national interest
and you need to get absolutely cut and dried answers
but when it comes to politicians, why would you?
I mean, they would-be media trained up to the hilt anyway, why
would you ever give them an inkling on what you're going to talk about?
-It's better for them to be on their mettle, to be honest.
And I think the ones who are on their mettle would much prefer it to be like that.
I mean, do you have a favourite sparring partner?
-Someone you really enjoy...?
-No, but I think...
From all political parties there are people you enjoy the cut and thrust with.
I mean, I always thought that Michael Portillo was a terrific
interviewee. He was a great person to interview.
He was very passionate about his subject.
"Go to any other country and when you've got an A-level you've bought it." Did you say that?
I think I did, and that's why I moved to correct the record immediately afterwards.
-Well, why did you say it?
-Because I meant to say, not in every other country would you
be able to say the same. That is quite easy,
if you're speaking off the cuff, to make that slip.
-I was trying to bring home...
-For a Cabinet Minister?
People do make mistakes, you know? You may even have made a slip of the tongue yourself on some
-occasion, I don't know.
-I'm sure I have but I'm not a Cabinet Minister.
So interesting, you know.
We're only conduits for what I think the audience wants to hear
and therefore what you're doing is you're going to work out what
you need to hear from that interview and a lot of the time you don't get it because politicians are adept
if they don't want to actually give you the answer
but it's your job to press for it.
I think it's what makes the British public frustrated, how they skirt around a question.
This is your must-see TV.
This is my room.
You and Avril may hire the marital couch
when you wish to sample the joys of marriage without its responsibilities.
-This is Take Three Girls.
And it was a fantastic drama.
-I'm one of the 7%.
Unmarried mothers in Greater London.
Not only was it fantastic,
it was also BBC One's first-ever colour drama, following the lives
of three young women sharing a flat in London.
You're frightfully clever, Kate, but you do confuse one, rather.
Oh, hell, what does anything matter?
He used to call this flat one of my assets.
Others were my eyes, my hair,
his unborn child, he knows, was one of my liabilities.
So you think a show like this what was
going on was very much of its time?
I think it was absolutely of its time.
It was 1969, I was 14.
So, you see, this was incredibly influential for me.
I loved it and I wanted to see it again. I would watch this again.
-Well, we'll give you the box set.
-Give me the box set.
If such a thing exists, give me the box set.
It was just at the time of women's liberation
and there was always, for me, the first kind of idea
about women's liberation, three girls sharing a flat together.
All the trials and tribulations of being on your own in the city.
Never missed an episode. I think it was only two series.
24 episodes, there were apparently, yeah.
I just thought it was incredibly entertaining.
-Do you think it was quite risque for the day?
I think it was quite risque but then the BBC have done lots of fantastic
stuff, Cathy Come Home... all sorts of stuff.
Kitchen sink dramas.
So, did you think that had an influence on your life?
It was this opening up of sort of the idea that women can do
anything and I think that a lot of the television started to
play to that idea.
Probably, television was actually quite, you know,
ahead of its time in that regard.
So, do you think it empowered you?
Erm, I think it was one of the things that entertained me
and made me think that women could definitely be independent.
-Definitely be independent.
-And you was, you was very independent.
I was independent, yeah.
I was pretty independent, yes, yeah, because I'd gone to school when I was very young,
when I was four and so when I went away to university I was just 17.
So, did you think it would be fun to sort of share a flat with three others?
Yeah, and very quickly I did, I went to university when I was 17
-and I was in a flat when I was 18.
-And where was that?
That was in, in the outskirts of Edinburgh.
In a place called Barnton which is a very, quite a well-to-do place
but they'd built these slightly damp flat-roofed apartments which
we rented and we stayed there for kind of three years.
What was you studying?
I was studying first English and Scottish Literature
and History Of Art and then I went on to do Scottish Studies
and studied History, European Mediaeval History, Architecture, all sorts of things.
And then I was lucky enough to be selected for the graduate
entry programme, I applied for the graduate entry programme
for the BBC to be a researcher and that's how I came into the BBC.
I was 21.
-So starting off where at the Beeb?
-I was in radio as a researcher.
And I worked in Radio And Current Affairs and I worked in kind of,
um, General Factual, Entertainment, General Factual Programmes
and then I went up to Inverness to do everything.
You know, actually report, produce, tidy up.
It was a fantastic learning process. Absolutely fantastic.
One of the happiest times I ever spent at the BBC
and it's been a long time.
Time now for a little bit of a break as we take
a look at one of your favourite TV commercials, Kirsty.
# She flies like a bird in the sky... #
This Nimble Bread advert from the late '60s was aimed at a generation
of viewers who were becoming more conscious of healthy eating.
# She flies like a bird, oh me, oh my
# I see her fly... #
The point about this was,
there's one of the earliest things about calorie counting and
everything but I'm sure it was, I can't remember the name of the band.
The band was the Honeybus.
The Honeybus, that's right, the Honey something. Yeah.
It was the first time I kind of remember there being
a kind of pop band being used for a commercial.
I mean, there's probably tons of them back then but that's the one I remember.
Slimming Magazine approves Nimble
as part of your calorie-controlled diet
because Nimble is real bread but lighter,
only 40 calories a slice.
It was a very arresting image, wasn't it, that you could,
-it was light as a feather, there was no calories in it.
-I mean, it tastes, I have to say, it tasted disgusting.
-That's why it was only 40 calories.
Exactly, the kind of bread
that would stick to the top of your palate.
Now to look at one of your biggest influences. A giant...
Well, a colossus of a broadcaster in his day. Who am I talking about, do you think?
I think you can only be talking about Robin Day.
-Yeah, Robin Day, who you worked with.
-I worked with as a radio producer, yes.
-Shall we have a little look, first?
-Let's have a look at Robin in action.
Good evening from Number Ten Downing Street.
On Panorama, Robin Day didn't take any nonsense from the then
Prime Minister, James Callaghan.
Why do you shrink from legislating about abuses in those
particular spheres as opposed to a complete act?
Why do you use the word shrink?
Well, I use the word shrink because it occurred to me
-as an accurate word to describe your position.
The way that I have tried to fight the battle of inflation doesn't,
with respect, give me the impression that I shrink from a fight
if I believe it's right. Would you mind withdrawing the word shrink?
I will withdraw the word shrink.
May I tell you why I used it?
Because I felt that you may think there is
a case for law in these matters
because you did say in the House you were not against it in principle.
Well, it's a perfectly fair point to put to me.
See, that's great.
You know, "I won't call you a shrink again,
"but I'll tell you why I did call you it."
It's a perfect piece of interviewing.
He was very good on the one-two, where you kind of ask a question,
which either way it's answered is problematic for the politician,
-and then he's ready with the next question.
I think that he changed the whole style of interviewing.
He was not deferential, but he was rigorous.
And I think partly to do with his lawyer's training.
And he was also very funny, he never took himself that seriously.
And I think his pomposity was not genuine.
I don't think he really was a very pompous person.
He was great fun.
When I worked with him on The World At One as a producer
and I used to sit next to him, I learned so much from him.
Just the way he prepared for interviews,
the way he thought about things.
He did Question Time brilliantly and he was just forensic
and I loved that.
Were politicians scared of him?
I think politicians were scared of him.
He wasn't an establishment figure at all.
He was very funny actually
cos I can remember you'd go in early, early morning
and Robin would come in half an hour later and he would sit waiting
for the morning meeting.
He would sit in this chair the whole time before The World At One
and on one side, he would have a pack of fags.
On the other side,
he would have, not really thick cigars, but, kind of, cheroots.
And from then till you went on-air, and during on-air,
he would just smoke one then the other, one then the other.
And the other thing, he would chew them as well.
Cos he would chew the cigarette forgetting it wasn't a cheroot.
And there was just this kind of fug around him.
But he was a great person to learn from and he was generous.
He was tough, but he was generous with his thoughts and his advice
and I think he was an absolute colossus of broadcasting.
So, I mean, he worked across lots of programmes, Robin Day, as well,
-didn't he really?
Question Time, doing interviews with Panorama and The World At One.
So, that's why I think he was a colossus.
Do you want to comment? Who do you agree with or
what do you want to say?
'Robin Day's ability to politely correct members of the public,
'or politicians, was part of what made his Question Time
..railways suddenly springing up everywhere.
No, what he means is competition WITH the railways.
Other forms of private transport, whether air or road,
or going on a bicycle or whatever.
I beg your pardon, I misunderstood the gentleman. I'm sorry.
Now, in keeping with Question Time,
I would like to now throw to the audience...
We've got a woman there with the scarf on, have you got a question?
Robin Day presented Question Time.
Is that something you'd also like to host, Kirsty?
Well, there isn't a vacancy for Question Time.
And David Dimbleby is still, you know, going full throttle.
So, you know, who knows what will happen in the future.
I'm very happy on Newsnight just now.
But I do think that Robin Day set a huge standard
for Question Time.
He made it so entertaining.
He was very much a showman.
And he knew that the audience had to be entertained
and he absolutely adored the cut and thrust with politicians.
And I think, you know, I mean David Dimbleby's brilliant,
-but I think Robin did it in a different way.
Well done, thank you very much for that question...
lady in the audience. Give her a round of applause.
-See, we've made an effort there, just to make you feel at home.
That was a little homage to, of course, Question Time.
-Yeah. You must have done it, though?
Well, yes, we used to opt out once a month.
When I was in Scotland, we would do it at BBC in Scotland once a month.
Mm-hm. Now, for quite a long time you were producing.
But when was that leap...
When did that leap happen for you to get in front of the camera?
It was in the early '80s and it was a Sunday morning
politics and current affairs programme that I was one of
the two producers on and the head of the department,
quite a hard-bitten news journalist originally, just said,
"Look, you know, we haven't got a woman presenting here.
"You should try it." And that's what happened.
So then I had to make a decision, really, a year later, about what
I was going to do and I decided that as much as I love producing
and love film-making, that I would really like to carry on presenting.
Mm-hm. Was it a hard transition?
I was learning all the time
and then I went to Breakfast Time,
which was great fun.
What I like to think is that, having been a producer,
I think I was, possibly...
And having produced presenters before,
I was more in tune with...
It gave me another understanding of both sides of it, really.
And then, do you think producers get, you know,
is it a tough call for them?
-It's a hugely tough call.
-They don't take any of the glory.
They don't take any of the glory.
-I think producing Newsnight's a really tough call.
We've got a great team, but I think being the editor of the day
on Newsnight is one of the toughest things you do. Oh, right.
Should try doing this show.
You've questioned so many politicians,
but also a lot of stars.
I'm going to throw into the mix now George Clooney.
What was that like?
-Were you swayed by him?
-Now, he was...
This is a case and point about somebody who had
a natural confidence of what he was doing.
Not over-exuberant, not an arrogance at all.
And it was in the film Syriana, which he was very passionate about
which he produced as well as starred in.
And he came out with one person. And there was no...
You talk about politicians, but actually on the junkets for films -
which this was not, we were able to have a longer period with them -
you know, reporters go in and out for five minutes at a time
and there's a not quite circumscribed set of questions,
but you only get your five-minute slot, then you're out.
He was so generous with us. He knew it was for a half-hour for BBC Four
and we talked for a long, long time.
-And he was charming.
So, you know, he, I think again,
someone that's not fretful about themselves
and is natural and friendly and on top of their game
and on top of their subject,
exudes a quite different impression
and creates a quite different atmosphere.
-It's interesting, that, isn't it?
-Yes, it really...
It's very interesting to me and these people are often doing it
for their own good, not for the good of the star.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
You have to, sort of, battle through all this entourage to get
-to them, yeah.
Time to move on to one of your big moments.
A truly iconic interview.
I remember it.
This is back in 1990.
Your own backbenchers are saying that the Community Charge
is "a political cyanide pill" and it will cause
"deep hatred and division."
Now, these are your own backbenchers.
I have never heard the expression you have used before.
Tony Marlow and Hugh Dykes respectively.
I did not hear what was said at the 22 Committee,
but if that is so,
I don't believe that their judgment is correct.
After the European elections last year
when you lost your two remaining Euro seats in Scotland,
one of the losers, James Provan, said that you were seen as a
"hectoring lady in London who has not achieved any popularity
"in Scotland at all."
Do you accept the fact that some Conservatives in Scotland
think you're a liability to votes?
Well, nevertheless, we have in the United Kingdom, as a whole,
won three elections.
So, I don't think that story can be wholly true.
Otherwise, we should never have done that, nor have achieved the
rising reputation which Scotland now has, to my great delight.
But long-term, it's working and to the great benefit of all of us
Yeah, well, that took a lot of preparation.
I worked very hard with Brian Taylor, BBC Scotland's
political editor, the late Ken Cargill who was the producer.
Sorry, would you work on something like that for days?
I worked on it, I thought about it a lot,
I knew it was coming and I worked on it probably for...
a week, really thinking about it.
Because I knew that I only had half an hour
and I knew there was certain things that
I really had to get out in that interview and I had to be direct
and I had to be persistent and rigorous, is what I hope was.
But afterwards, she had a complete go at me in the studio.
-Absolutely massive go at me in the studio for interrupting.
-Oh, for interrupting her?
Yes, because when the Conservatives heard that it was going to be
a woman interviewing her, they tried to stop...
They got in touch with the BBC in Scotland
and BBC stuck to its guns and said that she was coming to Scotland
and she would not dictate...
Her office would not dictate who would do the interview.
And so, BBC stood behind me...
Stood with me, cos I was the person slated to do
the interview and we did the interview.
But she was not very pleased.
She wasn't comfortable with women interviewing her at all.
What did you think of Margaret Thatcher?
I thought that she was pretty formidable.
And I thought that she...
..had prepared in the wrong way.
What had happened was,
she knew she was seen as unpopular in Scotland and so,
she took a briefing beforehand and she misunderstood the briefing.
I think the briefings were done by Malcolm Rifkind and Michael Forsyth
and they said to her, "You have to be more in tune."
"You've got to seem more in tune", so forth.
But she took that literally
and she kept saying to me during the interview,
"We in Scotland this" and "We in Scotland that"
and apparently offstage, they were just going,
"Oh, my God, this is a disaster."
And I think she felt very uncomfortable.
I think she knew that she wasn't popular.
Well, she obviously knew she wasn't popular in Scotland.
And it was a real difficulty for the Conservative party then.
And was this a pivotal moment in your career?
I think it probably was, but it seems a very long time ago.
Look at the hair, look at the shoulders!
That was when we used to have to have big shoulders.
-Yeah, big shoulders.
That in somehow, if we had big shoulders,
we would be seen as being more authoritative.
Oh, I see, the bigger the shoulders, yeah.
I think it was like your carapace, wasn't it?
Yeah, you're power dressing, aren't you?
So, stepping away from politics,
are you happy to talk about Celebrity MasterChef?
I'd be happier to talk about it if I'd won.
It's this whole thing about, if you're going to do it,
you may as well try the best you can, really in anything.
And so I was really going to try and do the best I can,
but I couldn't believe that I got to the final.
I was just so thrilled, so thrilled.
Are you quite competitive?
I'm probably quite competitive with myself.
I am competitive, quite competitive, yes.
But actually, in that kitchen, you all wanted everybody...
You didn't want anybody to see...
and when you saw other people's disasters, you were really upset.
You didn't want people to have disasters, it was horrible.
You don't want Schadenfreude. You don't want to see other people fail
in that kitchen. Not unless they're really not very nice people and,
-by and large, the people on MasterChef are lovely people.
And you've been on a few other programmes.
A few iconic ones.
-It's really weird.
Well, funnily enough, it's interesting.
I think you could probably be on Newsnight for 100 years,
but if you do one cameo in Doctor Who,
suddenly you get all these people going,
"Oh, my God, I saw you on the telly!"
Really, was it like that?
So, what did you do in Doctor Who?
I actually said, "The end of the world is nigh" on the Newsnight set,
which is a dangerous thing to do of course,
because you must always be very careful about these things.
-But it was, "Get out the city, the end of the..."
And I was quite scared of myself, actually.
-It scared you?
-I might have believed me!
That's how good an actress you are.
But I was so thrilled!
I mean, it was just such a, kind of,
joy to be asked.
You know, it was a thrill to be asked.
There isn't a Lego bit of me that's Doctor Who though yet, sadly.
-That cameo, 30 seconds? 30 seconds?
-It's just a matter of time.
It's great fun playing in dramas, just playing yourself.
It's good fun.
I'm just doing it again just now because I've just been in Ab Fab.
Ab Fab film. Yeah, the movie.
Yeah, which doesn't come out till July.
But that was enormous fun cos I have such huge respect
for Jennifer as a writer and for Joanna as well as actresses.
They are consummate professionals, but they're great fun.
So, what TV do you enjoy watching now?
I absolutely loved Homeland.
I am behind with War And Peace, though I will watch it.
I loved The Bridge.
I think that whole Scandi-noir has completely changed
our viewing habits.
Shetland's come out of that as well.
These are the kind of things I watch.
I watch documentaries as well.
I wish I had more time, in a way, to...
There always seems to be so much to do when I'm at home.
I'm behind with The Good Wife
and I think Alan Cumming is absolutely fantastic.
I am not a person that's ever watched more than three
episodes of Game Of Thrones.
I obviously watch House Of Cards, it was wonderful.
But I am the most annoying person to watch television with
because what might happen is I might miss an ep
and then the rest of the family are watching,
cos my daughter's at home for a year.
And my husband and she might be watching it
and I'll be going, "Well, I want to watch it with you."
And they'll go, "But you'll have to not talk. You can't talk."
And I'll say, "But what if I'm missing something?"
And then, of course, 30 seconds later, I'm going,
"How did that happen?"
Then they have to press pause
and there's a great long explanation and then we start again.
Have you enjoyed your experience?
-It's been lovely having you on the show.
-I thought you were lovely, kept eye contact...
-Thank you very much.
Well, it's been lovely talking to you.
-Lovely talking to you too.
Now, we always give our guests to pick a theme tune to go out on.
What's it going to be?
My very favourite theme tune is definitely
-the theme tune from Arena...
-..which is just classic.
And I don't know whoever dreamt it up at the BBC,
but it is one of the most enduring,
iconic and atmospheric theme tunes.
Well, thank you very much for being on the show.
-I enjoyed it enormously.
-It's been lovely to meet you.
-It really has.
So, my thanks to Kirsty and my thanks to you
for watching The TV That Made Me. We'll see you next time, bye-bye.
MUSIC: Another Green World by Brian Eno
Broadcaster Kirsty Wark joins Brian on the sofa to talk about the TV that shaped her.
They start by journeying back to the 60s to watch a clip of The Man from Uncle, a spy drama that Kirsty used to act out in the park. Brian discovers that Kirsty's passion for journalism was there from a very early age when they revisit a news story that shook the world. Brian surprises Kirsty with a clip of satirical sitcom Yes Minister, before moving on to real-life politics by looking back at arguably her most famous interview - with Margaret Thatcher.
Kirsty talks about the people who inspired her, including the late, great Robin Day, one of Britain's most cherished broadcasters. Throughout the programme, Brian finds out about the television that made Kirsty the person she is today.