KIRSTY WARK FEATURE
also I suppose the way I see current affairs is in the very widest sense.’
Which leads us neatly on to Wark’s latest venture, a new monthly round-table discussion programme entitled Axiom , examining a variety of currently ‘hot’ topics (euthanasia, domestic violence, decriminalisation of drugs) with the emphasis firmly on lively, even impassioned debate. The first programme, for instance, will focus on abortion, and will feature Randall Terry, several-times-jailed leader of the controversial US direct action anti-abortion group Operation Rescue. Axiom also incorporates an exclusive series of System Three opinion polls, the results of which will be fed into the discussion during the programmes.
‘The idea is that although we’ve only got ten people in the studio, we‘ll be able to gauge broader attitudes with these polls, which the participants will have to respond
‘The more work you do beforehand, the more you can rely on it being there in the back of your mind, so you can relax and just go with the debate.’
to,’ Wark explains. ‘We made sure we chose subjects which were going to be contentious, where people’s beliefs are in a state ofﬂux; we want to challenge people on these issues, really make them think.’
As ifthis weren’t enough to be chewing on, Wark is also presenting the new BBC current affairs programme UPfront, successor to Left, Rightand Centre, dealing with current affairs but attempting to move beyond the standard talking-heads format. ‘We’ll have politicians on, but only when they merit it,’ she says. ‘We want to tackle subjects like government reform in a way that’s actually relevant to how these issues affect people’s lives.’
As well as a TV presenter, of course, Wark is also the mother of two small children, Caitlin and James, and although the two roles obviously put enormous pressure on
. her time, they complement each other in ‘ terms of personal satisfaction. ‘I decided
; harder than working seven days a week,’ she
that being at home all the time would be
says. ‘This way. I hope, will make me a
better mother.‘ She freely acknowledges the advantages which make this feasible — ‘Alan
‘ does 50 per cent of the childcare, I‘ve got a
brilliant nanny, great parental support; a lot i
i of women have none ofthat back-up‘ — but _. gets a tad weary of being asked about her 3 domestic arrangements, pointing out that
; ‘nobody ever asks men how they cope with 3 having kids and a full-time job.‘ Despite her '
? distinctive on-screen style, she manages to
maintain a fairly low profile. ‘People often recognise my voice before my face,’ she says. ‘Even when they do say hello, usually they think they know me because I live round the corner, not from the TV.’ Which is just fine by her — Wark clearly has no interest in a celebrity lifestyle; her ambition, she says is simply ‘to carry on what I’m doing. I enjoy it — how many people have jobs they enjoy?’
Axiom starts on Friday 6 Nov at 10.20pm on BBC]. UPfrontstarts on Thursday 12 November at8.30pm on BBC].
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