Wednesday, 10 March 2010



Imagine Nick Robinson sharing a holiday home with Gordon Brown and returning to report the election; imagine Jeremy Paxman being on a panel to decide where to spend public money on, say, an Olympic building, imagine him also making a film about the process and selling it to the BBC, imagine that the building is late, unsafe and has cost ten times its original estimate and then, when an inquiry was launched, refusing to make available relevant footage; imagine Paxman's wife being described by a judge as deeply dishonourable in relation to her conduct in their joint business and imagine Robinson or Paxman retaining the full confidence of the BBC and being given even more broadcasting opportunities.

Some of the aspects of the ghastly Wark's dealings prompted me, some time ago - and against my better judgement - to contact the local MP. They're jealous, he said, of Kirsty, Scotland is like a village. And people get jealous. Village of the fucking damned.

Wark continues at Newsnight, with her own spun-off, twittering arts programme - via which we fund her trips to New York to visit off-Broadway show on behalf of Newsnight Review's miniscule audience, as well as several other shows; the Beeb and the OU continue to buy her dodgy productions and hubby remains out of jail.

Before the child was even reported missing Wark was contacted on behalf of Gerry and Cilla McCann as part of their responsibility-avoiding PR blitz and she presumably assisted in the construction of the mythology, it's what she does. Wark also subsequently invited the obnoxious poltroon, Gerry, to speak at a TV festival in Glasgow in 2007.

The following is from wiki and from English newspapers.


Wark was born in Dumfries to Jimmy Wark, a solicitor, (see Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers, which suggests with some authority that they all are ) and Roberta Wark, a schoolteacher. Kirsty Wark was educated at Kilmarnock Grammar Primary and subsequently Ayr's independent Wellington 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 ClementsBBC Scotland programme Left, Right, and Centre, and they have a son (born 1992) and daughter (born 1990). 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. (born c. 1961) in September 1989 after meeting on the

Wark is regarded as being close to the Labour Party.[6][7][8] Donald Dewar, Scottish Labour politician and former First Minister of Scotland, a close friend, appointed her to the Scottish Parliament Building Design Selection Panel, which chose Enric Miralles' design for the new parliament. Questioned by the Fraser Inquiry, set up to investigate the building's cost overruns, she said: "There was no way that we were making a decision on economically the most advantageous tender; you would have ended up with a shed . . . it was [about] getting a building which was the most exciting, innovative building . . ."[9] In 2003, Wark-Clements produced a film on the building, with critics accusing Wark of a conflict of interest.[10]

In January 2005, she became involved in a controversy after she invited Labour MSP Jack McConnell, then Scotland's First Minister, and his family to stay at her Majorcan holiday home over the New Year period. McConnell, a long-time friend of Wark and husband Clements before holding office, was cleared of any improprieties when the Scottish Parliament's Standards Committee deemed he received no financial benefits from the holidays. Wark's editor on Newsnight offered his support, stating, "Many people in the media have friends who have gone on to hold office. The important issue is your ability to ask tough questions and that is not a problem with Kirsty Wark or anybody else on the programme." However such controversies have led to questions about her ability to behave impartially.[11]

Wark and Clements have recently been the subject of much coverage in the Guardian, Independent[12], Mail, Times and Telegraph regarding his use of Wark's former PA to covertly monitor emails at RDF Media after he left following an acrimonious dispute about a non-compete deal.[13]


Dispute over Kirsty Wark evidence on Holyrood

A row over the handling of the investigation into the cost of the Scottish parliament erupted last night when it emerged that Kirsty Wark was a bridesmaid to the wife of the QC leading the inquiry.

The friendship of Miss Wark and John Campbell QC came to light after the lawyer questioned the BBC Newsnight presenter.

Politicians were outraged that the friendship was not declared when Miss Wark gave evidence to the inquiry on Wednesday.

Miss Wark's role in the Holyrood fiasco was already controversial following the refusal of her Wark Clements company to hand over tapes containing hours of unseen interviews with Donald Dewar, the late First Minister, and Enric Miralles, the late project architect.

The tapes were made for a £820,000 BBC documentary The Gathering Place which charts the progress of the building. The friendship between Miss Wark and Mr Campbell's wife, Marion, prompted claims that the credibility of the inquiry, chaired by Lord Fraser of Carmyllie, had been threatened.

Before she gave evidence, Miss Wark, who was a member of the selection panel that chose the architect, contacted the inquiry team and clarified the line the questioning would take. She gave evidence on the understanding that the BBC row would not be mentioned.

Fergus Ewing, the Scottish National Party MSP, said: "I find it extraordinary this connection was not mentioned at the outset by Mr Campbell or Miss Wark. I was surprised that Kirsty Wark was not asked why she and the BBC did not hand over the tapes. Was this question off limits?"

David McLetchie, the Conservative leader, said: "This family friendship should most certainly have been disclosed prior to Miss Wark's appearance.

"She should have done this instead of insisting on prior notice of the questions - a practice she does not follow in her own professional life. Her failure to disclose this friendship can only further undermine confidence in the Fraser inquiry."

Yesterday, the BBC Governors stood by the corporation's decision not to release the tapes.

The governors sided with BBC Scotland executives when they considered the issue at a board meeting in Cardiff.

John Swinney, the Scottish National Party leader, said Lord Fraser ought to use a court order to gain access to the tapes after the governors said they saw no reason to intervene and break a promise given to the interviewees that the tapes would not be transmitted until the building was complete.

A spokesman for the inquiry said Lord Fraser was aware of the friendship and claimed it had not affected how the inquiry had been conducted. "I think the reality is that in many aspects of public life Scotland is a village," said the spokesman. "We don't see this as anything like a conflict of interests.

"Lord Fraser will not be deflected from his duties to establish the true facts surrounding the Holyrood parliament building project.



Kirsty Wark's husband loses court battle as judge frowns upon his email hacking

Last updated at 02:07am on 07.12.07

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Top programme maker Alan Clements, the husband of Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark, today failed in his battle at London's High Court to leave television company RDF for rivals Scottish Media Group.

Deputy Judge Bernard Livesey QC said Clements' own behaviour justified RDF's decision to terminate his contract on May 3 2007.

The judge said Mr Clements had procured his wife's personal assistant, Janice McKnight, to access former colleague Hamish Barbour's private email inbox on RDF's website to monitor what was being said about him at the company.

The judge said: "He must have known it was neither fair play nor honourable. I find it more than a little surprising that he should have snooped into the private correspondence of a close colleague and friend, having regard to the strong objection he has shown in this case to the reports in the newspaper which alleged that he had behaved in a dishonourable manner."

He said, referring to this as 'snooping', that Clements had 'behaved dishonourably and in breach of process.'

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Alan Clements

Alan Clements at High Court today where he lost his court battle

Clements, of Glasgow, had claimed that he was constructively dismissed from RDF after it criticised him in the press, and in those circumstances was entitled to summarily end his employment contract with RDF, because of their actions.

He claimed this meant the restrictions in his contract lasted only two years, and he could start work at SMG this month.

Today though the High Court dismissed his claim.

RDF won a court order preventing Clements, who is believed to have netted almost £2million when RDF bought his company IWC for £14m in December 2005, from working for SMG until December 2008.

Their action was based on a three-year 'non compete' clause in the sale contract.

The judge also said Clements 'credibility' was affected by the fact pencil entries in his diary had been erased.

He said: "I do not accept that Mr Clements was telling the truth when he said that the erasure was innocent.

"In my judgment the reason is probably because they contained reference to an earlier contact with Rob Woodward [of SMG] than he has disclosed at which the first intimation of an offer from SMG was raised and interest shown in accepting it.

"He would want to conceal this because it would challenge his good faith in pledging to the Sunday Herald on March 18 that he was committed to IWC for the foreseeable future."

Ruling that RDF was entitled to terminate his contract the judge said: "The point is that if one looks objectively at the relationship between RDF and Mr Clements that relationship had already been seriously damaged or destroyed by misconduct on his part which went to the root of the relationship.

"As a matter of causation I would hold that the relationship was destroyed not by RDF but by Mr Clements as a result of his breach of the mutual obligation.

"It would be inequitable for Mr Clements if he were able to claim that RDF caused serious damage to the relationship where the relationship in question was already seriously damaged or destroyed by his own conduct."

The decision blocks Clements' right to work as head of content at Glasgow-based SMG, which runs two ITV franchises in Scotland and owns the production arm behind hit shows like Taggart and Rebus.

Kirsty Wark

Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark is married to Alan Clements

Clements, a well-respected figure in the industry, resigned as creative director at RDF by e-mail on March 30 2007.

The company says that was only days after he gave an interview to the Sunday Herald affirming his commitment to the company.

RDF had argued in court that Clements' contract required him to give six months' notice, and that clauses in the agreement under which Clements' company IWC - the production company behind Location Location Location - was taken over by RDF, imposed even more 'taxing' obligations.

RDF's lawyers argued that under a deal believed to have been worth £2m to him, Clements signed an agreement which prevented him from working for a rival until three years after the date of sale.

This, they claimed, prevented him from joining SMG until December 2 2008.

They said that Clements had made a proposal to RDF, suggesting that they allowed him to leave with a reduced notice period of four-six weeks, join SMG with immediate effect, and take certain projects with him to SMG, with RDF retaining only a share in the profits.

The projects included a Richard Dawkins programme, and one titled 'My Life As A Teen'.

Clements was said to have told RDF that the alternative would be 'an unseemly public parting of the ways that would be damaging to both'.

Speaking after his High Court defeat, Alan Clements vowed to take his case further to the Court of Appeal, after the judge granted permission for him to do so.

Mr Clements said: "I am disappointed by today's verdict but my legal team and I will appeal and have been given permission to do so.

"It is some consolation that the judge found that RDF had 'stirred up' the case by vilifying me through the media.

"That said, clearly I misread RDF's willingness to reach any amicable arrangement to enable me to move to another job with SMG. Instead, of a straightforward negotiation it became bitter and personal.

"The court found that I broke my contract by talking to SMG. I don't accept that. Half the people in our industry would be out of a job if that was the case .

"It goes on all the time. I have been given permission to appeal on this.

"I am grateful to SMG for their unswerving support throughout all of this."

The consensus of opinion in readers' comments to this piece was that Mr Wark displayed all the qualities necessary for him to be a NewLabour Cabinet Minister.

November 7, 2007

Police investigate Kirsty Wark’s husband

Police are investigating the alleged theft of data involving the television programme maker Alan Clements, the husband of the Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark.

The investigation by Strathclyde Police follows Mr Clements’ admission in the High Court in London that he asked his wife’s secretary to access emails of former colleagues. He was giving evidencein an action brought against him by the independent film company RDF.

The company, which bought Mr Clements’ business, IWC, in 2005, is seeking a court order preventing him from working for Scottish Media Group (SMG) until December next year. It claims that his move to SMG is a breach of his golden handcuffs contract but Mr Clements maintains that he was constructively dismissed by RDF, freeing him from his contract.

A High Court hearing on November 2 was told that Mr Clements asked Janice McKnight to view emails of his ex-colleagues in May following the publication of an article on his departure in the Sunday Herald newspaper.

The report was said by Mr Clements’ lawyers to have arisen from an “insulting and vitriolic” off-the-record briefing by an RDF boss.

Mr Clements said he told Ms McKnight that it would be lawful to check the emails as long as she did not look for anything that was commercially sensitive and only looked for dealings with the press.

But lawyers for RDF described the act as a “fundamental breach of process” and “up there with forging documents”.

A Strathclyde Police spokesman said: “We can confirm that we have received a complaint. However, the investigation is still at a very early stage. We’re currently trying to ascertain if, in fact, a crime has been committed and, if so, where the location of the alleged crime is, which will enable us to ascertain if it is indeed within our force area.”

Yesterday the BBC said it will continue to let Kirsty Wark, 52, work as a Newsnight presenter while she and her husband are under investigation.


Anonymous said...

you would have ended up with a shed ." Look at it again I for one have seen much better looking sheds as in should have gone to B&Q cheaper as well. As to the police "investigation" don't hold your breath for a charge and certainly not for any conviction.

Anonymous said...

Stan ffs change the font size, it's fucking enormous.

lilith said...

Elby just called her Warty Krak. I thought I would share.

call me ishmael said...

Sorry, mr rwg, this is part of the technical trouble, or part of my deficiency in the skills of the age. I am trying.

mrs narcolept said...

Zoom Out makes it normal size to read, anyway, mr ishmael.

Enough pictures of gargoyles, though. I daren't go to sleep now.

mongoose said...

Thank you, Elby and Lilith, for that.