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Thanks Martha, and good afternoon

Peter Barron | 10:29 UK time, Friday, 23 February 2007

Newsnight logoWhen Martha Kearney told me she had landed the job of main presenter on Radio 4's World at One, my first thought was that I couldn't think of anyone better suited for that role, or of a better move for Martha. My second was a mixture of emotion and panic.

Emotion because since 1994 Martha has been such an integral part of the Newsnight experience, both on the screen and in the office. As political editor she could often be seen pacing around after 10pm, putting in last calls to ministers and anxiously waiting for her paged messages to bear fruit. Very often she would then pop up on air with an exclusive new line or ministerial quote.

marthak_203.jpgPolitics is her big love, but she is more of a renaissance woman than that. She reads novels like other people breathe, bakes cakes, keeps bees, can decline Latin nouns - frequently does - and has a highly satisfactory knowledge of 70s new wave music.

Panic because Martha goes at a moment you wouldn't call quiet. Blair's departure, Brown's arrival, loans for peerages, elections a-go-go, Ming in trouble, possibly even Cameron's policies. Martha, we're going to miss you, but look forward to hearing about it all on WATO.


  • 1.
  • At 11:48 AM on 23 Feb 2007,
  • Richard Morris wrote:

Pass the sick bag, Alice!

  • 2.
  • At 12:43 PM on 23 Feb 2007,
  • dicky wrote:

Martha sleft Newsn'ite,
The place where people come to watch a fight,
How oft those eyes flashed,
leaving men , those mere mortals, boiled and mashed.

Those who face'd the gaze imperial,
had better bring facts material,
don't dare give your spin to Kearney,
or anything that rhymes with Blarney.

She knows how to deal with those who can sting,
and make a cake with that which they bring,
Smiling, her mind is a white marble Temple,
inscribed with 'et in Arcadia ego'

  • 3.
  • At 03:31 PM on 23 Feb 2007,
  • pippop wrote:

Great mind, super women, much respect. Pippop.

  • 4.
  • At 06:40 PM on 23 Feb 2007,
  • Ashley Ballard wrote:

A cynic might suspect this had something to do with the plans reported in Private Eye of redundancies for Newsnight correspondents to save the beeb money. I suppose if she went after this other job on her own initiative, though, then there's nothing to worry about. And one less sacking required among the rest, eh?

  • 5.
  • At 08:04 PM on 23 Feb 2007,
  • Bedd Gelert wrote:

One can only hope that this promotion is a step up to even bigger and better things. If I were Peter Horrocks, Mark Damazer, Jenny Abramsky or even Mark Thompson I would be looking over my shoulder a lot more frequently from now on...

  • 6.
  • At 10:49 AM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • Dennis Pleace wrote:

No doubt a charming lady but as well as novels does she read a little science and philosophy too?

  • 7.
  • At 07:16 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Simon Cooke wrote:

In many previous posts, I called Newsnight the video tabloid & Radio 4 the radio tabloid. So, I'm not surprised that Martha got the job on Radio 4. The Beeb's got to keep up with the red-tops. Why do I have to pay the TV tax for these tabloids, though?

  • 8.
  • At 11:20 PM on 24 Mar 2007,
  • Lesley Boatwright wrote:

If Martha can decline Latin nouns, why, last year, when someone blogged in to say that Jeremy was the only person who could pronounce clostridium difficile properly (which is true - the difficile is Latin with four syllables and not French with three) did Martha say on that week's podcast it was diffiseel? Apart from that, Martha - thanks for the sunny smiles, and good luck.

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