Emily Maitlis announced as new lead presenter for Newsnight

This is a tremendous presenter line up that sends out a clear signal about the programme’s growing ambitionEsmé Wren, Editor, Newsnight
Date: 20.03.2019     Last updated: 20.03.2019 at 10.00
RTS Network Presenter of the Year Emily Maitlis will become the new lead presenter for BBC Two’s Newsnight.

Kirsty Wark, a main presenter on Newsnight for 25 years, will be undertaking an enhanced role on the programme.

Emma Barnett, presenter of the BBC Radio 5 Live daily morning show, is joining the Newsnight presenting team. She will continue to present her radio programme.

The changes will take effect immediately.

Esmé Wren, Editor, Newsnight, says: “This is a tremendous presenter line up that sends out a clear signal about the programme’s growing ambition. All three presenters bring substantial political clout and a wealth of expertise across a broad range of subjects. Emily’s promotion to lead presenter is testament to the journalistic excellence, passion and tenacious interview style that saw her recognised as Network Presenter of the Year at the recent RTS Television Journalism Awards."

“Kirsty, also an award-winning journalist and presenter, will continue to bring her great authority and forensic skills to an increased number of shows, and to drive the programme’s commitment to the arts and culture. And we’re also thrilled to welcome Emma - whose formidable skill as an interviewer and no nonsense approach further strengthens the programme’s agenda-setting impact.”

Emily Maitlis says: “I am delighted to be moving into this role at a time when Newsnight feels so pivotal to our understanding of this extraordinary moment in British history, and to be working with such an exceptional team.”

Kirsty Wark says: “There is no better place to be right now on British television as we navigate great shifts in politics, international relations and the way we live our lives. I love the fact that Newsnight is equipped with a tremendous mix of people who can deliver impact-making journalism with real flair.”

Emma Barnett says: "I can't wait to get started at Newsnight at a time when no one can predict the next hour in British politics, never mind the next evening."

Emily Maitlis biography
Emily was born in Canada and raised in Sheffield. She began her career in news in the Far East, in the lead up to the Hong Kong Handover - and reported from Cambodia, China and the Philippines, before joining Sky news in the UK as a business correspondent.

Emily came to the BBC in 2001, initially as the main presenter of the revamped BBC London News, before joining Newsnight. She became the programme’s political editor in 2012, briefly, before moving into full time presenting for Newsnight and reporting much of its US political coverage.

Alongside the BBC Two programme she has a primary role in covering the US, UK and European elections for the BBC. She has made documentaries for BBC Two, on Donald Trump, Nicolas Sarkozy, Mark Zuckerberg and, for Radio 4, on Madonna. She writes regularly for UK newspapers and magazines.

Kirsty Wark biography
Kirsty is from Kilmarnock and was educated in Ayr. She joined the BBC as a graduate researcher in 1976 for BBC Radio Scotland, going on to become a producer in radio current affairs. After a spell on Radio 4's World At One, Kirsty moved to television in 1983 - working as a producer on Reporting Scotland and later producing and presenting the current affairs weekly Seven Days. From 1986 to 1990 she presented Breakfast Time before moving to front the nightly arts programme, The Late Show, and the popular BBC heritage series One Foot In The Past - a role she continued into 2000.

In October 1993 Kirsty became one of the main Newsnight presenters, a role she has held ever since. She also fronted the weekly arts show Newsnight Review, later The Review Show. She has made a number of documentaries including Blurred Lines and The Insider’s Guide to the Menopause. She has interviewed everyone from Margaret Thatcher to Madonna.

Emma Barnett biography
Emma Barnett is from Manchester. She began her career at Media Week in 2007 before moving to the Daily Telegraph in 2009 as Technology & Digital Media Correspondent, becoming the paper’s first Digital Media Editor in 2010 and then Women’s Editor in 2012.

After three years presenting on LBC and making documentaries for BBC Radio 4, Emma joined BBC Radio 5 Live in 2016 to front The Emma Barnett Show, which she still presents today. The programme won Gold at the Radio Academy Awards 2018 (Arias), for Best News Coverage. Emma was named Radio Broadcaster of the Year 2018 by the Broadcasting Press Guild.

Emma presents Late Night Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4, Sunday Morning Live on BBC One and is a weekly columnist for The Sunday Times.