Welcome to London Tonight Tonight.

This is the official website of London Tonight, on ITV1 in London and the South East every weeknight at 6pm.


Tuesday 23rd December

Good afternoon

'Tis the season to be cheerful, slightly earlier than you might have thought. Don't panic! You haven't missed a thing nor left anything too late.
As we are not on air tomorrow, we are treating tonight as our Christmas eve', just for you.

So, we will raise your spirits with our variation upon a theme of Charles Dickens. Despite these "Hard times" and the absence of even a "Bleak House", London's homeless found the arm of affection and support offered to them at nine Crisis centres today. The people who run this great charity say more people than ever are helping out and Robin was been warming her hands on the glow of human kindness. We'll also be talking to one of the people from Missing People who, among other things, wants to say thanks for all the 'phones you've sent in. You are a good lot.

But, alas, our's is a "Tale of Two Cities" tonight - shocking figures published today report the number of times Old Bill was called out - not to pub' brawls and bank robberies but to uprisings in the lower fifth and other troubled cauldrons of learning. As the arm of affection (see above) was being stretched out to the homeless, the strong arm of the law was helping place a firm hand upon the shoulders of a rather worrying number of boys and girls who do not consider these to be 'The Best Days of Their Lives': more a cross between "D Day" and "The Battle of The Bulge". We chat to a London Head who used to run the teacher's union and ask why talking at the back has turned to wrestling at the front.

The worthy stage-coach was a vibrant feature of "The Pickwick Papers" and, if you plan to venture north from our fair city this festive season, you arguably might do better in a landau and four than on one of National "not that" Express's trains, among other TOCs. That's Train Operating Companies though the "operating" bit is often the subject of lively debate in my experience. Jon is our 'slender' Controller with all the details to help you complete your plans to stay at home. I miss the flags and whistles of rail travel whilst others have long resigned themselves to the loss of seats. Standing room only for this one.

"Oliver Twist" famously said 'Please Sir, I want some more'. He braved brutality for an extra ladle of gruel but I think you'll all raise the roof this evening in a similar plea when you see Glen at the Ritz getting expert lessons on how to roast THAT festive bird. The stuffing bit had me salivating at lunchtime but what the Head Chef did with the birds "pins" may come as a first to you. It did me...

We're risking an "Old Curiosity Shop" full of our favourite bits from 2008 in the hope you'll see a little of what you fancied in the last year. If we've chosen the right bits, it is down to us; if you don't like them, e-mail me and I will furnish you with the Big Bosses personal address. I jest. He has power of hire and fire over me. I really do jest...

Finally, we have "Great Expectations" that you will be heartened to hear the touching messages from some of our brave lads and lasses, stuck in Iraq and Afghanistan, which we are delighted to be the passing on to their loved ones, missing them back home here in London.

And finally a real "Christmas Carol", or two, to end with, courtesy of the phonically fabulous choir of St. Brides.

We really hope you can be with us. It is a special programme at a special time of year for a special bunch of people, and that's you.

See you at 6 geese a laying - not at 5 gold rings, or you'll be too early; and certainly not at seven swans a swimming or you'll have missed the lot!

Alastair and Katie.


22nd December 2008

Good afternoon.

Three days to go, and counting!

As the Big Boss and I, both proud parents, mused about the durability of the belief in the veracity of the St. Nicholas story for our children, he shared an observation from Max - our "Father Entertainment" figure.

"My kids don't believe any more. " said Max. "An episode of 'Desperate Housewives' blew it ...". Now his children are articulate, perceptive but still quite young. What were they doing watching 'DH', we wondered? Perhaps that is why they are so articulate and perceptive.

A lot of you have put away the myth that we teeter on the brink of an economic cataclysm, the financial equivalent of Krakatoa or any one, or even all, of the Seven Plagues which beset the biblical Egyptians. You have, in the last few days, scorched along Oxford, Bond and Regent Streets like a plague of high-spending locusts, leaving the tills running with cash as the Nile ran with blood. Lewis, who thinks a bunch of daffodils and a white pinny are signs of a generous character, has gone to Oxford Street to investigate.

There he may chance upon Robin, "Chasing The Lady" or buying top-end branded perfume which you and I know to be water with lime-juice but in "nice" packaging. If he gets ALL his shopping done in time, he'll do us a forecast. Otherwise it'll be a map, a fistful of receipts and a distant voice apologising for the cold but the lack of snow.

Efforts to raise the festive spirits in Walthamstow have hit a snag. Not for these good folk the plaintive voice of a Dickensian child seeking a few coopers at your door in return for a whispered "Away in a Manger"; nor, for them, the uplifting and spiritual mystery of mid-night Gregorian chant amidst the incense and purple of my own Church. No, our subjects favour tambourines, drums, massive choirs and a volume that would tempt the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to stay stabled. But others are less warm to this December destroying display of Doh Ray Me's. ASBOS are threatened but, with God on your side, ASBOS are to no avail. I didn't know that either. How will it all resolve itself? Ronke researches a range of Holy texts and recent statutes to discover a way forward. Failing that, it'll be ear-pads and civil unrest at dawn.

The Cafe Royal has seen a good deal of "unrest" in it's colourful past which comes to an abrupt end today. It is in for a face-lift and will emerge as an hotel. Oscar Wilde invented the spritzer here whilst indulging in a range of other activities which we will keep even from Max's kids. Boxers boxed here and more Awards shows than an unsuspecting public should ever have to endure were endured here. Katie remembers a cabaret bar and George Melly. Bet George, now sadly gone, didn't !

Incidently, she has just returned from shopping for Christmas which may put even our shopping story our of date. I feel a bit of retail "pump-priming" that will make the whole cut in VAT and Paulson bank rescue bit look like so much lose change.

Kirstie will review London's property year during which many Englishmen's castle's ended up being worth little more than so much lose change. And we make another bid for your surplus cell-phones to yield what can prove to be a good deal more than lose change for the good people of Missing People as they go about their great works this Christmas.

We've also the terribly sad story of the mother who discovered her son had been murdered by her ex boyfriend. I have left it to last because it is sad but we will report it without fear because life goes on out there. And ends. Sadly.

But we will try to raise your spirits, too.

If, however, Robin offers you Chanel Number "4" or claims he has "found" the lady, walk by on the other side. Trust me. I was educated by the Benedictines.

See you at 6.

Alastair & Katie.


Friday 19th December


When I first moved to London I thought the old routemasters were one of the best ideas.. a bit like the trams in San Fran and Melbourne - jump on and jump off where you like. Made complete sense to me. But, I didn't have to try and get a pram on and off one of the things, so I guess they didn't make complete sense for everyone.. Still, when they were scrapped in 2005 it really was a sad day - not just for the traditionalist - now I have to beg grumpy bus drivers (they're not all grumpy, some do let me on..) to open the doors rather than be able to leap - slightly dangerously - on at the traffic lights and I hate the bendy buses - cycling is not fun near one of them. I digress...The point is they're coming back! Happy Days! And they're going to be better than ever - like Bond cars!

Well, not exactly of course but a design by Aston Martin was one of the winners of the competition to make the new greener, more accessible, hop on hop off double deckers which we could get by 2011.

Bozzer's excited - but some people don't think we need them and it's just a bit of a vanity project - see what you think.. Simon Harris is going to be on an old one and showing us the winning designs for the new one.

I would go out and get on a bus myself but I can't move now I've stuffed myself with mince pies (my own fault) and handfuls of Maltesers (Ben's fault for bringing in a bucket of the evil things). I'm not normally such a pig but you I can't help feeling all festive in the office today - a lot of us off for Christmas after tonight's show. A few people have come back in this afternoon looking more than a little rosy after long lunches and Robin's been humming Mariah Carey - All I Want for Christmas. I digress again - point is a lot of you are finished today for the festive period too - even though Monday, Tuesday and even Christmas Eve are really work days...Glen Goodman's looking into his snowy crystal ball and asking if London's going to be like a ghost town next week. While Nick Wallis is out on the M25 to see everyone's cars packed with pressies trying to whizz off - but more than likely finding themselves in a load of jams tonight.

The delicious James King is here - I don't know why I just called him delicious - I'm not hungry anymore - anyway - he's talking about Twilight, which I've just been explaining to Ben is going to be an absolutely huge movie thanks in no small part to the gorgeous Robert Pattinson, and The Tale of Despereaux - another gorgeous creature - the animation made entirely here in London.

Big Boss just said something about egg nog - now I have a serious craving!

Ben and I will be with you from 6 (for the last time this year - Al and Katie are with you next week!)

Have a great Christmas - See you in 2009.

Alex and Ben.


London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 17th December 2008


Woolworths is closing in January - not such a Merry Christmas for the thousands of you employed by them. Not such a Merry Christmas for the million other jobless - some of whom have been without work for over a year. The government says this number is not made up of scroungers, these are people looking for work not just handouts. With jobs being scrapped everywhere from Virgin to Santander to Woolies the latest figures (already trhe worst since 1991) could now spill over to 2 million next year. But, there are apparently a million jobs out there waiting to be filled ...so where are they, why aren't people being matched up with them..? Nick Thatcher's been finding out what you think.

Meanwhile, Bozzer's attempts to save London from financial ruin have earned him this Christmas' "Scrooge" title. Predictable Faye says - but still funny, especially as we all now have an image of him in a scruffy top hat. His ideas for propping up our struggling economy haven't gone down too well at City Hall - Simon Harris tells us why.

Remember how the Millennium Bridge was wobbly - and no one really knew why...? Well, now we know! Big boss greeted this news with a sarcastic "I've been really worried about that for 8 years now" but the rest of us were impressed with Faye's scientific explanation. Glen Goodman's our Johnny Ball tonight - he won't be marching across the bridge to test it out! We shall all be much more the wiser I'm sure.

Lewis Vaughan Jones is back in New York comparing a night on the tiles there to one in our fair city - he really does have a tough life! Find out just how unbiased we are when we pose the question - which is the better city!? I may have a predictable vote for that one too..

Now, I don't usually get all girlie and giggly about celebs - ok, every now and then...Hugh Jackman made me go slightly weak at the knees.. But I think I'm allowed to regress to my teenage years (yes, yes they are quite a long time ago..) when our guest is Jason Donovan. Growing up down under I wanted to be Kylie Minogue (still do obviously but I'm more realistic about fitting into her gold hot pants.) I begged my Mum for a perm and thought that her mechanics overalls really were the height of fashion. I dreamed of marrying Jason with Angry Anderson providing the soundtrack (Neighbours fans know what I'm talking about!). So, the spunky hunk himself joins me and Al in the studio - Merry Christmas to me!

We also get introduced to Despereaux - Faye and I think he's v cute - I'm not sure Al's convinced. Who can fail to be charmed by such a sweet little animated creature. His tail (Faye's joke not mine) gets better too, not only is the movie, starring Matthew Broderick and Robbie Coltrane, hitting cinemas this week, it was also made entirely in London. This kind of project's usually reserved for the animation studios in Hollywood, so it definitely deserves our support. That's my excuse anyway, I just love cartoons really.

Oh - and don't miss Robin - he's got the weather if he's recovered from being upstaged by Britt Eckland's pooch!

We're all here from 6.

Alex and Alastair.



Good Afternoon.
I love the USA. I love it's music. It's cities lend their names to some wonderfully iconic music: Sinatra explaining that "Chicago" is his kind of town; Scott MacKenzie going to "San Francisco" and weaving 'flowers in his hair'; and "New York, New York", by anyone, conjures up the image of the Big Apple within a quaver or two. What do we get? Ralph McTell encouraging us to slash our wrists about the gloom that is "The Streets of London" And who ever penned a memorable melody about Croydon or Barnet? The Kink's "Waterloo Sunset" is as good as it gets, I think.
So it was to New York that we dispatched the naturally tuneful LVJ - he's Welsh, you know - and he came back with a fresh theory about communicable diseases, so virulent that they even cross the Atlantic. Why, he asked, if America sneezes, do we catch a cold... economically? As if to ease his passage, along comes American Bernard Madoff who promptly disappears with $50 billion in a fraud to make the South Sea Bubble look like commercial cheer-leaders to the Great Depression. He has more in the following days but tonight's is worth ever moment you have to spare at 6.
Ken is in charge tonight, de-stressed from the rigours of another weekend supporting West Ham - a point at Stamford Bridge is a point to cherish. He has commissioned a report on the state of play with the London Olympic aquadrome. In Beijing it was a magnificent water cube that lit up the Chimnese sky-line and accommodated even the ego of Michael Phelps and could have made the feet of Ian Thorpe look like "lickle flippers".
Again, and I am not one of life's pessimists, what do we have? Well, according to the very optimistic Ken, a place better suited to mud-wrestling that the four by four hundred metre free-style.
Piers "Mr Speedos" Hopkirk takes the plunge for you. Ladies, avert your gaze but hang on his every word - all of you.
Talking of words, some final words occupy a special place in our folk-lore. In Royal histroy, (and former Buck House press secretary Dicky Arbiter just passed by and said "Hi",) "Bugger Bognor ! " is one of my favourites. The Oz likes "Which way round is this helmet supposed to go?", uttered by Ned Kelly seconds before being felled in a hail of police bullets. He didn't have eyes in the back of his head, where he'd slithered the eye-slits to be, according to the Melbourne Museum of Fine Arts and Dead Gangsters. The celebrated reference to an angel getting its wings every time a bell rings is, of course, the closing tear jerker in a particularly seasonal movie, made many moons ago. The little girl who uttered them is now a grande dame and she joins us in the studio. Got it yet? You will. By the way, it has, over the years, also led to a rather large number of would-be cherubs and seraphim loitering, wingless, outside London's fire stations, only to waft away in celebratory fashion every time a semi or a bungalow goes up in flames. Odd, these Heavenly creatures.
We ring a bell, one more time, for our spelndid mobile phone search in aid of missing people and we hear , one more time, from the weepy wonder who won Saturday's "X Factor Final". Lucy sits with her, clutching the Kleenex. I voted for Lewis Hamilton so am still disappointed. What? A different show? Oh, sorry.
Finally, all the news that's fit to print in our news-belt and the latest on the trial of the family accused of keeping a stampede's worth of horses in conditions that beggar belief. They deny all charges. The RSPCA have some video they think may help the jury decide. It is not an easy ride, I warn you, but it matters so we'll run it.
Papers, if we have time, and certainly some weather from the lovely Chrissie who is coming in in increasingly thick jumpers, longer scarves and now a whole selection of gloves. I fear for communicable diseases but have put a fiver on a white Christmas. The Oz still thinks we're talking the colour of beach-sand, here. She'll learn - lovely, and quick witted - a beaut' combination.
We'll see you at 6 - in hope and not a little expectation.

Alastair and Alex.
Please Note:

Any views or opinions are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent
those of Independent Television News Limited unless specifically stated.
This email and any files attached are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual
or entity to which they are addressed.
If you have received this email in error, please notify postmaster@itn.co.uk

Please note that to ensure regulatory compliance and for the protection of our clients and business,
we may monitor and read messages sent to and from our systems.

Thank You.


London Tonight Tonight Friday 12th December 2008

Good afternoon.
I won't pretend it isn't an unusual Friday - we've less light hearted frippery for you as a good deal of weighty stuff is playing upon our minds, as it will upon yours.
The idea of a group of men and women, "honest and true", passing judgment on either a fellow citizen or a set of events, is at the heart of our democracy.
I don't know what the jury system in Brazil is like but ours very nearly served the shattered family of a Brazilian citizen well today. I say "very nearly" because the family believed the Police had "unlawfully" killed one of their number. But the Coroner said that was the one verdict the jury couldn't deliver because he didn't believe the Police had committed a "serious crime". Recovering from a sharp intake of breath, the jurors went on about their business and returned an "open" verdict and a series of observations, that will have caused an intake of breath at the Met. The young man was Jean Charles De Menezes and we have the full detail from a dramatic moment where British justice attempted to do well by an innocent young man making a new life in this country, only to fall victim to a cruel death. Marcus is the man with the sad tale of the shooting at Stockwell Tube Station and wrestles with the dilemma of a family seeking solace in justice, incapable of forgiveness, but pondering a new start without their beloved Jean.
To add to your understanding of this tale we have also asked some pretty fundamental questions about the Met's Shoot To Kill policy. The entire Police explanation was based upon the assumption that Jean was in fact Hussein Osman, a suspected bomber on the run at a time only two weeks after the 7/7 killings on London's transport system. But should they have ever been faced with such a ghastly "life or death" dilemma? And if they weren't, how much more dangerous might London be? Tough call but Glen is more than up to it.

The Beatles wrote "It was twenty years ago today..." as the opening line to the opening track of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club band. They also wrote "I read the news today" as the opening line of another memorable track on that classic of pop. Well, twenty years ago today I read the news of the Clapham train crash - a wood crunching, life-taking, body-breaking debacle that remained a blot on the reputation of the railway for years. In my view, and that of many, it remains there because some of the key recommendations still haven't been implemented. When the great Andrew Gilligan explains to you one of the reasons for that tardiness you may take to the roads or even a rickshaw in future. It will make your blood both run cold and then boil up in anger.

Anger is not a good emotion and whoever killed a convicted paedophile in his caravan home clearly did it in a state of extreme anger, given the horrid injuries inflicted upon the man. We hear ominous mutterings about "vigilantism" and "mob rule". Sangeeta treads with objective caution through Wandsworth.

Then, "Vivat Regina" as the boys of Westminster College are urged to exclaim at the Coronation of a new Queen. ("Vivat Rex, presumably, if and when Charles or Wills get the job but, given the rude health of the incumbent, I'd go shootin' and fishin' a little longer if I were them). "Vivat Mirren" we say as we welcome one of our finest living actresses to talk about her new movie which is targeted at the kids' market but which will do well, on merit, in any market. Dame H is in talks with the Lady Lucy - I won't take my eyes of either of them, unless the Oz nudges me in affectionate jealousy. I dream.

James King is here ("Vivat Jacobus" - that is right, honest) - to pass judgment on a remake and a re-release - They are called something like "The Day Christmas Stood Still" and "White Earth" I think but I am told them are both brilliant so I'd tune in if I were you to discover what they are really called and how good they really are.
The Oz will mull over What Not To Miss this weekend and it won't only feature strong lager, rugby and Kylie.
Robin is taking bets on very cold but very pretty precipitation this winter solstice.
And Faye, back in charge to let Ken prepare for another nail-biting weekend of what it means to support West Ham, is in tight black trousers, a truly stunning grey wrap top and beige pointy boots. But she is going to a dinner party tonight as The Fattest Lady In The World. I think she will fail but look hilariously beautiful or beautifully hilarious in the effort. That is why I love her.

The Oz and I await your presence before you bounce off for a wonderful weekend. Let us provide you with your passports to paradise, but only after we've shared the serious stuff with you.

Alastair and Alex.



Good afternoon.
"Just get on the bumper of an Olympic car and, game on!" was Ken's response to our top story. Ken, a life-long West Ham fan and thus an expert in dealing with adversity is in charge today and we are leading on the publication of the map which shows which roads and lanes will be awarded "clearway" status by the 2012 Olympic lot. His Mr Toad outburst caused a titter in our planning meeting but, the more I think about it, the more sense it makes. Because Mayor Bozza is fast turning into Toad of Toad Hall and subject the the Rats in City Hall will surely shortly implode in a cacophoney ot "Toot-toots" as he careers off yet another road.
One of his key lieutenants, and they are fast becoming few, joins us tonight to discuss what looks like a glimmer of hope on the Mayor's horizon and that of the mullered Met. Slightly fewer of our young-folk are knifing one another and that is a genuine cause for celebration. How they did it, why it has taken so long and how costly it will be to make it stick will be among the isues we will explore with Kit Malthouse.
Childish chortling also broke out when it was confirmed that our special guest tonight, Ms Kate Winslet, had been nominated for two Golden Globes. I know and I am sorry but I am, at heart , a reporter and report I must. Lucy has been chatting to her at titanic length but it is worth every frame.
I am less drawn to The X Factor and the three finalsists who will fight it out for money and glory and a contract with Simon Cowell, come Saturday. Infact there are 6 of them, but four of them are "one" of them, if you follow me. Anyway, Robin has been reading the small print in their would-be contract should they succeed and it shows that if they win and go on to perform in a pub on the planet Pluto, Mr. Cowell will still be in for a slice of the action. Fascinating and what a lesson in life for them all?
There is lots more and the jury at the De Menezes inquest are still looking at their watches so tune in for the above and for a few surprises too.
The Oz and I hope you'll be there because we will be.
Alastair and Alex.
Please Note:

Any views or opinions are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent
those of Independent Television News Limited unless specifically stated.
This email and any files attached are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual
or entity to which they are addressed.
If you have received this email in error, please notify postmaster@itn.co.uk

Please note that to ensure regulatory compliance and for the protection of our clients and business,
we may monitor and read messages sent to and from our systems.

Thank You.



G'Day Mates (use of Aussie Slang will become clear..promise).

First on the menu tonight is David Ross. I think the phrase "another one bites the dust" is appropriate here. Boris sure can pick 'em - 4th one of his chosen aides to step down since he became Mayor in May. Mr Ross is a bit of an illusive character and doesn't appear to have spoken on camera as far as we can work out - ever. But Simon Harris will explain why the former Carphone Warehouse director has had to drop out of helping plan London 2012.

Also tonight we meet gorgeous couple James Pegram and Melissa Huggins - they should be planning their wedding but are instead trying to raise cash for a life saving op for Melissa - who has a brain tumor at only 27. Liz Wickham's been to speak to them about their tragic situation.

Andy Townsend's going to be on hand to help me (resident expert) explain to Al why Chelsea fans aren't best pleased and why the most lovably cheerful manager in the Premier League (one Signor Scolari) isn't looking quite so happy lately and why he might be looking even more gloomy after tonight's Champions League match against Cluj.

Those sexy crooners JLS (stands for Jack the Lad Swing in case you didn't know..I didn't even though I am an X Factor addict) caused a bit of a commotion last night. There was a stampede at their gig in Croydon which left 5 of their adoring fans injured - nothing serious but still. Knowing the girls are ok I think the excitement about seeing the lads is clearly a sign of just how big these boys are going to get. But Ken (boss while Faye's out picking up awards and avoiding the champagne) and Al aren't impressed. Apparently there was proper hysteria surrounding the Beatles and the Osmonds. I couldn't possibly comment but Lewis Vaughan Jones has been speaking to other kids who don't remember that either but do think the JLS chaps are worth getting overexcited about.

Last but not least Jim Carrey's in town to promote his new movie Yes Man which is based on a book by London writer Danny Wallace. Lucy's been deployed to track him down..not sure why she's taking the bus with him - surely the pink limo was free..I'm sure we'll find out later.

Now - the use of Aussie slang on my part is to highlight our latest award for Best Regional Television Programme.

The gong's been dished out by the Plain English Campaign - who were clearly judging the presentation before I parked myself next to Alastair on the LT sofa. I fear my slight Aussie twang may damage our chances of winning it in the future - but as Al pointed it out, it is all about him (as most things are!) Methinks the reporters, producers and big eds may have had quite a bit to do with scooping the prize for the second time though (first back in 2005) but we won't tell the main man that. Ken has just held the trophy aloft in the newsroom Oscar style - very impressive - you can glimpse it for yourself ce soir and Al will explain in 'Plain 'English' why we've been so generously recognised.

I'm now going to get the man himself to check this is up to scratch - so Sheilas and Cobbers - catch us on the box at 6pm.

Alex and Alastair.
Please Note:

Any views or opinions are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent
those of Independent Television News Limited unless specifically stated.
This email and any files attached are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual
or entity to which they are addressed.
If you have received this email in error, please notify postmaster@itn.co.uk

Please note that to ensure regulatory compliance and for the protection of our clients and business,
we may monitor and read messages sent to and from our systems.

Thank You.


Friday Dec 5th

Good afternoon.

I love Fridays - the bran-tub of a show we do at week's end always yields guaranteed goodies for every excited hand thrust into the depths of the saw-dust and tonight's surprises are especially good.

A young picture editor just called me over and asked me to identify The Shadows! A joyous clip of black and white picture, showing Hank Marvin, Jet Harris, Tony Meehan and Bruce Welch, was played to me and I was able to confirm it was, indeed, them. Strumming and drumming and doing that loverly little two-step side-step that became one of their trademarks, the Shadows were there in the back-ground as a young, lip-curler called Cliff Richard was giving it plenty at the front. Tonight he tells Lucy how he plans to conquer Christmas for the fiftieth year running.

I adore the Dutch Masters - Van Dyke, Van Gogh, Van Driver and Van Diesel... it's Friday, I'm allowed a silly joke, or two ! OK, a play on words too far.
Anyway, second only to Van Gogh's "Starry Night" , Vermeer's "The Girl with the Pearl Earring" is my favourite example of the genre. (Van Vermeer parked his "van" and someone pinched it !) ( *enough "van" jokes, Ed)

A rather beautiful film was made of the story of this masterpiece a little while ago, starring one of the most beautiful women ever to grace the silver screen and her resemblance to Vermeer's house-maid in a cream scarf is scary. That woman is Scarlett Johanson and the fact that she is talking to Lucy rather than joining me in the studio is currently in the hands of my solicitors and the most expensive barristers money can buy. Subject only to an Order in Council, I fear you will enjoy her in conversation with the Lovely Lucy rather than me.

I, however, will be content to talk movies with James King who I see is now quoted by the Distributors of Quantum of Solace because he said it was possible the best Bond ever. I stand by Goldfinger but will focus on "Madagascar 2" and " Transporter 3" when he joins us in the studio to help you plan your weekend revels.

If you are in town you may be well advised to stick to avoid a certain type of pedicab. Suffice to say it involves industrial strength batteries, slightly more relaxed pedallers than is right, and a C21st rickshaw crashing through a Soho window. I am intrigued and think you will be, too.

There's lots of football, on and off the field - a ghastly story of a clash between some Crystal Palace fans and some Charlton Athletic supporters, the former being the Red Card collectors, the latter the innocent and nastily hurt victims. The Beak will do a little more than send them off, methinks, but all will be revealed by the non-judgmental Gooner, Marcus,at 6.

Meantime, on the field of dreams, Arsenal still wonder, in their bilingual anglo-french way, "what's gone wrong?" They meet Wigan, more famous in my house for rugby league so Arsene may be even more confused,. Chelsea, in their pan-European, anglo-franco-russo-german way, will contemplate putting the Red Scousers back in their place at Bolton's expense. Fulham hope to stop floundering, mid-table, and join the aristocrats of the top table at ManCity's cost. Excited? Well, I tried.

Finally, and arguable the most exciting part of the show - we revisit Trafalgar Square, still boasting a Norwegian spruce of startling proportions after last nights loveliness, but now shorn of Scandinavian dignitaries and the glitteratti of London's local Government. The choirs, too, have been put back in their chapels and the bands have marched back to barracks. That leaves the stage clear for our star - one of the lions has found his voice! Somewhere between C.S.Lewis' 'Aslam' and Kipling's 'Mufasa', this beast will guide tourists and others to the better bits of London. It is almost philosophical in its reach and conception... that, or a big stone lion keeping the visitors happy. Either way, it does it for me and I hope for you. Watch and listen and be the judges but remember, even stone lions might bite.

Also back from the Square, Robin, with some cold but hopefully dry weather.

Some papers in search of a lead and Boy George being , as Mary Magdalene said of Brian in "Life of Brian ", a "very naughty Boy". It isn't very nice but it is news and it may mean that Boy George isn't "free" to even sweep the streets let alone saunter alone them for a while. Nick will "come and go" with the tale of this emotional chameleon who, just a few days ago, was talking to us about having turned a corner. I am sad but he was naughty and the law must take it's course.

Oh well, I'll cheer myself up with thoughts of Scarlet, Vermeer and a big growling lion.

Salma joins me in seeking your company for an eclectic half hour!



London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 3rd December 2008

Good afternoon.

I think I have mentioned in the past that my family are all big fans of Roald Dahl - the young ones enjoy "James and the Giant Peach", "The BFG" and "Matilda", to name but three. I, and my eldest, really enjoy "Tales of the Unexpected", a series of dark, clever short stories which spawned a good TV series some years ago. "Tales of the Unexpected" is not a bad definition of news, as well. Prince Charles once asked why we never report on the fact that, every day, Boeing 747s, weighing tonnes and full of people, fly successfully and safely between London and the USA. "Because that's what they are supposed to do, sir", came the polite answer. It's when they crash that it becomes news because that is not what they are supposed to do.

So, when a young woman gets up on a cold and frosty morning, bids her husband farewell and begins to scrape the ice off her windscreen, it isn't news. But when a yob leaps into the car and roars off, running her over and breaking virtually every bone in her body, it is not only news, it is an outrage. The full, gruesome details, plus a description of the yob, are in Glen's notebook as I write; and, at 6, he'll lay it all before you.

In several police officers' notebooks tonight are the full details of how they were "proceeding towards the Palace of Westminster" and, specifically, to the office of the Honourable Member of Parliament for Ashford in Kent, Damian Green. I know Damian very well, having worked with him in his days as a fine TV journalist on Channel Four News, and a finer, more honest man, you'd be hard pressed to find. I don't know, as far as I am aware, any of the cops who mounted this odd raid but, from what I do know of that brigade, they are fine and brave men. I know Sir Paul Stephenson, the acting Commissioner of the Met' - he's a good egg, too; and, like Ken before him, I count Bozza as a friend as well as an important target for our honest reporting of London's fascinating story. So I am bemused by what came to pass on that fateful day and I am even more bemused by what Sir Paul and Bozza had to say this morning about who did what, who told what to whom, and what their roles may, or may not, have been on that day. It makes me feel like a bit-part player in one of Dahl's more complex "Tales of the Unexpected". I wish Harris well in toying with this philosopher's knot of a story, but it couldn't be in better hands than his.

An equally complex and subtle story is the tragedy that unfolded this morning in Dartford, though I fear it may prove sadly simpler to solve. A mum in hospital and in custody, and a child, found dead in a house. Jon will tread carefully but will tell you all he can.

Balancing the bad in our community are some remarkably good people upon whom we will "remark" more loudly than usual. "Reach" is a programme for black role models, with nearly half the top twenty being Londoners. One is a young fireman. I asked Faye, (dinner jacket discarded, but satin striped trousers, topped off with a stunning red silk blouse) if he was a "looker". She frowned, scolded me and said "Probably!". So worth staying tuned for a fine example of behaviour, bravery and manhood, at 6.

A fine Frenchman - never an oxymoron in my book - has put his skills on eBay for a good cause. The cause is the fight against Leukemia, and the skill he is selling is an artistic skill of kitchen-crowning proportions. He will cook a Michelin-esque Christmas lunch for the highest bidder and his or her family. The Big Boss won't be bidding because chicken and not turkey is the entree dish, but I may be tempted because chicken and truffles does it for me.

Finally a film called "Twilight" is causing a storm in the States - another beautiful young male Brit, a nod to Harry Potter, and an army of women of "a certain age" in pursuit of him - makes for a good story in any running order.
Not according to Lucy "the conqueror of De Niro, Clooney et al" Cotter - and she should know.

Alex and I hope you'll find enough there to settle your plans for 6 - 6.30 this chilly evening.



London Tonight Tonight Tuesday 2nd December 2008

Good afternoon.

The Big Boss, who held our planning meeting in his office this afternoon, spent much of the meeting auditioning for a part in "Mama Mia", "Cabaret" or in the backing singer line-up for Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of The Moon".
He was commenting on the Olympic Gold medal winning boxer, James De Gale's decision to go professional. The song BB sang, though, was NOT "Thank you for the Music", nor "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" nor "Eclipse". What it was, will become clear when you hear the bell ring for the start of Nick's report. It also features the latest on boxer Billy Joe Saunders who Faye described in extraordinary terms which I cannot commit to print. That such utterances could emanate from this elfin delight in butter-milk silk surprises me until I reflect that she is wearing the same black boots as yesterday and a slightly threatening black cardigan: it is a day for the Dark Side, clearly, and I am now on a Star Wars rather than a Pink Floyd theme.

"Be careful with that axe, Eugene" is a less well known ditty by Pink Floyd but sums up what we have been forced to say to many of you since the publication of the inquiry into Haringey's Children's Services Department - ( few of you, I know, are named Eugene but you get my drift.)
That fury persists, fuelled by the confirmation that, in English law, Ms Shoesmith (et al) are fully entitled to draw their salaries until such time as it is decided ..... well, that they aren't.
What her understanding - and that of her co-workers - was on Baby P's entitlements under English law is less clear and, of course, he can't appeal, complain or employ expensive employment lawyers. He's dead. We think it will take all the skills and persistence of Ronke to get within axe-swinging distance of the rights and wrongs of this torturous tale, but she will and then she will share at 6.

"The Trial" is a fine, disc-two, side-two offering from the double album that is the Floyd masterpiece "The Wall". In the case of Jean Charles de Menezes it is not a 'trial' but an inquest; though, for all concerned, it has, in a very real sense, been a trial not least for Jean's family and the coppers under investigation. An intriguing twist today that Marcus will delicately explain. It will be quite brief but quite important.

"The Final Cut" was the final Floyd album featuring Roger Waters on bass - less well known than "Dark Side", "Wish you were here" and "The Wall", but a fine piece nevertheless. Whether or not the budget-trimming endured today by Sport UK proves to be the 'final cut' is a moot point - but I'd not hold my breath if I was in the "wiff-waff" team, the basketball squad or if I were an aspiring English "bob-sleigher"!
What's more, like carol singers, our brave heroes of Beijing will also have to go round the houses asking for more support. And we talk of coming fourth again? In what? The begging stakes? Or the four by four "lend us a fiver" relay? My mood sinks.

And then, whoosh, it soars again! X Factor's final four did a gig for charity last night in London and Lucy was there - the fab 5 in anyone's book. Hang on... Lucy says it wasn't for charity unless the four have declared themselves a new charity. Gloom again... But hurrah for Lucy's journalistic integrity - literally, not just a pretty face but I've always known that.

Then there's the weather - a Leonard Cohen moment overtakes me! We used to say, at University, that his was music to commit suicide to, whilst Floyd's was music to .... well, to do a range of entirely different things to, most of which were illegal but all of which were enjoyable. Misspent youth? Not a bit of it ; worth every penny!
As is the Evening Standard which will be the only paper with breaking-ish news - the other two went to bed earlier than my ten year old son. Front pages if we can and then off home to a mug of hot chocolate, soft wool socks and I'll be "Comfortably Numb", Floyd's best ever track.

See you at 6.

Alastair & Alex


London Tonight Tonight Monday 1st December 2008

Good afternoon.

Catholics have a curious attitude to death - and I speak with the experience of having been raised by a Catholic father, with muted protests from a Baptist mother who had to sign a document saying any children she bore my father would be raised in the One True Faith. "Catholic" means universal and they take it very seriously. Anyway, if, like Charles II, you confess all on your death bed, even years of apparent Protestantism and serial adultery, you can still get to Heaven. If you die in a state of mortal sin, suffice to say that heating bills will not be a problem for you for all eternity. If you die in a state of venial, rather than mortal, sin, the next stop on the last train for you is purgatory. Time will pass and so will your soul, eventually, to "a better place".
If a child dies, unbaptised, a cruel state called limbo befalls him or her - neither Heaven nor Hell and no promise of resolution. I cannot believe that was a loving God's game-plan and have always been convinced it was a notion hatched by a Church, anxious for baptism fees - but who knows.
In my view, few would doubt that Baby P is now in "a better place". Here, on God's tortured and troubled earth, others now face a less clear future. Ed Balls has passed judgment on those in Haringey charged with looking after the little soul whilst he, all too briefly, lived among us. Ed's judgment has been swift and pretty comprehensive. The full details from us and we will then seek your judgment and share some of your thoughts back with you.

Whether the guilty ones will be forced to wear day-glow jackets has yet to be decided but a little like the "sack-cloth and ashes" of the middle ages, petty offenders will have to dress in that "can't miss 'em" mode and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, joined by Justice Secretary Jack Straw, went to Slough to announce it. At the same time there was an explosion at a factory in Slough and further doubts were raised about Ms Smith's role in the arrest of Damian Green MP. Now I am not seeking to draw any conclusions here and I am quite certain neither Cabinet Minister will be found to have had anything to do with the explosion; but the search of the offices of Mr Green may yet see Ms Smith examining her autumn wardrobe and day-glow might just be the new black! Lewis Vaughan Jones plays Georgio Armani to the entirely innocent Ms Smith.

Too soon to know who was innocent and who was guilty in Guildford at the weekend but a man was shot dead by Police, and the Independent Police Complaints Commission are looking into the facts as they do, automatically, in such cases. Phil has also been examining the facts and has a really moving interview with the Bishop of Guildford on whose manor it happened.
Faye, like a wasp wrapped up against the cold in an old movie (black, white and grey dress, black boots and grey cardigan), says two scenes from The Omen were filmed there. I think it is the ugliest Cathedral in the Kingdom. Neither of these facts are important but we are in a sharing mode this Monday so consider yourself shared with.

Sharing her genius on all things property is Kirstie who will consider if RBS-NatWest are being helpful, patient or taking the mickey by delaying repossessions by three months. Lending's down but, against that backdrop, it is hardly surprising, is it?

What is surprising is that Harris has been to Glasgow - Scots joke that everyone likes Edinburgh but Glasgow is an acquired taste. Anyway he's there to report on their experiment with mobiles on the metro. Given the Glasgow accent, I am not sure if Harris (London - West Country) will have a clue what they think of it but we can always put a translation at the bottom of the screen if you think it will help.

No papers tonight - we are resolved to save Brazil and her rainforests or, perhaps, we've failed to pay the newsagent: I am investigating.
Weather, currently very Glaswegian if not a little Aberdonian - Chrissie wraps up and wraps it up.
And a warming tale from the genius that is the Great Ormond Street Hospital collective.
You see, we start with bad stuff and children but we end with good stuff and children. There is a God and He or She is in His or Her Heaven... and not alone.

See you at 6.

Alastair and Alex...


Friday 28th November

Good afternoon.

A moment ago, there was concern that we had lost Glen. Draws and wardrobes were checked; bushel measures were upturned; even the Big Bosses filing cabinet was checked, but all to no avail. Then I glanced up and there he was, wearing head-phones and listening to some video track. The ear-phones are substantial in proportion, fair to say, but the main point is we have him back in our midst and poised only to leave us to waive his big cheque at some deserving coves a little later. What is more there are two further surprises pertaining to his broadcast brilliance tonight but I won't spoil the festivities, you'll love it.

"Find the lady" is a popular card-con played by nimble petty criminals on London's shopping thorough-fares. It involves a look-out, a card-sharp and an unsuspecting punter who is convinced he or she can guess which of the over-turned cards will reveal a Queen when up-turned. Sleight of hand means the punter's smile drops and the fiver is pocketed by the card-sharp. They could have been plying their dubious trade on Oxford Street this morning from 7am when punters would probably have been of even blearier eye than usual, and even more vulnerable. But, with breakfast and personal shoppers on hand, it proved quite a pull. All will be explained by Lucy once she has put down, safely, thirteen large shopping bags. Wouldn't want them to go missing, now would we?

I love traveling by air: the excitement of the airport, buzzing with a myriad of humanity off on holidays, away on business or just escaping something they might not want us to know about. Then the surge of the take-off, the affections of the trolley dollies and the questionable give-aways; finally, the sense of adventurous achievement in arriving and the magical mystery tour of the foreign airport to see if your bags made it too. Tonight we've an exclusive expose on why disappointment sometimes spoils that whole adventure. The bags in question aren't at the wrong airport nor have they been stolen but they have been the victims of a variation on the theme of "falling off the back of a lorry" - though the "lorries" in question are quite small. Intrigued? Thought you might be: final call for Lewis who will be boarding at gate 7 with fascinating stuff in his hand-luggage. No liquids, Lewis !

Much liquid will be flowing at the Yard tonight as they bid farewell to Sir Ian Blair. Not an easy departure, which was neither of his choosing nor to a timescale of his making but there you go. Well, actually, there HE goes. He has been speaking and Ronke has been listening. He utters one "sorry" which sounds heart-felt and is almost moving. Maybe I am too generous a spirit but it's Friday and Christmas beckons.

Actually, four of them beckon in celluloid form. The buses have advertised it and there has been much written about it but I suggest you, like me, wait to see what James thinks before we decide whether or not to open our recession battered wallets for "Four Christmases". More of a no-brainer, me thinks, is "The Changeling" - a true story of deep and terrible emotion with a powerful performance by Angelina Jolie. And even if I am wrong about the merits of the plot, she is gorgeous. Anyway, Jimbo on the two offerings, a little after 6.15.

Alex will then build upon the theme of nature abhorring a vacuum as we threat the forthcoming two days as devoid of air or, indeed, any matter. We, like nature, will fill it for you!

Robin says he warned us the red sky image last night was a red herring - it's been cold and wet. Enough, already, dear Robin - enough. As my Headmaster always said to me: "must and can do better!"

We can't do much better than round off with the papers still clinging to the wreckage of Mumbai and Sir Ian's au revoir, I suspect.

Then it's up, up and away for a fantastic London Tonight inspired weekend. If you pay more you can take your bags with you - I find it an increasingly sound investment and haven't lost a thing since my rucksack never made it to Lebanon. But that's another story.

See you at 6..

Alastair and Alex.


Thursday 27th November

Good afternoon.

Can a moment of lonely tragedy change the way we lead our lives and the way we look at others? Can a dancing, smiling child - his life, brutally ended with a shard of glass - have an impact, long after his promising life was abruptly and painfully ended?

Well, if Southwark Cathedral, this afternoon, was anything to go by, the answer is "maybe". In a few days time, Damilola Taylor would have been 18 but, of course, he won't be. Precisely 8 years ago today, his life ended. This afternoon Gordon Brown, who was Chancellor when Damilola died, and David Cameron, who was a young, rising star in the Conservative Party then, sat, side by side, and joined others in celebrating Damilola's life and demanding it stood for change. Putting aside my rose-tinted spectacles for a moment, London's death toll among young people is still a dreadful indictment: 28 this year, already: more, last year. But, who knows, things might change. After the service, there'll be an announcement that might help make that change come to pass. Join us at 6 to share in the magic moments of that memorial service and to hear what might yet make a difference.

What will certainly make a difference is Bozza's decision to act on what the majority of you said you wanted him to act upon in respect of the Western Front of the battle that is the Congestion Zone. But will the change only be positive to your cash-flow and might it be negative when it comes to the quality of the air you breathe and the ease with which you journey westwards? Liz has paid her eight quid and gone investigating.

Bet Jacques Rogge didn't pay the Congestion Charge as he toured London, checking on progress towards the opening of the 2012 Games. He was clear in his edict - no copying, no conferring! It made our Games sound like an international edition of University Challenge. We will, as Frank Sinatra would have it, do it our way and, brilliant though Beijing was, I suspect ours will be slightly more relaxed with beaming bobbies replacing frightening People's Enforcers on every street corner. I may have just rediscovered those rose-tinted specs' but I live in hope. Anyway, what he saw and what he thinks with Nick, a bit of a triple jumper of journalism in truth - and given "going underground" is yet to be declared an Olympic sport, that's probably for the best.

We squirt more money in a good direction tonight, courtesy of the Lottery Fund and ITV's People Millions. We all love this bit of the show and hope you do, too. We were a bit worried when the wind got up this afternoon: the vision of Glen being blown away as he discovered the aerodynamic qualities of our Great Big Cheque brought real concern in some quarters and a very childish smile to my face. See if he manages to land in time to bring joy to the deserving throng - remember, you chose them.

And we squirt water all over the studio as George Sampson comes in to tell us about his latest venture: a charity song for Christmas, proceeds to help our lovely heroes at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. Squirt water all over the studio? It was George who did a passing impersonation of Gene Kelly, "Singing in the Rain" on Britain's Got Talent and even spun on his head!

Robin will spin on his head if we ask him nicely as he attempts to explain away the bleak mid-winter coming a little early.
The papers will drip with images of Mumbai which the Evening News will be going big on, too.

Your e-mails about the Congestion Zone may be a feast of celebration or a cauldron of cautionary tales of environmental catastrophe. Who knows? You do, because you'll be writing them we hope.

So, faith in George's ability to entertain, Hope at Southwark Cathedral and Charity with the People's Millions - I am getting into the real spirit of Christmas already so I may forgive Robin for the weather.

Alex and I hope you'll share your time with us at 6.

Alastair & Alex


London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 26th November 2008

Hello, Good Afternoon and welcome to London Tonight... tonight.

Okay, who likes pantomime? I'm going to say it loud and say it proud... I love it. I accept there are those who don't. In fact, I accept there are those who loathe it. But I love it.

One of the reasons I love it is that it's uniquely British. Difficult to explain to a yank what makes it so appealing? Written down on paper, it all sounds a bit, well, 'odd'. Man dresses as a woman, girl dresses as a boy, audience shouts out "they're behind you" and "oh yes they are", everyone sings a song, the end. As I say... 'odd'.

So, what's the appeal for Steve Guttenberg? He's made some hugely successful Hollywood movies in his time... 'Police Academy', 'Cocoon', 'Short Circuit'... and yet, this Christmas, he's playing Baron Hardup in Bromley. Why? We'll find out when he chats to us live this evening.

Then there's McFly. Four young lads who've sold an awful lot of records. They're not appearing in a panto this year. They're appearing at Wembley tomorrow. Lucy's chatting to them.

What else do we have for you?

Our top story is the sentencing of a coach driver whose dangerous driving caused the death of three people on the M4/M25 junction at the beginning of the year. Philip Rooney was actually giving a safety announcement over the public address system at the time he tried to take a 40mph bend... at around 55mph. He pleaded guilty to all three charges and was sent to prison for 5 years. Our reporter was at court today and we'll hear from the daughter of one of those who died.

On a happier note, we've been out of the river for a look at some bridges. Not just any bridges. Not any more. 7 bridges spanning the Thames have today been awarded 'Grade II listed' status. (Experts on such matters will know that means you can't paint the door any colour you like or stick on an extension.) So which ones were they? The Albert Bridge, Tower Bridge, Westminster Bridge. No. No. and No. Some of the choice might just raise your eyebrows.

Something else that might raise your eyebrows is the British Heart's Foundation's decision to encourage today's youngsters to pursue healthier lifestyles... through a new computer game. Players can invent their own characters and then feed them what they like... with all the consequences therein. "Wouldn't it be better to encourage the little lumps to get off their backsides and run around a bit"... you might think. Actually, we'll be asking what you do think a little later.

We'll also be asking which of two community projects deserves a People's Millions grant for up to fifty thousand pounds... as well as revealing the winner of yesterday's vote. While we're on the subject, were you watching last night's programme? Did you see the reaction from the 'Learn to Play Steelpan' group when they got their rather good news? Fabulous stuff - we think they're still cheering. So, more of that tonight.

We'll see you at SIX.

Ben & Alex


London Tonight Tonight Tuesday 25th November 2008

Good afternoon.
If a car pulls out at a red light and hits you: you claim against the driver's insurance.
If you accuse someone of stealing your car and they deny it, you may end up in court arguing the case in front of a jury who then decide the rights and wrongs of it.
But if a sovereign state gives explosives to a terrorist group in another sovereign state, who then blow up a part of the capital of a third sovereign state; Who sues who, and who will step in to help the victims?
And what if the third sovereign state then declares the first sovereign state to be it's new "best mate" and refuses to pursue the first sovereign state for damages? The victims are left high and dry.
Le Carre? Fleming? No, Canary Wharf, 1996, with the sovereign states being Libya, Ireland and the UK, respectively.
Tonight we meet the victim who speaks for the many victims of Canary Wharf who have been left, all these years on, with little more than an apology. You can't pay bills or rebuild your life with a "sorry". Lewis Vaughan Jones explores the third party, fire and theft dilemmas of the terror victims.

Tarique Ghaffur - victim of racist career restraint or a man who had hit a professional plateau, only to enjoy no further promotion? We will never know but interesting to note that in addition to the presumed traditional gold carriage clock he will receive at his farewell do on Thursday, he'll also trouser a cheque for a rumoured £300 k from the MPA by way of settlement of their little disagreement. Phil has been loitering with intent outside the Yard and will share what he has discovered.

Our round up of other news involves naughty nooky in far flung places, and Boris accusing the First Lord of the Treasury of dipsomania. I'd watch just to discover what on earth I am writing about.
If that doesn't do it, what about learning who the first happy, and doubtlessly noisy, recipients are of a slice of our People's Millions? A huge blank cheque has been propped up against Hannah's desk most of the afternoon apart from when various vagrants and ne'er do wells wander off with it innocently under their arms only to return it when they realise it is yet to be signed by The Big Boss and therefore of no use other than as a huge fly swat. When signed it will make one group of Londoners very happy. Find out, with Glen, who tonight's winners are. One of the geniuses from graphics has just lifted it: I think she may be about to append the signature and I am the first to realise this... Christmas looks brighter, suddenly.

Before fleeing the country with my People's Millions, Alex and I will talk to Ned about Arsene, Arsenal, Gallas and Fabrigas - looks like two misprints and an order form for a French perfume factory, doesn't it? Fortunately, Alex knows about sport being a Setanta talent when she is not a London Tonight lovely. I will look knowledgeable but she is the genuine article. Ned will know the difference and will be kind about the Gunners chances against Dynamo Kiev - a cross between power-generation and garlic chicken more than a football club, surely? Alex will explain, I'm sure.

Lucy talks to Robert De Niro. The ease with which I write that in a sort of not over-shocked and quite unsurprised sort of way is a tribute to her skills and those of my friend Max who is our Entertainments Editor. Between them, they do bring you some amazing guests, I always think and for which I am always grateful. Hard workers and lovely people, the pair of them.

And that, I think, is that. Chrissie will take options on the weather but look where that has left most of London's hedge funds? Faye, (electric blue top, black troos and Ugg boots as I think they are known), is sporting a scarf today. They all mocked me yesterday, led by our own Cruella de Ville, Derham. Craig David agreed with me and today, the Lovely One has even copied me - the finest form of flattery, I know.
Just making the point.

Now I'll move on to bid you a warm invitation to join me and Alex for another London Tonight at 6.
(I was joking about pinching the people's pounds.)

Alastair and Alex


London Tonight Tonight Monday 24th November 2008

Good afternoon.

A brief missive as the Chancellor is announcing how he intends to creep up behind you all and say "Lend us a fiver. Promise you'll have it back, a little after Friday" - without defining 'a little after' nor sharing with you which Friday, from here stretching to Armageddon, he has pencilled in.
So, our programme tonight features an eclectic mix of news and entertainment, not unlike the emergency budget, the panic package we must call The Pre-Budget Report.
I thought Faye (black top, tight jeans, black boots - wow!) said London had the worst rate of screaming babies in the country. How this resulted in a sharply higher rate of deafness among infants was not immediately clear though I guess a lot of shouting could damage children's hearing. It was only when she clarified that she had said SCREENING and not SCREAMING that all became clear. Perhaps I was missed in those early months, all those years ago? We'll review London's pre-natal services and pre-natal failures to see if we can't help get something done about it. Then we'll screen it from the roof-tops.... no, we'll scream it from the roof-tops.

The significant levels of screening that Baby P was subject to but, yet, failed to save his life, continue to cause concern at every level. Ordinary folk, in their thousands, continue to pay respects to the little soul and have left several florist-fulls of flowers where his ashes were scattered. Fewer in number but potentially greater in impact are the opposition politicians on Haringey Council who, tonight, will demand that Labour heads roll. We'll be there with our basket to catch tumbling skulls and, like the old hags of the French Revolution, will be watching with you, and with our knitting needles clattering.
The chains clattered, allegedly, in Boy George's flat when he asked a visiting model to "hang around" while he went shopping. Alleged "chainee" wasn't happy and BG must explain himself to The Beak.

Opposition MPs are roaring with laughter at Mr Darling as I write so I must press on or I will miss the jokes or the economic forecasts which may, of course, be one and the same thing. If he has anything sensible to say about housing we'll talk to Kirstie about it.
As he borrows billions to bail out the economy which appears, from what he has said so far, to have gone wrong whilst he, like Boy George, just popped out for something at the shops, we have thousands to give away. Ah, yes, it is the People's Millions again and we have our first good causes in need of your support. Our thousands may pass Mr Darling's billions on the road which is Britain's economy... but going in opposite directions.

Finally, Craig David is in the studio: One of Britain's biggest selling R n B artists ever with a string of hits littering the last pop-tastic decade. We came up with two hits, "Fill me in" and "7 days" so his forthcoming Greatest Hits album will be a joyous revelation. He did well in Soccer Aid and was Man of the Match. This mix of accolades is of course, compelling, but I can't see him without thinking of Avid Merion, Kes the Sparrow Hawk and pant-wetting.

Sorry, but I must get back to Mr Darling who is turning into a numerate badger as I write.
See you at 6 unless I am heading for the Cayman Islands.

Alastair and Katie.


Friday Nov 21st

Good afternoon.

I was in Spain this morning, where it was warm, having spent 36 hours at a Conference discussing news. I am glad to be back "doing" news rather than "discussing" it. But I did meet a chap called Sheeraz who runs "Hollywood.TV" which is watched by 500 million people in 130 countries. This is of little importance, perhaps, to you but it knocked my socks off. Feet now recovered and re-covered, here we go.

But where to start with this Friday feast, this surfeit of the surreal, this cornucopia of curiosities, wrapped around a nucleus of nerve-jangling news?
We've a staggering tale which centres upon an 84 year old woman, the Social Services, Plod doing his best, and a neighbour doing the " Emperor's New Clothes" bit at the poor old soul's inquest. I don't want to give it all away because you will want to consume it all, jaws dropping around your waist-lines, as Robin recounts it; but I will say it involves not the 12 days of Christmas but the 12 days of shameful over-sight. It will make your blood boil.

As did mine, as a book-lover and a map collector, when I read about our next story. The British Library, once you've got over the Teutonic architecture and garish red bricks, is one of London's many master-pieces in the sense it houses the finest library in the land, (that of George III), around which is stacked the most comprehensive library of rare and modern books ever assembled outside of my eldest son's bedroom,. (Only a joke, Alex: and a bit of a dig.) Upstairs is a stunning collection of maps from the earliest to some brilliant recent efforts. Enter the villain of the piece who, like me, loves antiquarian books and maps but who, unlike me, doesn't believe that that which is the British Library should remain there, and in tact. What he did took the skills of a master-surgeon and the morals of a Great Train Robber. The numbers are numbing and the damage, devastating. Ronke had to hold me back. Don't you, dear friends, feel so constrained.

Then an act of economic terrorism, a list of larceny, "dipping" on a network scale. As the economy slides into recession, nay even depression... on the eve of the Chancellor's attempts to boost the economy by showering us with used fivers... as the High Street takes on the appearance of an economic Gobi Dessert... along come the Rail Companies. With inflation crashing from a little over 5% to something close to zero, they say "we'll pop our prices up by a minimum 6%... and, just for a laugh, put some up by 11%".

As my blood-pressure was just about getting back to 60 over 120, or whatever it's supposed to be, my cheeks turned scarlet again, my eyes went red and blood-shot at this news: Phil is a calmer cove than I and will tell you the worst. Then we'll ask for your considered views. Bare-knuckles, please: bare-knuckles!

Gloves, actually, are what grace the ferocious and yet clinically effective fists of David Haye , formerly World Cruiser-Weight Champ but now, after one or two too many visits to the pie-shop, taking a crack at the World Heavy-Weight title.

(I won't repeat that joke to him and I'd be nervously grateful if you didn't either because he is coming in to chat to us, live.)

Many are impressed - I am slightly frightened. What if he misunderstands what passes for my sense of humour? Suddenly, Spain beckons again.

But not before I tell you James is here, assessing "Blindness" about which I , too, am in the dark; and "Body of Lies" which many say marks yet another step in little Leonardo Di Caprio's journey from promising " juv' lead" to a celluloid force to be reckoned with.

Robin, a force to be reckoned with in meteorological and televisual circles, has pulled the wool over the normally "eyes wide open" Big Boss who is in charge today. (Faye, at home, I see in a fluffy house-coat and pink slippers for some odd reason.) Anyway, the "BB" has dispatched the Man with the Met' Maps to what passes as a Christmas fest on the South Bank.

Reindeer? Santas? Jingle Bells? No, apparently it is a bacchanalian nightmare that would be quite at home as an adjunct to the Munich beer-festival, save it actually comes from Koln - that is Cologne but without the "umlaut" over the "o". What use is key-board without an umlaut I ask my self? Salma understands me. In this, I fear, she may be alone. Anyway, you'll want to be there at the bitter end (probably lager, given Robin and where he is), for it all to make sense. But, believe me, it does and I am chuffed about it all. Even the boxer and the book bandit, one of whom scares me and one of whom I'd like dealt with by the other one. If this is actionable, you'll never read it.

None of the above, however, will be missing from the programme and I hope you lap it up at 6.

My wife took the children to Lapland to see Santa once and I think that was a lot less sordid than what Robin has in store on the South Bank but we'll only know, for sure, at 6.

I'd watch it if I were you.

Alastair & Salma.


London Tonight Tonight Thursday 20th November 2008

Afternoon all,

Well there's no ignoring it - Christmas really is coming... 5 weeks today in fact, and we're being warned that almost half of us Londoners will take on more debt than we can afford this year. *SIGH*

Maybe it's time to recycle those unwanted presents from last year (as long as you don't give them back to the person who gave them to you) or start telling people you have thought about their Christmas presents... and after all, it is the thought that counts. Loads of sales are starting at the shops so that's a bit of silver lining... although you may want to hang fire like Ben who has just said; "I'm not doing my Christmas shopping yet, I'm going to wait until the retailers are really desperate!"

Feel free to follow any of our tips but it's probably best to take advice from the experts, like the good folk of Bethnal Green. In fact a team of financial advisors has spent time with residents there and, in just an hour with each of they've saved them over £700 each. That's Christmas sorted then!

The credit crunch - renamed the 'Christmas Crunch' for the next five weeks no doubt - has also impacted on the poor greyhounds from the now closed Walthamstow Stadium. Many still haven't found a new home, with one local kennels currently trying to re-home 90 racing dogs. They say people feel they can't afford to take on a pet. Marcus tells them they can!

If you're looking for a new pad, Boris has been on the case today with a pledge to create 50,000 affordable homes in London. But, if you are vertically-challenged with big feet this won't be for you as the Mayor also said; "we should stop building homes for hobbits." Really. I'm not making this up. There was a good point in all this however, as apparently the average size of a newly built home in this country is 76 square metres, whereas our friends in Oz can run around in 206 square metres. Enough to swing several cats in, perhaps even a greyhound! So I'm guessing these new-builds will be a decent size - Simon Harris will have the details for us.

Alexander O'Neal is popping into the studio tonight for a chat ahead of his appearance tomorrow at the Indigo2. Faye told me earlier (that's programme editor Faye rather than me talking to myself) that some expectant mothers listen to the American soul singer whilst in labour. I bet they listen to him at the beginning of the process too! Incidentally, Alexander himself has eight children. Not sure where I'm going with this so best to stop there I think...! Faye has also been doing some spectacular renditions of some of Mr O'Neal's songs for us all! Better than the real thing - Maybe...

On that note, I shall leave you but hopefully see you at 6!

Faye B and Ben


London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 19th November 2008

London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 19th November 2008

Good Afternoon to you.

And we start by bringing you the shocking news that's not really ours to bring you.

Heard about John Sergeant? He's pulled out of Strictly Come Dancing. He says he wants to avoid a "bloody battle". I mean, really. What about all the people who paid money to vote for him to stay in every week. Well, the BBC say they'll reimburse anyone who did. I still feel a bit cheesed off. Probably because I can't dance for toffee.

Anyway, the ITV Evening News will have the full story on that at 6.30pm.

As for what we'll have in our half hour starting at 6.00pm...

Well, we start with the rather frightening news that a suspected murderer has escaped from a mental health unit in Wandsworth. A huge police operation has been launched to find John Claydon who made a run for it last night with another patient, John Slavin.  It's thought the pair of them might have had some help too. We'll show their pictures on the programme, of course... and, if you should see them, the message from the police is - don't approach them. Dial 999.

And, who's fed up with sitting in London traffic... day after day... week after week... year after year...? Well, if you are, now could be the time to start training for the Olympics because come 2012 if you're taking part you'll get to drive in special Olympic lanes dedicated to the greatest sports event in the world. Now, it may be that you're not really up for chucking a javelin or paddling a canoe but the good news is - you don't have to. You can get away with being an official (ie - stand on the sidelines and say 'Nah. do it again') and still get to use the nice clear lanes.  Of course, you might not be everyone else's best mate as you glide past the even-longer-than-usual traffic jams. Simon Harris will referee this particular problem.

We'll also be speaking to a record-breaking funny man (and trust me - he's funny)... Travelling to Paris to get one back at the French.. And looking ahead to a football match in Berlin where England would like a replay of that famous 2001 score-line 5:1. The trouble is all our team are off sick, so it's very much a B team going up against the Germans tonight. We'll speak to ITV commentator, Andy Townsend, to see what he makes of our chances.

Lots to get through.

See you at SIX,

Ben & Katie


London Tonight Tonight Tuesday 18th November 2008

London Tonight Tonight Tuesday 18th November 2008
Good afternoon.
My brother's mother-in-law is Italian and we clash, politically. Of Mussolini, she is of the persuasion that his ability to have the trains running on time begs forgiveness of other oversights like human rights and support for Hitler. Like Hitler, Mussolini was hot on paper work - as was Stalin. If nothing else, you can say of the Soviet Union, fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, ' they ran a neat bureaucracy'.  If only Stalin had realised Marx's "dictatorship of the proletariat" was about giving them what they needed rather than telling them what to do, and shooting them for failure. How history might have been different.

If you have seen the paperwork on Baby P, which Haringey Council et al so painstakingly compiled, you might think the same - if only someone, anyone, had read it all in one sitting they might have thought  "something's amiss here" and how the history of Baby P might have been different. But no, they didn't and he is dead, his ashes scattered in East Finchley Cemetery. Harris has been looking at the paperwork and the Cemetery where he says the tributes to Baby P have now reached "mountainous" proportions. A characteristically sharp yet sensitive piece in promise, methinks. LVJ is on his way to Haringey where a Cabinet meeting is scheduled. (I still find that pretentious as a piece of political jargon.) He will try and eavesdrop but I suspect the very foundations of the council chamber will echo to an embarrassed silence, but we'll see.

Much talk of worms and viruses at  the Royal London in Whitechapel, Barts Hospital and the London Chest Hospital. Faulty hygiene? Brown, slivering things chomping on soil and surviving being cut in half? Tiny microbes that cause infection and illness? No, this is about cyber-space not grubby wards and muddy operating theatres. They have been victims to a hacker who sent a computer virus into the IT system which has reproduced and caused havoc with the system, causing lots of folk to turn up only to be turned away and sent elsewhere. Robin plays windows and algorithms in a bid to make sense of this sci-fi frightener.

Nothing sci-fi about the boys in blue putting the boot into assorted front doors in pursuit of the alleged baddies who brought opprobrium down upon the splendour of the Notting Hill Carnival. Bill's chill "knock on the door" at dawn was pretty dramatic but may help make London a safer place; so it was an alarm call and a strong cup of coffee for Glen this AM and I mean AM.

Mystery surrounds the plight of one of nature's loveliest - only the Queen and the Duke of Norfolk (Catholic, Arundel Castle, Katherine Howard, wife of Henry VIII and all that) can own them and one has been impaled upon a stake. I am writing about a stunning young swan. Our first thought was some cruel cretin had been at work but the RSCPA assure us it was an act of self-harming. Marcus dons his white tights and tutu to investigate tales of recovery.

There are more cell-phones in the UK than there are people. The only other item that can make that claim, I gather, is the number of copies of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" albums. So you must have some, or several, about your home, person or down the back of your sofa. How we can use them to help missing people will be revealed on tonight's show. Don't hang up on me, now: you will want to help.

Faye, (paint-splattered jeans, grey top and black scarf) tells us her delightful husband once shared a flat with two guys who went on to become a part of Coldplay - successful rock ensemble, one of whom has also married rather well. Faye's "beau" joined a jam, one night and, having struck the triangle I am sure with all the musicality he could muster, declared they'd never come to anything and downed another Bud'. Another case of what could have been, methinks, though less catastrophic than the inability to read notes in a certain North London Borough; but I thought it was worth mentioning.

No wonder she keeps telling us she's "stressed". But stressed or as chilled as a rock star's wife, I still love her.

Katie and I both hope you'll join us for our attempts to turn Faye's inventive genius into a programme you will enjoy - at 6.
Alastair and Katie.


London Tonight Tonight Monday 17th November 2008

London Tonight Tonight Monday 17th November 2008

Afternoon ...
Katie here, I'm giving Al the afternoon off, though he will be joining me on the sofa at 6, thank the lord.
A packed show tonight, with the stand off continuing at Haringey Council, as locals and indeed councillors add to the clamour of questions and recriminations over who was to blame for the death of Baby P.  Ronke's got it covered.
The sound of hollow laughter from all of us blessed with a commute to work, as the combined forces of TfL, London Underground, and a whole host of train operators have got their collective christmas hats on, and announced, over a cheery mince pie, that they're shutting down over the festive season. They're effectively closing the transport network in the capital for at least 4 days from Christmas Day. No really, hardly any tubes or trains for days and days. Which when you remember what happened at Liverpool Street last year, is enough to make you reach for the cooking brandy.  Our very own christmas elf, Glen Goodman will have the details.
We've the latest on the tragic accident at the weekend which saw the drowning of a talented young lad from Reading. He was canoeing in Wales .. no one yet is quite sure what went wrong. Still more tragic deaths at the weekend from stabbings .. 3 killed, several injured, including one at the Urban Music Awards at the O2. We speak to Kit Malthouse, Deputy Mayor with responsibility for policing, and ask how he and Boris are going to stop this.
Kirstie's with us to talk property  - always a joy; and Phil's been to Watford to scope out what COULD be the scene of a certain Mr Barack Obama's first official visit to the UK. If the presence of the president-elect on the show isn't glamorous enough, then Lucy's been hanging out with Angelina Jolie, talking about her new film the Changeling.
Apparently some people think she's quite attractive ...... personally of course I'd rather hang out with Al and Robin, discussing the weather and our favourite tea time treats.
Which is exactly what I'm going to do now.
We'll see you at 6...



Friday 14th November

Hi all,

The fallout from the appalling death of Baby P is still continuing, and still getting more shocking. Just when you were maybe thinking matters couldn't be worse at Haringey Council, it's now emerged that the Government - yes the Government - was alerted to a claim that child protection procedures were not being following by Haringey, six months before the death of the 17 month old boy.

The social worker who made the claim wrote several letters to government departments and to the Social Care Inspectorate but, according to her lawyer, they simply got pushed from "pillar to post". This story is changing and developing as I write but I can assure you that by 6pm, Ronke Phillips will be able to update you on today's wranglings. None of these wranglings however will bring back that poor child.

We'll also be able to show you Baby P's face, for the first time, at six.

The rest of the news has something of a property feel to it. The famous New Scotland Yard, the rented headquarters to the Met Police, is being sold off by it's owners. The Met would like to buy the freehold but, as you'd expect, it doesn't come cheap. Around £100 million in fact. That's some mortgage, and you're not going to get a particular good rate at the moment, are you?!

Up at N17, a resurgent Spurs are planning on developing their current White Hart Lane Ground into a new sixty thousand seater stadium. The complex will also have a museum, homes and a supermarket, but will it really be as iconic as the club claims? We know how sentimental footy fans are about their sacred turf.... Glen Goodman is off to investigate.

Golden Balls certainly has the midas touch when it comes to property - or at least the owner of a three bed house in Leytonstone is hoping so because one Mr D. Beckham was born there. Similar properties on Norman Road go for around £250,000 whereas the 'golden' house is on the market for over three times that. Bargain? Or baloney (as they may say in Becks' new suburb of LA)?

I'm not sure if the beautiful James Blunt is into property but he will be residing in the studio this evening to let us know about his new single and latest album. Our boss Stuart is in the programme editing chair tonight and has found a brilliant clip of our James singing a distinctly different version of his infamous "You're Beautiful" song. It's hilarious, and we will of course share it with you later. I won't give it away but it is good to see that our crooning captain can make fun of himself.

I was still smiling on my way to work this morning about 'Billgate' - or rather, Alastair's moment on the show yesterday when we were covering the 25th anniversary of ITV police drama "The Bill". If you missed it, he referred to D.I. Burnside (as in Detective Inspector) as 'Di' Burnside (as in Diana). Well, I was going to let it go but our gallery crew and our guest Alseha Dixon - who clearly all watch The Bill - started to giggle, which set me off. Al confessed to not watching the show... clearly! Anyway, he is the most experienced broadcaster I have ever worked with and, the true professional he is, he put his hand up to the gaffe quite willingly. Afterwards when we were off-air he admitted, "I don't mind... if it had been a political constituency however, I would have been horrified!" Love him.

Al deserves a rest after that so Ben is at the helm and rocking along to Supertramp's "Breakfast In America" at the moment - purely journalistic reasons though, as James Blunt has covered this. We do actually work. Honest.

Robin is also on top form, as always, and will have the weekend weather for you, plus James King has his pick of this week's movies and we'll keep you up to date with ideas for the weekend as the capital gears up for Christmas - already. Agh!

Looking forward to seeing you all at 6,

Faye B & Ben.













T +44 (0)20 7430 4288
P  Please consider the environment. Do you really need to print this email?

Please Note:     Any views or opinions are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent  those of Independent Television News Limited unless specifically stated.  This email and any files attached are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to which they are addressed.  If you have received this email in error, please notify postmaster@itn.co.uk   Please note that to ensure regulatory compliance and for the protection of our clients and business, we may monitor and read messages sent to and from our systems.  Thank You.  


London Tonight Tonight

London Tonight Tonight
Good afternoon.
Good to be back - I missed you and hope, in the nicest possible way, that you missed me. Don't get me wrong - how you say things, really matters.
Like Haringey Council "thinking" that they had said sorry for the death of Baby P. They hadn't. For 48 hours. They now have and Ronke hears them say it. But then again if I say I missed you that is different to someone else telling you that I missed you. Thus, with Haringey - a member of "the Cabinet of Haringey Council" (pretentious, moi?) says she is sorry. Not the leader of the Council. Nor anyone of the army of social service people who bumped into this case but appear to have failed to achieve traction with it. So, an apology at several removes but not one removal of one person from office, job or responsibility. This one will run and run.
Talking of field sports, athletics and the like, Tessa Jowell says if we'd known then what we know now, we wouldn't have bid to host the Games. "Mummy, this great big recession came along and hit me! I didn't see it coming". Well, none of us did but as that Great Economist John Maynard Keynes said" When the facts change, I change my mind". How then is our Tessa saying, now that the recession has knocked her and modern capitalism for six, that she is standing by our hosting of the Olympics? No choice, I hear you mutter. Then don't raise the canard only to shoot it like a Barnacle Goose, you might hear me respond. Bozza says Tessa has been a good 50 meters behind helpful in the last lap of the Let's Get The Games Going sprint. Oh, for a starting pistol.
Phil says "on your marks" several times and still wonders if any of them will ever get off the blocks let alone complete the course.
Apparently Faye's elegant black trousers, (the ones with my favourite satin stripe down the side) are falling apart, but not, and I quote The Stunner, "in a sexy way". She then chortled, as only she can, that she was pleased to have given me "some material". Shouldn't that be the other way round, given the fissiparous nature of her troos???
Nick Wallis finally escapes, troos in tact, from the dank depths of the Underground but not before meeting a Giant Digger and giving a good talking to Tim O'Toole who is in charge. Actually, we like Mr. O'T despite the fact that he learned his trade moving around as many "steers" as you used to see on Rawhide or Bonanza. "Moo" I hear you say. No, I don't. It is my fevered imagination.
But I enjoy a vibrant imagination. This, though, is beyond even that fevered cauldron of creativity - a thug, a wrong'un, "a burglar, gangster and junkie" says Faye of him, in what must pass as the most damming character reference ever uttered outside of anger, attacks another chap. They then bond and form a partnership to combat youth crime. Well I guess they bring both sides of the experience into play but I still fear planks of wood and unethically large brass finger accoutrements may come into play in the final act.  Lewis will prove me wrong, I am sure.
Alesha Dixon is in the studio. She was recently in Downing Street and on "Strictly", as it is known in the trade. Which will she prefer when it comes to her inevitable autobiography? We will ask her. She is a beautiful and talented woman. Not unlike Faye, though I imagine Ms Dixon's troos will be in fine repair. Or she'll wear a frock.
Harry Redknapp is at White Heart Lane and doing to it what John Maynard Keynes (pay attention at the back) did to the world economy after the crash of '29 and the slump of the '30s. JMK wrote "The General Theory of Employment" as a result and changed the way politicians and economists thought for the next 50 years until Milton Freidman, Margaret Thatcher and Monetarism. I wonder what Harry will call his seminal tome? "The General Theory of Putting The Ball In The Back Of The Net, 'arry" ?
Perhaps he'll tell us, at 6.
Why your Post-Office has a better chance of staying open and why Drogba should have kept his feelings about being pelted by morons in the stands to himself; plus all manner of meteorological banter from Robin and a snatch of the front pages.
I am exhausted and may need another day off. That'll be Friday then.
But I really look forward to your company tonight. As does the lovely Faye. Both of them, in fact.
What a happy crew we are - let the vibes reach you, live at 6.
Alastair & Faye & Faye.


London Tonight Tonight Monday 10th November 2008

London Tonight Tonight Monday 10th November 2008
Good afternoon.
We begin with an inquest which may suggest, on the eve of Armistice Day and the 90th anniversary of the end of the War to End all Wars, that we are still sending modern troops into battle ill prepared, under-equipped and at risk. It is not what we should do to them or their families. The Coroner may decide all was hunky dory and who needs a helicopter, medic and armour to avoid fatal attack? I am sure Harris will let us know.
Somewhere between "all property is theft " and "possession is nine tenths of the law" is where we all live. Tonight, two groups of people who are seriously uncomfortable with their part in that.
260 residents of a Peabody Estate have had no gas for ages - they are not Cooking on Gas, and some are not  bathing, showering or even doing the washing up. Not on. Robin is metering their complaints and seeking to sort it.

Also unhappy are many folk who've gone for equity release on their properties - "equity" is  the bit of the value of your home you own as opposed to the bank, building society or generous Aunt Hilda - and it can be realised through a deal with a lender, a deal the like of which I would touch with a barge pole so long you could stand in Windsor and prod Wapping with it. And I am right, because, as LVJ will show, it has come horridly unstuck for lots of people and we will ask our nice friendly estate agent, Philip Bullman, if there is a better alternative? A tent would be better in my view but I think I have already made it clear where I am coming from on this one.

Keith Allen is in the studio shortly to talk about being Long John Silver - I thought he was doing an impersonation of Lewis Vaughan Jones til I realised my eyesight was playing up again and I'd got the letters wrong. I liked him as the Sheriff of Notthingham and his daughter went to school with my daughter. So lots to talk about as well as a classic of early modern literature.

I got very confused about Wimbledon FC and the MK Dons but one, or possibly both, of them is doing very well and we are very excited about it. I fear you'll have to watch for it to make sense. I thought the Crazy Gang sang "Underneath The Arches" but apparently they won the FA Cup in 1988. It is another world.

Robin refuses to go on the roof and the London papers will be damp. Both will be with us.
As will Alex, my new friend. I like her and I know you will, too.
Alastair and Alex