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Monday 30th June

Monday 30th June

Good afternoon.

It can only be one of those bizarre coincidences that an entirely random knife attack has robbed us all of another promising young actor - not that long ago it was a lad who had only just celebrated getting a part in the latest Harry Potter film. Tonight we tell you what we know about Ben Kinsella. The ink on his GSCE scripts barely dry, he was stabbed to death. Ben's sister , herself a bit of a soap star, speaks powerfully yet beautifully for the family. She tells us he was a young man who had already made his acting debut in The Bill and, who knows, could have become a star. But, as for too many young Londoners before him, the cold blade has resolved that we will never know. What a shame, what a waste. Harris spearheads our anger and distress.

There is little doubt the number of fatal stabbings in London would be higher were it not for the dedication and brilliance of the vast majority of NHS staff who look after us all. They've been doing it for 60 years - well, not the current lot because if they had they'd be breaking the law on retirement age but you know what I mean. As they say of the monarch, "their heirs and successors" have carried on the good work. Interesting that back in 1948 there were fewer knife and gun crimes and a lot more rickets. Even more colourful differences came to light when we went fishing in this pool of health care history. Ronke does a passing impersonation of The Lady with The Lamp.

I wrote, a moment a go, about "the vast majority" of NHS staff whilst squirting unrestrained praise in the general direction of The White Coat and Starched Cap brigade. Alas, some of them do occasionally get it wrong and, given what they trade in, when they do it can be catastrophic. We've the tale of Sarah Fox whose mum was worried about her young daughter's weight loss. Seven is a magic number and a biblical number, and seven times it was that the Fox's went to the hospital and seven times it was that they were rebuffed. Alas there is no magic nor biblical miracle in the outcome of this story but you'll have to live through it to learn from it. Glen will hold all the hands that need holding.

Incidently, I have just caught sight of the PM in the House of Commons: he doesn't look well, next to Health Secretary Alan "Buddy Holly" Johnson let alongside Harriet "Summer frock" Harman. And the woman sitting behind him seems to have an over-night bag on her lap: is someone going for a well earned rest? I only ask!

Don't know if Lucy held Pierce Brosnan's hand during "interview conditions" but a mind reader would have had an easy time of it, I daresay! She then meets Meryl Streep. It is all to do with a film version of a story loosely based upon the antics of a musical combo who, at one stage, contributed more to the Swedish economy than Volvo Cars. Mamma Mia, what am I going on about? Dunno, but here I go again.

When I saw "Big Stink" in the Big Bosses Running Order I thought of some frightful act of political chicanery or , perhaps, a new open air garlic wholesalers causing more than a little disquiet down wind . But no, it is, infact, one of London's less know ecological events that resulted in the House of Commons being evacuated as a direct result of an excess of the other sort of "evacuation" all humans are obliged to go through every day - unless you are a laxative user.

No jokes about the Commons being full of... nor that there's always a moral stink in there... no, the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth from Lewis who celebrates the far-sightedness of one of Victoriana's greatest - the Master of the Queens Ablutions, Joseph Bazalgette.

By the way, Joseph's grandson, Peter, was the top man at the TV company that brought you "Big Brother". I think grandpa Joe would have been proud that the capacity for channelling vast quantities of effluent had, so successfully, crossed the generations. He'd have been flushed with his grandson's success, me thinks.

We'll talk property with Louisa, weather with Chrissie and papers among ourselves. I think it is a fine start to a great week. If it leaves you wanting more, hurrah. If it overfills you, see a doctor and say "Happy 60th!"

You may need, however, to check out Bazalgette's finest but I've no intention of intruding there.

See you at 6.

Alastair and Salma



Friday June 27th

Friday June 27th

Good afternoon.

Tariq Ghaffur is a big man - tall, well built and charismatic. He has risen through the ranks of the Met, an organisation accused, all those years ago, of being guilty of "institutionalised racism" in the wake of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry. And yet, despite his race, he rose to be an Assistant Commissioner - just one from the top.

Suddenly he believes his career has ground to a halt ; his contract may not be renewed and he feels he has been side-lined over responsibility for the security for the 2012 Games about which he has already briefed a number of us with great integrity and authority.

So why? Has he gone mad? Is he telling lies? Is he neurotic or suffering from an Olympic size chip on his shoulder? I don't know but he says he has a dossier of evidence to prove his point and will , in those immortal words of the Duke of Wellington, "publish and be damned".

Glen has a gallon of printers ink at his disposal and will tell all he can.

Many of you told us all that you could about how touched you were by the story of Harvey Parry, the little guy who lost his legs as a result of meningitis but could only get the right ones privately. That would have meant he couldn't get other help from the NHS. I know: silly rule and the Government is reviewing it. But Harvey's mum and dad, quite rightly, didn't want to wait. The best were on offer in the Good Ole U.S. of A , a long way away and a lot of dollars to get there and buy the legs. So a big thank you to Richard Branson's gang at Virgin Atlantic who have offered to fly the Parry family there and Ronke will chart their progress for you.  Help wanted. Help delivered.

James reviews "Wanted" , and "Prince Caspian" which looks set to keep a multitude of little darlings glued to the silver screen over the fast approaching summer holidays.

By the way, Bill Gates is stepping down to run his $80, 000,000,000,000 foundation. Ken asked me what sort of thing it does. "Third world poverty and disease", I said. "Don't suppose a new striker for West Ham is a runner?" he enquired. I like Ken, hugely, but I think sometimes he is more of Narnia than planet Earth.

I left planet earth and was briefly in orbit this morning when I went along to interview Lewis Hamilton. We ended up playing with fast electric cars, discussing Nelson Mandela and peripheral vision. That is what you do with Lewis. But I watched him spend special time with special people this morning and it brought a tear to my eyes. I'll say no more but you'll enjoy it, at one level, and may just be moved to another by this delightful and beautiful young man.

A delightful and beautiful old man celebrates his 90th birthday in London this weekend and we continue our coverage of Nelson Mandela's Hyde Park Party with an exclusive natter with the Sugarbabes and other goodies besides.

I am told that at the end of the programme there is a small item which sketches out some things you might wish to do on Saturday and Sunday. It used to be called What Not To Miss.

Salma, by dint of devious invention and brutal back-stabbing graft, has now had it elevated to "A Special". Oh yes," A Special". It is all about our series on helping you save - I'd suggest to The Big Boss he could "save" a lot of programme time by putting it, and her, in their place. But I won't because, in truth, it is good, and, hand upon heart, I love her. At my age, envy is an unattractive quality but not as bad as dribbling.

See you at 6

Alastair and That Nice Girl Salma


and Salma is doing What Not To Miss


London Tonight Tonight Thursday 26th June

London Tonight Tonight Thursday 26th June
Good Afternoon to you.
All well with you and yours, we hope.
There's been a bit of talk about movies here this afternoon. Kids films in particular. Personally, I love 'Finding Nemo'. Our programme editor, Faye jumped up and down over 'Monsters Inc' and 'A Bug's Life' while Salma goes for 'Jungle Book'. Interestingly, her husband says she IS the character Dory from 'Finding Nemo' - forgetul, somewhat excitable, not very good at 'I spy'. Judge for yourself, viewers.
Anyway, what kicked off that chat is the fact that we're at the premiere of 'Kung Fu Panda' in Leicester Square tonight. It's a film about... a panda doing judo. Just kidding. Among the stars lending their voices (for a fiver or two) Dustin Hoffman, Jack Black and Lucy Liu. Lewis Vaughan Jones will be there too. Imagine Lucy Liu's excitement.
There's more showbiz too - with a preview of a rather HUGE concert in Hyde Park tomorrow night. Just so you know it'll be on ITV1 - in case you weren't offered a ticket. It's all in aid of a living legend, one Nelson Mandela, who is 90 years old. And to help him celebrate, the names on the bill include... Simple Minds, Queen, Annie Lennox, Leona Lewis... not bad, not bad. And our guide to the preparations this evening is Kevin Adams - he of 'Fame Academy'.
On the slightly weightier side of the news scale, we'll be looking at hospitals, the Met and embassies.
It seems one of the admin teams at the Barts and the London NHS trust have been pulling a bit of a fast one with their waiting list numbers. Someone blew the whistle, Barts said sorry... after18 months.
On the Met front, one of the force's top cops, Tariq Ghaffur has claimed that he suffered racial discrimination and is taking legal advice on whether he should take it up with Sir Ian Blair.
And, as regards embassies, it turns out a number of their staff here in London are refusing to pay parking fines or the congestion charge. We've mentioned this before but the collective backlog now stands at over 10 MILLION pounds. Should they pay? Shouldn't they pay? Will you text? Will you e-mail?
Oh, and we've also sent Liz Wickham down to one of the high street's Top shops with some old clothes she doesn't want anymore, where - for one day only - she's been able to swap them with someone else who brought theirs. We ASSUME they draw the line at pants. Well, would you?
And together with some live advice on how to tackle the headaches brought on by our country's ailing economy (part 4 of 'London: Feeling the Pinch')... we'll wrap all that up for you at SIX.
Ben & Salma


Friday 20th June

Friday 20th June

Good afternoon.

Ever lost your luggage on a flight? When I went to Lebanon, a while ago, my bags went to Cyprus. I am sure they had a better time than I did. I politely asked BA to pay for the clothes I purchased, in lieu, and they were very happy so to do. There were impressed I had found a Ralph Lauren outlet in war-torn Beirut but a boy's got to do what a boy's got to do.

Not a swear word crossed my lips but if it had I would have had to write that I said how " ******* " angry I was with the " ******** " because I couldn't write the actual words down.

************************************************************************************************************************************************************************* is the number of " * 's" I'd need to tell you what Naomi Campbell said to BA and to the Police when she went berserk on a BA flight when told they'd lost her luggage. I am thinking how we will tell you what she says when she gets her sentence! Glen has his ear-muffs in and is waiting expectantly on the shocked Magistrates.

If Naomi was a gangsters moll rather than a queen of the catwalk, those prepared to give evidence against her might have sought protection in the form of a fake identity or even the disguising of their voices. Well, according to the Law Lords, Britain's most senior judges, their evidence would have been invalid because it would have been unfair on Naomi and her defence lawyers. Apply that to the cases against some of the gang wretches who knife and shoot our youngsters and you have a very serious problem. Marcus is looking at the impact of the ruling on the fight against crime among London's gangs and what the Government may have to do to give the cops and the accused a level playing field that respects our collective desire for justice and security.

My eldest son once observed that Battersea Power Station looked like an inverted billiards table. He's like that and studies medieval english poetry. I always think of it in terms of the cover of Pink Floyd's little known and somewhat under-rated "ANIMALS" album. Salma embarked on a far too detailed synopsis of "SUPERMAN III" instead of just saying it featured in the film. Many of us nodded off only to awaken from our slumbers to hear that she was still on Kryponite, 'phone boxes and tight Y-fronts. Odd woman: I don't know what it is about her - and she's arranged for me to meet Keira Knightly again at precisely 4.25 which is when we record What Not To Miss. Like a Catholic confronted by Dover Sole on a Friday, I am in turmoil.

Meantime, James will tell us what he thinks of Keira's latest master-piece - or mistress-piece, perhaps. I have no doubt she and Sienna deserve every award from the Oscar, via the Pulitzer to the Nobel but will await his objective appraisal at 6. He is also talking about ESCAPIST about which I know nothing so we will learn together.

Jimmy Cliff is a giant of popular music. What I didn't know until The Big Boss told me was that he is also the man who discovered Bob Marley. Yes, Bob Marley. That is like being the man who discovered penicillin but in a musical way. Or split the atom but with that unique upbeat, reverse tempo that is reggae. Impressed? I am "******* " overwhelmed.

And then there's Biggins, Mr Marmite of the London stage. I have to say I am a huge fan and like him as a friend since he worked with my wife on a kids programme years ago. He is helping launch West End Live. On no he's not, I hear you joke. Well he is and he's not behind you, he's with us live at 6.

I think this show has the makings of being a masterpiece. And not a " * " will pass my lips or Salma's unless she's snuck one into WNTM in which case I'd sack her if I were TBB.

See you at 6.



London Tonight Tonight Thursday 19th June

London Tonight Tonight Thursday 19th June
Good afternoon.
Harvey Parry is two years old and told his doctor that all he really wanted to do was "to jump in puddles".  Messy business, puddle jumping. I always found some of the muddy water got inside my wellies and there is nothing as bad as a damp sock. Friends got angry when they got splashed, and really big jumps put mud on your face which dried quickly and felt nasty. But the sheer joy of leaping a few inches off the ground and landing, splodge, in a muddy puddle so hard you saw the dry ground for a moment before it whooshed in the air and scattered hither and thither, made up for all those inconvenient irritations.  The odd joys of childhood.
Harvey, however, can't because he has no legs. He lost them when he contracted meningitis as a baby. That is horrid. But there is an answer which is good, but it brings with it an equally horrid twist. America and the NHS are factors but I won't spoil your sense of anticipation save to say you'll be hooked and angry, but hopeful.
Real anger, too, for the parents of 3000 other kids whose personal details were on the laptops that were stolen from St. George's Tooting. We've the latest from the frontline or the interface, as some call it, between security and ineptitude.
Is eptitude the opposite of ineptitude? Dunno. You'll have met people who are "overwhelmed" and some who are "underwhelmed" but I bet you've never met someone who is just "whelmed". Anyway, it seemed to us to be a clear case of "ineptitude" when Littlewoods sent a couple of refunds to a pensioner, then found she wasn't due them and so sent in the bailiffs to get their money back. We are delighted to celebrate their Road to Damascus u-turn which has left the aforementioned pensioner "overwhelmed". Details at 6, unless they change their mind again.
Sixty years ago, a band of people from the West Indies set sail for these fair isles in the SS Empire Windrush. A couple of generations later, some of them have gone back to the Caribbean and, in a delightful report, Derek Johnson went to find out why.
Maybe property prices? But they are now falling , as we will explain, so maybe we can expect Empire Windrush:The Second Coming - good movie title there, no?
"Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" isn't a good title, in my view, any more than "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" was. Great books, brilliant author and wonderful movies but those titles don't have the clipped cache of "Stuart Little" or "Garfield", have they? I speak with the expertise of a father of a 10 year old: they talk in short bursts with real passion - too many words and they get bored. I only mention it to help Hollywood and the British film industry. Short-sharp titles and free popcorn and you'll retire early, dripping in wealth.
If Chrissie backs the right horses at Ascot she, too, can retire early, enjoy an early trip to Brighton and experience the luxury of living in a penthouse between Paul McCartney and Fat Boy Slim. Methinks she'll be with us a little longer but I hope you enjoy her enjoying Ladies Day at the great equine festival.
I am left wondering if the delicious Faye, in those favourite black trousers with the satin strip down the side, perfectly topped off with an elegantly yet not rudely see-through top in a splendid shade of orange-red, got on the wrong train this morning: she looks Ascot-bound but, I am delighted to say, is firmly out at the front in the 6 o'clock London Tonight Stakes.
And they're off... at 6.
See you then
Alastair and Katie
(Salma is in training for tomorrow, I am told: is there something else I should know???)


Wednesday 18th June

London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 18th June

Good afternoon.

A moment of drama at our planning meeting. The Big Boss's computer crashed so Faye, in fashionable jeans and a rather nice pink and grey top, had to run through her thoughts for tonight's programme from memory.

A man had lost the keys to the Northern Line causing mass chaos; then The Big Boss "hit button B" and there was light. As the printer whirred into action, it appears there aren't keys to the Northern Line and that, in fact, engineering works had over-run - according to TfL. Faye's was a much better story but, alas, her memory had played tricks on her and the nano-world of speed-of-light electrons had come to the rescue.

Computers? Can't live with them, can't live without them. I wonder if St. George's Hospital in Tooting will key that in as a defense for having lost the personal records of 20,000 patients? Their main frame (technical jargon for big grey boxes in the basement) had had a hiccup and so they were using lap-tops: 6 of them. They were all stolen and, along with them, endless details of peoples' piles, "transmittable" ailments, boils on bums and other misfortunes better kept a secret between oneself and one's doctor. Who now knows who's got what, we know not: Nick is our hacker-in-chief.

The old met the new when some Americans were being shown the Magna Carta in the House of Lords at lunchtime today.

"When was it signed? " asked one of them.

"1215" said the Guide.

"Gee, just missed it", said the American noting on his watch it was half past twelve.

2012 is not a little before eight fifteen: it is the date of the London Olympics. Or it is supposed to be. But a new report says that, whilst the date may be set, the budget is running rather "fast". It seems there could be monstrous overspend whilst some of the projects are running a little "slow" and will need some performance enhancing economics if they are to be ready on time. We ask the man in charge of delivery how, given you are not allowed a "head-start" in the Olympics, he is going to make it to the finishing line on time and within budget. Boris is doing the Pontius Pilate bit and washing his hands.

It may take a super-hero to sort it out so we have asked Will Smith, star of the latest super-hero movie "Hancock" to join us. He said he'd come as far as Leicester Square if Lucy was there so we agreed to both requests. Watch them and swoon at 6.

A man woke up to find he was under attack by a Police dog who was supposed to be enforcing the law next door. Or Faye may have had another mad moment. Glen has a lead and a very big glove so who knows what might come of it all.

And we revisit Littlewoods request for the return of the money they sent a pensioner as rebate only to ask for it back. I'd merely point out we have Will Smith and police dogs on the show. Their move.

Why is it raining? Because Chrissie said it would. So, can't she just say it'll be sunny tomorrow and forever? Isn't that how it should work?

Find out at 6.

Alastair and Salma (only two days to go to Friday!) Siraj


Tuesday 17th June

London Tonight Tonight Tuesday 17th June

Good afternoon.

By common consent, Michael Dosunmu was a good boy and his brother Hakeem wasn't. Michael behaved and even went to Church. Hakeem didn't. He had been a soldier, but had returned from war a troubled young man who appears to have "gone off the rails". To his mother, however, they were her sons and she loved them equally. Michael was murdered by two young men who thought the form they saw, wrapped in blankets and fast asleep, was Hakeem. A mother's reaction to that unmitigated disaster, that insoluble mystery, that act of mindless brutality? A lesson for us all, as you will hear at 6.

Many of you listening and watching will think her reaction unnatural, even weak. If you do, when you watch our second report on a man who shares a surname with the killers of Damilola Taylor, you might just think again. It is a gamble on our part, but one we are proud to take, as we issue you with a challenge to your deepest prejudices, if prejudices you have. You might be with Mrs Dosunmu in which case, you too are a very fine spirit. Hope I've tempted you.

Sam Cross was tempted by the thrill of flying. So much so that he persuaded his parents to let him take up lessons at the ripe young age of 16 - a year before he could even get a provisional driving license. He was approaching the runway at Southend Airport when he was told to make way for a bigger plane. Youth or inexperience, who knows, but what happened next was a catastrophe which Marcus will chart for you at 6.

We will also lift your spirits tonight: Rob and Fiona Parker-Cole were on their way to hospital because pregnant Fiona knew, as they say in the Bible, that "her time had come". What she didn't realise was that it had actually come a little faster than she anticipated! Phil will explain how a car park, a lecturer in ante natal medicine, and a bit of back seat activity saved the day as we introduce Oscar Parker-Cole to you.

We will also re-introduce to you Mr Ray "I did it my way" Quinn who has reached a new peak in his career - this time as a "geek" in the West End. He was so nearly The One That You Wanted - were it not for Leona Lewis; but we hope you'll be pleased to re-make his acquaintance.

We may go to Ascot but we're having a bit of a problem at the moment - as are the women who are trying to get in whilst wearing spaghetti straps (no, I don't know either) and others who have gone to the trouble of proving they are wearing underwear! The sport of kings? I despair.

Papers and weather - let's have some more of the same, please Chrissie- round it off.

Salma is with me again because Katie is still working on the buses, checking tickets and ringing bells. Or something like that. You may have read about it in the papers, so Salma and I will bat on, on our own. Bat On. Geddit?

See you at 6.

Alastair and Salma (isn't it Friday yet? I don't want to MISS anything) Siraj


Monday 16th June

London Tonight Tonight Monday 16th June

Good afternoon.

I quite often drop my younger boys off at a local municipal swimming pool at the weekend whilst I have a coffee, a ciggy and finish off the papers. I count them in and I count them out. They love it and it suits me. You will imagine the horror I, and all of us, felt when we heard about the seven year old girl who drowned at the weekend in a pool in Essex. The tragic episode is the subject of an investigation but, even ahead of that, we thought, with the summer holidays just around the corner, it might be worth taking a closer look at public pools and what they do to make them as safe as possible.

We've already come across a remarkable bit of kit they use in Wales which we will be asking for your views on. Marcus and Nick perform a sensitive relay for you.

No sensitivity, in my view, from Littlewoods - a family business from Merseyside that made millions from the pools (footy that is, not swimming) and catalogue sales. We have the case of Helen Griffin, in her 60s, who had paid off her debt for stuff she'd got from the catalogue, only to get not one but two cheques from the scousers because she'd overpaid.

"You sure" her family are sure they asked. "Sure, we're sure" the family are sure Littlewoods said.

The next communication will make you incandescent with rage, we think. No chance of a score draw as things stand and Littlewoods say it is a home win, according to the panel. Phil has his pencil hovering over the coupon that is his script as I write.

Also hovering is Lenny Henry who opens in Richmond in just a few hours time. He popped in to see us and made us roar with laughter and think quite a lot. It is a good mix of emotional reactions to one of the biggest and nicest blokes in showbusiness. Hear him roar at 6.

Also roaring will be the crowds who will gather in the Mall in August to mark the handover of the Olympic flag from the Beijingers to us Londoners. A dry run in the Mall caught Lucy's lovely eye and she will guide you through it, including Boris' commitment not to make a twit of himself when it comes to the equivalent of the baton handover. I am not holding my breath.

Though I did when I was told I was going to a private viewing of a movie on Friday night and then interviewing the stars on Monday morning. Who might they be? A personal hero, like Dustin Hoffman? A Bond favourite like Brosnan or Connery, come to that? Or a couple of likely lads just starting out and looking to me for a leg up? If I tell you I swooned, was charmed, and became not a little excited you will be drifting in the right direction. A blonde and a brunette. A classic English rose and a thoroughly modern, sassy star. Both beauties and both charming. I hope you like meeting them as much as I did. If I tell you we talked about Dylan but not Subterranean Homesick Blues you might get a clue.

I am joined tonight, again, by Salma, who appears to be in training for something. Head down, talking to herself and writing... frantically - the outcome, clearly, will be something not to miss.

Alastair and Salma "sorry I am very busy" Siraj.


Friday June 13th

If you tune into ITV1 at 6pm today, you'll see the second half of Italy v Romania in Group C of Euro 2008.
So if you're hoping to see Studio 4 in Grays Inn Road rather than the Letzigrund Stadium in Zurich,  probably best to tune in at four instead. Although you could record what we do at 4pm and watch it at six pm - or you could watch it at itvlocal.com/london - and just pretend it's your usual dose of London Tonight. But that might be taking things a bit too far.
Anyway - join us at four for all the days news - including how the tanker drivers strike is affecting fuel supplies in and around London - and the restaurant that's taken outside dining to a new level.
All that - and your weekend weather. At four. (Or six if you record us and play us back, or watch on itv local. But maybe we shouldn't get into that again)
The Editor.


Thursday 12th June

London Afternoon Afternoon Thursday 12th June

Good afternoon again.

No Al or Katie I'm afraid, we've got them working so hard there's no time for a chat! But they'll be with you at 4 o'clock this afternoon - just like yesterday.

And we'll be jampacked full of stories. From Kevin Tripp, the 57 year old father caught up in a trivial argument that cost him his life... To the baby food being recalled because it's caused violent sickness in children in North London. We'll have the very latest on that scary case, and all the information YOU need to protect your little ones.

As if that weren't enough - we're out on patrol with the Security Guards hired by London's wealthiest residents at the whopping cost of 50 thousand pounds a year! Phil Bayles joined the boys protecting the rich and famous.

And the Portuguese invasion at Chelsea proceeds apace. Big Phil Scolari is taking over at Stamford Bridge. But what do the Blues' fans make of that decision?
Piers will find out.

And all that dressed up with the lovely Al and Katie. What more could you ask for? I know, nothing.

See you at 4 then!

Faye (the Programme Editor)


Wednesday 11th June

London Afternoon Afternoon - Wednesday 11th June

Well it is just about the afternoon - so good afternoon,

we've been booted out of our usual slot today by lots of men in shorts ... there are worse ways to go. The Czech Republic play Portugal in Geneva today so we are on much earlier at 4pm.

But it's a perfectly formed little show we have for you. First the Tory Councillor in Shepherds Bush who for reasons best known to herself, has launched an attack on Indian families on one estate accusing them of throwing litter from their windows ... It does though appear that the good Councillor not only lacks tact, but has no proof either. Pier Hopkirk attempts to get the bottom of this rather grubby mess.

By the way, you can see that story on ITV1 at 4 o'clock...

As MPs vote on the controversial 42 days for holding terror suspects, we hear a passionate plea from a father who lost his daughter in the London bombings.

We've also got toxic sofas and a live from Pinewood studios where the Curse of Bond has struck again.

Did I mention we're on at 4?

Plus of course Robin and his clouds of doom will be here to tell us that even though we'll be leaving early today - there'll be no sunbathing for us. Bah!

So, set your reminders for 1600.

Salma and Al


Tuesday 10th June

London Tonight Tonight Tuesday 10th June

Good Afternoon .. And I sincerely hope you are enjoying it because we all may have to put our shorts away again soon ... Robin says he'll be sending clouds overhead once more. Is there any good news on the horizon? We'll have to wait and see...

Bad news has already arrived for some poor Hounslow residents after a fire broke out in their block of flats today - the blaze is thankfully out, but the place is still smouldering. Thanks to the very quick response of the emergency services everyone made it out alive, but no-one will be going back in. Phil Bayles is there trying to find out what caused the fire - and what happens next for the devastated people who are now homeless.

Our top story though is just truly bizarre - follow this if you please .... a wife gets fed up with her husband, asks her boyfriend how much it would cost to have him killed, then asks her brother to lend her the money for a hitman. The brother shops her to the police. The wife is sentenced to 7 years ... BUT - get this - the husband vows to stand by her side and says he'll wait for her as she serves her time. The world is a very strange place, but as my husband says "it's always the wife"... he may have a point.

Now think of all those places you want to see in the world before they disappear forever .... In fact you don't have to think ... A list has been published .... Rare, cultural and historically significant spots across the globe like the Amazon Rain Forest and the African Savannah .... Oh and of course - Little Green Street in Kentish Town.... What, why, when.... Eh? Valid questions indeed - and we can tell you all about this little cobbled street and why it needs saving. Even better - star of the stage and screen, Tom Conti lives on Little Green Street - and he tells our London Life Correspondent Ben Scotchbrook what he thinks.

To complete the eclectic mix that is today's show, we join the lovely Katie Derham on the South Bank for the London restaurant awards ... Plus Kid Rock joins us in the studio. As I've been finding out he's so much more than simply Pamela Anderson's ex.... In fact I've become hooked on listening to his music on You Tube ... It's really rather good, in a southern rock, blues, country kind of way. It's all a lot less angry and more sentimental than I imagined, plus he spent Christmas entertaining troops in Iraq. Just goes to show you can't judge a man by tabloid pictures alone - I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Alastair IS here and he will join me in the studio - I think he's a little miffed that he wasn't invited along to Producer Faye's girls' night at the weekend. Maybe I'll make him a cup of tea ... Then order will be restored to the universe.

See you at six,

Salma and Al


Monday 9th June

London Tonight Tonight Monday 9th June
Good Afternoon (and last time I was outside it was a VERY good afternoon) -
So, did we have a very good WEEKEND? Lovely sunshine. LOVELY sunshine. Just lifts the spirits, doesn't it? And the wine, if it's to hand.
Now, in today's programme - on such a glorious day - we have some very dark stories to tell. And first up is the police hunt for a rapist who's been attacking elderly women across South London for 18 years.
Today, detectives are releasing the first FULL artist's impression of the man, in the hope that they'll finally catch him.
Big court case at the Old Bailey today - the murder of Jill Dando. Barry George was found guilty of killing her 7 years ago but that conviction was overturned last year and now he faces a retrial.
And then - not a DARK story as such - but one that could make you think "they cannot be serious". A man gets on a bus, thinks he's successfully swiped his Oyster card... but hasn't.
What happens next:
1) the driver politely asks him to have another go?
2) he gets a fine for unwittingly, but definitely, breaking the rules?
3) he gets a criminal record for fare evasion, gets rather cross, and appeals - all at an enormous cost to the taxpayer - and over a 90p fare.
Go on. Have a guess.
In tonight's 'Inside Property' we'll be looking at the rental market and how it's not all doom and gloom if you're looking for tenants.
Would you ever give up your wedding dress? What if the marriage hadn't worked out? What if your ex-husband was rather famous? What if.. oh look, Jerry Hall is auctioning the dress she wore when she married Mick Jagger.
And then there's a story that will make you smile. A young girl, just fourteen month old, has been given the gift of hearing. She had been born completely deaf but, having been fitted with a very hi-tech device, she can hear her parents telling her how gorgeous she is. And she is.
So quite a varied menu. Your reservation is at SIX.
Ben & Salma


Friday 6th June

London Tonight Tonight: Friday 6th June

Good afternoon.

Our lovely producer Robyn is feeling virtuous, having had a salad for lunch. Salma and I are stuffing ourselves on chocolate so no virtue here.

Unexpectedly, Salma proffers page 7 of the Daily Mirror that features a friend of Wayne Rooney in a thong. From the a-moral Salma to virtuous Robyn, a harmonious "Ugghh!". Unity restored.

The school summer holidays are a few weeks away. Mock GCSE and A levels at one end of the spectrum and sack loads of doodles and odd bits of pottery to take home, at the other. September 07 seems a long way back, doesn't it? So you will be aghast, I am sure, to know that several borough bounders are yet to resolve their school places crisis. What will rock you even more will be the solutions some of them have come up with to solve this problem in the short term. Rather like putting a fourth child on the roof-rack because the first three are safely occupying the back seats, Kingston have put their overflow kids in temporary classrooms hardly giving the little darlings a fair and reasonable start to The Best Days of Their Lives. Send for Mr. Chips or even the Blessed Matthew Arnold I say. Phil dons the mortar board and flowing, faded cape and screams "Pay attention, at the back!".

The rising population in these areas may have been a demographic timebomb some time ago but you'd have thought they'd have had the wit to sort it out. Maybe the borough bounders were educated in portakabins which might explain their ineptitude.

A real ticking time-bomb is still making them sweat down in Bromley-by-Bow. I spoke to a wonderful young Major at lunchtime who was so cool he was the sort of man I wanted to be in charge of defusing this Nazi hang-over from the 39-45 effort to level our great city.

He and his brave battalion are "sweating" the explosives out as I write. Rachel stands in the Harris spot from last-night to bring us up to date on this deed of dare-doing.

Equally daring is our own answer to W.E.John's "Biggles", Fl.Lt Glen Goodman, AFC.

He takes to skies over Biggin Hill on the eve of their great weekend of aeronautical extravagance. Whether in a balsa-wood model or a slightly bigger than average paper-plane, I am not sure, but I am assured he flies. Per Adua Ad Astra, Glen... and good luck!

Chrissie, meantime, has gone to the races. Epsom Down to be precise as I am sure her forecast will be.

"They wait, he doesn't turn up, they leave" -Waiting for Godot.

"So that's what I get for helping a friend" -A Tale of Two Cities.

"Winston Smith doesn't like rats and Governments can't be trusted" -1984.

"No, I still don't get it".-Catch 22.

Encapsulating the thrust of great books into a line or two is a great dinner party game for over-educated anoraks but, in the hands of the man who gave you the Reduced Shakespeare Company -(("She's not dead, you fool!"-Romeo and Juliet))-it is an art form. Nick Wallis gets the full treatment and you can have Great Expectations for this Pickwick Paperful of enlightenment. Not a Bleak bit in the House!

What is bleak is the death of lovely Nathan Foster, the horse-mad youth-worker whose life was taken by a listless lout. The later gets his sentence today not that that will bring Nathan back but it may give his family some closure.

Super-hero of cinema reviews James King is back from the south of France and he reviews Super Hero and Waiting Room. So, if the weather falters, you can decide if a one of them, plus a bag of pop-corn and a coke, are the answers to your yearnings.

My yearning to present What Not to Miss remains painfully intact with no respite or relief. She slipped away as I wrote the bit about the time-bomb. She was there. I glanced down and then up. She was gone.

My point about our mutual lack of virtue needs correcting slightly - she is devoid of all virtue, morality, decency, kindness and doesn't even know how to spell equity.

Hurrumph. I'll do my bits and she'll do the rest, including WNTM. I think she needs to see a consultant. This is deep rooted.

See you at 6

Alastair and ....the name is on the tip of my tongue but why should I share? Oh make me virtuous, said St Augustine, but tomorrow.

Yes, it is Salma.

Who else?




Thursday 5th June

London Tonight Tonight Thursday 5th June

Good afternoon.

Grief is a common human emotion but is dealt with in different ways in different cultures. Many of us, from a traditional Anglo-Saxon heritage adopt the stiff-upper lip approach - we grit our teeth, swallow hard and only allow watery eyes to be our concession to a deep inner sadness.

This morning, a beautiful Eritrean woman shook with grief and wept openly as a solicitor read a moving statement on her behalf, about the knife-killing of her daughter. It was made all the more powerful because of the properly "matter-of-fact" way in which the lawyer read it. I did the lip-biting bit when I heard it, but insist on inviting you to share in Arsema's mother's grief. Passion is so much more moving than protest.

Pause, Breath, Proceed.

Now, despite the protestations of Lennon and McCartney, Blackburn is lucky compared with London. "4,000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire", the Fab 4 warbled on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. But as many as 600 of our streets are currently being dug up by Thames Water and, if our own WC1 part of London is anything to go by , you can add a "0" to Blackburn's 4,000 if you want a guesstimate of London's hole-count. So traffic is gridlocked, local shopkeepers are up in arms at the disruption, and only car repair shops are happy, dealing with damaged suspensions and supplying replacement tyres.

But this is a rubix cube of a public policy challenge: valuable water is being wasted on a Biblical scale because, under public ownership, investment in a Victorian network ground to a halt in the Edwardian and Georgian eras, resulting in a complete mess in the Elizabethan era. Privatisation brought proper businessmen and women into the frame who took fat profits and, where the taps were still working, washed their hands of the responsibility to invest. Then OFWAT told them to sort themselves out or be flushed down the pan of corporate history. And today Thames Water reported bumper profits after bumper price rises.

So, here we are: they are doing what they have been told to and it is causing chaos. They are your streets and your roads; it is, for most of you, your water company and your water rates. You want your thirst quenched, your body cleaned and your geraniums blossoming, but you also want to be able to get to work and pay a fair price for water. Can it be done? Ben and Damien will turn dry statistics into human stories and we'll ask the man from Thames Water if he has answers, or wants to take a pistol and a bottle of scotch into a dark room.

Or he may chose to sit on the 2nd World War bomb in Bromley-by-Bow which, every now and then, starts ticking. The powers that be are confident it won't become Bromley by Boom but it is very exciting. Harris - and I chose not to make a joke about his 2nd WW namesake who ran the Lancaster squadrons - is "chocks away" but from a safe distance.

Distancing themselves from responsibility, we suspect, is the local authority who have just decided a man who has suffered with a weird form of skin cancer for years and years, and has had eleven hours care a day, now only needs half that amount. He is no fitter and his consultant thinks he still needs the same level of care. The social services say it has nothing to do with cost-cutting so it must be something else: answers on a postcard to Nick who has already ruled out voodoo, entropy, osmosis and sun-spots.

Our final offering is wonderful. Actually, Stevie Wonder-ful. The master song-smith is in town to promote his European tour and he tells you, via Nick Wallis, all about it. Chrissie celebrates by learning to tango on London Bridge and the papers will be used, after we have read the front pages to you, to wrap round yet more leaking pipes.

It is a tough old world out there. Dear Mr. Wonder, Can you please find me a Place in The Sun?

Alastair & Nina


Weds June 4th

London Tonight Tonight: Weds June 4th
Good afternoon.
Our family doctor is called Doctor Sue. Her family name is Happell and her now retired father was Dr. John - not the rock singer but a fully qualified medic. He also looked after my family, over the years. I am sure many of you have a similar relationship with the man or woman to whom you go with that nagging back-ache or something much more serious. My Doctor operates from a converted house; there is always a queue; and most of the receptionists follow that age-old tradition or being somewhere between down-right rude and just a bit rude. If we need surgery or specialisms we have to go to our local hospital.
Would it be better, we ask tonight, if GP surgeries like that were replaced with Polyclinics? They are larger, purpose-built centres that cope with many (that's where the 'poly' bit comes from, as I am sure Boris would be keen to point out to you) ailments and even do minor operations, offer psychiatric care and all sorts of other things. Marcus has been investigating and, having found it has nothing to do with poorly parakeets, has found some intriguing arguments for and against. We'll also be talking to Dr Tom who is running the consultation across London.
A cross London is what I fully anticipate when it hears our report on a woman's entirely legal efforts to have herself reinstated as a social worker, despite having been dismissed in the wake of the Victoria Climbie case. However, Ronke will lay the facts before you and let you decide. I may be wrong. I hope I am.
I hope Kensington & Chelsea know what they are doing. Many cyclists are, to me, little better than kamikazies in trouser-clips; a squadron of dive-bombers in day-glow helmets; maniacs in face-masks. Many ignore the rules of the road, traffic signals and no-entry signs. In Ken' and Chelsea, the powers that be have decided to take prompt and tough action - they are going to allow, endorse and even sanction the rape and molestation of our one-way rules by cyclists. It is an experiment but they said the same about Frankenstein and the Manhattan Project.  Ken & Chelsea is a Tory Borough and the Tory leader, DC, does it too.  I fear for our safety. Lewis Vaughan Jones risks life and limb for you at 6.
It wasn't the same lot of borough bounders but it might have been - they took £160 quid from a disabled man to help him with his parking-bay. It turns out to have been about as straight forward and upfront as pyramid
selling or Enron book keeping. Sangeeta gives you the numbing punchline.
Finally, following this theme of "It's dangerous out there", a young, multi-millionaire has blown not a small slice of his stash on swish and speedy cars. He's got a Roller, a Bentley... but not a driving licence. He is seeking to rectify that as I write. I'd go everywhere by Tube today, if i were you.
See you at 6 if any of us survive this madness. And were you to survive but get wounded, where would you go? It doesn't take a polymath to figure out that the answer may lie at the top of this blog and at the top of our topical programme tonight.
As I sip tea from my polymer cup, I wish you well and really do hope to see you at 6.
Alastair & Salma
PS - I banged on at length yesterday about the merits of the musical "Cabaret" only to realise, as the piece went out, that Suzanne Shaw was debuting in "Chicago". I think, when that run is over, she should have a stab at Sally Bowles' Berlin bio-pic. I know she'd love it and I'd feel less of a fool.
Tomorrow belongs to the apologist.


Tues 3rd June


Good evening.

The unimaginable horror of a child being brutally stabbed to death runs the risk of becoming common place in this great city of ours, despite the best efforts of Boris and the strictures of Sir Ian Blair. Sir Ian told us just last week that "conversations" needed to be held between parents and children. But what about "conversations" between parents and the Police? What if parents tell the police their daughter has been the victim of an assault and that they are worried for her safety, due to the unsolicited attentions of a man? Arsema Dawit was brutally stabbed yesterday afternoon but friends of her family have told us her parents had just such a "conversation" with the Police back in April. Ronke continues her investigations and we will be talking to the man from the Suzie Lamplugh Foundation, seeking some general advice and guidance for those of you who fear your kids might be the victim of a stalker.

Many businesses in the Lea Valley, and the East End generally, feel they have been "stalked" by the LDA and the Boys from the London Olympic Games for some little time, too. In a nice turn of phrase, one of them says that what the LDA has done is "little short of a Mugabe land-grab!"

"E' Ba' Gum!", you might say, should you hail from oop North; but "E' Ba' Gum" is Mugabe.... backwards, where-ever you hail from; so I think it is relevant to us all.

Harris dons his white hunter outfit and stalks the veldt that is the East End, tracking answers.

Tracking answers and rather valuable pieces of jewelry is the Met's serious theft mob, following a swoop on Cartiers in Sloane Street. One of their loveliest pieces is the Santos Tank watch, renowned for keeping out water at any depth. Alas, Cartier's own security couldn't keep the lads in eye-masks and stripped jumpers at bay and their swag-bags are bulging as I write. Ben has borrowed a blood-hound and a deer-stalker to help in the hunt.

Equally prized, and similar in monetary value, is the means to enjoy Eric Clapton perform or shed a tear at the annual service of Rememberance. Named after Queen Victoria's husband and father to her veritable tribe of princes and princesses, the Albert Hall was funded by the sale of boxes, according to The Big Boss.

I imagine it is a bit like buying a flat "off-plan" but you don't get Clapton and the British Legion thrown in. But the annual recurring costs make the whole thing a bit like timeshare - Phil has the eye-watering numbers for you.

More than eyes have been watering in Reading and Wokingham - there's been flooding and Glen, shortly to set off as our reporter, is still looking for a pair of wellies that will fit. I have a Paddington Bear wearing blue ones at home but he might take my kind offer a-miss so I'll keep mum.

That I cannot do about Ms Suzanne Shaw who is about to swop her ice-skates and pop-star's party frock for the altogether raunchier kit required of her for her role in "Cabaret". One of the finest musicals ever penned, it is a festering story of the rise of Nazism, a flippant celebration of grubby Berlin night-life and the tale of a show-girl phenomena called Sally Bowes who said, of her best friend, " I woudn't say that she's a blushing flower; as a matter of fact, she rented by the hour!".

Love it and still play it frequently and also shiver at the Hitler Youth "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" track.

Anyway, Lucy bids you welkommen, bien venu and welcome to her report at 6. I can't wait but, like you, must.

Papers and weather (if you live in Reading or Wokingham, look away now) will also be there,

as will

Alastair and Katie



Monday 2nd June

London Tonight Tonight Monday 2nd June

Good afternoon.

Dutch trikes. The heritage of Basildon. And a cacophony of anti-Boris fervour that went on and on and on - three of the oddities that we have for your enlightenment, entertainment and edification tonight.

But a dark moment from our meeting that I have to get out of the way first.

Faye, looking quite stunning in an elegant "little black dress", as I think such a classic frock is known, said: "I have seen a couple of very peculiar films this morning". What led her to this troubling conclusion? She was doing it for work, I have to add, but the shock was palpable. Is she in mourning for Yves St. Laurent? (The dress is certainly appropriate). Or is there some darker motivation? Damien, with what are called the BOBs, will explain and you will be glued, if not a little disturbed. We will ask for your judgment.

The stewards of public money must make constant judgments: the Lottery Fund and Primary Care Trusts are up there with those facing some of the toughest decisions. So which of the following two do you think got the thumbs up and which, like a Christian in the Coliseum, was thrown to the lions: a heritage tour of Basildon or a new, Stephen Hawking-esque voice box for a woman student with a severe case of cerebral palsy? Alas, you can't vote because I feel confident you'd come up with a more sensible outcome. Marcus and Phil battle it out with their reports on the sublime and the ridiculous. Be informed and irritated at 6.

Ant and Dec informed you who you had voted for at the end of Britain's Got Talent on Saturday night. Were you, like me, irritated that the young girl with the "world-class voice", to quote Simon Cowell, didn't make it to the final three? As Churchill said, democracy is the least worst option for deciding things and I guess we must grin and bear it. George, the winner, is a delight and I am sure the Prince of Wales will delight in his rendition of Singing In The Rain - he might even get his Church's brogues splashed in the process. We give you a reprise and meet several of the also-rans in the company of one of our real winners, Miss Lucy Cotter. The Americans say that the silver medal goes to "the best loser". Harsh but true. These talent contests are a vicious thing and I am surprised the dog didn't win simply from a viewers' health and safety point of view.

Jon Gilbert meets some women who have invested in Dutch trikes. A gardening implement? A rare tulip? A strange continental perversion? You'll have to watch to find out and the children are quite safe. So long as they are strapped in...

Mourinho, The Special One, and Gazza, the Once Special One, are both in the news: if you're interested you'll be interested; if not, it doesn't take too long.

Finally, had Boris been on the tube late on Saturday, no amount of hanging from the straps would have saved him from the aural onslaught heaped upon him by the badly behaved boozers marking the end of their reign of terror. Bob Crow says "I told you so". Boris is, unlike the drunk revellers, remaining mum. It was rather nasty and Bob has the evidence. Egg on Boris's face? Has the tide of unquestioning warmth toward the new mayor turned? Harris dons his striped costume and bathes in the dangerous waters of political promise meets 30-degree-proof reality.

See you at 6.

Alastair and Katie.