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Good Afternoon!

We have a great exclusive for you tonight - the first interview with Gary McKinnon, the man accused of one of the biggest computer hacks of all time. He's a man facing a truly terrifying prospect - extradition to the US with the threat of a life sentence in jail at the end of it. He claims he was just hacking into the Pentagon's computers to search for evidence of UFOs and was doing the Americans a favour by flagging up their lax security.

Why did he do it? How many regrets does he have? What's his obsession with UFOs? How's he keeping his spirits up when the US are threatening him with a 60 year jail term and even a stint in Guantanmao Bay. Find out from the man himself at 6.

Now with prices falling around our ears there aren't many of us who are managing to beat the property slump. Well one developer in South London has succeeded - getting 1.5 million pounds for a bit of land that's valued at only 15 thousand. Just wait till you find out how they did it and who's picking up the bill. It's one of those stories that makes you think how can that possibly be fair.

Could the Dogs get an eleventh hour reprieve? Yesterday it looked as though it was all over for Walthamstow's greyhound track,. Today a group of millionaires has come up with a plan they hope just might save it. Phil Bayles has been finding out all about it.

We've all been humming that song "If you leave me now....." complete with all the ooh ooh bits ALL day. Why? Well those old rockers Chicago are playing at the Motor Show tonight and Lucy has grabbed them for a chat.

All that and find out what made Damien Steward sick! - see you at 6.

Romilly 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.  


Wednesday July 30th

Wednesday July 30th

Ladies and Gentlemen,

When I was a young boy, I always thought that only children argued and that when you grew up, you just got on with people. Somewhat naive, I grant you, but every now and then I look back, sigh, and think "if only..."

I wonder what Sir Ian Blair is thinking about Boris Johnson today. It seems the Mayor's team has been looking into the possibility of hoofing Sir Ian out of his job - suspending him at least. E-mails, you see, have been leaked to a paper. London Tonight has seen them and, er, Boris... over to you.

A couple of court judgements make it into our running order tonight... the first deems that Hertfordshire police did not fall down in their duty to protect a young optician. Giles Van Coley's life, you see, had been threatened by a former employee. His car had been set on fire too. The police knew all about it. And then the former employee carried out his threat and killed Giles. Now, after one court said the cops didn't do their job properly, the House of Lords ruled today that they did.

Another court has ruled that the young man who hacked into all sorts of top secret American computer networks (we're talking the military and NASA) will be taking a trip to America to face what promises to be some pretty loud music.

If you were watching last night, you'll have seen the story about Reigh Boss - the young girl who lives in London but was visiting her Dad in America - who then abducted her and took her... who knows where. The Caribbean's the front runner, actually. We'll have the latest.

There's a lovely picture story - all the way from the end of the Central Line - a windmill gets it sails back.

And then finally - a premiere in Leicester Square.

All I'll say is the truth is out there... at SIX.

Ben & Romilly


Tuesday 29th July

Tuesday 29th July

Hello and Good Afternoon to you...

Quick one tonight as the programme running order may be about to get turned on its head.

AT THE MOMENT... we're starting with an announcement from the Mayor of London that an extra (fanfare) £700,000 is to be spent targeting knife crime in the capital. That's a lot of money. If you were buying a house, perhaps. Is it a lot of money though when it comes to the size of problem posed by London's knife crime...?

A couple of stories involving the emergency services for you - (if you were watching our late bulletin last night you'll know that) an ambulance took a trip from Camden to University College last night - with Amy Winehouse on board... While fire-engines rushed to a blazing church in Shepherds Bush this morning.

We're also live on the scene with a man who's lost his marble. A marble shark, in fact. Someone's pinched it (her) from his garden shed.

And from sharks to a lion story. Actually, the story's over 30 years old. Never let it be said we're not first with the news. It is an enchanting story about a lion who was bought in Harrods, lived in Chelsea, before being released into the wild in Kenya. However, the story - as you will see - does not end there.

Still waiting to see if another bit of news is going to make a dramatic entrance into the show.

Join us at SIX to find out.


Ben & Katie




Monday 28th July

Monday 28th July

Afternoon - and welcome to the week.

First things first - they say you should never look back but... what a fantastic weekend, eh? The weather was just superb. I hope, even if you were working, you got at least five minutes to get outside to enjoy the sunshine.

And anyone lucky enough to spend every second outside - who's been whingeing about hot it is today - think about the poor souls who were working the weekend. And raise a glass of something bubbly to them. It's their turn today.

Of course, Chrissie will tell us what weather we can expect for the rest of the week - just in case you haven't had your day off yet.

Okay, there's more to life - and our programme - than the weather... So, here goes.

Have you ever been 'poked' on-line? I confess talk of such things makes me feel even older than I am. 'Poking' (no sniggering at the back) is when you send someone - a member of the networking website like Facebook or Bebo - a 'virtual' action. Like a virtual hug or a virtual kiss. (At this point, half those reading this will be saying "Get on with it, Grandad". The other half simply "Eh?".

Anyway, it's pretty harmless stuff - mostly. It appears there's another sort of online poke, where you send someone a 'shank'. That's slang for stab, in fact. Yes, people have been virtually stabbing online. Imagine if your family had lost someone to this hideous wave of knife crime that's sweeping across London. How would you feel if you knew people 'stabbed' each other on the internet?

Is it harmless fun? Is if more serious? You can tell us this evening.

We'll also have a report on some very worrying sounding house price figures... plus we'll be speaking to a former West Ham football hooligan who's now helped make a film about his life... and then - saving the best to last - we'll be hearing from a very naughty pensioner, who's local department stores is trying to ban him. Why...?

See you at SIX,

Ben & Katie



Friday 25th July

Friday 25th July

Good afternoon.

James 1st of England (6th of Scotland) was only King because Elizabeth 1st didn't produce an heir. His son, Charles 1 sired an heir in Charles II who was better at fathering a legion of "Fitz"-illegitimates than a legitimate heir so his brother James succeeded him as James II - only to get it horribly wrong at the Battle of the Boyne, leaving it open to his sister Mary to marry the Protestant William of Orange and bring an end to all hopes I had of succeeding to the throne. From Charles I through to Mary, they were Stuarts. OK, I'd have had to change the spelling but you get my point.

You can, therefore, imagine my horror in discovering that Salma (She Who Will Do Anything To Get One Over On Me) has been to Buckingham Palace today. The good news is she was only there to learn how to lay a table. I would not stoop, come to think of it, so I'd best calm down. It is a fascinating insight into how her Maj' throws a supper party with the assistance of knee-pads, protractors and a seating plan that makes an Ordinance Survey map look like a rough guide. You'll relish it.

Most arrive for State Banquets by limo' and not by Tube. But if they did they'd either have got the trip for free, or found their card not functioning or some other such debacle: Oyster has gone wrong again and TfL are embarrassed. And out of pocket. And confused. Glen slips under the barrier to try and shed light on why TfL don't need the hacking skills of a Dutch academic to screw up, yet again, the system that is supposed to oil the financial wheels of your trip to work.

We could, I guess, walk to work, sprint to work or even vault to work. We could certainly ride a horse to work or cycle to work. Some might even sail to work and, in deepest winter, ski to work whilst shooting rifles at targets. All are Olympic Sports, too. What no-one will ever do is "triple-jump" to work. Or "triple-jump" to anything other than a sandpit. It is the oddest and most pointless sport so it doesn't surprise me that we have, in our very midst, a Gold Medal hopeful who has crimson hair. Paxo is impressed and he won me over: I bet he gets you, too.

Much more my sporting "tasse de tee" is Polo - I love it and those who do it - both riders and ponies. It is fast, elegant, skilled and capable of bankrupting anyone but the wealthiest. Pop stars like Genesis's Mike Rutherford and the Who's Kenny Jones rub shoulders with bankers and billionaires as the equine equivalents of Ferraris turn on a sixpence as chukka follows chukka. This weekend is the Cartier at Windsor and we've a sneak preview with Lewis who is good looking enough to qualify but too tall. Ah, the girls will be heart-broken.

But none as heart-broken as the girls and boys who have seen the company that promised to deliver their friend's thoughtful gifts, from toasters to turines, in time for their weddings. It has gone bust and it is heart-breaking. Ronke takes a very large box of tissues with her for this one.

Which just leaves James to come and bury or praise Batman, The Dark Knight and Baby Mama which The Big Boss said was "a light-hearted comedy" and Dame Salma, the Marchioness of Siraj, said was "silly".

I, like James, am blessed with an open mind as I know are you.

So you will believe Robin when he says that after sweltering heat for the last four WORK days, it is going to be wet and over-cast when, at last, we get some time off this weekend. I may chose to pretend he is lying as I am going fishing.

The papers don't lie , very often or very well, so we'll share their front pages with you and then we can all enjoy the weekend. Guess who has just a few more good ideas for what you really shouldn't miss? The Richard III of tv journalism, of course.

Alastair and HRH That Woman.... the lovely Siraj.







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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.  


Good Afternoon.

I am sorry I wasn't with you yesterday and I hope you missed me - even just a bit.

But certainly not as much as David Cameron is missing his bike. Now opinion is divided on this one - some think it is the funniest thing to happen to a pretentious toff since Lord Brocket got done for an insurance scam that involved hiding his priceless collection of Ferraris in a lake. Others think it is really bad luck that has befallen a nice bloke and just goes to show that, whoever you are and however high you rise, the bad-boys will have your bike away at the drop of a hat. Well not perhaps "hat" because DC keeps getting into to trouble for not wearing one when cycling; but, then again, if he's had his bike nicked he won't get into that secondary scrap so much, will he? Every cloud, and all that..

Lewis VJ, who is partial to the old velo-ped, has slipped his clips on and is in 1WP, (one Welshman Power) pursuit of the story, the thieves and the leader of Her Majesty's Opposition. He'll tread carefully with the line in this story involving Sharia law but you might want to give ear ; there is a worrying warning to tea-leafs, should the Once Nasty Party get round to forming a Government .

James Bond never knowingly rode a bike: of that I am sure. He drove Aston Martins, BMWs and Lotus's; push-bikes, never darkened his transportational horizon. We will, to be certain, scour the new "Quantum of Solace" incase there is a subliminal bit of 007 giving it plenty on the cotter pins and we'll let you know the results at 6.

And the kid who won Britain's Got Talent by dancing, brilliantly, and making us all cry when he collapsed into a pool of water, has landed a part in the West End.

Lucy is very excited and I am open to persuasion. Honest! Nina is certain you will all still care but I thought it was an odd result at the time and have moved on. I am glad he's landed on his feet and, on this occassion, in the dry. See what you think.

On the hard-news front, you'll want to know the latest from Crete and the young woman accused of killing her new-born baby in a hotel room. Marcus has been talking to all sorts of people and watching the news agency wires all afternoon as he thinks the woman in question will make a court appearance today. Find out if he is right at 6.

Robin was walking his Springer Spaniels in Cranleigh at the same time as a man set himself alight only for two brave bobbies to use theimselves as human-fire-blankets as rescue helecopters hovered over-head. Or so he says. I think he is just trying to get out of doing the weather and telling us today WAS summer and that, come, tomorrow, autumn beckons. Well, he has failed and will be with us at the end of the show making sense of a woman who treats her garden as Leonardo DaVinci used a canvas.

It will make sense, believe me, and you will be entralled.

There's lots more besides but I must press on. It always takes me time to get back into the swing after a day off and nothing in this life is forever, is it?

See you at 6.

Alastair and Nina.

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.  


Tuesday 22nd July

Tuesday 22nd July

Good afternoon.

I've a theory on the arrest of Radovan Karadicz: I suspect that Serbian Public Transport was an early adopter of the Oyster technology  that those Dutch academics we told you about yesterday cracked. They then sold the codes to some "spooks" who used it to track him as he took a bus in the suburbs of Belgrade. I may be wrong but if I get a whiff of proof, we've a new lead.

Failing that, an equally unlikely and yet compelling yarn which has a closer relationship with reality though it may not seem like that at first.

The "scene", a suite at the swish Dorchester Hotel. The "players", a young lad from the welsh valleys, doing rather well in Hollywood, his mum and sister. The "plot" - something goes wrong and he ends up in a punch-up with mum and sis only to see them report him to a cop shop as he strutted his stuff before the world's press. You won't know the women but you'll know him. Lucy, who interviewed him recently, is curious to know why he didn't mention this colourful behavioural aberation and will share at 6.

Also from the world of "You Couldn't Make it Up" - I thankyou Richard Littlejohn - comes an amazing bit of timing. On the anniversary of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes and just a few weeks after Tariq Ghaffur claimed he'd hit an ethnic glass-ceiling on his way up the Met's promotional ladder, comes a film release. It deals with a shoot-to-kill incident on the tube in London and the involvement of a senior ethnic cop who gets into hot water over it all. "Timing is everything" is a Biblical cliche - check if you don't believe me!(Exodus 2:11) - which the producers may have read in their youth and brought to some purpose now. Who knows, but Lewis Vaughan Jones who, to the best of my knowledge has not been staying at the Dorchester of late, reviews the film and asks the tough questions.

In part two, as we like to call it, we have a little light relief: Dick "Your money or your life"Turpin was a charismatic rouge who rode across Epping pinching purses. Epping had, til Dick's time, been of an area full of fine, up-standing and law-abiding citizens. Such was Dick's influence, however, the place has never been the same since. I joke! Honest. Please put that gun and those knuckle-dusters away.... Anyway, it is a beautiful area and the Forest, formerly represented by Steve "a cuddle or your life" Norris but now by a charming Tory lady called Eleanor Laing, is well worth a stroll across with your little ones even if you risk the familiar challenge of "An ice-cream or your life!". Liz takes no nonsense on her second delightful stroll as recommended by our two ladies of Islington.

Steve Norris used to sell BMWs - rather well, as it happens. That's how he could afford to take time off to become a Tory MP. Epping Forrest was a natural constituency for him. OK, there are Mondeos and Fiestas but let's be honest, it is the natural home of the Merc' and Beemer AMG Conversion, the Mitsubishi toe-crusher and the Range-Rover Sport. (Not so many Vogues, I am told but that may be nastiness creeping in again.) Anyway, they are all passé - "green" is the thing at this years motor-show, even a cute little number that will still make the boy-racers feel at home so long as they remember to change the tape every now and then.

I leave you with another temptation should some or all of the above not trapped you like a "stinger" - Michael Jackson has completed his caucasianisation and has been found sweeping the streets in Chiswick. Is this more Belgrade fantasy or Epping reality? You'll have to be there to know.

We will be and hope you make the right choice.

Alastair and Nina.



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Monday 21st July

Monday 21st July
Good afternoon.
It is my habit to snatch 40 winks between the Lunchtime News and our London Tonight planning meeting. Suitably refreshed, I attended said gathering only to begin to think I was still dreaming: the Big Boss, who is not only "In Charge" today but is also producing the programme, started talking about two academics from a Dutch University who had cracked the computer codes for the entire Oyster system and could, therefore, rip us all off for a carriage load of cash. Their University security system uses the same soft-ware so not even their top-secret break-through would be top-secret anymore. It is also used by Hong Kong Transit... ... the makers are going to court in Holland to get a writ restraining them from printing their coup.... my mind was whirling at this stage. Had the Big Boss been to an Amsterdam cafe and partaken of some dubious organic, yet flammable, concoctions? I know him too well to know that is a ridiculous suggestion. Had I been drinking? I don't, so that wasn't an explanation , either.
I guess you'll just have to join me at 6 when we can both listen to Ben's explanation which I daresay R.D.Laing couldn't better.
Meantime, you are safe but, just incase, I'd walk anywhere you need to go.
Which takes me, stridently, to my favourite bit of the programme. Arguably there are too many Good Food Guides to the city: you can Harden your way through a five course Michelin of Zagat-try, laced with Harden-esque pleasure 'til you need to take Time Out only still to be in need of the eponymous Good Food Guide. But when it comes to walking it all off, your choices are a lot shorter than a Starbucks list of coffee-types. And if you have children, a desert - not dessert - is out there. No longer, my friends. Step forward the brilliant Liz with a unique solution to all the above. It is a brilliant idea from two brilliant London woman and is fun as well as fruitful.
One group who would find much of it useful but less easy to enjoy than the rest of us are the disabled. They can get round London but without the ease, I often think, that they are entitled to. There's is not always a happy lot despite, in the majority of instances, their remarkable resilience. So, for a hospital to let them down in a particularly personal and sensitive way is distressing. Phil, with his customary aplomb yet steely journalistic intent, will tell you what has gone awry and astray.
Something else that has gone astray is the British Motor Industry: I grew up in the days of Austin, Morris, Vanden Plas, Wolsley, Riley, MG, Sunbeam, Triumph, Hillman and more that have escaped this aged brain. Now there's Morgan which is run by a bloke who used to be a camera-man here, TVR was sold to the Russians and then went broke. So what is there for ExCeL to boast of now we have, again, got that part of our birth-right, The Motor Show, back from the Brummies? We sent Lewis VJ, more of a cyclist on past-experience, to explore. I will show him my Corgi and Dinky collections if he finds more than one British manufacturer amidst all those Japanese and continental European types, let alone the scantily clad dollies, few of whom I fancy know the difference between an internal combustion engine and a carbunkle. Not sexist ; I am just dubious about talent agencies!
No talent agency is big enough to contain the bulging genius of Michael Caine. I am a huge fan, though not a lot of people know that. Also, I prefer Batman to Superman so I am pleased to offer you a double-barrelled bit of cinematographic bliss: the reprise of MC as Alfred the Butler in the latest block-buster from the Capped Crusader franchise. Lucy will shout Karpow or I'll be Zapped !
If we can recover from that under-ground Aladdin's cave of goodies, we'll fly out in the Batmobile and litter the place with papers whilst beaming a weather forecast into the skies over the City.
I am now fully awake, still just a bit confused but really very excited.
See you at 6.
Alastair and Nina "what is he on?" Hossain.


London Tonight Tonight Friday 18th July

London Tonight Tonight Friday 18th July

Good afternoon.

We now know it was a really close run thing for Dwain Chambers. The Judge implied he might have ruled the other way had the sprinter made his claim for Olympic selection a little earlier. But the Judge said he backed the British Olympic Committee in saying a drugs ban - in the land of the inter-linked rings - is forever. For a man whose life's successes have been judged in hundredths of seconds, he will rue a matter of weeks for the rest of his life.

In stunning contrast we have a unique peak at the world of the 1948 Olympics, the last Games to be held in London. Two Dorothy's, Parlett and Tyler, wore long white skirts and sensible white shoes with pride all that time ago and tell us of a different story of rationing and borrowed bedrooms. Drugs? For them that meant cod liver oil and a rich linctus for a sore throat.

It is a conscious contrast we've put together for you, and will ask if you think we might just have lost something special in those intervening sixty years.


We doubt if thirty youngsters would have turned on two coppers and put one of them in hospital in 1948, but then it might just be the case that they wouldn't have dropped litter necessitating the initial intervention of the cops in the first place. Marcus hears divided opinion on the Clash of Croydon.

Talking of litter, James will review the film "WALL-E", which is pronounced Wally, and is about a little robot who has to tidy up the universe. He also looks at MEET DAVE which, some say, WALL-E could be well advised to take his 21st Century dust pan and brush to, but you will be the judges of that under the tutelage of Mr King in his rubber gloves and pinny.

Faye, somewhat eclectic in a pink and grey striped top, "distressed" jeans and plimsols today, coo-ed about WALL-E. She was at the Icebar last night and has been rubbing a cube of the aforementioned commodity across her fevered brow for much of the day. We are talking quietly, and she is off on holiday tomorrow, so I'll let it go as a case of getting into pre-Club 30 mode.

Bet WALL-E would have been kept busy at the Icebar in the early hours...Faye's cat isn't talking to her at the moment, but who can blame him?

Love Box is apparently a popular music festival. Headlining: Groove Armada who are apparently a currently popular band. Lucy, who knows so much more about these matters, will share and you will love it ... or your grandchildren will.

Human League I do know, and actually purchased an album of their's some little time ago. The "LP" was invented in 1948, but it was a little later than that - more like the early 80s. Anyway, I look forward to telling them yes, "I DO want you baby", when they join us live at 6.

I have resigned from any interest in what not to miss and no longer even accord it capital letters. I got excited when I thought someone said Eddie Murphy was doing it, but I gather I misheard them.

Incidentally, 1948 was also the year of the Silver Jubilee of George V and Queen Mary and the foundation of the NHS, not that that helped Gandhi who was assassinated in India that year, too. The BBC was broadcasting in black and white and we didn't even exist.

How happy we are, then, in 2008, to invite you to join us in rich colour for all this and more at 6.

Alastair and Salma "of course I didn't say Eddie Murphy, you dolt" Siraj.



London Tonight Tonight Thursday 17th July

London Tonight Tonight Thursday 17th July

Good afternoon.

Benjamin Disraeli was not, as many think, the first Jewish MP - that was Lionel de Rothschild, who sat in the House of Commons for nearly 20 years in the mid-C19th and never uttered a word. Disraeli, on the other hand, could hardly be got to shut-up. Among his wonderful bon mots was "There are lies, damn lies and statistics". Mark Twain pinched it but it was originally Dizzy's.

I think it should be plastered across the walls of the new Home Office, where today they published the first set of "definitive" knife crime statistics. More shocking than the numbers (22,000 cases nationally, more than 7,000 of them here in London) is the outrageous stupidity that led some number -cruncher or policy wonk, to exclude episodes involving the under 16s. Yes, I know, many of the 20 knife murder victims in the capital this year have been under 16 and, I daresay, a goodly proportion of the perpetrators aren't old enough to get a provisional licence, either. Nevertheless, we will trawl through the data we do have and look forward to next year when, for the first time since Robert Peel, who was Home Secretary about 50 years before Dizzy was PM, established the first Police force, we will have numbers including under-16 knife crime.

By then "Tracey" will be a year older and a year wiser. Not that long ago that would have been a brave claim. She was a teenage gangster who ended up in jail and was shot. It was a sort of Road to Damascus moment for her, and she has gone straight and is sharing her conversion with any kids who will listen. We listened and were impressed, and Jon will share his conversation with her with you, in the hope you agree with us.

I know you will agree with us that the case of Gabriel and Vivian, who separated, is moving. Separation is sad but it happens. What followed was more than sad, it was catastrophically tragic. Vivian was convinced her children had died at birth and that the children living with her weren't her's. Gabriel - the children's father was aware of this madness as were the Social Services. Ronke describes the catastrophe that followed, and what Gabriel says is the entirely inadequate and unacceptable response of the Social Services.

What might prove to be both acceptable and adequate as a policy initiative is Croydon's trial of only selling booze to the over 21s. Croydon Borough Council doesn't sell much booze itself apart from at occasional civic functions when they try to cover the budget, but they do issue licences to pubs, clubs and social events. Sharon pops down to the home of the tram to find out why they're considering new licensing rules.

Finally a medical theme which led to some fierce debate in our meeting: Faye, stunning in gold sandals and a cream cocktail dress (she's going out for dinner with the "girls" tonight) said we had a report on a scanner which showed vital organs in 4D -"every which way, round and back, and from every side" my notes suggest she bubbled with Stephen Hawking-ish enthusiasm. "The 4th dimension is..... time", the Big Boss and I observed in near harmony. "Right" warbled the irrepressible Faye. She paused and said "It's still magic!". She is right in her description, even if her grasp of physics is well short of her grasp of haute couture - in which she really does excel.

The next is " Harley Street ", a new ITV drama which we thought we'd give you a preview of. The contention here is about the drama - "ER it ain't - George Clooney it ain't" someone was heard to say. You must make your own minds up but with Lucy, our top purveyor of "ooful dust" on hand, I am sure we will give it the fairest of winds as it leaves us and heads for your sitting rooms.

Robin is currently talking holidays and houses with Katie - and may share. The papers will be there with something old, something new, something borrowed and, in some cases, something blue.

And we'll be there, in the hope you'll join us.

Alastair and Katie.



London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 16th July

London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 16th July

Good afternoon.

I wonder if Faye, who is elegantly delicious in a pink top and charcoal grey trousers today, is related to George III ? Both display all the symptoms of madness and both appear to have a curious interest in animal husbandry. In George's case it was pigs. With Faye it is bees. In the brilliant film "The Madness of King George" there is a wonderful scene when two footmen are so fed up with collecting the contents of the Regal Guzzunder, that they threaten to resign. One says "I am going to open a greengrocer with my friend, Mason". The Master of the Household asks his name and he says "Fortnum, sir". Well, their heirs and successors have managed to persuade Faye that they have erected bee-hives on their roof and will, ere long, be marketing London Honey. "What", I asked, " about the pollution?". "They'll get pollen from Hyde Park. It's only a minute's "buzz- buzz" away. Honest!". She chortled loudly, as is her wont, and the Big Boss, a fan of health foods and quite forgiving of Faye, dispatched Glen to investigate. I don't know if he'll get vertigo on the roof of F&M but he can always squeeze into the hives for a close-up look. I'll certainly be watching and hope you will be, too.

Patience Wheatcroft used to be the editor of the Sunday Telegraph but, more recently, was asked by Boris to take a close-up look at the books of the LDA - variously described as a catalyst for London's improvement or, entirely wrongly and possibly actionably, as the former Mayor's chequebook for his buddies. She found not fraud but mind-numbing ineptitude. So what does Bozza do now? Harris is buzzing around the story with a vengeance - more hornet-like than honey-bee-esque, in my view but I think he'll yield a comb-ful of fascinating facts which you can lick from your fingers at 6.

Then you'll have to wash your hands. For a couple living in Islington that could involve simply wiping their hands across their walls because, according to Fruitcake Faye, those walls are "like sponges". It's all about leaks that are five years old and the Council's attempts to pull the lagging over the eyes of their tenant who, unfortunately for them, is a builder who knows how quickly repairs can be done even if, for fee-paying clients, he doesn't always go quite that quickly. We are, nevertheless, On His Side, and Ronke dons the hard-hat on our behalf and brings you the resolution, we hope. My doubts are well-founded.

She may or may not get much out of the Council when she makes her enquiries, you see, because London, like the rest of the country, is locked in Day One of a Two Day strike by public sector workers. Bins left unemptied, Teachers left un Assitant-ed, libraries devoid of people saying "Shush" when you whisper to your friend you've found that elusive Doris Lessing tome. Anyway, if the switchboard lot are out too, Liz's report may be a little one-sided but she's a great journalist so I am sure she'll manage.

Robin promises not to mention St. Swithun for another year and the papers will be full of protestors and more, I am sure. We'll share.

Finally, Katie as you have never seen her before. I , for one, wouldn't miss that and I am pretty confident I won't be alone in that.

Not so much "buzz-buzz" as "boom-boom".

See you at six.

Alastair and the Vixen of the Upper Sixth.


Tuesday 15th July

Tuesday 15th July

Good afternoon.

We've a theme of heroism tonight to raise the spirits, prompt reflection and celebrate the best.

First up, a young man who tried to be a hero only to be leveled by a shop-lifter. Not, I fear, the end of the story - it gets considerably worse. Yet heroism must have been in the genes because his mum is a remarkable person too, who will deserve and, I daresay, win your respect. Jon has been talking to her about her son.

Boris is a lexicographical legend and he was musing on 'words' and their meanings at the Home Affairs Select Committee today . Boris always strikes me as a man who consumes Roget's Thesaurus for breakfast. Today he was chewing on the entries listed under "hero" and was exploring phrases like "Fallen Soldier". His focus was not the trenches of early C20th Flanders but the streets of our great capitol. No gags from Bozza today but impressive reflection and serious food for thought. Glen will guide you through this canon of mayoral linguistics.

Lewis Gordon Pugh used to be a maritime lawyer but decided that didn't involve enough "heroism" or adventure. In my view, if you legally represented the people who had underwritten even part of the risk on the Amoco Cadiz or owned the Piper Alpha oil-rig, that would have been more than enough adventure for anyone but there you go. Lewis decided he'd chill-out in different waters. Very cold and very different waters. You've seen him swim in the Arctic, ladies and gentlemen: now, before your very eyes.... no, you'll have to tune in and watch Phil's report on this man's next heroic exploit. But do wrap up warm.

Given the Wright brothers, who had certainly wrapped up warm, had already done it in the USA, it must have been a real hero who took the first powered aircraft into the skies above England. He did it from an airfield that went on to become the home of the Air Accident Investigation Branch - talk about shutting the stable door after the horse had bolted. Damian goes to Farnborough and braves the plane-spotters for a fascinating retrospective of one of the most famous airfields in the land.

Finally, for your entertainment, edification,  and ecstatic enlightenment, Miss Lucy Cotter will, for one night only, brave the challenges and perhaps critical chastisement of the East End masses as she performs in Vaudeville just for you. I hope for cheers but you'll be the judges as she raises the curtains on Mr Wilton celebrated emporium of thespian excess.

Oh, we've also got a man from the Natural History Museum who can't identify a beetle. What do we pay them for? How heroic is that? There had to be one glitch in my theme. But Liz comes to the rescue as she braves the creepy crawly to offer her suggestions. It is not a dung beetle, Liz, so you can dispense with the rubber gloves.

We'll try and squeeze it all in from 6 to 6.30.

See you then, mes braves !

Alastair and Katie




London Tonight Tonight Monday 14th July

London Tonight Tonight Monday 14th July

Good afternoon.

Can I say how pleased I am to be back after a terrific week in the Isle of Wight? Of course I can. Do I mean it? Well...

I was making my packed lunch last night and putting out what to wear, when the phone rang: could I interview a senior cop tomorrow morning? (Now today, if you follow my chronology). Yes, I said: when and where? Millbank studios at 8.45am. That meant me getting up at an obscenely early hour so I hestitated, until I was told the subject was knife crime and that the interviewee was to be the new King Kong of the campaign to rid our streets of the beastly blades. Fine, I said, and went to bed without seeing the end of Pulp Fiction for the umpty-umpth time. Oddly appropriate film, in the circumstances.

Anyway, it turned out to be a good call on my part: he is fascinating, positive, intelligent, common-sensical and optimistic. Please give ear and then judge for yourselves.

Now, if I rented a flat in London rather than live a little way out in the countryside, I could have had an extra hour in bed. But with the state the rental market is in, now might not be the time to pounce: Louisa joins us in the studio - I shall be doing no pouncing in her direction - but I shall pounce upon her every answer as I suggest you do too whether you are a renter or a rentee.

If it looks like a good deal I shall move on it with the speed of Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes McLaren FI motor-car or a Lear Jet. Which would get me there fastest? We can reveal the answer to that curious conundrum as 6.

I love the film "Zorro" with Antonio Banderas in the star role, ably supported by Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta Jones. The sword fight scene between Antonio and Catherine was memorable. I pause for a moment. I remember. I move on. There was a similar scene in Oh! Calcutta but it ended differently. Anyway, sticking with my "from big-screen to stage" theme, "Zorro" goes West End, and Lucy has been deciphering the curious "swish" shape for you. I wonder if Lucy ever did fencing?

In "Die Another Day", one of my favourite "Pierce Brosnan-period" Bond films, there is also a grand fencing scene between an English Rose, Rosumund Pike, and a gorgeous African-American goddess, Halle Berry. It reminded me of Grace Jones' performance in another Bond film, the name of which escapes me, but which features an airship owned by a mad man called Zorrin. Zorrin has nothing to do with Zorro, and Piers Hopkirk is not related to Mr Brosnan ... nor is he a fencer. He has, nevertheless, discovered that fare-paying airships are about the ply their steady yet elegant trade in the skies over London once more. He test-flies it for you, lucky aviator.

Did I say I was glad to be back? Gosh, I so am...

And here's the final reason - the Oyster card system went into meltdown at the weekend and may have given as many as 60,000 commuters a free ride: my goodness, they deserve it! Getting replacement cards will be a bind but, hey, smile for the day, that's what I say.

See you at 6.

Alastair and Katie.


London Tonight Tonight Friday 11th July

London Tonight Tonight Friday 11th July
Hello -
So - just when you thought it couldn't get any worse... THREE people stabbed to death in a matter of hours. That's the latest horrific statistic to add, well, all the others:
SEVEN stabbings in just five days.
TWENTY London teenagers have now died a violent death in 2008.
Last night a 19 year was stabbed in Edmonton. A 20 year old was stabbed in Leyton. A man in his twenties was stabbed in Walthamstow.
Three more families grieving a loss that never will heal.
We'll have the latest, including a reaction from the Met.
It feels awkward to say but away from the misery, we'll have some lighter stuff too.
It's the weekend so we'll be looking at a couple of movies hitting our cinemas - 'Mamma Mia'. Is it worth the hype? And 'Journey to the Center of the Earth'. Yes that it is spelt 'right'. Well, it's how the film spells it. Oh, our American cousins.
And Jennifer Ellison's here to chat about life after Brookside.
See you at SIX.
Ben & Salma


London Tonight Tonight Thursday 10th July

London Tonight Tonight Thursday 10th July
Hello you.
Well, how's this for a fine state of affairs...? We don't KNOW what we've got for you this evening.
We're working on an investigation which, if sufficient fruits are borne before the title music starts, will lead our programme. The thing is - these stories sometime need a little extra time, with the people involved sometimes needing a little, shall we say, 'extra persuasion'. Well, there's coaxing going on as we go to press.
Fear not, however, if the piece isn't ready for 6 o'clock tonight, we'll do our damnedest to make sure it's ready for 6 o'clock another night.
And if that does prove to be the case, rest assured, we won't be leading on the weather. We're in terribly good shape with lots of strong stories tonight.
As a country we should really be ashamed that having served our country in some of the most difficult and dengerous places around the world, one thousand former service personnel find themselves sleeping rough on London's streets every night. Well, there's a new venture which was launched this morning which should give ex-servicemen and women a second chance in life.
Then there's the story of a young lad who has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Ozzie lives in a council flat with his Mum and young sister. Sometimes, because of ADHD, he's a little rough with his sister and because they share a room, there aren't many places for her to find a safe haven. What's more, the flat is on the fourth floor and, on more than one occasion, Ozzie's Mum - Gillian - has found him climbing over the balcony. Now, you'd have thought their's was a pretty obvious case for re-housing. The council says they'll have to wait. Tonight, we're on Ozzie's side.
Okay - Oxford Circus. Some people's idea of London, London, London. Others' idea of hell, hell, hell. Not least when you have to cross the road there.
We're also on board HMS Belfast after the ship's mascot - one much-loved moggie called Kilo - was thrown overboard. Nasty people - three of them, the police reckon. There are CCTV pictures of them.
On a lighter note, we're talking to Alicia Keys and soapstar turned musicman, Richard Fleeshman.
Something for everyone then - at SIX.
Ben & Katie


London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 9th July

London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 9th July

Hello -

I remember, some years back, I found myself asking Americans to list three things they associated with London. Now, straight up, one of them said "Tea, the Beatles and fog".

I ask you.

You could understand it if they said the rain.... Don't worry, we'll have a go at Chrissie on your behalf later.

Anyway, fair to say, one of the iconic images associated with our great city is the black cab. Perhaps that's about to change. Another company has been given the licence to make vehicles to be used as London cabs. The company is Mercedes.

I'll just wait while that sinks in.

Actually, we won't have to wait long until they're on the streets. So - what will that mean for the streets of London, for the people who hire them... who drive them... who build them?

Guess which story we'll be asking for you to text in about this evening.

Mind you, we could have asked you about another of our stories - a group of disabled girls went into a beauty salon to get their nails done but were turned away. There's a difference of opinions over who said what at the time. The upshot though is that, while the salon said they've done nothing wrong, they've paid the girls thousands of pounds in compensation.

We'll also be reporting on some men who believe the best way to change the law on fathers' access to their children, is to climb onto someone's roof in South London. The someone is Harriet Harman. Yes, it happened to her last month too.

Plus McFly who are fun-loving lads who make music, who've done well, who want to start their own label...

See you at SIX.

Ben & Nina


London Tonight Tonight Monday 7th July

London Tonight Tonight Monday 7th July

Good Afternoon to you.

So, who watched it then? The drama of it all... the highs, the lows... the 'will he make it?'... 'is this the end?'... 'can he possibly make a comeback now?'

Yep. 'Dr Who'. Loved it.

Oh. And the tennis.

AND the GREAT British Grand Prix. The local lad done good. Mr Hamilton, we salute you. Mr Nadal, we salute you. Doctor, we... too much? Too much.

Now then - the programme.

We'll have a fragrant nose of flowers from Hampton Court, ahead of the Royal Show.

We'll have road humps of 'I don't believe it' proportions from Ealing.

And we'll have Yvette Marie Stevens - look her up on t'internet. You could say she feels for you, even thinks she loves you... the little minx.

And the serious stuff?

Well, once again, it couldn't be more serious. A 14 year old boy... and you know what I'm going to say next: a 14 year old has died after being stabbed in Southwark. David Idowu is the 19th teenager to die a violent death in London this year. He was attacked three weeks ago and has been fighting for life ever since. He lost that fight this morning.

It throws a rather harsh spotlight on the last few days' events at City Hall. Boris Johnson's main man, appointed to look at 'youth crime' forced out of his job on Friday evening. So who's going to do the job now? Has the sorry saga all holed the new Mayor's administration below the water line?

We'll wrap it all up for you at SIX.

Ben & Katie


Friday 4th July

Friday 4th July
Good Afternoon to you.
Normally, when ahead of the Friday show, I'm feeling upbeat... jolly.... looking forward to the weekend - as is the rest of the team.
This Friday, though, is different.
Yesterday a 16 year old boy was left on the ground in Thornton Heath, bleeding to death and crying out for his mother - the sixth person to be knifed in London in just one week. Shakilus Townsend died in hospital early this morning.
Later in the day, the Kinsella family made the short journey from their home to Highbury Magistrates Court to see three teenagers stand accused of murdering Ben. Now, of course, the trio are innocent until proven otherwise, but - unusually for such a hearing - the defendants' addresses were not read out in court, in case someone took it upon themselves to exact what they'd see as revenge. An attempt, perhaps, to stop the violence spiralling off in a different direction.
How did we get here though? Such a waste of lives, such sadness for those left behind. What's changed? What is going so dreadfully wrong in London's society? When did life become so cheap for those wielding the
At the top of tonight's programme then, we'll bring you the details on Shakilus' murder and try to sum up this bloody week here in the capital. Before we ask for your thoughts and feelings.
There's other stuff too, of course, that's not so bleak... the launch of the Mayor's competition to design a new Routemaster bus for tomorrow's London... the last in our series of reports celebrating 60 years of the
NHS... a look at some local talent going for gold in Beijing (that's the first of a new Friday series).
And then there's the entertainment bit when we'll report on the Silver Clef awards that were doled out earlier before reporting on the Wireless festival which will be going on while we're on air. Stay tuned 'Guillemots' fans.
And stay tuned too, anyone who likes cartoon bears who do martial arts.
See you at SIX.
Ben & Salma


Wednesday 2nd July

Wednesday 2nd July


It's Stuart here again.

As I write this, the Kinsella family are giving another news conference about the murder of Ben in Holloway in the early hours of Sunday morning. We'll have that story - as well as the words of Sir Ian Blair - and - tragically - details of a stabbing in Peckham last night that's left a 28 year old woman dead.

Elsewhere tonight - Ronke has a lovely tale of a woman who came from the Caribbean to work in the NHS - she was one of thousands of doctors, nurses, cleaners and porters who answered the call to come to London and help shape the new health service after the Second World War. It's part of our NHS 60 series.

Also - we take up the case of a bathroom that the owners say wasn't fitted properly. Why can't they get it fixed?

And then - a man who in 1974 broke into the World Trade Center in New York. He managed to get a cable between the two towers. And then he danced on it for 45 minutes. He's in the studio, talking about a new film that tells his story.

Finally - John Lydon. Back in the 70s he appeared with the other Sex Pistols on ITV, on the regional magazine programme of the time - Today - and said some rude words. Unfortunately for Thames Television it was live - and they got in some trouble. John said some more rude words when Lucy went to meet him, but luckily it was recorded so we can remove them. You see - TV can learn from its mistakes.

See you at six..







Wednesday July 1st

Wednesday July 1st

Good Afternoon.

If you've been stuck inside all day (like me) you'll be delighted to know that outside it's expected to reach 27 degrees celcius this afternoon.

That's just one of the important numbers in the programme tonight.


How about this one - 76% of people who took part in the consultation about extending the Congestion Charge Zone didn't want it. It happened anyway. Now Boris is going to ask people what they think - and if they don't want it - he's promising to listen. Is the writing on the wall for the Western Extension? Simon will tell us.

Ben Kinsella was victim 17. Today - one of his friends wore a t-shirt. On it - the number 18 and a question mark. The message - that she - or any of the teenagers on a protest march today - or indeed any teenager in London - could be the next victim of gun or knife crime in the capital. Where do we go from here? We'll investigate.

The NHS is 60. We'll be looking back again.

Jenny Tomlin is a number one best selling author. She's also Martine McCutcheon's mum. And she's in the studio (studio 4, in case you wondered about the number).

And then - Benny and Bjorn. They've sold more than a third of a billion records. Now that's a big number. Lucy will be talking to them. I hope she thanked them for the music.

My last number - six. That's when we're on - join Alastair and Katie. I'll be hiding in the control room.



Editor, London Tonight (and Programme Editor tonight as it happens, as Faye is busy interviewing the future stars of ITV News at Central in Birmingham)