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Friday 29th August

Friday 29th August
Good afternoon.
You can a lot about a person from their taste in refreshments. Never trust a woman who sips Gripe Water in the afternoon, nor a man who disregards the dose instructions on a bottle of Benelyn. They are troubled addicts pretending that "mother's little-helper" will quell their nerves and that a really clear throat is an excuse for gulping sweet linctus as if there were no tomorrow. There may not be a tomorrow at that rate.
I raise this cautionary note simply because, whilst the Big Boss and I are currently enjoying a cup of "builder's-tea", Salma has ordered "an Assam" from the charming man who brings us our afternoon drinks-trolley. Assam? If she smoked, I'll bet it would be Sobranie Black Russians or their oddly coloured Cocktail selection.
Talking of odd colouring, our favourite story of the day involves a pair of fine creatures whose ancestors hailed from eastern Canada and whose breed evolved into a fine example of hunting dogs. They are also lovely to have around the house, which I can personally attest to, and most of them are blondes. Mine was 'chocolate' and named, by the children Charlie Brown. My children are accurate if not a little predictable. Unlike the two "labbies" who grace our programme tonight with their unpredictable skill. Hints, I think, are appropriate: The Beach Boys, 'hanging-five', 'wipe-out' and woodies would all be familiar to them were they human. They are not. They are "labbies", which makes their achievement all the more amazing. You will be glued to your TVs as you see Branston and Pickle do their "thing"... Lucy cries "heel" and we all obey, willingly. 'Spect you will, too.
Blowing up and catching fire were not supposed to be a Bendy-bus "thing" but it is looking that way again. That niggling little problem was supposed to have been sorted which might explain why the powers that be were so keen that the construction workers on an incendiary bendy-bus, up Hackney way, were asked to put their cameras and video-phones away. The run-of-the-mill among them did but one brave lad didn't and we have the fruits of his David Bailey moment. Watch it before clambering aboard that Number 235 tomorrow...
Not that you could have done today if it were one of the 80 routes operated by "First", the bus company. There's a rail company of that name, too, but they don't operate buses, directly - only when their trains are cancelled and we all have to pile on a blooming bus to complete our journeys. Anyway, todays disruption and the threat of more to come all in the elegant hands of LVJ.
In the equally elegant hands of Richard Blackwood are the chances of The South seeing off The North in your metropolitan affections. I thought Les Dennis's case for the North,last night, was slightly weakened by his being a Scouser and by his praising Hampstead for being close to the MI and his escape route north. Richard, who insists on calling it "saafff" London, has no such problems - he is the man and you can hear his plea at 6.
Still being all geographical or cartographical, there's a great North West footy clash this weekend as Spurs take on Chelsea. Arsenal face the delights of Kevin Keegan, his hair, Michael Owen and all that is Newcastle United FC. Fascinating even if you are not interested, if you see what I mean.
You'll be left in no doubt as to what James means when he reviews our movies -"STEPBROTHERS" and "THE STRANGERS". Salma, now finished with her "Assam" and sending out for a moist, linen cloth to wipe her fingers, says "The Strangers" is 'reeeeaaaalllly' frightening: that is how she said it.
What I find really frightening, is that anyone would have put the money up to make Stepbrothers, a film I would avoid like a re-run of whatever the worst ever made film was before this one was finished in the cutting room. But, hey, that's me: James is better informed and more balanced. (Bet he hates it, too.)
I am fond of all three of London's papers but find "Lite" the hardest to get hold of. My man at Waterloo loves the fact I still buy the ES , though my accountant doesn't. Those two and the purple-ish one at 6. Robin, like the forecasting fiddler that he is, is on the roof. (It is a Topol joke. Oh, never mind.) 
Your weekend weather will round this all off but keep your weekend plans open because, once you've seen Branston and Pickle, I think you may be heading for the coast - unless your daddy has taken the T-Bird away...
See you at 6
Alastair "I never wanted to do What Not To Miss" Stewart and Salma "Hollow victory but nice tea" Siraj.


London Tonight Tonight Thursday 28th August

London Tonight Tonight Thursday 28th August

Good afternoon.

"You can't always get what you want. But if you try, sometimes, you get what you need" is a refrain from one of my favourite Rolling Stones tracks. But what if you try, and still don't get what you feel you not only want and need, but deserve? Admit you weren't up to it and press on? Claim all the world, and his friends, are against you? Or explore, legally, which of those two might be true? I am not rambling, I assure you: this is precisely the dilemma facing the most senior Asian Police Officer in the Met'.
Tarique Ghaffur had done very well and had even been asked to head up the 2012 Olympic security unit. Suddenly he claims, he was put aside. He claims Sir Ian Blair, and a "Golden Circle" of intimates, conspired against him and that the institutionalised racism, identified by Sir William MacPherson in the wake of the lack-lustre Stephen Lawrence inquiry, was alive and well and still causing harm and hurt to ethnic minority coppers. It is a bold move on Tarique's part and a defining moment for the Met: not some bitter and twisted young Asian or Afro-Caribbean lad, whingeing in the canteen, with or without cause. But a grown-up intelligent man with as much silver on his shoulders as a Brinks Matt deposit box, pointing a damning finger of accusation at the heart of the body charged with our impartial and honest protection. It is day one of a battle that will run and run. We have the details, some of the players and will ask why some of the others are still lying low.
Eighteen months ago, around Valentines Day, I stood in the bitter cold outside a block of flats in Clapham, reporting on the murder of Billy Cox. I said it was a worrying sign of a growth in a pointless and tragic loss of life among our young people. Little did I know how awfully it would grow. Less did I realise, though I ought to have, how indelible would be the bitterness felt by his parents - not an atom of emotion has evaporated from their souls in the intervening year and a half. Tonight they talk to us and tell of their continuing sense of loss and disbelief.
Two people off on their travels for rather different reasons: Ken has got a job with President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela - they have elections coming up and Ken is going to help out. (Hasn't Victor seen the outcome of the last Mayoral race? Only a question.)
And Gary McKinnon is off to the USA to answer charges over the most spectacular "hack" since my 15 year old ordered a rather fine electric guitar on my lap-top only to come up with the most spectacular explanation since Eve said she just thought Adam looked peckish and in need of one of his five fruit'n'veg.
Mr. McKinnon looks set to have rather a lot of time on his hands to peruse his fascination with UFOs, albeit it in a non-expanding universe.
A terrific story from what was once the realm of sci-fi: nano technology has fascinated me since I read my Eagle comics as a child and saw miniaturised submarines being sent into a man's bloodstream to repair his heart. Now, as you know, they can do it - except they don't need to worry about not being able to miniaturise the men anymore. It is all done by machines that make a pin-head look like the size of Richmond Park, or Hyde Park depending on whether you come from North or South of the River. We've the tale of the first beneficiary of this medical breakthrough about which Arthur C. Clarke might have said "Yeah? And then...?" Whilst we, and his family, say "Hurrah!".
We also have the tale of an urban fox who smiled at his hunter.
Three blonds from an Olympic boat are with us, all of whom are lovely , as is Faye - although she has just said this is an essay - what does she want? Microfilm and short-hand?
I conclude by warning you Les Dennis - a Scouser - tells us about London's North South divide, good casting, eh?
Papers, weather and whatever you think about Tarique Ghaffur. Do listen to the arguments first and then e-mail us.
If the arguments we've been having on the story are anything to go by, it should be fascinating.
See you at 6.
Alastair and Salma


London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 27th August

London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 27th August

Good Afternoon,

At six o'clock tonight you'll get to see a very different programme to the one we started off with this morning, thanks to some Breaking News.

The jury in a very important case has come back with their verdicts so we can bring you the story. It involves a gun factory in a garden shed, weapons making their way onto London's streets AND proof that THOSE firearms were responsible for the deaths of at least 8 people in the Capital.

One of those killed was Michael Dosunmu, the teenager shot dead in his bed in a case of mistaken identity. Lewis Vaughan Jones has the reaction of Michael's family today. As I said - a very important case.


Then the story of a house fire in Woking that is unravelling into something more - you'll have to watch Liz Wickham's report for the details on that.

Now as a female journalist I proudly consider myself to be one of the nosiest busy bodies on the planet, something my husband will whole-heartedly agree with. So imagine my envy when I heard of Ruth Ive, who's job it was to listen in to wartime phone calls between Churchill and FDR. Not only that - but it was up to her to cut them off if they said anything that German eavesdroppers might have picked up on. Simply fascinating, as Ruth says she was an ordinary girl doing an extraordinary job. Well we think she's pretty remarkable - and you can judge for yourselves, as at the age of 93 she shares some of her incredible stories with Lucy Cotter.

Plus - former Blue band member Lee Ryan and ex-Eastender Lucy Benjamin join us for a chat in the studio about their West End debut together in a brand new play The Pretender Agenda.

It's a packed show - we hope to share it with you at 6.

Salma and Alastair


London Tonight Tonight

Good afternoon.

It is Tuesday but the first working day of this Bank Holiday seasoned week - hope you had a good three day break. If you didn't , sue.

Martyn Lewis was a terrific ITN newsreader who also made a name for himself writing books about pets and pleading the cause of "good news" . When asked by the Prince of Wales why we only reported on aircraft that crash and not that fact that hundreds of 747s successfully fly across the Atlantic every-day, a colleague said "Because that's what they're supposed to do, sir. Not crash." News is a bit of a devil to define, good or bad.

Let us try:

BAD NEWS - thousands of people turned up for the Notting Hill Carnival to have a great time. Towards the end it all when unpleasantly pear-shaped with tazers and baseball-bats. Hundreds of arrests.

GOOD NEWS - the daughter of Martyn Lewis (see above) caught it all going off on her video-phone and we have secured the rights to share it with you.

GOOD NEWS - a little baby, born spectacularly premature a couple of years ago, with more ailments than the index to Gray's Anatomy, has survived and we are talking to him and his mum.

BAD NEWS - we only have 30 minutes of programme tonight otherwise we could let this uplifting tale of parental love and medical genius run and run.

GOOD NEWS - Christine O is coming home, the last 400 metres are always the hardest. Boris hasn't lost the Olympic banner yet. Both are back in London.

BAD NEWS - there are only 12 seats in First Class on a BA Boeing 747 - who sat where and who lost out?

George VI , dad to our current Queen, smoked like a chimney. Shortly after her coronation which was, of course, preceded by his death, Elizabeth II went to see the Royal Horse Artillery barracks in St. John's Wood. She was so wowed by the troopers she christened them, there and then, KING'S Troop, Royal Horse Artillery in memory of dad. Now five current troopers have been sacked for failing drug tests. No one has ever suggested George VI ever consummed anything other than Virginia's finest so, if the troopers defence is that their consumption was in memory of a Great Old Man's habits, the defence will go up in a cloud of .... enough, already - save to say Virginia was named after Elizabeth I , The Virgin Queen. I should get a GCSE for this lot....

We've a geography lesson - The Tour of Britain is not the Tour de France, it is the Tour of Britain. London is in Britain so why are we getting excited about the fact that part of this year's Tour is coming through the capitol? I think it is because there will be Olympians involved and men in very dubious pink lycra outfits.

And we ask, which is best? North of the river or south? Glen straddles the question like the collosus he wakes up, dreaming he is.

Oh, there's also something about "STEP BROTHERS", a movie I saw promoted at the weekend and about which I made one of those "like a plague" mental notes but I am told I am wrong as it features a fresh creation from " that stable of idiotic characters, that " is a "chuckle-ette" but with too much "wee" and "pee" humour in it... I rest my case but you decide.

I am still with the little boy who survived against the odds: drop nearly everything else and let's have more of him.

This, dear friends, is why I am a presenter and not an Editor. Notice the sychophantic use of the capital...

Siraj has just asked if I have mentioned her, yet.



We will both be here at 6 unless she beats me to a pulp for not mentioning her before now. She is currently wittering on about how great she is. She is, but I won't be swayed.

Alastair and Salma "beautiful, elegant, popular..." [she is STILL talking] ... Siraj.

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Friday 22nd August

Friday 22nd August
Dear One and All...
Salma wanted me to point out - before we talk about anything else - that she's bought a box of chocolates for everyone to tuck into this afternoon. Evidence, she reckons, that she is a team player.*
Okay - who's the odd one out here - Boris, James and Tim. I'll give you the answer a little later.
Now, let's have a look at what we have in the programme.
Well it's Friday, so there's plenty of entertainment - obviously.
'Get Smart' was a hugely popular TV series way back in the sixties which has now been turned into a huge Hollywood movie. Should they have bothered? And should Shane Meadows (the director who won huge acclaim for his partly autobiographical movie 'This is England') have bothered making 'Somers Town'? James King will be here to deal with those posers. Just in case you wanted to head off to your local picture-house, that is.
If you've got a bit more 'get and go' (and I say this as someone whose 'get and go' got up and went years ago) there's always the prospect of the Reading Festival. Lots of 'now' music acts. Lots of fresh air. Lots of mud, by all accounts. Lucy will bring you a great big slice of all that.
On the lighter side of the news front, Piers Hopkirk has been hailing a cab in Little Venice today. A watery one. A kayak, in fact. As of today, you too can now hire a cab-boat. Which will be fabulous, unless you want to get to Oxford Circus, or Harrods, or Gatwick or... well, you get the point.
Actually, while we're on the subject of Gatwick... I don't know about you but if I ever find myself flying off somewhere, I want to spend as little time as possible at the airport, any airport. We'll report on a chap who's been sent to prison today... after l-i-v-i-n-g there. I mean, really.
Hang on - stop press - as I write this, one of our reporters has just phoned in to tell us there's a bus on fire by the Old Bailey. We'll try and get you some pictures of that for the programme.
Our lead story tonight is the latest on the death of young Ahmed Benyermak, the 16 year old who fell from a block of flats in Hackney. We'll hear from the police on their investigation into what really happened and why.
Okay, back to our little quiz at the top.
Boris is the odd one out (one imagines that's not the first time) as James (De Gale) and Tim (Brabants) both won medals in Beijing today. A certain Mr Johnson has won nothing, but he will be walking away with the whole Olympic Games on Sunday, so Simon Harris has been getting his thoughts on that.
Incidentally, Tim Brabants won his medal - a gold one - in a kayak today. It'd be good if you hailed him in Little Venice, wouldn't it? You'd have to tip him though.
Cripes, as Boris would say, what a packed programme,
We'll see you at SIX.
Ben & Salma
*I bought chocolates last Friday. A bigger box.


London Tonight Tonight Thursday 21st August

London Tonight Tonight Thursday 21st August
16 year old Ahmed Benyermak will never collect the GCSE results that he's spent 2 years working towards. Last night he became yet another London teenager to die needlessly on our streets. Ahmed was not shot or stabbed but rather fell seven storeys. It's thought he tried to escape from a gang by scaling the outside of a building.
The thought of a boy, so desperate that he would choose to climb out of a 13th floor window, has hit us all quite deeply and Phil Bayles' report will undoubtedly make you stop and think, once again about the actions of our youngsters.
Another teenager who never even got the chance to sit his GCSE exams was Jimmy Mizen. The talented young man who no-one had a bad word to say about. He was killed in a bakers near his home - today his amazing family held a party for Jimmy's school friends to celebrate THEIR exam success - Marcus Powell was invited and you can see his report at 6.
From one brave family to another. The Parry's have fought long and hard to provide for their little boy who lost his legs to meningitis as a baby. You may remember his amazing story: despite struggling with the NHS his parents raised enough cash to take him to the States for a new set of prosthetic legs. They got back to London this morning - to find they'd been burgled. Yes - all those cash donations sent to them have gone. Ronke has the details.
Now we can't go without mentioning yet more team GB success ... as I write, a silver in triple jump and a gold in sailing ... and Alastair is very carefully monitoring the showjumping - sorry - INDIVIDUAL show jumping .... I've been corrected. I'm just glad I know which end the tail is at. And that is the beauty of the Olympics, no not a horse's bottom, but the fact that this wonderful eclectic mix of sports gets such a high profile and generates so much enthusiasm. Beijing has exceeded all our expectations .. just imagine what we can achieve on our home turf.
So how can we keep the momentum going for the next four years? Well we ask the woman in charge of that, Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell. She'll actually be fast asleep in Beijing by the time we are on air - but through the wonders of television we will have spoken to her beforehand.
Ok - time to drag Al away from the jumping horses.
See you at 6.
Salma and Al


London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 20th August

London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 20th August
And a Good Afternoon to you...
Quick one this afternoon as, well, the programme has proved to be a bit of a struggle today. Don't get me wrong - what we've ended up with is a cracker, but it's just been rather hard work getting there.
So - first up - did you know that a Spanish company owns Heathrow airport? And Gatwick Airport. And Stansted, come to that. Well, the Competition Commission clearly has no problem with the Spanish bit, but it's not happy with the same company owning all three. So BAA have been told they've got to sell two of the three. Which ones do you think will soon have a 'For Sale' sign on the departure board? Unlikely to be Heathrow really, isn't it? Anyway, we'll look at what different owners at Gatwick and Heathrow might mean for passengers. Cheaper flights? A more enjoyable airport experience?
One of the knock-on effects of the Great Airport Sale may be the expansion of Heathrow. And that hasn't made Alfred Thurling happy. It could break his heart, actually. Hillingdon Council is fighting government plans for a dual carriageway to be built through the cemetery where Alfred's dad is buried. And his Mum. And his wife. And where he has reserved a plot to join them when the fateful day comes. We'll ask for your views on that story later.
I've just been distracted by the 200m Final in Beijing - Usain Bolt (the Jamaican guy who sauntered to a world record in the 100m Final) has just chalked up another fastest-ever time. Two gold medals. Not bad, is it? Not quite Chris Hoy, obviously. But, pretty good, to be fair. Anyway, we'll be talking to a Londoner who picked up her gold medal in the 400m yesterday. And then we'll hear from another Brit who won a couple of medals some time back. Ladies and Gentleman, we give you Christine and Coe.
Oh, and we'll also take a look at Visit London's first salvo in their campaign to promote 'London - the Olympic City' that will be launched this weekend.
See you at SIX -
Ben & Katie


London Tonight Tonight Tuesday 19th August

London Tonight Tonight Tuesday 19th August

Good afternoon.

I am not alone in not being sure where I am.

I got back from Beijing on Saturday so, to a degree, it is still just coming up to 11 PM on my body-clock but I will survive. Christine Ohuruogu, on the other hand, has no excuse: having stormed to Golden victory in the women's 400 meters she told the interviewer "I don't know where I am. I don't know!" Well, Christine: it is the capital of China and you are about to find your way to the Gold medal podium - turn right at the starting blocks and it is the highest box, the one in the middle. Well done you darling! We were there and Harris will wipe a tear to share the whole emotional experience. PS watch out for the superstar who gives Christine her flowers.....


And the gorgeous Russian girl who didn't win but was an agreeable distraction.

Also watch out for Germaine Mason who looks tall enough to step over the high-jump pole let alone Fosbury Flop over it. He has glittering prizes too.

Faye rather liked him, as well as our lovely rowers. She is wearing an external corset today, in striking black, so the athletes may reciprocate her interest, for all I know. There again, the jeans may put them off: who knows?

Away from Beijing, Tim "the hair" Parker is no longer Deputy Mayor and no longer in charge of TfL. Was he pushed or did he jump on the Circle Line and miss a few important meetings? Does Boris believe the entire world is his Oyster? We've been trying to find out and will share our findings.

That is legal, indeed it is our duty.

Sharing computer files, if they contain lots of 0's and 1's that, in a binary sort of way, gel together to make a clever game, isn't. A woman discovered that to her cost - a cool £16k in fact. Log on at 6 for the cautionary tale, as Hilaire Beloc might have said.

You weren't able to buy Beloc books in Hugh Grant's famous Notting Hill bookshop because, as you may recall, it only sold travel books. (Perhaps Christine Ohuruogu should go and get a guide To Where You Are...?). What you can buy, however, is the flat upstairs. Proximity to history and to where Julia Roberts wept, must be worth a bit in a declining property market.

Robin finds art in a boulder if not under one. Yes, I am confused too but, in his hands, one just knows it will be magic. He'll have a weather forecast, too.

London's papers, which should show you where Christine is even if she is still disorientated, will close our programme. You can certainly find us where we always are, at 6. Hope you look us up.

Alastair and Romilly.


London Tonight Tonight Monday 18th August

London Tonight Tonight Monday 18th August

Good Afternoon....

So, who's still got their voice then? Who hasn't shouted themselves hoarse with hearty renditions of 'Rule Britannica'... dare I say 'Pool Britannica'...

Fabulous, wasn't it? Isn't it? A whole new crowd of sporting heroes for us - and future generations - to celebrate and look up to.

I feel this would be a good time to share my new incentive scheme I think might spur athletes on to even greater success. Competitors who win a gold medal should be flown home in luxurious, 'nothing's too much trouble', first class. Silver medallists can enjoy the not inconsiderable delights of travelling in business. Anyone who wins bronze gets to travel home in economy - they can fight it out for the exit row. But, a competitor who doesn't have a medal in their hand luggage when they arrive at Beijing Airport, should be told: "On yer bike - London's that way".


Obviously, this may not be much of an incentive in 20-12.

The question though - will this year's success inspire even greater achievements? Is that warm feeling of pride lots of that winning athletes (and the home crowds) are feeling - really worth all the extra money that's being ploughed into these sports? That's where we start tonight's programme.

We've got more sporting heroes in the shape of David Beckham and Rio Ferdinand who've been speaking out about the horror of knife crime.

Then we'll have the story of a woman whose house has been blighted by plans to make the M25 bigger.

And we'll be taking a sneaky peak around the new Trocadero. It's open to the public later this week. And then anyone can go to the 'Ripley's Believe it or Not' exhibition - as long as they're prepared to pay £18 for an adult and £14 for a child.... Pause... Intake of breath.. Calmly now... THAT sounds rather expensive, doesn't it? You're not the only one to think so - and we'll be talking about it with someone who's been comparing London with other leading 'international cities' in the programme.

Sorry to say that Robin hasn't been judging any pigs tonight. But we will be slapping him across the face with a big wet fish in light of a truly miserable August. Summer? What summer?

See you at SIX,

Ben & Romilly


Friday 15th August

Friday 15th August

Hello You.

So - I don't know if you've heard but Team GB has notched up another GOLD medal today - thanks to Jamie Staff, Chris Hoy, and Jason Kenny cycling very, VERY fast round a track in Beijing.

Yay. Double yay. And hats off to them.

Don't know about you but - at any time other than the Olympic fortnight I find a lot of the sports about as exciting as a dead mouse. But - when 'the Games' are on - once the words 'Great' and 'Britain' come up on the scream, I'm there - shouting at the screen like a lunatic. I'm hoping not to lose my voice over the weekend.

Now, matters closer to home, and we start the programme with a story that may well get one or two people shouting at the screen... in disbelief. And then when those people finish shouting, others may well start shouting in opposition. So, here's the thing - was it a good idea for armed police to pop along to a fair in Limehouse... with their guns (we're not talking pea-shooters)... and then let children handle them, you know, really get to grips with them. The Met would argue - it's to take glamour and mystique out of the weapons. It has to be said that in the pictures we'll show you tonight some of the kids look like they're having a blast...

Onto some people who won't be having a blast this afternoon - stuck in a traffic jam on the M25. Imagine if they're desperately trying to catch a plane to jet off for their holidays. They could play, 'I-Spy' I suppose - you know, to pass the time.

"I spy with my little eye, something beginning with... 'FFJC"

"What's that Mummy?"

"It's the 'Father for Justice Campaigner' who's climbed up on to gantry over the motorway... causing the traffic jam we're sitting in."

Actually, we've two protest stories for you tonight. One from Heathrow. The other from Beijing.... a chap from St Albans managed to climb onto the new HQ of the Chinese state broadcaster to hang his 'Free Tibet' banner. He won't be seeing any more of the sports up close and personal. He's been deported.

What else? What else? Ah yes, the story - the truly extraordinary story actually - of Gill Hicks. She nearly died on the 7th of July 2005 - caught up in the explosion on the tube train between Kings Cross and Russell Square. I say she nearly died - in fact, her heart stopped beating twice... and she had to have both of her legs amputated. Well, Gill is a determined lady and she walked into London today - having started in Leeds - on her new legs. Her aim is to raise awareness of what could and should unite communities. She is also an inspiring lady.

On top of all that, we'll take a look at the big names to look out for in the Premier League (which, can you believe, kicks off tomorrow)... and there are a couple of movies that'll be hitting a big screen near you this weekend.

Seriously, why would you miss it?

Ben & Salma





London Tonight Tonight Thursday 14th August

London Tonight Tonight Thursday 14th August
Afternoon all,
The idea has been making me squirm rather - take a rat, insert part of its brain in a robot and watch it go. Apparently the robot can then learn from it's mistakes so, if it bumps into something, it remembers where it is and navigates round it. Pretty clever, but a little bit Frankenstein too.
It has, however, got researchers at Reading Uni absolutely hopping with excitement. We will be investigating just how clever this "roborat" really is and why it could have massive implications for medical science that might help us all. (And I don't think they are suggesting giving us all a bit of rat brain.)
From super smart rats to super smart seven year olds. I found my A - levels a strain aged 17, but get this - there is a set of twins in Deptford who have just passed their Maths AS aged 7 - yes 7! Glen has been round to their house to see if he can keep up with them. I am hoping they challenge him to a sudoku match. But more seriously, we are asking if it's healthy to put that much pressure on kids so young. Is it a gift or a curse to be a child prodigy?
Now this could put pupils in West Norwood off their exams - a local pub owner wants to open a strip club just metres from their school. He wasn't too keen to explain to us just why he thinks that's a suitable location, but Liz has been on his trail, and meeting the local mums who are not going to accept what they see as an invasion of sleaze outside the school gates.
Simon is still in Beijing - the lucky man. He'll be telling us today why London 2012, rather than China is going to be the place to party for free. According to Simon who has a nose for these things - the public Olympic areas in Beijing are an atmosphere-free zone. In London they are promising a carnival feel, big screens, music. Bring it on!
Then there's the amazing story of ten year old Rachel who saved her family's life after watching a tv programme AND the ex conman who is managing Chertsey Town FC.
Tune in for all of that at six,
Romilly and Ben


London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 13th August

London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 13th August

A very Good Wednesday Afternoon to you...

I'm delighted to kick off today's note with the news that a little girl born in London some years back has grown up to be... a silver medal winner at the Beijing Olympics.

Whereas most of us view cycling as an opportunity do a bit of exercise or a way of getting from A to B, for Emma Pooley it's a passion. And her commitment has paid off. We'll celebrate her performance on the programme tonight.


Not such a glorious event to top our run-down. A 13 year old boy has become one of the youngest ever to appear in court charged with carrying a gun. Lots of questions come to mind. Shall we start with -

Who? Where? Why? What on earth is going on?

One way we'll try to answer some of them this evening is by talking to another Londoner, formally a gang member, who was himself once asked to carry a gun. Should be enlightening.


We'll also point the torch at the traffic wardens who gave a chap a parking ticket for parking outside his shop. This is not as straightforward as it sounds. The driver has Multiple Sclerosis and pays to park his car outside. So why did he get a ticket? Good question. Though not as good a question as 'Why - when the facts were pointed out to them - did the traffic wardens drive off... with the shopkeeper on their bonnet?'. We shouldn't be judgmental about these things. But guess whose side we're on tonight?

Speaking of taking sides - tube strikes are on the way. Thousands of underground staff who work for Tube Lines (the private company that maintains much of the Underground) are set to walk out for three days. Twice. It's all a bit complicated. Still, it'll give us all something to talk about when we're waiting to get on the hugely overcrowded buses next week.

Simon Harris has taken London's public transport tsar for a ride round Beijing's transport system to see how well it works - and asks whether London's will work just as well come 20-12. Can you imagine how crowded the buses will be if there's a tube strike during the London Olympics?

We've also got the latest on the ongoing saga over 'Just how old is Buster?'

That's it - or at least, most of it.

See you at SIX.

Ben & Salma


London Tonight Tonight Tuesday 12th August

London Tonight Tonight Tuesday 12th August

And a very Good Afternoon to you from Gray's Inn Road.

Looking out of the window, I see - hey, it's not raining. Not only is it not raining. The sun is out.

About. Blooming. Time.

I know us Brits are obsessed with talking about the weather - but it's hardly surprising when our summers are shorter than a bee's thumb. I mean, really. It is pa. the. tic.

Okay - spleen vented. On we go.

And let's start with someone who's been venting his spleen about his experience at Gatwick Airport. Travellers compared to "inmates of some Victorian penitentiary".... "we stood in hell"... and "Across the vast neon-lit Hades were knots and clumps of dejected humanity". Just three of the phrases Boris Johnson used to describe his time at London's second airport recently. Love him or loathe him - the man's got a way with words. We'll share more of them with you later... before sharing the words of the Gatwick staff.

Something that may provoke some choice words from many other travellers is the news that train fares are... now, what do you reckon? Oh yes, they're going UP. Again. In view of that fact that the train companies serving the capital have suddenly improved their performances beyond recognition - everyone gets a seat now - the trains are always clean - there are no delays or cancellations etc. - in view of all that, it only seems fair... hang on. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

Okay, probably best to calm down a little. Perhaps we'll have a coffee. And then again, perhaps not. Apparently we're all drinking too many lattes and the like, and it's making us a bit "plumptious". Worse than that, it's not good for the old ticker.

Now, something that should be good for you - good for all of us, in fact, is the hand gel you'll now find around every hospital. You're supposed to use it going in and coming out of the place to keep you and the patients safe from such killers as MRSA. Only, the bottles have been going missing. Stolen, it seems, by alcoholics so desperate that they'll drink the stuff. Can you imagine being so ill with alcoholism, so gripped by the need for booze that you'll drink hand gel. Of course, it also raises the question over whether the bottles should be left around the hospitals at all? We'll try to get to the bottom of it all.

And so we come to not one legend. But two.

One of them was part of the 'That Was The Week That Was' team. In fact, she sang the theme tune every week. The programme pushed back the boundaries of British TV, indeed, helped establish our healthy tradition for poking fun at the establishment.

The other legend - well, he made one musical role so very much his own, that it's impossible to sing, whistle or hum the show's big number without hearing his mellifluous (now that's a great word isn't it) tones soaring through your head. He can't be matched.

Well, this pair of legends are starring at the Open Air Theatre in Regents Park this summer.

Who are they? What are they starring in?

We'll let you in on the secret - at SIX.

Ben & Romilly.

P.S. The sun's still out.


London Tonight Tonight Monday 11th August

London Tonight Tonight Monday 11th August

Happy Monday everyone.

Was anyone else watching the Olympic opening ceremony from Beijing thinking how on earth is London going to follow that?

And not just the fireworks and the whizz-bangery but the billion dollar venues and the sheer efficiency of it all. How will our plastic-coated 2012 stadium hold it's own against the mighty Bird's Nest, our beloved tube against their Olympic Highways, their multi-billion pound spending power against London's already stretched budget? Well if anyone should be worried about it, it's Seb Coe. But tune in tonight to hear how he's actually not worried about it all. In fact he'll be telling us that London will benefit from being a different kind of Games. Not so much "faster, higher, stronger" perhaps as "smaller, quirkier, and more interesting".

And that's not all from Beijing. Simon Harris has also been talking to Billy Joe Saunders - the London boxer who is one of our brightest, shiniest hopes for a medal. He won his first round match - there's still some way to go, but he tells Simon how the support of everyone back home is giving some zip to his punches.

Now who hasn't been gripped by the story of Clark Rockefeller the mysterious American with the untraceable past, who is accused of kidnapping his own daughter Reigh? Well the tale just got a whole lot weirder. Rockefeller - it's being reported - could be the suspect in a double murder case......... Ronke Phillips will attempt to clear up the mystery.

Then there's the amazing story of the man who survived being hit by an exploding emergency flare. At 3,000 degrees centigrade it caused him massive internal injuries. And yet he made it through after 4 months in intensive care in Wexham Park. Now he wants to thank the hospital that saved his life.

And find out why summer could be even grimmer than usual on the tube, and why you might get less than you bargained for when you move house.

It's all joy of joys round here!

See you at six,

Romilly and Ben


Friday 8th August

Friday 8th August

Good evening.

Some people have no respect - there I was, trying to record a piece in our roof-top transmission garrat here in Beijing and all hell broke lose. It was like the Somme or 1666 and the Great Fire of London in the skies above me. And then the penny dropped: it was eight minutes past eight on the eighth day of the eighth month of the eighth year and the Olympics were underway. I must have been on London time... anyway, I recovered to capture , for you, some of the most extraordinary images I think I have seen other than when nations have been attempting to blast each other to oblivion. This was all in the name of One World, One Dream and we will paint a picture of it all for you tonight at 6. Hope you have your watches on the right time zone!

The mob from London 2012, recovering from their launch party last night, will certainly have been woken up from any late-night induced slumber into which they may have drifted - not only by the pyrotechnic blast but by the very images unfolding before them. Just four years to match or better THAT - quite a tall order. Harris has been grilling the man with the most challenging job over the next four years - the man who must design London's "Hello" to the Olympic World in 2012.

Our good friend from Los Angeles, Alan Abrahamson, is here - he knows more about the Olympics than anyone I know and I will be asking him to rate Beijing's "starter course" and asking him what he thinks London has to come up with to stay ahead of the game ... or Games, I suppose that should be!

I've been assessing London and the South East's runners and riders in the British contingent who may have a real prospect of having to declare precious metals when they get back to Customs at Heathrow.

Canada has a big team here and I hope they hang their heads in shame when we report on the treatment their immigration people metted out to a lovely couple from Wokingham, seeking a new life in the coldest part of the Commonwealth, only to learn their daughter's disability was an impediment to their dream. I'd have hoped for better from the land of Joni Mitchell - maybe the whole country should become a parking lot...

Dog racing is older than the modern Olympics and, for all I know, the old Olympics, too: not too hot on the ancient Greeks attitude to speedy canines. Anyway, we've the latest from Walthamstow on the campaign to save a fine example of a greyhound speedway with some folk whose livelihood depends on the traps continuing to flip up and the rabbits carrying on around that sandy dirt-track.

I am in a state of shock that Salma and the Big Boss have decided there is nothing worth doing in London this weekend and that they have dispensed with What Not to Miss - for tonight it is rested. Siraj will weep tears of sadness but it may be just punishment for her deeply troubling reaction to last night's sea-horse "fluids" mystery...

Weather you will need to know about so that we will share and London's papers, if there's time.

Faye, still stunning, is playing a blinder but has put on what I think are known as pedal-pushers (they are black): I fear she will be cross not to feature in my list of Brit medal hopefuls as I think she is off to the velodrome tomorrow.

I'll keep you informed if you join us at 6.







Thursday 7th August

Thursday 7th August
Greetings from Beijing!
Gosh that sounds quite cool - I hope you have enjoyed what we've done so far: we have even more tonight.
When the Big Boss asked me to come out here for a few days to cover the opening of the 29th Olympic Games, I leapt at the chance. First, ever since I saw the tiny toddler Emperor Pi emerge from the Forbidden City in Bertolucci's magnificent film "The Last Emperor", I have wanted to come to Beijing and see it for myself. And, second only to the "horsey" events that will be held in Hong Kong, I love rowing and hugely admire the likes of Pinsent, Redgrave and Cracknell... the last two of whom were on London Tonight a few years back when we covered the Henley Rowing Regatta.
Well, this morning I saw the Forbidden City and this evening I am sitting next to James Cracknell who is here to do some stuff for News at Ten. Can it get any cooler? This morning Faye, who looks wistfully resplendent in a silk shirt and elegant open toe sandals, and I went out to the rowing centre and talked to two London hopefuls, one of whom is a towering example of the finest the East End produces, and the other, a charming young man from Henley who went to Eton College. Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase, respectively, are Gold Medal hopefuls who, even if they capsize, we can all be really proud of. I think they will stay afloat and end up on the top step but meet them and hear their thoughts at 6.
Before that I walked around Tiananmen Square - architecturally huge and historically massive - here, Chairman Mao declared the creation of the People's Republic of China and here, his successors fatally confronted student freedom fighters with tanks . Like something out of a Le Carre novel, we were followed by a well-orchestrated sequence of casually attired "spooks". We then wandered through the back streets of the Imperial City and saw dim-sum like you have never seen before. Enjoy me doing my Thomas Cook bit in the debilitating heat.
Harris is here too - hurrah, I say - and has been talking to the London 2012 mob who have come to see how the Chinese do it. Any early arrogance has evaporated in a sea of well-turned out volunteers, an absence of "in-your-face" sponsorship and an almost frightening efficiency. Wonder how pole-climbing protestors in Parliament Square would be treated? We have tried to keep all these matters in balance and Harris is my, and your, man for such impartiality. I'll also give you a look at the "goody-bag" us journos have been given but I am afraid I am keeping it all.
Harris has just walked in behind me and asked "Where's the man with the bottle of sea-horse pee?" so I might not be keeping everything in the goody-bag, after all. I thought it was cologne....
Salma will have her comprehensive round -up of all the news in London: something, surely, Not To Miss..
Sadly more shooting and violence in Crete will be there but, with Salma, one knows sad and sorry news is in safe hands. A glorious tale of Aldershot FC who my uncle supports and whose ground sits on the railway line I use. Plus the Dagenham man with a soft spot for the Sugarbabes. OK, so that doesn't narrow it down, I know, but if I say he is organising a pop festival with them and he isn't Harvey Goldsmith, you might get a bit closer. No? OK, discover and enjoy at 6.
Newspapers which, in London, have never had to be read on the walls, and a weather forecast which, however bad, won't get near the oppressive, damp, over-cast, smoggy nonsense that we are enduring ....just for you.
Actually, it is an honour and a privilege: hope you like it.
See you at 6.


Weds August 6th

Weds August 6th

Good Afternoon from Gray's Inn Road.

Once again today, the newsroom resounds to the high-pitched whine of a drill, with the occasional 'thud thud thud' from a hammer. We've been having a major reorganisation here which has been going on for months, and months and... dare I say.. months. We know it's all for the good but you know how patients sometimes say 'yuk' when they take their medicine...

One person who won't have had to put up with drilling and hammering - providing they've finished the stadium, of course - one Alastair Stewart. He's in Beijing - lucky thing - for the Olympics. Not known for his 100 metre dash, it has to be said, Mr Stewart heads our team reporting from the Olympic city and looking ahead to what lessons our future Olympic City can learn. Al and his gang will be Beijing-based up to and including Friday - so spread the word.

And the word tonight is 'protest'. Just three days before the Greatest Show on Earth kicks off with the sort of bang only Chinese fireworks can produce... a group of demonstrators staged their own little eye-catching show - up a 140ft pole. And among those spreading the 'what about Tibet?' message, a London lass called Lucy Fairbrother. She's being looked after by the Chinese authorities right now but we will be hearing from her Mum on tonight's programme.

A little closer to home - an appalling attack on a woman at a train station near Dartford. What does it say about our society that when a woman asks a group of youngsters to stop smoking at a station, they throw her onto a live railway line? She's lucky to be alive. They're lucky she's alive.

A group of commuters who are NOT lucky though are those who're forced to use what have been officially crowned as 'the busiest train services in the country'...

I remember playing a game when I was young called 'sardines'. You may remember it yourself. The idea of the game is for one person to go off and hide and then all the others to go looking for them. As and when you found the person hiding, you'd hide with them. And this continues until all the people who started out looking are hiding together in the one place - except for Mr Thickee who never bothered to look in your Mum and Dad's big wardrobe in the first place.

It was great fun - because as the game progresses, and more people climb in to the wardrobe, things get tighter and tighter. Mind you, you'd soon begin to realise your best mate has got a bad breath problem, and should use a bit more deodorant.

Well, that's like travelling on the seven fifteen from Cambridge to Kings Cross - or the eight oh-two from Woking to Waterloo. Only, lots of people have got breath problems and far too many skimp on the deodorant. It's not great fun. Oh, and you're paying for the privilege - thousands of pounds every year. We'll be asking the Managing Director of 'First Capital Connect' about the Cambridge service at least.

We'll also be talking to a group of ladies who only recently were walking down the aisle but today were marching on Canary Wharf... when (if they'd waited for a new course being launched by Westminster Council) they could have swung their way from bus-stop to lamppost.


Find out at SIX.

Ben & Salma





Tuesday 5th August

Tuesday 5th August

Afternoon everyone,

Al is en route to Beijing as we speak, to bring everything you could possibly want to know about the Olympics starting on Thursday - so it's Ben and I with the news tonight.

First up, knife crime - thankfully not news of another tragic murder - but someone who is trying to create something positive out of a terrible personal tragedy. No doubt you remember how Ben Kinsella was stabbed in Islington barely a month ago - well in the weeks since then his sister - the former Eastenders actress Brooke has refused to be beaten by what happened. She's become a powerful voice for victims of knives. We spent some time with her, to find out how she is managing to cope and what she thinks should be done on our streets. She's an impressive woman - and the sort of person who you want to listen to.

Another week, another travel misery story - this time it's bad news for anyone for uses Blackfriars underground. London Transport has revealed that it is going to be shut for almost three years - yup THREE years. And it's one of London's busiest stations. Apparently it's so the overground station can be upgraded. So what are commuters supposed to do in the meantime? Jon Gilbert will be down there getting some answers.

Now yesterday we told you that chickens are taking over London's back gardens. Well better chickens than cess pits... Families on one street in Harrow couldn't understand why the air was filled with a terrible smell - until they looked into their neighbours' garden and found that a huge makeshift cesspit had been dug where the lawn once was. Phil Bayles has the dirt on that one - from a safe distance.

Then Damien's being finding out whether London restaurants are being crunched by the credit crisis, Chrissie's getting ready for winter already and find out all about the dark art of PR from a man who exposes how Hollywood stars and their PR's have been busy faking it.

See you at six,

Romilly and Ben



Monday August 4th

Hello all,

Katie is off filming the tv series where she has to learn how to conduct an orchestra - so it's me and Alastair endeavouring to create our own small symphony of news for you tonight.

First up that terrible story of the alleged arson attack in Southwark. Ronke has been down there talking to the neighbours who battered down a door to rescue the little boy trapped with his mother. From what they have been telling her it seems as though his mother tried to protect him with her body, even as she was dying. Hear their harrowing account first hand.

Then a story we know has been directly affecting many of you - the collapse of the wedding list company Wrapit. Imagine: you get back from your wedding - your friends have all shelled out for presents and what do you receive? - absolutely zilch. We have been looking into what your rights are and how you might get compensated. And we also want to hear from YOU if your wedding list was with Wrapit.

And we are going down on the farm - not something we get a chance to do every day here on London Tonight. But it's exactly a year since Foot and Mouth hit Surrey and we wanted to update you on what life has been like since then for farmers whose herds were decimated. We also want to know if it could all happen again, so we will be asking the boss of the government lab there exactly what has changed in a year.

Then there are the chickens who are taking over London gardens, the West End theatres where the show definitely isn't going on and your last chance to see Al before he heads off to China and the Olympics - the lucky man.

See you at six,

Romilly and Al



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Friday August 1st

Friday August 1st
Good afternoon.
It was either the night before Jill Dando died - possibly two nights before that terrible day - that I last saw her. We were presenting a big fund-raiser for the Royal British Legion at the Natural History Museum with Jeffrey "Lord" Archer doing the auction. It was happy, exciting and profitable for the Legion. A couple of days later I met Katie for the first time: she presented a brilliant Tonight special on Jill's murder and she interviewed me for my recollections of that final encounter.
I have never met Barry George, nor even seen him. I have read many times that a tiny speck of gun-shot residue was found in his pocket which forensically matched the bullet that killed Jill. I have read and heard, many times, about the people who swore, in all honesty I am sure, that they had seen him in or around Gowan Avenue where Jill lived and died. But in what is one of our nations most cherished traditions, a jury today decided that none of what they had heard in court persuaded them that Mr. George pulled the trigger that left Jill, slumped in her door-way, dieing.
It remains an iconic and compelling moment of life in London featuring one of British TV's true stars. Tonight, Lewis explains how we got here and how, for millions of us, there are still no answers to those two compelling questions: who killed Jill and why?
Another iconic moment in London's recent history is 7/7 when four young men decided to take innocent lives by blowing apart themselves and anyone close to them in back-pack bomb attacks on the tube and the top deck of a London bus. Miles of video, a philosophers knot of tape, suggested that some men on trial had helped plot and plan those evil attacks. But, again, a jury simply said "You know what? We're not sure..." Churchill said of democracy, "It is the best system once you have ruled out all the others". I think that is true of Jury trials, as well. You may differ but give us the honour of watching our reports and analysis - then, as ever, you decide.
A little girl has gone missing with the man said to be her father and a woman, who is her mother, has put a "crie de coeur" on the Internet pleading for help in getting the little girl back. Walter Mitty, Billy Liar - Clark Rockefeller? I don't know but the Police in the States have no record of the missing dad so it is a double mystery which Glen will attempt to unravel.
Another suitcase murder, this time in Brazil, finds it's disagreeable way onto our agenda today because the victim is from London. Her Brazilian boy-friend said he did it and photographed his black art. Then he changed his mind. Nick will let you know the latest at 6.
Then we breath a sigh of "It is Friday, after all" relief as we launch into what James K makes of Love Guru which some say proves the genius master-mind of Austin Powers and other movie gems can also produce cinematographic manure - others are kinder. Plus, he'll reflect upon X Files, the movie which features Billy Connolly in an otherwise entirely predictable cast - odd that, given the very nature of the unexpected and inexplicable X files.
Equally inexplicable is how Elaine Stritch - a star of screen and stage for as long as even I can remember - keeps going at the top of her chosen arts: stand-up, musical and sit-com. For years she lived in a suite at the Savoy and she knew Noel Coward: my kinda woman! She is with us tonight.
Robin was going to do his weather forecast from the Zoo tonight but we ran out of live-links so he is in the studio, too. I think he is probably even more of a "Stritchy" fan than I am but the Big Boss says it is due to a lack of live links so I suggest he checks Robin's locker...
London's papers if time permits and something which in the notes for our planning meeting says vertically, "Innocent Clown Red Bull" which I assume means a circus entertainer, also found not guilty of anything today, will be doing aerobatic stunts this weekend: now that IS something Not To Miss..... What?
I have forgiven Salma who was upset about my Richard III reference last Friday: she was, for a week, Queen Caroline to my George IV so I am really sorry and promise to be more of a George VI to her Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons, henceforth.
Vivat Siraj!
See you at Six.
Alastair and HM Salma