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Good Afternoon.

Ken is in command today but we have persuded him not to lead on West Ham, do a property piece on the East End, profile the Icelandic finance industry nor commission a one-off What Not To Miss, in and around Upton Park.

He has a celebratory exclamation which he bellows after a successful programme - "Nailed that sucker!".

Tonight the "sucker" he nails is the one that caused the fire at the Cutty Sark. Clues, then, to the cause of the fire that gutted more than a century of maritime history: "Bish, bash, Bosch", "Don't make a Miele out of it", "Dyson arson". Alas, we couldn't come up with one for "Goblin" which was the brand of my mother's "sucker" when I was a child. There's also the role played by some of London's least brightest sparks who claimed to have been there all along only for their forged evidence to have escaped destruction in the fire they missed. It is a corker and Phil plays the Captain Ahab of the tea-trade.

Despite his addiction to the claret (in both senses) and blues, Ken has agreed that the Gunners attempts to redeem themselves are worthy of our efforts. "What they need", mused Katie, (stunning in black trousers and a cherry decorated top) "is an old head on those young shoulders". We were impressed as was she when she was listening to the radio on the way in to work. Whether David Pleat can compete in the "impressive" stakes, I know not but he gets his chance, mid-way through the second half of this programme of two halves

Also chasing the decider as the minutes tick by is Kevin Spacey who celebrates "The Norman Conquests", in the round, at the Old Vic. Two Oscars but what Kevin is really proud of is what he has done for London and Scarborough. Scarborough? Oh, yes, Scarborough - I'll leave it to Lucy to explain.

An explanation, of sorts, for the brutal death of a Londoner in Norwich for a family get-together: he'd tried to do the right thing and it cost him his life. Glen Goodman hears the sadness and anger of a grieving, yet curiously proud, family.

No pride in the murder of a woman who had popped into her office block for a shower only to be confronted by an opportunist thief. He killed her and pinched some lap-tops. He'll be logging on, at Her Majesty's Pleasure, for many years to come. Marcus is trying to lose the keys.

Liz, the pride of this programme, is covering The Pride of Britain Awards - whatever the outcome, an uplifting event. Watch out for the firemen - they are terrific!

Robin, guilty of most of the "sucker" puns, will also come up with a witty explanation for cold, wet, windy weather and the papers will give you something to screw up and throw at him - metaphorically.

See you at 6.

Alastair and Katie.

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


London Tonight Tonight Monday 29th September 2008

London Tonight Tonight Monday 29th September 2008

Good afternoon and welcome.

I love airplanes and dislike trains. Ever since the drama of engine-pulled rolling stock gave way to charmless electric "buses", the thrill of travelling on The Great Iron Horse has gone. I remember silver service food on the East Coast line from Dundee to London being something to look forward to; and a freshly poached egg, atop a well-poached piece of haddock, genuinely made you long for the next journey. Now, either an absence of vitals or ghastly "bloomers" purporting to be sandwiches , followed by fruit that looked it had been bored to death, or "cake" you can't extract from its prophylactic packaging, guarantee that any intelligent passenger tucks in at home before heading for the station. And the toilets? I am speechless.

Planes I like, despite the delays, the inconvenience of the airports and the undoubted eco-damage they do. Lighter, airier and more comfortable, they often offer food that is edible, served by people who seem to care whether you care. Not always, but in the main.

So it is right a Government-in-waiting should consider this matter: If Heathrow can't cope anymore, what to do? More plane or more train?

Selling off Gatwick and/or Stansted will not make any difference to capacity and people will still have to get from London to the regions. A third runway out there is deeply unpopular with the locals and others, on principle. Bozza, radical and/or ridiculous as ever (depending on your point of view) says "Build a new airport in the estuary!" "Won't it flood?" asks Salma. "Probably not", say Faye and I.

( I note, troublingly, that, in addition to an almost summery black cotton dress, she is wearing sturdy boots - perhaps a flood warning others of us missed?)

David Cameron, who is the leader of Bozza's party, says "let the train take the strain" and St. Pancras is big and pretty enough to take a few more high-speed services. Who is right and who is the real Fat Controller? Harris blows his whistle and waves a flag from Birmingham.

Hospitals are meant to make people better not injure them. So, when a gas canister exploded on a cardiac ward, things were clearly not going according to plan. That the hospital was Great Ormond Street made it even more dramatic: extremely ill children don't tend to have it in them to flee to safety and need rather more help than most. We have one of those "Hurrah!" stories, tonight, as we tell you what happened at GOSH today and how the bravest of the brave took a hit in helping the most vulnerable of the vulnerable.

I suppose gravestones are vulnerable, too: but no one tends to guard them on the reasonable assumption that normal people respect them or, in truth, ignore them if they are not of "family" or "friend". They just don't need protecting in a civilised society. But if you factor in racism and it's all too common bed-fellow "stupidity", different things can happen. Phil will explain.

Bradford & Bingley used to be promoted by two Charlie Chaplin-esque characters saying how wonderfully secure things were; then a pretty girl, all in green including the essential bowler hat, talked about dreams coming true. Well the dreams are shattered and things really weren't that safe, were they Mr Bradford? "No they weren't, Mr Bingley". Louisa explains how a boom in buy-to-let down here, helped do for a one-time building society up there. Plus how the cost of heating will, in future, impact on your rent. Interesting, especially given even fewer of you will be buying in the foreseeable future.

Evelyn Waugh was a man who wrote a book upon which was based one of the greatest pieces of TV drama in many years. Job done, you might think but then there's the movies, isn't there? Does the tale of war, big teddies, stately homes, dissolute parties and dotty aristocrats do well on the big silver screen? Lucy mulls it over in the company of a woman who can make it sing, if voice it has - Emma Thompson. Shake and vac' that red carpet and let's hear it for Brideshead Revisited .... revisited.

Robin I can see as one of the amusing muses "up" at Cambridge or with his head up there with the "dreaming spires" of Oxford - looking for strato nimbus .. "A forecast, Robin? Oh, doo share!" they'd say and so he will.

See you at 6 unless we all get stuck on the train or in the library. I preferred "Scoop" and "Men at Arms" but I am old-school and less romantic.

Salma loves "Brideshead" but was last seen heading for the Thames with a waterproof yard-stick.

Hope she makes it back so I can sign off.....

Alastair AND Salma.


London Tonight Tonight Friday 26th September 2008

London Tonight Tonight Friday 26th September 2008

Good afternoon.

My favourite of the monuments In Washington DC is that erected to the memory of Thomas Jefferson - the third President of the US, he was a brilliant man who wrote much of the glorious Declaration of Independence. It is circular, topped with a perfect dome and, in Spring, surrounded by delicious cherry blossom.

Mozart's "Lacrimosa" from his powerful Requiem is one of my favourite pieces of classical music.

And , though not a mathematician, even I can admire the awesome simplicity of Einstein's E=MC2 - the equation that allows us to measure the very energy at the heart of the Universe.

All these hero-geniuses of mine are thought to have suffered from Asperger's syndrome, an extreme form of the disorder autism. Despite that, they did truly great things.

So it left us all gob-smacked when we learned that a private school in Purley which had initially found a place for young sufferer Charles Hall turned him away when he turned up for his first day.

They'd offered him a place, sent him a starter-pack and had banked his parents' cheque for the fees.

There must be an explanation but, like Soliari's jealousy of Mozart and Einstein's quantum mechanics, it is beyond me. Phil plays Dr Barnado to this apparent failure of a young boy.

Also in Washington, fiscal failure, at the time of writing, remains the order of the day. Despite the truly bizarre image of their equivalent of our Alastair Darling going down on one knee to their equivalent of our David Cameron, begging for support for the multi-billion dollar bank rescue package, the package remains "blocked" by Congress.

As Einstein's tiny quarks are to the mighty molecules of mass, so too are the 500 job losses at HSBC's Canary Wharf HQ, to the failure of the Yanks to sort out their toxic banking mess. Like Bradford and Bingley's people yesterday, it leaves men and women, who've done nothing worse than work for less than brilliantly-run banks, on the temporary scrap heap of humanity. Nick offers a shoulder to cry on and a microphone to moan into.

I don't moan about buses, I just don't use them. A woman, queuing for a bus at Waterloo, my station, was struck by an air-conditioning unit that fell from the sky. She survived but is injured. My objection to buses are crowding, inconvenience, noise, smell and "stop-start" progress. This poor woman has dramatically added to my case. Faye, (mid-length black top, slightly easier-on-the-circulation jeans and red piped tiger slippers), says this is in bad taste. I apologise but I think there is still a logic to what I am saying.

Tottenham's current performance sadly doesn't defy logic as the team continues to fail to defy gravity - they are rubbish at the moment and are in the basement of the Premiership, heading for the Championship - a generous way of describing what is really the Second Division of years gone by. Perhaps Juande "One Day... to Go" Ramos has some answers. Paxo is all ears.

Myleene Klass is far from "all ears" - she has "all a beautiful and talented woman" needs, to be a vision of gifted and charming perfection. Partial, me? Yep. I steady my nerves to tell you she is with us, live, in the studio. I don't care what she is talking about -she's been there, done it - yet still finds new frontiers to surge gracefully and elegantly through. I'd hold the door open for her, anytime.

Salma will offer What Not To Miss. It is her birth-right.

James will explore if movie "Righteous Kill" is a "criminal waste of talent" as one of his competitor critics suggests. De Niro and Pacino may take a dim view but, nevertheless we will be answering De Niro's "you looking at me?" question in the affirmative.

Also on James' ballot-paper is "Swing Vote" which features Kevin Costner as the sole US voter upon whom the outcome of the American Presidential election hinges. Given the nature and structure of the US Electoral College which determines victory in that mighty contest, this is nonsense and so, too, is the movie by many accounts. Perhaps it will sink like Waterworld or James may throw it a lifeline. I'll hang on his every word.

Hope you do too, and those of Robin on the weather. It is lovely outside but be sure you are inside at 6. Else all of this will be a waste.

Alastair and Salma


London Tonight Tonight Thursday 25th September 2008

London Tonight Tonight Thursday 25th September 2008

Good afternoon.

If the debate and rapid fire wit at our meeting is anything to go by, tonight's offering is a treat!

Faye, in a charming and really quite grown up polka-dot cocktail dress (she must be going out after the show) is especially excited about the Jaws actor Richard Kiel coming in. "They don't make proper Bond baddies anymore! He was the greatest. And then I saw him in another film and he bit someone in that, as well ! ".

You need to say it all very quickly with an infectious, twinkly smile in your voice to grasp the full flavour of her excitement. She thought the "bloke with diamonds in his face" was quite frightening (in Die Another Day) but he didn't bite anyone, as far as she could remember. And the slowly dying terrorist with a bullet in his head in The World Is Not Enough just burned peoples' hands and threatened to blow up Turkey. So Richard "Jaws" Kiel, she reckons, is the real deal. And we've got him, tonight, just for you.

Then there's the equally dramatic but frighteningly more real story about UCH - where three mysterious deaths are under investigation: "Something's up!" she exclaimed. "That'll be the death rate", I ventured.

One tummy tuck recipient and two cancer patients, out of the blue, gone. Questions will be asked, either of the men and women in white coats, or the men and women with calculators and sharp suits.


Talking of attire, it will soon be easier to travel in comfort whatever you are wearing on the Underground as air-conditioning is coming in. Don your Russian fur-hat, and an Astrakhan coat over a fine Italian wool suit and still sit back in comfort as you waft between Amersham and Baker Street. That's if you can get a seat. There's the rub that annoyed our lovely leader-ette: she used to use the Metropolitan Line and says the downside of the upside of air-conditioning is fewer seats, or less seating: I put both in as a good example of when to use "fewer" and when to use "less". Feel free to keep it as an aide memoire.

Ernest Shackleton should have been given an aide memoire along the lines of "The Antarctic is very cold and includes an awful lot of water which, when it gets very cold, freezes". You will recall his ship Endeavour , despite it's best endeavours, didn't make it to the south pole because it got trapped in the freezing ice-water of the southern Oceans. For some bizarre reason his family now wish to re-enact this act of heroic failure. Kenneth Branagh made it look splendidly patriotic in the movie, but so did Michael Caine and his merry band make the debacle of Rookes Drift look like it had an "upside" in 'Zulu' - I remain sceptical but like you, dear viewer, am open to persuasion.

I've no doubt the pupils at Harrow's Sinai School took little persuasion to take part in a live link-up with the International Space Station. Suddenly GCSE physics / general science look interesting. What a chance! What an opportunity! How lucky they have an uncle at NASA! Nepotism is a cruel but accurate word, me thinks; but, perhaps, I am just jealous. I've always wanted to say "Ground control to.... " whoever, even Major Tom.


Is that it, I hear you ask in exhausted tones? No. There's Ken Dodd. Faye claims he has sold 100 million albums which may explain "Happiness".

I remember him getting in trouble with the tax man which seems a bit off if you've sold 100,000,000 albums at anything between 19/6d (old money) and £12.99 each... That is an awful lot of tickle sticks even in Notty Ash. Lucy will, I am sure, laugh quite genuinely at the appropriate moments.


Robin always makes us laugh, genuinely, whatever the weather.

Papers, and your thoughts on one other story we have tonight: the job losses at Borehamwood as Bradford & Bingley sack more than 300 people. No jokes. Just awfully sad for them.


See you at six.

Alastair and Katie.



Good Afternoon.

Cyclists: love them or hate them, they certainly divide opinion in the capital. But when another dies in what seems an entirely avoidable collision, we have to sit up and ask some pretty fundamental questions. Why are trucks not fitted, on a complusory basis, with mirrors that give drivers a better view of men and women on bikes? Why do cyclists persist in flouting the rules of the road? Can there be detente outside the cycle lane or are we doomed to reporting this on-going clash of cultures and this tragic loss of life? Harris puts his clips and crash-helmet on and pedals off , looking for answers.

My great uncle Jack and auntie Minnie lived in a prefab in Letchworth. I was always intrigued by the cracks in the external walls - unlike those in crumbling old houses, these were very straight. Only did I realise, sometime later, that they were joins and not cracks - ergo, "pre-fab", as in prefabricated: they were kit homes.

Most have now gone but a cluster in Catford are the subject of a fascinating struggle for survival. The residents want to keep them but the authorities say it is too costly.Who will intervene? Phil is our architectural historian.

From history to the brave new frontier of space travel, and music. Everyone knows the sound-track to 2001: A Space Odyssy was provided by Strauss though he wrote it a century before Arthur C. Clarke wrote the book upon which the movie was based. Now NASA, the US space agency, have come to London for a new sound-track for those who split their infinitives to bravely go where none have gone before. It's a wrap and it's penned by a young astrophysicist at London Uni. Wonder if he consulted Queen's Brian May who has a PhD in astro-physics and still plays the guitar his old man made?

If Toby Young went into space he could use the absence of other life forms as an excuse for his inability to make friends. It is better than the thought that he is just an objectionable ego-maniac, as some have suggested. Anyway, a film has been made of his autobiography and Lucy is on his case. It seems he managed to upset cast members but this may have been method acting on his part. Who knows? Who cares? But the movie sounds good.

Lehman Brothers intentions also sounded good when they said they'd help an after-school club and offer older children a bit of work experience in the darker arts of high finance. Their collapse may have been a result of greed, esoteric capitalism , smoke or mirrors but it has left a whole bunch of kids without the kind help and assistance some of their finer employees freely gave in such a good cause. Ben has a bit of a bottom-lip job with this one.

Chin up as we'll have weather (sneak -preview: one more rotten day and then a bit of autumnal bliss!), papers and your thoughts on cylists and cycling.

Pump up for a gripping 30 minutres, live from 6.

Alastair & Katie.

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


London Tonight Tonight Tuesday 23rd September 2008

London Tonight Tonight Tuesday 23rd September 2008

Good afternoon - I have just listened to Gordon Brown tell the Labour Party to "Man up!". This was not my interpretation nor did I understand the expression until Faye, two-tone grey and in gorgeous black trousers today, used it. It means "get a grip" and apparently "Cowboy up!" is an even harder imperative. So "Man up" I will, not that I think she was getting at me. I hope not.

West Ham "Manned up" wrongly to the tune of two - but Tevez was the real problem and Sheffield United have long since believed it cost them their place in the Premiership. £30m is what they reckon they are owed as a result and now the West Ham board must decide if they are going to cave in or "Cowboy up". Marcus, pleased the Gunners are atop the Premiership currently, appears interested enough to cover the story for you. Well "Manned up" Marcus.

Liz, always one to "Woman up" has the remarkable story of a man convicted of thirteen or fourteen offences, jailed for 23 years only to win a series of appeals that suggest a nasty crim' "Fitted" rather than "Manned" him up. It is complicated but a man's liberty was at stake so you'll be intrigued, I am sure.

A man who will not be looking forward to too much liberty in the near future, I dare say, is the one who donned a phantom of the Opera mask and brutally attacked two women. Short of redeeming features save they got the scumbag, Ben will keep this short, I hope.

Nick has been following in the footsteps of some other London crims who take the commuter track to leafy Surrey only to turn smart homes over, fill their swag backs and beat a hasty retreat back to the big smoke. A "Cowboy up" call, at least, went out this morning when Old Bill came a-knocking on the Surrey - London tourists.

A group of men who just "Man up" as a matter of professional course marched through the City of London today. If they caused traffic chaos no one was objecting. After 6 tours of Iraq and Afghanistan it was the least the Royal Fusiliers were entitled to. Phil looks very smart and is the very model of a modern major general for you.

Dita Von Teese is the ultimate in "Woman up" - sultry, formerly married to a very "rock-and-roll" rock star and the ultimate in saucy burlesque (makes Moulin Rouge look like Croydon. (Maybe that's what attracted Sarkozy to Croydon?) She is in the studio and I am need of cold water and a darkened room in which to unwind.

I may see you at 6 or I may answer Ms Von Teese's instruction to "Man up". In my dreams, dear viewer, in my dreams.

See you there.

Alastair and Salma.


London Tonight Tonight Monday 22nd September 2008

London Tonight Tonight Monday 22nd September 2008

Good evening.

If, as you are watching tonight, your little darlings are doing their homework - tell them to "look away now"! We report on Tiffin Boys' Grammar School in Kingston and their decision to ban homework on the grounds the children should get it all done at school and then go home and relax.

Faye, looking a little city-like in a sharply tailored pin-stripe jacket, but still very "street" with the old leg squeezers, says it's her favourite story of the day but "once you've said it, that's it" she fears. Not, dear Faye, if you are aged 5 to 18 me thinks!

I suspect a very long waiting list next year.

Talking of waiting, the de Menezes family today finally got the inquest they had long demanded into the death of Jean Charles. It is to be hoped the poor, distraught souls have brought their toothbrushes because this one will run and run. Harris is our man on the spot and for him, and I suspect most of you, what is even more interesting than hearing again what happened to poor Jean Charles, is what the findings will mean for the beleaguered Met and their even more beleaguered Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair. Opening skirmishes at 6.

We may be witnessing the opening skirmishes in a revived property market in London. Sellers are asking 4% higher prices than a month ago but buyers are yet to respond. We will ask Louisa where we are and where we may be heading.

Gary Foster thought he was heading for a cure for his testicular cancer when he put himself forward for a drugs trial at University College Hospital London. Instead, a computer glitch left him dead. His mum's reaction is fascinating and humbling. Piers shares it with you.

Points were shared in the match between Reading and Watford at the weekend but shouldn't have been. Watford thought they were heading for a hard-earned three points when a most bizarre thing happened. We are all accustomed to sportsmen screaming, with certainty, that the most unlikely successes be granted to them - "Howzat?" bellow the cricketers when the ball clearly missed the bat or the leg was clearly not in the way of the wicket; rugby players writhe in muddy and bloody agony swearing on their mothers' lives that the ball was over the line before they were brought to a brutal halt; and some football players would put the entire Royal Shakespeare Company out of work with their protesting antics over penalties, off-sides and "our throw-in" issues. Glen explains how a linesman and a referee did "the incredible" and how a manager has offered "the unlikely", by way of compensation.

Finally, and it really is a matter of finality, the eco-graveyard. Does it accelerate our very personal and very final contribution to the nitrogen cycle, I asked? Not entirely, I am told, but headstones are made of biodegradable wood and caskets .... too much news from "the other side" I thought. But it seems they are all the rage in London and the South East so Liz went to meet their maker, firm in the belief that the appointment with her maker is many decades hence. For myself, I am less confident of longevity but I like the idea of trees and shrubs in graveyards rather than frightening Victorian marble gargoyles and angels. It's just the boxes and their contents I am not too good at discussing....

I think that's it , but I've come over all morbid.

So, Chrissie's weather and some silly fashion photography in London's papers may do the trick.

We used to have a studio director, a Scot called Dan, who would wail "We're all doomed", Dad's Army style, when the going got rough. But, philosophically, of course, he was right.

So join us at 6 for a full London Tonight - you have nothing to lose!

Alastair & Katie


London Tonight Tonight Friday 19th September 2008

London Tonight Tonight Friday 19th September 2008

Good afternoon - sorry to have missed you yesterday but duty called elsewhere. Delighted to be here today to give your weekend the prod it needs towards perfection.

Not done that supermarket sweep of groceries and other necessities yet? Got a party coming up or the birthday of someone you really care about and need to get that "just right" pressie? Well take the A3 out of London and head to Guildford - University and Cathedral city and county town of Surrey. It has some fine shops and the parking is free! It's not as a celebration of some curious medieval "guild" event, but simply because they screwed up their parking regulations. The only downside is that you can expect long faces from any council workers or wardens you bump into, as they owe £600,000 to wrongly-fined punters and can't seem to sort it until winter. Marcus has a pot of yellow paint and lots of plastic envelopes to throw in the bin.

The Police won't trouble you.... unlike Ali Dizaei, himself a copper but, alas, again the focus of some grave concerns. I hasten to add, and without prompting, nothing at all has been proved against him and, indeed, when last the forces of law and order went in pursuit of him, he was totally cleared.

It is complex tale involving allegation and counter-allegation but Glen will be your guide along the path between the pillar of the tall story, on one side, and the towering edifice of truth on the other.

Then James will review Ben Stiller's production of a Ben Stiller story, starring Ben Stiller - "Tropic of Thunder". Faye, who looks like a bumble bee who fell, first, in a pot of pink paint and, then, in a pot of grey paint -thinks it's rubbish.

(I continue to harbour serious concerns for her - gout can only a be a matter of time, given what those jeans (yet another pair) do to her circulation.)

Salma was as warm towards it as the lower shelf in a very deep freezer; but for James, we shall have to wait to hear. He will also talk about Then She Found Me but I fear I must have fallen asleep at this stage of The Meeting as I have no notes - a journey of discovery for both of us, then, dear viewer.

David Essex I didn't need to make notes about as I was a fan, as a teenager, and my dear wife remains a fan in her golden period. But how old does that make him?

Anyway, a musical is planned along the lines of Queen and Abba though, truth to tell, we could only think of two Essex songs and even then very few of the words. I am sure Lucy will have done better as she will not have been troubled by much of the back-story. Rock On was one song, but I thought that was followed by "....Tommy!" and was a catch phrase of Little and Large..? Maybe not.

Some football, including the Hammers under new management against Newcastle without management; Robin's weather (looking good but I won't tempt fate); and the newspapers which will tell what is on this weekend but not as crisply as Salma in what has surely now become her What Not To Miss . I do not miss it. What one never had, and all that.

I am content and, to be frank, resigned.

See you, I hope., at 6.

Alastair (not Frank: that was a figure of speech) & Salma.


London Tonight Tonight Thursday 18th September 2008

London Tonight Tonight Thursday 18th September 2008

Evening all,

I had to get a cab back home last night from the office party (it was fine as office parties go, probably more fun for those without a giant bump to heft around..) and it did cross my mind, as I was sitting in the back, to wonder if this thing catches fire how quickly will I be able to leap out. Well, according to one of the cabbies we've been interviewing today, you'd have to be pretty sharp about it. He reckoned it took just 45 seconds for his ENTIRE cab to be engulfed in flames. A dozen London taxis have now gone up like fireworks. Yesterday we told you how the manufacturers are recalling the entire batch of 500 for safety checks. After yet another spontaneously combusted last night, they have now pulled them all off the road with immediate effect.

Rather worryingly it seems no-one has been able to work out what's wrong with them. We''ll be asking, if that's the case - how can they be sure that it's not going to happen again and what if next time the cab is full of passengers.... and children.... and bags.... 45 seconds is really not a long time to make an escape, is it?


The other thing last night's cabbie was telling me was that business was as busy as ever. He was taking that as a sign that the banking crisis wasn't as bad as everyone was making out. Although I liked getting a free economics analysis with my ride, I fear he could be wrong. It's certainly looking bleak for HBOS employees. Tonight they are hearing that post the merger with Lloyds TSB the majority of job cuts are likely to be here in the South East and some are estimating that 40, 000 jobs are at risk. That's not all, even banking giants Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are looking wobbly. Their share prices have been plunging and it's rumoured they are looking for partners, which could be bad news for some of their 10,000 plus workers. Not to mention the ripple effect for all the London companies who do business with the city banks - restaurants, shops, and yes black cabs. We'll bring you the latest from the square mile.

You might well need something to laugh about after that - so we've also been talking to Pamela Anderson. Not that I am saying the ex-Baywatch babe with interesting taste in men, is a figure of fun - far from it. In fact, Lucy reports that she is actually very funny with hilarious tales to tell. Find out what she does with her old bikinis, and why Hugh Heffner needs a good slap.

And our editor's favourite story of the day - four year old Ellie May who had her first day at school this week. A bit daunting for any little one but Ellie May breezed it - pretty amazing considering she has neither arms nor legs after a horrible battle with meningitis. She's a brilliant girl and she'll be telling us herself just how it all went.

Don't miss a minute of it. See you at six,

Romilly and Ben


London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 17th September 2008

London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 17th September 2008


I woke up thinking that today was Friday, it was a very rude shock to realise it really isn't. It does though give me something to look forward to I suppose, which is more than can be said for hundreds of our Black Cab drivers. Hundreds of them stand to be out of work from Friday - for how long none of us know. Taxis have been randomly going up in flames at all hours of the day, no-one thankfully has been injured, but that appears to be more down to good luck than anything else. You can judge for yourselves as we have footage of one of the cabs on fire. It's some sort of fault affecting taxis built in the last two years at a certain plant ... made all the worse by the fact that the manufacturer has known about the problem for at least three months. Many many questions - Jon Gilbert attempts to find the answers.

Someone who has had enough of asking questions is Herbie Crossman. He's an OAP who feels that pensioners are being ignored during this credit crunch ... Rather than give up though .. He's making his own very public protest - dangling from a crane. Confused? All will be made clear at 6!

Now - it's 5 and a half weeks since we were all glued to our screens watching that incredible opening ceremony in Beijing .. . I say 'we' - my esteemed co-presenter watched it firsthand while being fed dim sum by Asian beauties (maybe I made that last bit up). So it's hard to believe that the entire Olympic Games is now over - for another four years. Team GB ended the Paralympics with an astonishing haul - 102 medals - second on the table only to China, what a truly amazing achievement. Mayor Boris says he's determined that London will lead the way for disabled athletes in 2012, not just in the sporting arenas but with our infrastructure too. So how much work is there to be done? Rachel Millichip travels around our Capital with one wheelchair user and his family to see how accessible the city really is.

Plus we introduce you to another finalist in our Teacher of the Year competition, and Lucy gets to hang out with John Hannah and Philip Seymour Hoffman - two very fine actors who are gracing the West End - one on stage, one directing.

Plenty to get you thinking about this Wednesday evening (still not Friday yet? oh well..). See you at 6.

Salma and Alastair


London Tonight Tonight Tuesday 16th September 2008

London Tonight Tonight Tuesday 16th September 2008

Good afternoon.

This is late and I am sorry.

I wrote 200 words, left it in the electronic out-tray and it went missing. Doesn't matter - one stream of consciousness is much the same as any other, I'd say. At least it didn't contain the names, national insurance numbers and banking details of anyone - or any eighteen thousand people like the discs that were left in the out-tray at Whittington NHS Trust. "What, again?", I hear you say. Yep. Lewis Vaughan Jones is beginning to wonder what is safe these days and puts on a white coat to have a bit of a probe.

When I studied economics there was an intriguing concept called the "velocity of circulation" - how many times the same pound coin is spent is an interesting measure of economic activity. Well, in Canary Wharf rather a lot of pound coins are remaining firmly at the bottom of some rather well-tailored trouser pockets and some elegant clutch bags and purses. A lot are not spending much because they are of The Lehman 5000. Greedy prats who brought it upon themselves is one view - fall guys for the real "Ess Aitch Won Tees" in America is another I am not entirely out of sympathy with. Anyway, the morning after the night before and we are journalism's equivalent to Resolve for the city boys and girls with a real hangover. Glen - (did you know "shorting" meant selling what you've not got only to buy back at an even lower price, sell and then make a profit?) - Goodman is on the abacus.

No abacus in sight as we reveal our second would-be teacher of the year - an RC RE man and a DH, Faye says. Her stunning red coat is draped across her chair which is currently empty. I do not know where she is, and I am missing her. The coat reminds me of an elite Czarist regiment and I fear for the masses.

Bordeaux is a beautiful region of central western France which produces what purport to be the five greatest wines in the world , one of which is Haut Brion - it is a bastardisation of O'Brian - believe me - but they thought it wouldn't sell. It is also the name of a French team about to beaten by the Blues tonight as I hope Ned will shortly confirm.

Katie has spent the afternoon with Jason Donovan who has taken to dressing like a Brazilian fruit seller who is also a woman of ill-repute. She will explain as only KD can.

Lucy , out on the pull again, has secured Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Junior but, after Robert De Niro, these are mere shadows. All are on the red carpet for Tropic of Thunder which Faye doesn't seem over-enthusiastic about especially Ben's role therein: written, produced and directed by Mr. BS - "Jack of all trades but is he master of any???" the Czarina was heard to mutter.

I now fear for us all.

See you at 6.

Alastair and Katie


Monday 15th September

Monday 15th September
Good afternoon.
The likelihood is that many of you hadn't heard of Lehman Brothers before things got decidedly nasty in global financial circles and, even then, it may have remained a bit of a mystery. But if you are trying to get a mortgage, raise a loan, are expecting a private pension on retirement, work for a restaurant, clothier, cab company, wine merchant or any one of the thousands of companies quoted on the London Stock Exchange, chances are you are about to feel the ill wind of Lehman' bankruptcy. For nearly five thousand people, many of them possibly among you, the impact is ultimately brutal: they have been sacked, lost their jobs, are out on their ears - and may not even get this weeks wedge. Big company? $600, 000,000,000 in assets, employing well over 20,000 people, world wide, of whom nearly 5000 worked here in London at their European HQ. Yes, very big.
What does it feel like to go from being a Master of the Universe, invincible Ferrari owning, Fat Duck eating, Ralph Lauren wearing, Chateau Petrus sipping financial super-star to being handed your P45 by an accountant you've never even met? Wives, husbands, mums, dads and children - all caught up in the maelstrom. We will have their story tonight as we report on what happens when capitalism's highest earning "wage-slaves" get dumped.
Oliver Kingonzila was on his way to becoming famous as a footballer ; Barnet FC were keen and he'd already captained the English Colleges side. Instead, he'll go down in history as the 26th young man to be stabbed in London in 2008. We hear from his distraught family.
Meredith Kercher could have been on the way to becoming an academic super-star or anything, infact: she was a very bright Surrey girl on an exchange study trip in Italy when something ghastly went wrong. She ended up dead and several other young people are in the frame for her bizarre death. One of them is Amanda Knox - dubbed in the popular press as "Foxy Knoxy" though I doubt anyone else calls her that. Her parents have been talking to ITV for tonight's Tonight. We'll hear a little of what is on their minds at this difficult time for Meredith's family and, whatever their daughter did or did not do, this difficult time for them.
In part two we will raise your spirits, I think: you probably need it after that little lot!
First we have the first of our films featuring the finalists in our Teacher of The Year competition. Not many leather elbow pads, chalk-dust nor mortar-boards these days but compassion, inspiration and affection by the bucket full. It is a tough call to chose, as you'll see, but a pleasing and elevating experience we hope you'll agree. Pay attention at the back and put those apples away - no bribery permitted.
Next a showbiz double bill to make Jonathon Ross and Graham Norton green with envy: Josh Harnett tells us why he wanted to take on the Tom Cruise role in the movie Rain Man in its brilliant transfer, as a play, to the London stage. His status as "something of a hottie" appears to have provoked many of the team to come in on "days-off".
Also causing a bit of barging and queue jumping for the better seats is Mr. Will Young who drops by, too. He has a new single and a new album out but I agree with those who say he is also a nice chap and well worth a few minutes of your attention, any day, refreshed discography or not.
The London Papers which, in the near future may be being handed out or sold by a few former investment bankers; plus, the weather which won't risk touching upon clouds having silver linings nor storm clouds gathering - enough, already!
Katie and I hope you can join us and, if you work for Lehman's or know someone who does, we are genuinely sorry.
Alastair & Katie


Friday 12th September

Friday 12th September
Good afternoon.
From a teenager with cystic fibrosis, losing out on the holiday of a life-time , to West Ham , seeing their principal sponsor going broke, it doesn't get much worse. In the wake of several low-cost and Business only airlines hurtling towards Carey Street at just under the speed of sound, XL became the biggest casualty of the aviation industry's shrink fest, bought on by spiralling oil prices and the general economic depression. They are the country's 3rd biggest tour operator or, pedantically, were. They ran out of money before they ran out of passengers and, as Hamlet said, "there in lies the rub". One of those passengers-to-be is our heart-broken teenager, now going nowhere. We will be talking to him and his lovely parents at 6.
For West Ham, every silver lining has a cloud wrapped round it - they finally secure the services of Zola only to lose their sponsor. Non- Hammers will mock but others will share in the claret and blue flood of tears flowing in some parts of the news-room. But Ken, (who really does know) says it is fine: Zola will rapidly attract a new sponsor who will pay even more than an airline poised to go broke. Think Emirates, think happiness, he says.
If you are a disappointed XL passengers you might just think a dirty weekend in Paris would bring a smile back to your face or the more moral among you might think a bus ride to Hampstead or Richmond Park might lift your spirits and distract you from your woes.
Well, as Robin may be wont to say later - it never rains but it pours: "First" buses remain on strike and threaten more; and the Channel Tunnel fire is out but so are all services for the next few days, at least. So you can't do either of those, either..
You know what? Like a good Calvinist, why don't you just accept it - there's nothing you can do. Tune in to a bumper bundle of TV fun - we are your friends and saviours!
We have films - James reviews a powerful piece based on one of the most moving books I have ever read, "The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas" - the chilling clue is in the title; and "Eden Rock", the ads for which suggest a 50's romance but the reality of which is something Stephen King would be proud of.
We've "What Not To Miss" - now the delicious Faye is with us for the first time tonight and, being the gentleman I am, I have suggested she might like to present this essential guide to what to do in this, the greatest capitol in the world.... so long as you don't want to leave it by XL, get round it on a bus or use one of it's finest termini as a spring-board to Autumn in north west Europe. So she will.
Gazza is not the sort of fellow who has led a life that would lead you to think he even had a manager. His has been an utterly unmanaged, chaotic and catastrophically peripatetic lurch from triumph to tragedy. No one could have managed that, surely? I am told Mel Stein did and that he has written a book about a fictitious London football club, too. Perhaps he wrote it when he should have been keeping an eye on the Watery Eyed One.... anyway, he's in at 6 as well.
We'll have papers full of holiday heart-break; weather prospects to lift your gloom or confront the truth; and we'll have your thoughts on the trials and travails of transport and travel.
Faye has just popped downstairs to make -up so let me just whisper, while she's away, that she is lovely and very good. You will enjoy her company as will I , at 6.
See you there.
Alastair and ...oops, she's back! ( Ssshhhhh ! must dash....)


London Tonight Tonight Thursday 11th September 2008

London Tonight Tonight Thursday 11th September 2008


I remember going on my first holiday without my parents: my excitement and their attempts not to appear too worried. It's the sort of scene that must have played out in the Brennan household when 18 year old Daniel left for his first holiday abroad with his friends. But what started as a boys' holiday has ended as a family vigil. Daniel is fighting for his life in a hospital in Kos - his parents at his bedside. He was given a quad bike way too powerful for him to manage - and it crashed with devastating consequences. Ronke Phillips spoke to young Daniel's family at Gatwick airport before they boarded their flight.

Another tragedy - this time in Essex makes it into our programme tonight. A mother who buried her daughter in Basildon last year has been told she must chop her plot in half, because its size breaks health and safety laws. A shock and an outrage you may think, but the cemetery says "rules is rules" and the elderly and disabled visitors to the graveyard should get the same rights as the rest.

Lewis Vaughan Jones will have a tough time representing both sides - but objectively he will do just that. And then we'll be asking you what you think!

And just when you thought councils couldn't get any worse - check this one out! A councillor from Kentish Town who's swanned off to Arizona (that's the American state next to Nevada, you know with line dancing and cacti (is that the plural of cactus)... Anyway, he's still claiming hundreds of pounds every month in expenses for his job back here! Glen says "Oh No You Don't!" at six.

But we say "Oh Yes You Do" to Theo Walcott. Arsenal's bright hope put himself well and truly on the England map last night in Zagreb. Of course, us seasoned Londoners with an eye on the Premiership have known for some time that young Theo was a talent just waiting to emerge... Now we've been proven right, we've sent dedicated Gooner Marcus Powell to wax lyrical on the delights of the new Number 7!

We'll play Spy Games on Waterloo Bridge, and Star Games at the Mobo's...

And then the moment Alastair and I have been waiting for. We're both so excited to meet Terry Pratchett - a man with an extraordinary brain for storytelling, now struggling to come to terms with the prospect of the cruel and destructive force of Alzheimer's. He's got TWO brilliant books coming out, and we're chatting to him in the studio.

I was going to say there was more... But I feel if that's not enough for you... I'd be wasting my time!

See you at six.

Salma and Alastair



London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 10th September 2008

London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 10th September 2008

Good afternoon or bon apres-midi!

There is the most glorious French twist to our show tonight which I will share with you a little later. Suffice to say, at this stage, that it involves the former squeeze of the author of "You Look Wonderful Tonight"; a suburb with a thing about trams; and a cheeky dinner invitation to the most powerful man in Europe, until the rotating presidency rotates again.

That should hook the political ones among you while I reckon "Wonderful" should do the trick for the rest.

Before all that we've another very difficult mess down at the Yard. Well two, in fact. The family of Mark Saunders - the divorce lawyer shot by Police to stop him, they say, from shooting up Chelsea, several of its very attractive buildings and a few of it's residents - have gone to Court to challenge the impartiality and efficacy of the independent inquiry into the event. Among their objections, the fact that coppers can compare "notes" before they make "notes" about what happened. The other: he was found gripping his gun in the hand he doesn't use for any sort of exertion.

Meantime, Ali G used to get a laugh with "Is it cos I is black" until people remembered the true power and meaning of satire and irony... apart from Richard Madeley. Put bluntly, Tarique Ghaffur reckons he hit a white ceiling because he is Asian and now the most senior Muslim woman at the Met reckons she is the victim of racism and bullying for similar reasons. Now, either a bandwagon is rolling or there is something fundamentally wrong with the way our Police force is being run. Nick has been trawling the canteens, the interview rooms and the cells for answers.

The parents of a teenager who went on holiday with his mates to Kos want some answers, too. The lad tried to hire a 50cc Quad bike - my youngest has one and they perform like aero-dynamic lawn mowers. But when it didn't start he was given a 250cc Quad - (I have a 350cc myself and they go like "what the roses love" off a "digging implement"). He was a novice and is in a coma, having careened into a tree. Your thoughts, please, on freedom of the individual and, I imagine, the lunacy of those of us who own and enjoy Quad bikes.

I neither own a football club nor do I especially enjoy the game. But I love it when it yields tension, crises and charismatic clashes - Abramovich vs The Special One; Sir Alan Sugar and the White Hart Lane lads; Louise Redknapp interviewing Harry Redknapp while Jamie Redknapp played in England vs The Rest of The World - then it all comes alive. Whoever the genius is behind the signing of former Chelsea icon Zola to be the new manager of West Ham, should write scripts for the Two Ronnies or The Fast Show. Genius! Makes Little Britain look pedestrian. Marcus, still a grinning Gooner, mocks all concerned. Faye, festooned in flowing grey and another pair of extraordinary, capillary crushing jeans, kept calling the new manager "Budd", after the barefoot South African runner, only to say she kept getting him muddled up with Vialli. "What do I know?" she asked. A silence fell, blended with affection and forgiveness.

I thought Zola was a great French writer - Dreyfuss and all that but maybe that was Vialli.

Now to our "amuse bouche" of a story: little Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the Republic of France and rotating President of the EU, says he wants his troubled suburbs to be born again as "les petites Croydons". You remember the French suburbs? They burned worryingly well and he said the aggressors should be hosed off the streets: hoodies of Croydon be warned! This could become a two-way thing. Anyway, a local businessman in Croydon has invited little Nic to "un grand repas" to discuss the matter... on condition la belle Carla accompanies him. Jon explores the viability of this new "entente cordiale".

We also have a little girl who break-dances. Many adore it. Some feel a little uneasy. You, as ever, are better arbiters than any of us - and it is certainly a great achievement for a delightful family. But the music? Oh, go on, give it a whirl.

Lucy is talking to Nick Moran (a "hottie" according to Faye - a word for which I can find no translation but she tells me it is how I might describe Madame Sarkozy in an unguarded moment) about the London film festival and his latest offering.

Faye's final offering to the meeting was to say, of the Met' stories, " Grande merde dans petit Chine!". No, me neither. Good thing I adore her and only have O-level French.

Chrissie shines with her weather; London's papers continue to harm Brazil but for a higher cause - your information; and that is it.

See you at 6.

Alastair and Katie.


London Tonight Tonight Tuesday 9th September 2008

London Tonight Tonight Tuesday 9th September 2008

Good afternoon.

Jack Welch, who used to run General Electric, once one of the biggest and still one of the most profitable companies in the world, believed all organisations should "churn" 10% if its workforce every year: 10% out, a new 10% in. Middle and senior managers would occasionally show up on a Monday only to find that their name plaque had been taken off their door and someone else's put in it's place: they had "gone". It was brutal but it was efficient.

What is not efficient is to decide that one of your most senior people, who happens to be locked in an employment row with you, has to be suspended only for that decision to be announced by someone else before you've got your two-penneth in. We even got it on the lunchtime edition of London Today - a report on a reaction to something that hadn't yet been formally announced!

You might recover if the body that exists to keep an eye on your manor says it backs your decision: but it can't get much worse if, instead, they have already pre-empted your decision, by 24 hours, with a statement that suggests the grounds for what you have in mind do not even exist...

If you fear you are being followed by a stranger on your way home tonight or if you think someone is trying to break into your home, be warned: the people who are in charge of making you feel safe and keeping you safe are the same people who have done all the above. Glen who, after last night, knows his "a..." from his "elbows" has been trying to fathom what is going on in the shambles that is The Met' vs Tarique Ghaffur.

Oh well, at the end of the day we can all get on our bus or descend to our tube and head home for a warm and reassuring mug of coffee or a chilled shot of 40 degree proof vodka, if we happen to work at the Met. London's celebrated Transport system - efficient, well run and now well funded will take us away from all this.

I'd call a cab if I were you: hot on the heels of the fare rises, due to the little matter of an above ground 80 million pound black hole, along come repair cowboys Tubelines so say they seem to have lost about £1.7 bn (yes that is a 'b' not a 'm') as they went about their subterranean meanderings. Metronet went ages ago and with it even more of your dosh - the whole thing threatens to be heading for hell in a hand-cart, unless the hand-cart is maintained by TfL in which case nothing will be going anywhere at this rate. Phil, a Richmond man who favours taking a boat on the Thames over a bus or a tube anytime, reviews the evidence for the charge that "they couldn't organise an act of collective inebriation in an ale factory".


Which begs the question "Boris". Not a question, as such, but, like the particles the giant European collider will start searching for tomorrow, he is the sort of common, but as yet unproven, thread. Boris, the Higgs bosun of local government, wants to run everything in London. Do today's shambles prove no one person can, or that it is about time someone did? Ben has been gazing at the oracle but as I look at him across the newsroom he still looks more Socrates than Aristotle: but there may be a 'eureka' moment by 6. He continues to phone and talk to all manner of people.

Faye is sporting a silver -grey T-shirt bearing the legend The Rolling Stones across the front. I have noticed nothing else about her sartorial choices today as this is, for me, the zenith , the apogee, nirvana (the meditative objective, not the rock group!) - one of my favourite people adorned with an item of clothing adorned, itself, with the name of the greatest rock and roll band in the world. Should it happen, I will die happy tonight. Hopefully it won't so I'll press on.

If the European collider goes wrong they could create a black hole and then we'll all disappear. It has even been argued in court! Assuming we are still here on Thursday, the property market may have also endured a Big Bang and be back to where it was. I doubt it. The only glimmer of sub-atomic vibrancy is in the buy-to-let market. Louisa takes you to the fifth dimension in which all this will make sense.

Finally an Essex gal who will spend £30,000 to become a Hollywood star, and some young people who have already done that only to sound very strange, according to Salma, in something called "Camp Rock".

All this is beyond me and I remain happier to talk of Police policy and sub-atomic physics, both of which I am a bit of a dab hand at.

I leave Camp Rock and Essex girls to Salma - a first, I suspect, for both of us.

See you at six.

Alastair and Salma


London Tonight Tonight Monday 8th September 2008

London Tonight Tonight Monday 8th September 2008

Good evening.

Hope you had a good weekend and weren't drenched or kept up too late, watching Andy Murray. Are we in danger of becoming a nation of sporting greats, once again?

5 - 0 in cricket's One Day series against South Africa; 4 - 3 in the UNICEF charity football match against the rest of the world. And ,were it not for the Italians ability to bribe F1 marshalls, we'd have had Lewis Hamilton's victory in Belgium to celebrate. Ferrari are wonderful but give us McClaren supporters a fair crack of the whip, Mr. Mosely! No double entendre intended, Max.

And what about cycling? After the able bodied aces of two wheels did so brilliantly in Beijing at the regular Olympics, our equally brilliant disabled pedallers only go and do it at the Paralympics at the weekend, too. If only our sports administrators and 2012 budget managers could do as well. London's 2012 velodrome is over budget - no medals for predicting that - but it will, they tell us, do lots more than they originally planned. BMX, off-road biking, putting a Man on the Moon, using only two wheels... Oh, the list is endless and could have been crafted by Lewis Carol. One theory is that they had forgotten that BMX and off-road biking were Olympic sports. Moon shots are still under consideration I am told, but my 10 year old is hoping for a late entry for Dirt Biking - no, I am not sure what it is either.

I do know, thank God, that he is not disabled and so is not entitled to any help from the council getting to and from school. We are happy with that. Think, then, of the families in Sutton who do have disabled children - mentally and physically - who are entitled to help. They have got used to a taxi picking up little Jack or lovely Jill but now find, in the latest round of cuts, they have to get a special bus, instead. Big deal, some of you may be thinking. Actually it is, as Piers will explain as he goes "on their side" in the latest of our "On Your Side" series.

We'll ask you, then, to tell us what you think about keeping our council taxes as low as possible but also if you think there are any no-go areas. Tough call but we'd love to know your thoughts.

Faye is a touch bohemian today - very dark, grey jeans, (reminding me of Manfred Mann), a black sweater and an amazing leather belt. I asked her how many innocent creatures had given up their God-given right to exist, just so her trousers and sweater might stay in place. She was touched, I think, and said, rather coolly, "none".

Sir Donald Sinden's daughter-in-law was asked the same question, as she left the Savoy, in a three-quarter length fur coat. "Just one", she said, "my late mother-in-law, who left it to me".

Michael Peacock would never be seen in a fur-coat. In fact he is often to be seen in nothing at all. On Hampstead Heath. He is a naturist who opposes plans to minimise the area where fellow naturists can do their thing, not just 'commando' but absolutely, totally starkers. It has become a point of contention up on the Heath, I am told. I think they might have cast around, though, for a less ironically named campaign leader - but who am I to intervene?

One of my best friend's married name is Raincock and her husband never goes out when it is overcast, let alone in a shower - ribaldry he can do without and I know what he means. Glen has been told to keep his clothes on as he reports on Mr. Peacock's protest.

Lucy is scheduled to meet James Nesbitt at the preview of the National Movie Awards. As with my reaction to not being cast in the role of Ms Knightley's interviewer, so is the reaction of many of the women in the newsroom to Ms Cotter's luck with Jimmy - a great actor but a hot bit of totty too, they tell me.

Finally, G8 is a meeting of the most powerful economic nations on the face of the earth - which, the way things are going, could soon include Kazakhstan and Hong Kong ahead of the US and the UK. Russia is no longer invited since that nasty mess in Georgia, so G7 is back to the old, pre-1989 and the collapse of Communism, line-up of US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

(The last three were against the first three in the last WW with the one in the middle playing it's traditional, historic role of being the one on the middle - odd that.)

Anyway, G6 and G5 are a mystery but G4 were a rather fine ensemble of male singing talent who sold millions of albums (they'll be in G7 at this rate) and then broke up to go their own, unharmonious ways. Jonathan Ansell, the cute blonde one (said one of the team, no names, no Salma), is coming in to talk to us about the Mikado at Richmond Theatre. Questions? "I have a little list" and will play the role of the "Lord High Executioner" if he doesn't answer them.

Weather with Chrissie , so Mr Raincock and others can plan their wardrobes.

Papers because we do.

And then your thoughts on the council tax, because we mean it.

See you at 6.

Alastair and Salma


Friday September 5th

Friday September 5th

Good afternoon.

What do Clint Eastwood and Boris Johnson have in common? Clint didn't go to Eton nor is he, to the best of my knowledge, a classicist. Bozza, on the other hand, eschews charootes and wouldn't recognise an appaloosa if is kicked him in the seat of the pants.

No, it is the world of politics that binds these unlikely blood-brothers - Clint was Mayor of Carmel, in California whilst Bozza is, and will remain for at least the next 3 years and 8 months, the Mayor of our great city.

Bozza is an ex-editor of The Spectator and Clint isn't.

Clint made "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" and Bozza didn't.

Nevertheless, this evening, we invite you to Spectate upon the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The Good is exemplified by genius Irish comic Patrick Keilty and friends being hilarious in advance of their Soccer Aid match this weekend which will enhance the lives of thousands of children. Nick talks to him and both are heckled by Alan Shearer. Gordon Ramsay is doing the teas and a host of short-wearing wizards, who actually know what they are doing, will be there too. Good for them and good for the kids.

The Bad is - according to what a court heard today - actually an understatement - a man from Rotherhithe, accused of causing fatal mayhem but a stones throw from where Jack the Ripper did his evil a little over a century ago. Ronke tells you as much as she can, given the early hour and the potential presence of children.

And the Ugly is the weather. It is Friday which is followed by the weekend and what can we expect? Grounds for wrapping up warm in a blanket, brewing a pot of tea and watching black and white movies all weekend. Robin will attempt to explain away this September travesty with his customary, if not a little surreal, wit.

Somewhere between Bad and Ugly is the accidental, tragic shooting of another small child by air-gun - and, as with the recent case in Birmingham ,it was a family weapon and the shot was fired by a family member. Nick is at the scene and has been talking to friends and neighbours - some of whom are clearly not both...

Good, Bad AND Ugly was the stunt to give thousands of pounds worth of petrol away as a video promotion. Good because people got free petrol. Bad because it caused chaos on the streets and Ugly because those who were turned away got very pouty and petulant. Phil calms nerves and, honest, didn't take even a litre of the Middle East's finest before filing his report.

Defying catagorisation is my conversation with a middle weight boxer who went to Beijing and came back with Gold and the admiration of us all. James De Gale is big, funny and very thoughtful. I am sure you will enjoy him.

Another Olympian, Chris Hoy, meets Buster, the 102 year old London man who some don't think is 102. Hoy won a lot of medals and Buster says he'll do London to Brighton on a bike. You'd have thought they had both proved quite enough already but you can't help admiring them, can you?

James, we admire, for his grasp of cinematography and this week we ask him for his views on two films the premier's of which we covered live for you. So now the glitter dust has settled on the red carpet, what do we really think of Rocknrolla (Guy Ritchie) and Duchess - Kiera Knightley? I pause to regain my breath and composure.


Earlier, Salma gave me a monster slice of chocolate cake which I thought was really kind until, just as I sunk my teeth into a colossal quantity of calories, our brilliant director called "Who is doing What Not To Miss ?". If I did say 'me' it must have sounded like a muffled plea of submission or a suggestion that Salma might be better placed to do it. Anyway, as I sit here licking my lips and fingers, she is recording her beginners guide to what you might like to do this weekend . She is getting as devious as devious gets. But the cake was good.

So, after a quick trip to the basement ablutions to wash my hands I'll be poised and ready to sit next to Ms "Got YOU Again" and offer you London's finest account of that which has passed today and that which beckons over the next 48 hours. In full colour.

See you then, at 6.

Alastair and Salma


Thursday 4th September

Thursday 4th September

Good afternoon.

There is a temperature, known as Absolute Zero, at which particles stop moving. It is known to scientists as Zero Degrees Kelvin and was discovered by an Irish physicist.

In terms you will understand if, like me, you are not an Irish physicist, it is -273.15

°C. Pretty nippy.

The average January temperature in Siberia is -20

°C but, at 30-40,000 feet, if gets a lot nippier, though still well short of Absolute Zero.

However, given aviation fuel freezes at a temperature between -47

°C. to -40 °C, a BA Boeing 777 flying at 30-40,000 needs to be sure it's fuel system is nice and cosy and , if not toasty, certainly warmer than -40°C.

In January this year on just such a plane returning from Beijing, it wasn't. That, according to the expert investigators, is why we witnessed a crash landing at Heathrow and one of the most spectacular bits of flying since the Wright Brothers did their thing or Guy Gibson and his gang did it large to the Rhur Valley Dams. Ben will explain all.

Boris and his boys propose to "do it large" to the millions who use London Transport, above and below this great city of ours. "Large" in the sense that inflation, officially measured, is running at around 4% but the City Hall Clippies are going for fare rises of well above that, averaging 6%. Harris cries "Ding ding" in protest and we ask Boris to explain. We already know he'll blame Ken (remember Ken? Long time Mayor... yes, thought you would) and that Ken will blame Boris. You can shift the occupants of the office around but they'll still scrap. We offer you a ringside seat.

Sir Ian Blair got all Mark Twain today when he borrowed the celebrated line used by the celebrated American author when his obituary wrongly appeared in the New York Journal.: "Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated". For Blair it was a reference to his professional life following a report in The Times saying it was over. Everyone and his body-guard are denying it so well worth a sniff around: Ronke puts her pomander aside and looks deep into the collective souls of London's law enforcement agencies and it's political classes. Not a pretty sight, I'm sure.

Nor is an army of drunken British youths, or drunken youths of any nationality, rampaging through a popular holiday resort. Crete is just such a thing (popular holiday resort, not drunken youth) and Lewis , never known to down anything stronger than a sensible measure of sanatogen, is on the case in part two of his powerful series from that Grecian idyll.

Finally, Kool and The Gang are in to celebrate their appearance at O2 tomorrow night. I can remember the song but not the line up, and "gang" is a little imprecise in terms of numbers. We only have two benches in the studio. They can accommodate three, average size bottoms. I do not know enough about Kool nor his followers to resolve this in my mind: join me to watch the solution and enjoy the music.

I suppose , like a choir, they could stand?

Katie and I will share the front-pages of London's papers with you, Chrissie will impart her forecast from the bench, unless Mr. K or a disciple has broken it by that stage; and then we will all go our merry ways... bar those who are traveling by Boeing 777 who may have cause to pause, whilst those using the bus or tube have but four months to celebrate what passes for fair fares.

Life is hard. Hope Kool does his stuff in a lasting way. I sure he will. Or is it a her? What a journey of discovery I am on tonight.

See you at 6

Alastair and Katie





London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 3rd September

London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 3rd September

Good afternoon.

I bow to no man in my admiration of Lewis Vaughan Jones: handsome, articulate and a gifted reporter. However, to suggest that he is the reincarnation of the man many hold to be the Messiah, may be pushing it a tad. But that is what The Big Boss has just suggested to our meeting. Mad? Possibly but if I were to suggest that it would be a Bad Career Move for me. For the Big Boss to have said what he said about Lewis is clearly a Very Good Career Boost.

Today Lewis is loitering in a Guards Polo Club shirt, from his marvellous piece on Polo, some little time ago; but even that sartorial travesty is forgiven. He has just returned from Crete and from talking to a man who was beaten into a coma by five thugs some three months ago. The man has muttered some of his first words in the presence of LVJ who also talks to his mum. His mum is ecstatic. The lad is getting quite a bit happier though there is a long way to go. See if you agree with TBB's assessment of LVJ's miraculous powers, at 6.

Joan Baez had a miraculous impact upon me in my teens, turning me from a hard-working, slightly conservative choir boy at a Benedictine boarding school, into a long-haired, left wing rabble rouser at University.

Quite how the words to "Silver Dagger" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" did it, I can't recall but I do remember being seriously impressed with her refusal to pay that element of her US taxes that she judged to be an enforced contribution to the costs of the Vietnam war which she, like many, opposed. Tonight, Liz will introduce you to Tom and Rita Glenister, the pensioners from Barnet, who are yet to utter even a phrase from "Blowin' In The Wind" or "The Times They Are A'Changing" but who are following Joan Baez and risking the liberties many before them fought for, in protest at their Council Tax for the Olympics. Heroes or mad as a pair of Hatters? You be the judges.


If they hold their ground and pay the ultimate price, then the road they live in will spring to life on Boris's All Singing, All Dancing interactive Crime Map. He threatened it during the Mayoral election campaign and, blow me down, he's done it. Politicians delivering on promises? It is becoming a bit of a habit. Anyway, Harris sees the state Bozza was in, the morning after the night before at the GQ awards where BJ picked up a tasty gong. Believe me, it will make sense in Harris's hands.

I was sitting there reading the Lunchtime edition of London Today to you when Ken "football crazy so long as it's West Ham" Hayes cried into my ear "Curbishley's resigned!". He 'cried' both in terms of volume and emotion, I hasten to add. He was cross when I asked to check if it was CurbRishley or just Curbishley... he really felt I should have known and he was, as always, right. Anyway Alan is off but is it in a north-easterly direction, or has he been frozen out by the Icelandic raiders???

Ken is cross with the fans, the board and anyone who crosses his path this afternoon. He will remain emotional but Marcus, a life-long Gooner, will be his normal, objective self and explain all.



I adore Lucy Cotter in a way significantly different to the admiration and affection I feel for LVJ. But it has all gone, in a flash of stacked hair and tuille: Keira Knightley, a Goddess, graces the red carpet tonight at the premiere of "DUCHESS" and grants London Tonight another interview.

It should have been me.

It could have been me.

Yesterday, I failed to secure the "lip and tongue" artwork from the Rolling Stones favourite designer - today, a second audience with the fragrant, elegant, perfect and pure Ms Knightley. I fear it is a bottle of whisky, a warm bath and a revolver for me.

One of the last memories I will take with me to The Other Side is that of Ben Scotchbrook on the top of a Double Decker Bus with Sir Cliff Richard on tonight's show. What can it mean? Goodbye, cruel world, I'm leaving you...


But not before I record the fact that the orchestra and the Judges in the BBC's otherwise excellent MAESTRO programme are heartless, brainless fools - devoid of judgment and purpose, led by an indulgent, moronic has-been ex-lawyer and ex-humourist... have I taken Katie's departure from that programme well? Have I hell!

She will grace our programme tonight and I am honoured to sit with her.

Goldie? Perkins? Asher? Pah. Musical minnows.

Alastair & Katie "Amadeus" Derham.



Good Afternoon.

Soldiers wear uniforms, spend a lot of time away from home and often give each other nick-names - "Spike", "Tommy" and "Killer" are a selection from across the years.

Professional footballers wear uniforms (which they call "strips") , are away from home, on average every other weekend, and give each other nick-names such as "Oi, you", "Ronaldo" and "The Refrigerator" depending upon where they come from, how good they are and which code they play.

Could you define them as gang-members? In a way, yes: a platoon and a football team are "gangs" but not in the graffiti-daubing, gun-toting, fear-spreading, crime- infliciting way that we have come to fear. And yet, according to a new Government pamphlet, published today, these are among the Aristotelian essences of gang-membership. I fear for the fuzz if they use this as a hand-book for tracking down and dealing with this ghastly challenge to civil order - there will be appalling scenes at Aldershot, Chelsea Barracks, outside Buckingham Palace and at soccer stadiums across the capital - apart from the Den, where they already do quite well, thank-you.

We discuss this latest initiative and Glen, who wore a uniform as a child, was known by a nick-name "Cub" in his "Six" and promised to do his best and to do his duty, to God and the Queen, will do his best for you to make sense of it.

Where's the sense in a housing market rescue package which offers to "scrap" stamp-duty on house purchases up to a ceiling of £175,000 when, in London, you wouldn't get a doll's house for that sort of money? Liz explores the elusive answer to that question which flows from the Government's much heralded, last-ditch, Brown-relaunch package to drag home-ownership off its knees. It might not take her long and that has nothing to do with the fact that she is a brilliant reporter.

As is Harris - but even he looked dumbfounded when he discovered that a towering example of London's 2012 legacy looks like being a shopping centre that will make Bluewater and Lakeside look like the corner shop in Corrie. Stratford City is the name, conspicuous consumption on a gargantuan scale is the game. Harris met Boris there so, everything to play for!

As there was at last night's London Restaurant Awards; and for one Cookery King it was a bit of a Chinese take-away - you get one award and, minutes later, you want another. Was he successful, who is he and where does he do his fricasse and saute thing? Damian dons the tall white hat and raises a glass or more to The Master.

The Mistress of American comedy is, undeniably in my view, Joan Rivers : rude, clever, well-informed and ... well really rude. She graces the West End with a new production. If you like her, you'll love it. If you don't, you'll still find her encounter with Lucy delicious. By the way, Madonna DID turn up last night but after Lucy had left Guy Ritchie's "red-carpet" moment. I think Guy was disappointed but that's between me, Lucy, Guy, Madonna and the lawyers....

Robin faces the lawyers for inflicting such appalling weather upon us, recently: we give him one chance of mitigation tonight or it's off to the Tower with him.

Faye, who has spilt tea over her formerly light-wool frock, soldiers on. I suggested she might dispense with it and fall back on the black tee-shirt and black-trousers. My cheek is still smarting.

See you at six and thank heaven for make-up.

Alastair and the faultless Katie.


London Tonight Tonight Monday 1st September

London Tonight Tonight Monday 1st September
Good afternoon.
Shakespeare, for most our greatest ever playwright whatever fans of Ernie Wise tell you, spent his formative professional years on London's South Bank, and the magnificently restored Globe Theatre stands in tribute to him and his folio of work. "Romeo and Juliet" provided the roots of "West Side Story", a musical tale of gang warfare in New York. "Hamlet" has not led to a west end musical but does boast a play-within-a-play, "The Mousetrap", whose namesake has graced the theatre opposite the Ivy restaurant for over half a decade. Our programme tonight takes a little from both these plays.
Shaquille Maitland-Smith, the 25th young Londoner to be murdered this year may, just may, have been a victim of gang-warfare. For "Jets" and "Sharks" (or Montagues and Capulets for the scholars among you) think E8 'London Fields' and E9 - terrorising parts of the East End. It is thought Shaquille was caught up in this internecine strife though it is, as yet, unclear if he was actually a gang member. However, he is dead. Marcus examines the death, the turf - described by Mare Street, and the role gangs may have played in another tragic loss of life.
We also explore Operation Blunt 2 - the successor to Operation Blunt 1 - which was supposed to mop up knife crime in the capital. I fear a few more Blunts will be required, but we will see.
From Guy Ritchie, we get the play within a play in the sense that we are leading on a real life gangster theme, while Guy's latest offering, the premiere of which we're at tonight, is about gangsters. He either has a fixation or an expertise: I am not sure which, but I did enjoy the first one. Can't quite remember the others: perhaps "Rocknrolla" will be different. Lucy hopes to talk to Guy but we think Mrs Ritchie is still strutting her stuff somewhere else in Europe. Who knows? Kebala permitting, she may waft in...
Mike Ashley is a bit like Falstaff in Henry IV and V - also penned by young Will S - a big, burley, boozy beast of a man, partial to copious libations who made millions from sportswear shops as we clad our little darlings in the ever changing "home, away and 'I fancy that in blue'" strips of our favourite football clubs. In Shakespeare, booze was often a sweet wine known as sack, but for Big Mike it was beer. He says NON-alcoholic, others are less sure. Anyway, he downed a pint of it in one gulp at the Emirates where his beloved Newcastle U, went down to the Glorious Gunners. He actually owns NUFC and may, therefore, have been drowning his sorrows. I'd have thought that would take more than a pint. Anyway, he did it within view of the field of play and that is not on. Glen wipes the bar and calls "time" on the Geordie visitor.
Boris says it is "time" to review the western extension of the Congestion Zone. What will you say and will he listen? Five weeks to find out.
The bears of North America may have a lot to celebrate: first the Governor of Alaska, who loves shooting them, is the Republican candidate for Vice President of the USA and may win, thus having less time to reduce their numbers.
Why a meeting in London, tomorrow, could also be good news for them will be revealed on our show tonight. Good news for bears, bad news for migrating salmon and less-than alert hunters.
Finally, the story of the night: Clues: A home counties town has a bit in common with a city, south of the Mason-Dixon line, celebrated for jazz.
It is very, very dramatic and caused one woman, from the aforementioned home counties town to utter a very nasty anglo-saxon expletive - but she was right.
All, bar the expletive, will be revealed at 6 by Ben - possessor of a cleaner tongue than you will find in most quarters.
Romilly wanted that bit about the expletive being deleted in writing for you all, and The Big Boss agreed. Faye, frisky in jeans that cannot permit circulation and a stunning dark pink top, seemed to enjoy saying the word at our meeting. Romilly blanched, Robin said "what???" and I put it down to youthful exuberance...
She has now found a picture of me, years ago, when I had more hair.
As Shakespeare said in the "Seven Ages" speech: It comes to us all when we are "sans hair, sans teeth, sans everything..." Surely not YET !!!!
See you at 6.
Alastair and Romilly.