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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.