Welcome to London Tonight Tonight.

This is the official website of London Tonight, on ITV1 in London and the South East every weeknight at 6pm.



Ken the producer standing in today - so bear with me...

Do you like shopping? Then you'll love Westfield. "Big" is hardly a big enough word to describe it.

It covers an area the size of 30 football pitches and it's expected to take care on more than 20 million customers a year. It's Europe's biggest inner-city shopping complex - and it opened today, complete with showbiz fanfare - Leona Lewis helping to do the honours.

But maybe the only figures that matter are those rung up at the tills.

We're live as the first day's trading heads to a close.

You definitely won't want to miss tonight's installment of "Lessons from America", our special series looking at how the USA tackle crime and criminals - and what we might learn from them.

Joe Arpaio from Arizona reckons he's the toughest sheriff in America.

His prisoners wear pink underwear and live in tents, surrounded by barbed-wire, with temperatures making it like feel a furnace.

And Sheriff Joe has a message for London.

Quick - who's your favourite James Bond?

Daniel Craig's latest outing has re-opened the debate of Sean v George v Roger v Timothy v Pierce v Daniel.

Lucy on a match-up mission - and she's also been out with a former MI6 agent, to see just how 007 would cope in the real world.

News too for Spurs' fans - and not just more bragging rights after last night's thriller at the Emirates.

Alastair and Romilly will bring you all the day's best and latest at 6.

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Good afternoon.



---- = dz  is the core equation in differential calculus and the challenge that convinced



me descriptive economics rather than econometrics was my forte. I enjoyed the mathematicians joke that "dy by dx gives d answer" but humour didn't see me through. Fortunately the Met can count and, for that reason, we will not be exposing the appalling cover-up that's been going on in other Police Forces wherein they under-counted acts of serious violence by reporting them as common assaults rather than GBH. You might think it irrelevant but I found it rather reassuring, given everything else the Met have been accused of getting wrong of late.


So even a bobby on the metropolitan beat could tell you that 3000 x 20 = 60,000, (econometrics). What he or she might have more difficulty in explaining (descriptive economics) is why Hackney are spending that much to send Head-teachers on a fact finding mission to the US of A at a time when some schools can count the number of books they have without breaking into a canter but might also need a short break whilst counting the number of children each teacher is responsible for. John McCain, who is likely to lose the Presidential election in a fortnight not least for suggesting the US economy was doing "just fine", is a Senator from Arizona, the State the Happy Ones of Hackney will be visiting. There may be an irony in that - money certainly makes the world go round for the lucky "20" but we wondered if the kids and their parents might think it could be better spent.  Harris had to put his hands over his ears on not a few occasions and he fastened his seat-belt and popped up to Hackney to ask for you and someone from Hackney is popping in to tell us their side of the story, too.


Final bit of arithmetic ( "A Red Indian Thought He Might Eat Tobacco In Church was how I remembered how to spell it at school) in this show.

If a family of five live in a two bedroom flat and one of their three children has to have his own room, who lives where? The answer involves a hospital and a lot of sadness. By the way "Get a bigger house" doesn't work. But you'll have to wait until tomorrow for the answer to that one.


"Eyes Wide Open" was a steamy, though not entirely successful, film for the former Mr and Mrs Tom Cruise. But we want you to emulate the title, if not the content, tonight as we run a CCTV clip of a couple breaking into an OAPs flat. I know it happens too frequently in London but for one Dulwich woman, in her eighties, it was getting a bit like the Rambo series of films - this was the third time it had happened. So, eyes wide open, let's help our numerate fuzz catch the scumbags.


Not a long running series but a first from Nick tonight - he has spent the night with the maintenance crew on London Underground. Revelatory, they work hard in challenging conditions and both tea and questionable magazines appear to be in short supply. Gripping if not a little tiring.


A first for Lewis, too: Snowdonia is a fair part of the Principality and offers a bit of skiing when it gets nippy but mainly the means to keep sheep meat fresh and milk, naturally longer-lasting. Slag heaps also provide slopes but less snow as most of them are in the south of that fair adjunct to the Kingdom. So, imagine our Welsh matinee idol's delight when he found slopes and snow right here in the capitol. Not a dead sheep nor a pint of full-cream, or even semi-skimmed, insight, he battled to Battersea just for you. Cheer him on and warm him up.


The missing bust of Paul McCartney has been found. ("Didn't know it was lost", I hear a few of you murmur.) Well, it was and it has been and it has made some people very happy and one person a lot richer. Hannah will unravel this rambling of mine at 6.


Finally Dido is back with a great new album, after 5 years. Worth the wait, I think you'll agree and not a trace of Eminem this time. Good though it was, it got a bit repetitious I thought.


Unlike Robin's forecast - always unique, even if no Dido.


Papers - very confused today, I'll wager.


So, all added together it makes for a simultaneous equation of Alastair and Salma where Alastair is equal to the sum of all such things as 30 odd years in the business and Salma is a prime number, divisible only by herself.


Abacusses all round.


See you at 6.





Mon Oct 20th


Good afternoon.

Children fall into two categories, in my experience: puddle-jumpers and ripple watchers.

Puddle jumpers tend to be noisy, slightly grubby and very energetic. They can't see a puddle without leaping into it and enjoying the splash, however much it adds to the weekly wash.

Ripple watchers are more thoughtful: they see a puddle, or a canal or a lake (and London is blessed with many), and have to throw a stone in and then watch the ripples course out from the centre.

London's property market is a bit like a puddle at the moment: estate agents are like puddle jumpers - they'll throw themselves at it to seek an effect. Today they've made the leap with the offer of tiny charges, in lieu of monstrous 3-5% fees. Many are still standing there, waiting to see the result of their extreme action and, truth to tell, not much has happened yet. So, wet feet, wet hair and a rather false smile across their troubled little faces.

Buyers and sellers are more like ripple watchers: cautious, thoughtful, intrigued. They'll pitch a bid, very low, and see what happens or "float" an asking price, a bit on the high side, and pray. They, too, stand patiently by, awaiting a reaction.

Tonight we attempt to see if either type are going to get the reaction they hope for as the market remains in "flat-line" condition. Our Big Puddle is a development in Thamesmead where, in an 84 unit, purpose built development, only two properties are owner-occupied, the rest having been repossessed . It is a dramatic and frightening example of what is going on out there.

Don't mix puddles with canals and leap in the wrong one! Watch us at 6 and, with Kirsty's help, we'll make some sense of it for you. Glen is a puddle jumper and Tamsin a ripple watcher: both have put on their Paddington Bear wellies just for you.

I tell my children they should work hard at school and when that inevitably fails, I think of a "child-friendly" way of inspiring them: "history", I say, "is just a series of wonderful and exciting stories, acted out by big, interesting characters - some romantic , some monsters - some, like Henry VIII a bit of both!"

(Maths is more difficult and if you do master it you might end up as a banker or an estate agent, neither of which is very appealing just now so lets stick with history.)

The "raw material" of history is fascinating, too. Take the document Piers has come up with which tells you who arrived on the shores of this green and pleasant land between 1878 and 1960. His Gilbert and Sullivan-esque "little list" includes the ancestors of the brilliant and surely soon to be F1 World Champ (so long as Ferrari don't indulge in yet more cheating) - and Diane Abbott : love her or loathe her, she is surely one of our more interesting MPs.

There are masses more in between and Piers plays the Prof, just for you.

Shakespeare's plays are catagorised into Histories, Romances, Comedies and Moral Tales though, for me , "Richard III", was all and more besides.

No Shakespeare, however, in the West End just now and, if the recession really hits, there much not be much else either - bar "Mama Mia" which I think would survive the recommencement of global hostilities and a thermo-nuclear attack. Oh, and "Spamalot", whose audiences wouldn't notice closure or an attack from North Korea, Iran or a former Soviet Republic - they'd still be singing "Always look on the Bright Side of........ KABOOM!"

Don't say we didn't warn them.

We ask the theatre critic of TIMEOUT why even the good are failing and why it has taken the rubbish (won't tell you of which one Katie said "But it was awful!") so long to get their come-uppance.

The Kaisers Chiefs have a new album and the Party Line from The Big Boss, who is in charge today, is that "it is VERY good". So, Lucy's thus far glittering career is on the line as she goes to meet the mic-stand-leaping-lot and lets you know what she thinks... (think, Lucy, think very carefully).

A young Christian woman, seeking to do good in Afghanistan, was murdered, early today, by the Taliban.They believe they have God on their side and the infidel within their borders. A fatal clash of cultures and beliefs that leaves one group thinking they've reduced the oppression they endure by a microscopically small degree and one family and one charity, short of a really lovely person who was just trying to help.

I can't make an ounce of sense out of it either - I guess I am a pebble watcher, after all.

See you at 6, via the genius that is Robin and the repetition that is London's papers.

Hope you're there.

PS - Katie's back - big hurrah!





Friday 17th October

Friday 17th October

Good afternoon.

It has cost the US tax-payer $700 Bn to rid the balance sheets of American banks of what has been described as "toxic debt". Here, the number looks like being even higher when you take into account Northern Rock, Bradford & Bingley, Lloyds-TSB-HBOS and the rest of the sorry lot. So,

£2.5 Bn to rid the Thames of the risk of "toxic effluent" looks, at first sniff, to be a good deal. Unless, of course, you live near to where a series of monster tunnels are to be dug, or have enjoyed playing in the park that will become a monster dump for all that is dug up. The locals are up in arms which may be better than being up to their necks in something even nastier but, when it's all done, the roses and other flora in that delightful, public place will win prizes at Chelsea.

Lewis, a bit of a dab hand with the leeks and daffodils, becomes a cross between Alan Titchmarsh and Isambard Kingdom Brunnel , just for you.

Most of Britain's farmers reckon it would have taken a mere sliver of those obscene wads of dosh to make both the Institute of Animal Health and Merial Animal Health Limited safe. Both are based on the same Pirbright site and, like a pair of kids in a playground, screamed last summer "It wasn't me!" when Foot & Mouth broke out.

Several enquiries declared a sort of score draw but expressed concern that an approach slightly more serious than applying a bit of Tippex and laying on a few yards of sellotape might have helped.

But, hey, it was only cattle that got hurt. The farmers and their families don't agree and just wondered, in passing, what the High Court thought. Given Judges are renowned as members of the Beef Steak Club and frequenters of Rules, London's finest red meat eatery, they may be in with more than a decent chance but who knows and Judges are, of course, entirely and professionally impartial. The law , after all, is an ass and not an Aberdeen Angus. Jon is our man in a white coat, white trilby and green wellies.

No playground bullies at a new club for kids in Battersea - they'd send a hitman or enforcer to settle any rows over who had the best conker or whose turn it was on the slide. The entry fee is a mere

£2.5 k but watch out for the kid who doubtless brought floods of tears to his parents eyes when he explained his greatest fun came from the simplest object amidst all the tech-techery and Hamley's finery that caught the other little darlings eyes. It's Glen, I guess it had to be, who dons shorts and takes his favourite teddy down to the Louis Vuitton of kindergartens.

The Nannies there are fully qualified and apparently happy unlike some of the delightful Filipino women who come here expecting to "work with children" only to end up facing wholesale abuse for a pittance. Tonight we feature an altogether happier lady from those lovely islands which the American's invaded under Thoedore Roosevelt's Presidency only to hand them over, eventually to the rapacious Marcos gang. They do have a lot to answer for, don't they? Maybe, if my favourite former Supreme has her way, it'll all be better on November 5th. Anyway, our Changing Face of London series ends with a lovely smile and you will want to join in.

James King is away but the show must go on, as they say in tinsel town, so Robbie Collin will be here instead to talk about " Eagle Eye" and "Burn after Reading".

"Golden Eye" was a James Bond film and "burn after reading" a common instruction to spies - difficult if applied to the Concise Oxford Dictionary but not unlike a piece of cake if a set of micro-cryptic instructions on how to undermine the re-emergence of state socialism is on your menu. (By the way, it was Hank Paulson and Gordon Brown's idea, wasn't it? The lefties haven't bothered saying "let's take over the banks!" for ages, have they? Then along comes one itsy bitsy credit crunch and the capitalists capitulate. How funny it has all become. )Anyway, I digress - the entire back-catalogue of Bond movies is now on Blu Ray HD DVD ( - like you, I'm getting there -) and, by way of celebration, the whole Bond circus came to town including the Man With The Raised Eye-Brow, (the names Moore, Sir Roger Moore). Why was it held at Bletchley Park? I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you so tune in, instead, and discover all with Lucy "Miss Money-Penny" Cotter.

Robin is M and will , in his "cover" or "legend" as a weather man, give you a forecast. Then he'll organise the invasion of Cuba.

Salma felt she would make the perfect Bond girl was it not for her fear of flying, aversion to gold, fear of motor-bikes, inability to cart-wheel and wrestle at the same time and , despite a phenomenal collection, her total lack of blade-tipped brogues. So instead she'll tell you what else you can do this weekend.

Do you expect me to tell you?

No, you say, we expect you to die.

Thanks a lot.

See you at six.




London Tonight Tonight Thursday 16th October 2008

London Tonight Tonight Thursday 16th October 2008

Good afternoon.

They say the First World War was won on the playing fields of Eton. Frankly, had I been an Edwardian parent, I'd have wanted my money back. Such relentless carnage claimed as a victory based on skills learned on some lovely fields on the banks of the Thames just outside Windsor? No thanks. I rather hope that the skills our children are learning today may include the avoidance of war and the denegration of violence, but I am probably an optimist.

My son went to Winchester College and they used to refer to Eton as Slough Comp'... but I suspect Slough Comp' produces fewer blood curdling members of the Combined Cadet Force than either Eton or Winchester, where my son was one of those who insisted they do community service rather than learn how to shoot .303 rifles at cardboard cut-outs of The Enemy.

I mention this contrast because we have a fascinating tale tonight of a collaboration between a state school and another great private school - Corpus Christi and Dulwich, respectively. CC kids wanted to play rugby, a sort of fifteen aside mini-version of the Battle of the Somme, but didn't have the grounds. Dulwich has everything and was happy to oblige. We like that, the kids liked it and we think you'll enjoy Marcus putting on his shorts and getting muddy knees.

I am not sure where the Second World War was won - probably somewhere between a Detroit car factory and the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. It was lost in the coal fields of the Rhur and the engine plants of Bavaria, for sure. It had as much to do with economic regeneration, post the post-First World War (see above) depression as the defeat of Fascism ( A Good Thing, as in "1066 and all that" terms).

But again, real heroes died without questioning the motives of their rulers. Tonight the conclusion of a story which has moved me more than many I have seen on London Tonight in a decade and a half of association with this programme. It is the tale of a friend's search for the sacred remains of a comrade; their discovery on formally enemy soil; and the powerfully moving finale of the whole affair for the friend and the family of the friend's lost buddy. It matters, and we are proud to bring it to you in the peerless care of ITV News' Neil Connery.

Still up on the moral high-ground, Lewis has an amazing story about an Afghani who wanted to be an actor and moviemaker but whose perfectly reasonable ambition was thwarted by the Taliban. He is here, thriving and I am sure will make it big. What a shame it is here; but what a hope it might be there, one day. I wonder at which school the Battle of Afghanistan is currently being won? No, probably not.

The Battle of the MOBOs proved to be, like Waterloo according to Wellington, "a damn close run thing". But it was, to revisit Saddam, "the Mother of All Awards Ceremonies" and, thanks to Earl Haig, "The Party to End All Parties". We have a wonderful guest off the back of it and all I'll say is I intend to Keep You Hanging On.... it'll be worth it, believe me!

Finally, London said thanks to the Olympians today, the sun shone and the crowds came out. Harris peeks behind the sunlight into the gloom of funding but, in the main, we just have a city-wide street party with the men and women, able-bodied and paraplegic, who made us all feel so proud this summer.

Robin threatens Lycra for his forecast but I think Faye (emerald green silk top and, at last, sensible loose black trousers ,but no less appealing for that) will prevail.

Papers which will all have the same picture and headline, I'd guess, and that's your lot.

So, remembering, as all good Wykehamists do, that Manners Maketh Man*, I'll sign off by asking you to join Salma (first) and me (holding the door to TV heaven open for her) at 6.


*motto of Winchester College


London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 15th October 2008

London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 15th October 2008

Good afternoon.

Walter Cronkite, the greatest American newscaster, ever, enjoys conducting military bands in his spare time and I, in tribute to and admiration of him, have taken to this idiom of late.

The 'Stars and Stripes Forever' is my favourite march by John Souza, one of the greatest ever practitioners of this particular form, who also invented the sousaphone which is an amusing wind instrument. The words to "Stars and Stripes" have varied from an encouragement to show niceness to water-fowl, to an assertion that Hitler was inadequate in the reproductive equipment stakes.

In Holborn, there is a matrix of tunnels, initially dug as a warren of security from Hitler's blitz.

Tomorrow, our Olympic heroes will march through London's streets in celebration of their victories in Beijing. My link, dear friends, is the possibility that they will march to music that could allow them, in childish moments, to mock Hitler whilst striding purposefully over, and some considerable distance above, the tunnels which may shortly fall into private ownership.

If you watch at 6 it will all slip into place and make sense! Honest.

Meantime, the men and women responsible for organising the 2012 Games, right here in London, may put in a late bid for ownership of those tunnels as they are about to realise the meaning of the words "contingency", "fund", "overspend" and "not a penny more". Harris will explain why they have no hiding place, and why what Hitler and his bombers failed to do to the fabric of the city may be about to fall upon their collective heads.

We've another tale from a visitor who, despite all of the above, wanted to make a fresh start and find a new home in London. To my mind, Somalia , even with a Black Hawk Down, looks a little more tempting than London 2012, right now.

I am sure Somalia, among many African and Caribbean nations, has contributed to the glorious legacy that is Music Of Black Origin. We celebrate it once again tonight at the MOBO Awards, in the company of Mel B, Leona Lewis and Estelle. Lucy, despite being a stunning example of anglo-saxon womanhood, will be quite at home in this cultural melting pot.

Robin, more of a Glen Miller man, will "doo-doo-doo-doo-dah" us through his forecast and we'll glance at London's front pages which, thus, far, like a damp log in need of a fire lighter, are yet to burst into flame.

Salma's off for a sandwich so I'm off to check her drawers for Fortnum & Mason goodies - although I think everything I ordered is accounted for, it is difficult to tell in these days of declining, yet still just about conspicuous, consumption. J.K.Galbraith, you were right then (1929) and are still right, now.

I dined at Claridges last night and heard a man talking all about the economic crisis engulfing us all. I have always enjoyed irony but perhaps, like the Americans, he just didn't do it.

See you at 6 unless we are in the tunnel or on the march for that matter.

Passport at the ready,

I remain your dutiful blogger:Alastair & Salma.


London Tonight Tonight Tuesday 14th October 2008

London Tonight Tonight Tuesday 14th October 2008


I don't even know where to start we have such an eclectic mix of stories on the show tonight.

Ok, greed - let's begin there ... it's the subject of pretty much every front page, the greed that fuelled the banking crisis - they say. We're all feeling it in some way or another - Londoners it would appear - more so than the rest. Especially when it comes to the housing market. Estate Agents in the Capital are shifting less than one home a week. When you're losing your job, your savings and your confidence, it's hardly suprising that you don't want to commit to a new property: Hopefully betweeen Lewis Vaughan Jones and Kirsty Allsopp, we can offer some useful advice.

The Beckhams probably don't even know there is a credit crunch, but that hasn't prevented them from being the alleged victims of greed.

It all began when some of their unique, easily identifiable personal belongings popped up on Ebay. Police then arrested the Emmets - two of the housekeepers from Beckhingam Palace, and the Emmet's son. Ronke managed to talk to Mr Emmet - who denies any wrongdoing, hear exactly what he had to say at 6.


This next story is our absolute favourite - and we think you will love it too. Reg Wilson is a World War Two RAF hero. He survived being shot down over Germany, but some of his friends and comrades didn't. So after fighting hard for his country, Reg came home and began fighting for his lost friends - dedicating much of his life to finding their remains. And at sixty years old he's made a startling discovery. Jon Gilbert tells his wonderful story, which continues on tomorrow's show. It's truly compelling telly.

There's so much more besides, reverend Run from Run DMC on hosting the MOBO's, another installment in our Changing Faces series, plus - a name to remember ...Curtis Bushell ... he's just four years old and is well on the way to becoming a fine pianist. Tune in to get all the details. Plus of course the delicious Robin will be with us to provide more doom and gloom on the weather front.

Oooh - a very large box has just arrived for Alastair from Fortnum and Mason ..... what a bad time for him to wander off...

See you at 6.

Salma and Al


London Tonight Tonight Monday 13th October 2008

London Tonight Tonight Monday 13th October 2008

Good afternoon, and I hope you are enjoying your status as bank owners, mortgage brokers and the rest of your new-found roles following Mr Brown's purchase, with your dosh, of much of our banking industry. You can expect a call, shortly, from the 2012 Olympic lot who have run out of cash for the village. You may feel you've already done quite enough in your status as council and income taxpayers but, hey, these days it's funny money that rules the roost and nothing makes much sense anymore. Harris, who is always most cautious with money, is keeping his PIN number a state secret, but has been trying to find out how much they are asking Mr Darling for and how much Mr Darling may then ask you for. Then it's up to you.

Frankly, I find the electric bill bad enough let alone several blocks of flats in the Lee Valley but that's just me. Or is it?

"Dr. Death's" suicide clinic. We told you about it last week, now it's come to town. It includes a Betty video which, instead of showing you how to decorate a cake or grow geraniums indoors, explains how you can top yourself. I think it is all rather unsavoury but LVJ met a couple, in the rudest of health, who think it is simply an act of intelligent forward-planning... Anyway, Lewis is the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse tonight.

From "death, where is thy sting?" - to "life's rich tapestry" : we've a double transplant recipient who went on to become a mum ; and a remarkable young man who left the real threat of death in Zimbabwe to make a new life in Blighty, only to fall foul of the rules and regulations brigade. I wonder how many Jews, fleeing Nazi Germany, had the right papers and how many democrats, getting out of the old Soviet Union, had passport, work permit and driving licence about their persons? But Brother Jobsworth has scored maximum points in making this young man's bid for freedom pretty rough. His story with lovely Lucy.

Faye (leopard skin slippers with a pink bow, huge sleeved black top and.. well, you know I fear the threat of varicose veins and I have warned her) went to the World Break-Dancing Championships last night in Brixton.

She reported, in what would never pass for the Queen's English, of one person who'd "Got good skills, man"; "one dude" did something I didn't quite catch and there was a surprise in a rucksack. I can't do it justice but even I was persuaded I really wanted to see it, so I think you might find it eye-opening, mind-expanding and electrically exciting. But don't let your language slip, please.

She may have been auditioning for Womanhood which must surely follow Kidulthood and Adulthood. We have the director on the sofa so she can ask him for a part in the film. My middle son saw Adulthood and started talking just like Faye; they know each other - is this linguistic contagion?

Talking, finally, of contagion, all our homes are occasionally in need of a "spring clean", such is the build up of micro-dust, nook-and-cranny cobwebs and grime that even Flash finds a bit of a challenge to shift from those hidden recesses of the kitchen. But tonight we report on the Mother of All Spring-Cleans - summer, autumn and winter cleans. To say they left not a stone unturned is to understate it. They left nothing. All will be laid bare by Phil, our Aggy and Kim, rolled into one.

By the way, in the break-dancing we did rather well against the Koreans but, in the end, the Russians won. Rather like the new world order or, at least, Stamford Bridge..what say you?

Robin asked if the break-dancing was disc or shoe and caliper. No, not me either.

He'll have a forecast and we will have the papers I expect.

Salma has just made me a cup of tea - kind - and then ran off. I listen for a timing device only to remember it is not Friday. There must be another plot afoot. I'll report back later if I survive the afternoon.

Alastair & Salma.




Friday October 10th

Friday October 10th

Good afternoon.

Well, unlike John Terry and the stock market , we've made it safely to the end of the week.

If you're minded to raise a glass or more to celebrate that fact or embark upon a bucolic attempt to drown your sorrows if it's been a "downer" of a week, chose your battle-ground carefully. In the City, and my guess is that may prove a popular source of and venue for sorrow-drowners, the Police with the odd helmets have been issued with Yellow Cards: bad behaviour and, like the Masters of the Beautiful Game, wasted former Masters of the Universe will have the card shown to them. But it gets worse: unlike the Professional Foulers who have to behave for what remains of the 90 minutes, badly boozed up boys and girls will have to leave the area for 48 hours. Failure to comply or re-offending within that time and you get the Red Card - a painfully big fine. Will it work ? Will Slickers put the fine on Exe's? Lewis puts on black shorts and shirt and blows his whistle, just for you.

For some folk, life is much worse than for a broker who has merely lost a million or two: for example, the man, his wife's life wrecked by Alzheimer's, who felt desperately let down by social services and felt both of their lives were being ruined by disease and disinterest. He embarked upon a drastic course of action but, to his regret, lived to see the catastrophe of killing his wife but failing to take his own. He was arrested and prosecuted. Did the Courts act intelligently? What is an intelligent verdict? And, if guilty, what is the sensible sentence? Compassion or contempt? We've a powerful report on a powerful dilemma.

We also have a shocking take on this tale - an Australian who wants to be the Avon lady of self-destruction: "Ding-dong: Avon calling. Can I tell you how to kill yourself?"

It is not a light matter but there is something of the bizarre about it. Some will see it as a fundamental, moral dilemma - others, a matter of mechanistic convenience to end the chronic discomfort of a failing frame. Well, Dr Philip Nitschke himself joins us to put his side of the story and we'll ask for your views.

Bo Burnham would find all of the above funny, I am sure. He finds things that many consider untouchable, unutterable and unrepeatable the very meat and drink of his humour. He hates political correctness and to that I say "hurrah".

But this is no Eddie Izzard meets Frankenstein, not a Billy Connelly colliding with Caligula - he is a sweet, home-town teen from the US of A. He made his name on the ultimately liberal internet but is about to put a seriously naughty toe in the possibly less forgiving waters of the London Comedy Festival. I think he'll be a wow but I think lots of the audience will say "Wow" in a sort of shocked way more than "wow!" in a sort of "bowled over with mirth" sort of way. You listen and decide. He is very funny and very interesting.

As is James King. The Big Boss, who is In Charge today, wants to like "City of Ember" but isn't sure. He sees James as his very own cinema version of the DVLA - an issuer of licenses to enjoy. We'll see what James says. I don't want it to be known that I had already heard of "The Bunny House", nor that I knew what it was about, even less that I fully intend to go and see it whatever James says. Bet that's got you keen to watch and listen to The Master that is James King, at 6!

The weather with Robin, ( the Bo Burnham of the isobars), and the front pages of London's papers, which must have run out of money-puns and city-twists by now, are "not to miss" items as is a stroll through the diary of events that help make London what it is and keeps Salma out of trouble for a few precious moments, mid-afternoon.

We've also got a bin-man calling it a day after 41 years of service; but my bet is he won't turn up or he'll say we've put some words in the wrong lead-ins or tried to cram too much into some of the packages. Then he'll spill the e-mails. Nick has been to see him and help celebrate his retirement. A classic case of "Bin there, done it!" surely?

See you at 6



Alastair and Salma.




London Tonight Tonight Thursday 9th October 2008

London Tonight Tonight Thursday 9th October 2008

Hi everyone,

We have a special programme for you tonight in tribute to a very special person.

Daniel DeGale was diagnosed with leukemia when he was just 6 years old, and we've been following his story here on London Tonight since he was 10. In 1999, he became one of the first black people in the UK to undergo a bone marrow transplant, but his plight highlighted the low number of black and mixed race donors on the register. Today that number has massively increased thanks to Daniel, his Mum and Step-Dad and the creation of their charity, the African Caribbean Leukemia Trust (www.aclt.org). Sadly, Daniel died last night from an unrelated illness. He was 21.

Alastair will be at Great Ormond Street hospital tonight remembering and celebrating the legacy of this extraordinary young man.

Plenty of other news on the programme tonight to tell you about. We are all by now well aware of the credit crunch, but who would have thought the major meltdown problems in Iceland, would have an effect on Londoners? Well, several of our councils have deposits in Icelandic banks... As have Transport for London and the Metropolitan Police. So does this all leave a major hole in our finances? Simon Harris will be assessing what it means for our city and for you.

Stansted Airport is back in the headlines today after the Government decided that a massive expansion there can go ahead. It means over 20,000 extra flights a year and a further 10 million passengers at the Essex airport, but local councillors say the concerns of residents are being ignored. So is this plan a boost to the local economy or a thorn in the side of the environmentalists? We'll bring you the latest live from the airport.

Hopefully you've managed to enjoy some of the sunshine today... hopefully it'll last, perhaps even to the weekend...! Chrissie will be giving us her verdict.

Do join Alastair at Great Ormond Street Hospital to find out all about Daniel DeGale's legacy and me, Faye Barker, in the London Tonight studio with the rest of the news at 6 o'clock.

Hope to see you then,

Faye & Alastair


London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 8th October 2008

London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 8th October 2008

Good afternoon.

With what is going on in the economy you, like me, may be tempted to flee this mayhem !

"Frankly", as W.C.Fields says on his tombstone , "I'd rather be in Philadelphia!" Or Paris. Or Reading. Well, depending on what happens at a meeting of Newham Council at 6pm, getting to Paris could be easier: good news for us escapees, but not so for the good people who live around City Airport. Lewis Vaughan Jones will be there to bring you the outcome of the debate on expansion, live.

As for Reading, getting their quicker from this eastern side of the city may now be a pipe-dream. Crossrail may get crushed by the credit-crunch. It was always going to cost several King's ransoms but now it may simply be that the dosh the Government were going to spend digging the tunnel and propping it up, will be spent on digging the Banks out of a hole and propping them up, instead. Harris goes underground to fathom the truth.

Also fathoming the truth, several hundred miles north of here, are the Police who are crawling all over a Leeds flat in the belief that it was either a bomb factory or ops' base for the 7/7 bombers. Dabs to the left of them, DNA to the right - they think they are onto something and John Hill, a reporter from "oop thar" will tell all.

Finally, two bits of history: tomorrow night, in an ITV4 show, some of the oldies and goldies of English and Irish football will confront each other as Legends of The Beautiful Game. Truth to tell, few of them are particularly beautiful now, but they have a tale or two to tell and grudge or three to settle. Kenny Sansom is the man with the red and yellow cards and will blow the whistle on the lot of them.

Finally, what Faye (sharply pointed cream shoes, blood-vessel-busting jeans and a pin-striped, "nod to the city crisis" jacket) says is her favourite story, ever. Len Smith was young, brave and a gifted artist. But, in 1914, like tens of thousands, he answered the call to arms. He kept a book of his thoughts, his souvenirs and, most importantly, his sketches. When High Command (think of the idiot Melchett in Blackadder Goes Forth) had the seriously unusual wit to figure out that his drawings might help the war effort, he was pressed into drawing enemy emplacements - even being sent, under cover of night, to No-Man's land to get a better look. The results were useful then, but are powerfully emotional reminders now of just how brave and inventive that generation were. Private Len Smith died 30 years ago but a nephew preserved this moving volume, and tonight we can share some of it with you. You will be amazed and moved by it and can then go online and see the lot. Of this, we are proud.

Another ray of light in all the gloom will come from Chrissie's magic meteorological wand - it's looking a bit better for a day or two. The papers will out-do each other on "bank bail-out/interest-rate cut" stories and we'll share with you your thoughts on City Airport's expansion ... or not.

But my guess is you will be thinking of Len Smith, curled up in a fox-hole, drawing machine guns and German helmets in an extraordinary effort to bring victory to the country he loved and save the lives of the men he fought with.

I've gone all emotional but without apology.

See you at 6.

Alastair & Katie



London Tonight Tonight Tuesday 7th October 2008

London Tonight Tonight Tuesday 7th October 2008

Good afternoon.

It is a grey, damp afternoon and Faye ( black trousers and THAT Rolling Stones glitter top again !) and I decided we were in need of a boost so took ourselves off to the canteen. I went for a Crunchie Bar and she for some custard cream biscuits. Still gloomy. What we need is some happiness but where might we find it and from whom?

Perhaps, we need a Happiness Counsellor. Well we know where we can find one! Not wishing to spoil your amusement or to spoil the joke with the punch line, all I will tell you is that the person we have in mind is currently engaged in a re-housing project in Elephant and Castle. Intrigued? It will be more rewarding than a Crunchie bar or, even, several custard cream biscuits.... which is just as well, as they have all gone now.

Second only to a Happiness Counsellor - in fact second and third only to the aforementioned practitioner of mirth-spreading - are French and Saunders. The twin geniuses of Ab Fab and The Vicar of Dibley are about to mount a two-person stage show and they have found time to drop in and share their funniness with you, via us. An entire box of Crunchie bars and the whole output of a Custard Cream factory could not compete.

Nothing, in the bright and beautiful minds of Katie's girls, can compete with High School Musical - they eat and breathe this miraculous example of Disney striking just the right note, (lots of them, in fact), at just the right moment. Tonight number 3 in the movie series has it's premiere in Leicester Square. Lucy is there and Zac Efron - who plays male lead Troy - says he'll be there. He's a fool if he fails to show because the lovely Lucy will be on hand to chat to him.

The judge in the Buncefield oil refinery blast damages case has told the parties to "chat" to one another PDQ - a settlement is all but there and I think he wants to start planning for Christmas. The claimants should get some dosh but the details, His Honour suggests, can be thrashed out now the oil giants have agreed it was their oil on their complex which caused the problems. Marcus dampens down the fire of fury or, if they don't sort it, will fan the flames thereof.

Finally a school that has started before it was finished and a black copper who has ended his career but hasn't ended having his say. I'll say no more but both will raise you eyebrows ... unless they were singed by the Buncefield blaze, in which case we'll never know.

I suspect two of the papers will be left standing by the other one in the race to tell you the latest in the fast unfolding financial chaos that is the death throws of capitalism as we now know it.

And Chrissie, looking even more lovely with her new hair do, will be honest about the weather prospects so you may want to put your fingers in your ears and delude yourself, like the bankers, that it'll all turn out nice.

See you at 6.

Alastair and Katie.


London Tonight Tonight Monday 6th October 2008

London Tonight Tonight Monday 6th October 2008

Positive greetings of a post-meridian manner.

On our crisp, multi-media proffering of user-friendly info' this close of play period, we celebrate, in a hands-on fashion, a fight back against jargon in Harrow.

You know, all the rubbish that litters forms - some to make silly people feel better about what they do by dressing up their job-description with a meaningless yet verbose title; some of it, more troublingly, is used to confuse or scare-off claimants. The good folk of Harrow Town Hall have said "enough is enough" instead of " we have reached a point, at this moment in time, when some of the verbiage employed by our operatives is superfluous". "Hurrah for them" says Ben, our man with the blue pencil and the Everyman Dictionary.

Some of this jargon-language is the child of political correctness - gender is a particular area of sensitivity. But race is the richest vein: even describing a day like today, with shares falling and bankers losing billions, as "Black Monday" has been frowned upon. But what is a serious race issue is the suggestion that black youths should not join the Met because it is STILL racist. The body that represents black police officers has issued a call for a boycott of the Met. That there needs to be a Black Police Association is, in many people's minds, a shameful sign of the times and we will be talking to the Association's Chair (there I go) on the programme.

One hopes no Police Officers were attending group meetings of any sort when two pitbulls, running on the loose, attacked and severely wounded a young mum out for a stroll with her toddler in his pushchair. She is badly, really badly, wounded. Her husband distraught, but the little boy, blessings, OK. There's now an almighty row about the investigation, about fault and about the attitude of the owner. Only when Katie said "The dogs could have eaten the child" did the full potential horror of this episode dawn upon me. She is right. It hardly bears thinking about. Nick has put on thick clothing and gloves to investigate.

Bozza is now the Chair of the Met Police Authority and Harris has been taking statements on how he is likely to do in over-seeing the Force and over-seeing the search for a replacement for Sir Ian Blair. Bozza says he is quintessentially a multi-culturalist because one of his grandparents was a Turk. Nevertheless, he will have to scratch his near white locks over the problem with black coppers... or a distinct lack of them, too.

Talking of jargon busting, Harris has just complained that he has been declared "de-skilled" because he hasn't edited, on his own, much since he returned triumphantly from Beijing. He'd have to "re-skill" he was told. I think it was only the "kill" bit of the word which was on his mind as he strode off to find a manager to discuss the matter with.

Ben Barnes is a handsome young actor who made a big splash in Prince Caspian, the latest Narnia movie. And he's got what sounds like a fun and fascinating new offering about to occupy your attentions as you sip Kiora and crunch popcorn of a Saturday night. KD and I will enjoy meeting him later.

Faye is back - I so like the boots, I'll say no more but she looks a holistic treat and I'll leave it at that - save to say, "welcome back, lovely!".

With that , "see you in a jiff" - or, may the ensuing interlude which places, in separate silos, that which you are tasked to perform and that which we have been charged with joint focused responsibility over, be brief.

Alastair & Katie.



Good afternoon.

What did you want to be when you were young? You know, "When I grow up, I want to be ....".

Many of us aspired to something that might please our parents: I wanted to be in the Fleet Air-arm because my mum was a WREN and my dad was an RAF navigator.

Salma began wanting to be an English teacher and then aspired to being a news reporter - she loved reading and being listened too.

But what could conceivably make anyone want to be a latter day Jack the Ripper? We immediately slump into the realms of psychosis and the dark pages of human evil to understand this. But when "Killers-The Most Barbaric Murderers of Our Time" is among someone's favourite night-time reading, it's pretty clear there's a deep rooted problem. But Derek Brown went tragically and gruesomely further - a serial sex-offender, he sunk to the depths and killed two young women. Their remains were never found. It is a dreadful but compelling story and today we can report it following his his conviction.

Oddly, it was another success for what was, until 4.15pm yesterday, Sir Ian Blair's brilliant band in blue. The PC PC will remain in office for a few more weeks then presumably consult. We've been consulting of the whys and where-fores of his dramatic ousting by Bozza and it as fascinating a drama as Colin Dexter or P.D.James might pen. Jon Gilbert reviews the plot.

To plots of a different sort - the moving and majestic War Graves across north-western Europe never fail to send a chill down my spine and cause tears to well-up in my eyes. The grey-stone monuments in so many market towns, across Great Britain, don't have the same effect on me though, I am sure, for the relatives of the men and women whose names are there, the impact is strong and lasting. 1914-18 and 1939-45 claimed so many of our finest, they deserve all they get to hold them in our grateful memories. So, might the addition of the names of those who have fallen in more recent conflicts - Iraq and Afghanistan, for example - be appropriate additions or is there something perculiarly special about those two global conflicts? I am not sure, but tonight we have the tale of a family's battle to have the name of their late loved one, added to the roll of honour and how it didn't result in early surrender by the forces of opposition. It is a moving story and sets an important precedent, either way. We'll supply the facts and ask for your opinions.

James will give his opinions on two films - "Alienate", which appears to have done just that to most critics, though James may differ; and Brideshead Revisited which many critics feel it simply shouldn't have been, the TV version having been incapable of improvement. Again James, who is to film reviewing what Evelyn Waugh was to the English novel, gives us his views.

Lenny Henry gives us his views on the achievements of some black school children and tells us about progress on one of his own, most cherished ambitions.

War of the Worlds was a great novel by H.G.Wells, turned into a great radio play by Orson Wells which terrified Americans into their bunkers. It also inspired a great album of the 70s under the grand command of Jeff Wells ... sorry, Jeff Wayne.

He and the delicious Jennifer Wells... no, that's Jennifer Ellison! Anyway, both of them are with us in the studio to tell us about the lastest incarnation of this master work of popular music.

Robin may be so moved as to sing his forecast to you and the papers may get nudged out by the excitement we all feel for what we have to offer you, but we'll see.

A brief battle raged over whether we would have What Not To Miss in the running order until I realised the man who is in charge today, Ken "West Ham to win the Champions League... one day" Hayes, was joking. Salma wasn't sure it was funny, at all. I thought it was. Briefly.

See you at 6.

Alastair & Salma

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



Good Afternoon.

One of the oddest things that happens to us is that , when we are on air with a bulletin, a rumour starts to circulate. The clock ticks away until the programme finishes as colleagues lift every stone to try and stand the rumour up or knock it down.

So it was for Katie and me on the ITV Lunchtime News and the rumour was explosive.

Sir Ian Blair, Commissioner of the Met' was to stand down. As responsible journalists, we don't subscribe to the "not wrong for long" approach and, by 2pm as we came off air, we weren't sure enough to report it. We are now. He is to make a statement in a little under and hour and at 6pm we will have the full story for you.

From "never liked him" to "he's the target of a right-wing conspiracy", we'll have all views and ask for yours, too.

We'll also have the remarkable story to one of the successes scored by the men and women under Sir Ian's command - the jailing of a woman who made Walter Mitty look like a man who was steeped in reality and Ronnie Biggs, a fine upstanding example of a law abiding citizen. Her taste was for jewels and fine art, especially when it belonged to someone else. She was good but she was caught. Birthday boy Marcus gets this gift of a story.

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Some of the finest poetry, penned in the English language. Acts of selfless heroism. The most obscene waste of human life in living memory. All are icons of what Edwardians dubbed The Great War and the most optimistic among then named The War to End all Wars. It was neither and the Imperial War Museum has opened an exhibition to mark the 90th anniversary of its ending next month. Lewis has been down Lambeth way for a look at a fitting tribute to the victims and the tragically fewer survivors of that blot on humanity's landscape.

And from blots on the landscape to a jewel in our crown - Tamzin is back! "Hurrah!" I lead you in shouting. She has a new show at 1130 tonight called Forward slash London or, in electro-script, "/london". Tonight she talks to Frank Bruno among others but, for me, it is just the joy of having her back. We will give you a taster.

This news leads us into the lighter side of life in our televisual trek across the metropolis - Kelly Brook, who has done most things and can do little wrong in my book, has made her debut on the West End stage in a swimming suit. I think that covers most bases for the theartre crtics and the blokes among you! Lucy , an elegant image of beautiful talent herself, makes it a magic double act.

Then Roy Walker joins us in the studio. Compared to having Kelly in the studio, he's good but it's not right. Seriously, he is a durable pillar of LE and has a one man autobiographical show that, like Richard and Judy, is proving a not immediately obvious sucess on the University circuit. Say what you see will prompt you to say "It's Roy Walker"...

Robin will look at his charts and will say what HE sees - perhaps some sun, rising over the grey horizon? One can but hope.

And remember, your thoughts, reminiscences, affection and prejudices over Sir Ian Blair.

See you at six.

Alastair and Salma.

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



Good Evening,

'Broken society' - our broken society - that's the main theme of David Cameron's speech this afternoon. Today's show unfortunately does little to dispel that notion.

Hemel Hempstead has been a broken society for almost 3 years. The Buncefield Oil Depot explosion dispersed the community, destroyed local businesses and left streets literally in tatters. . Today Total and Chevron were in the High Court - the start of a hearing to decide which if any company was responsible. Those who continue to be affected are claiming £1 billion in damages. They've waited a long long time for closure - hopefully this will bring it.

Back to David Cameron - he says in no uncertain terms - there will be no third runway at Heathrow under a Tory government. We've heard a lot on this over the past week ... today we'll speak live to Willie Walsh , BA's chief exec who unsuprisingly thinks it will damage the national economy and condemn air travellers to decades of delays (and that's without going through Terminal 5).


David Cameron says he's 'a man with a plan' to fix our Broken Society, for that we'll just have to wait and see. Two people who have already shown their grit and determination to make a difference are Gloria and Richard Taylor, parents of Damilola who was stabbed and left to die in a Peckham stairwell almost 8 years ago. They made a vow to tackle youth violence on our streets and remained true to their word. Unfortunately Gloria passed away earlier this year - but Richard has been honoured at the Pride of Britain awards, and rightly so.

Guy Ritchie meets Sherlock Holmes in a new movie - confused? Alastair isn't - "Lock Stock and 2 Smoking Violins" he said "put that in the blog" ... I wouldn't dare to go against such a wish, especially as I know he's had his sugar intake today - I knew buying that crunchie was a bad idea.

Well the lovely Lucy will of course be covering that. Phil Bayles meets 9 very happy lottery winners from a care home in Essex. And Chrissie is back from her hols - looking incredibly tanned and relaxed ... when the weather girl goes abroad for her sun you know she can't have much good news to report ... oh well.

See you at 6

Salma and Alastair