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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