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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