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London Tonight Tonight Wednesday 3rd December 2008

Good afternoon.

I think I have mentioned in the past that my family are all big fans of Roald Dahl - the young ones enjoy "James and the Giant Peach", "The BFG" and "Matilda", to name but three. I, and my eldest, really enjoy "Tales of the Unexpected", a series of dark, clever short stories which spawned a good TV series some years ago. "Tales of the Unexpected" is not a bad definition of news, as well. Prince Charles once asked why we never report on the fact that, every day, Boeing 747s, weighing tonnes and full of people, fly successfully and safely between London and the USA. "Because that's what they are supposed to do, sir", came the polite answer. It's when they crash that it becomes news because that is not what they are supposed to do.

So, when a young woman gets up on a cold and frosty morning, bids her husband farewell and begins to scrape the ice off her windscreen, it isn't news. But when a yob leaps into the car and roars off, running her over and breaking virtually every bone in her body, it is not only news, it is an outrage. The full, gruesome details, plus a description of the yob, are in Glen's notebook as I write; and, at 6, he'll lay it all before you.

In several police officers' notebooks tonight are the full details of how they were "proceeding towards the Palace of Westminster" and, specifically, to the office of the Honourable Member of Parliament for Ashford in Kent, Damian Green. I know Damian very well, having worked with him in his days as a fine TV journalist on Channel Four News, and a finer, more honest man, you'd be hard pressed to find. I don't know, as far as I am aware, any of the cops who mounted this odd raid but, from what I do know of that brigade, they are fine and brave men. I know Sir Paul Stephenson, the acting Commissioner of the Met' - he's a good egg, too; and, like Ken before him, I count Bozza as a friend as well as an important target for our honest reporting of London's fascinating story. So I am bemused by what came to pass on that fateful day and I am even more bemused by what Sir Paul and Bozza had to say this morning about who did what, who told what to whom, and what their roles may, or may not, have been on that day. It makes me feel like a bit-part player in one of Dahl's more complex "Tales of the Unexpected". I wish Harris well in toying with this philosopher's knot of a story, but it couldn't be in better hands than his.

An equally complex and subtle story is the tragedy that unfolded this morning in Dartford, though I fear it may prove sadly simpler to solve. A mum in hospital and in custody, and a child, found dead in a house. Jon will tread carefully but will tell you all he can.

Balancing the bad in our community are some remarkably good people upon whom we will "remark" more loudly than usual. "Reach" is a programme for black role models, with nearly half the top twenty being Londoners. One is a young fireman. I asked Faye, (dinner jacket discarded, but satin striped trousers, topped off with a stunning red silk blouse) if he was a "looker". She frowned, scolded me and said "Probably!". So worth staying tuned for a fine example of behaviour, bravery and manhood, at 6.

A fine Frenchman - never an oxymoron in my book - has put his skills on eBay for a good cause. The cause is the fight against Leukemia, and the skill he is selling is an artistic skill of kitchen-crowning proportions. He will cook a Michelin-esque Christmas lunch for the highest bidder and his or her family. The Big Boss won't be bidding because chicken and not turkey is the entree dish, but I may be tempted because chicken and truffles does it for me.

Finally a film called "Twilight" is causing a storm in the States - another beautiful young male Brit, a nod to Harry Potter, and an army of women of "a certain age" in pursuit of him - makes for a good story in any running order.
Not according to Lucy "the conqueror of De Niro, Clooney et al" Cotter - and she should know.

Alex and I hope you'll find enough there to settle your plans for 6 - 6.30 this chilly evening.