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London Tonight Tonight Monday 14th July

London Tonight Tonight Monday 14th July

Good afternoon.

Can I say how pleased I am to be back after a terrific week in the Isle of Wight? Of course I can. Do I mean it? Well...

I was making my packed lunch last night and putting out what to wear, when the phone rang: could I interview a senior cop tomorrow morning? (Now today, if you follow my chronology). Yes, I said: when and where? Millbank studios at 8.45am. That meant me getting up at an obscenely early hour so I hestitated, until I was told the subject was knife crime and that the interviewee was to be the new King Kong of the campaign to rid our streets of the beastly blades. Fine, I said, and went to bed without seeing the end of Pulp Fiction for the umpty-umpth time. Oddly appropriate film, in the circumstances.

Anyway, it turned out to be a good call on my part: he is fascinating, positive, intelligent, common-sensical and optimistic. Please give ear and then judge for yourselves.

Now, if I rented a flat in London rather than live a little way out in the countryside, I could have had an extra hour in bed. But with the state the rental market is in, now might not be the time to pounce: Louisa joins us in the studio - I shall be doing no pouncing in her direction - but I shall pounce upon her every answer as I suggest you do too whether you are a renter or a rentee.

If it looks like a good deal I shall move on it with the speed of Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes McLaren FI motor-car or a Lear Jet. Which would get me there fastest? We can reveal the answer to that curious conundrum as 6.

I love the film "Zorro" with Antonio Banderas in the star role, ably supported by Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta Jones. The sword fight scene between Antonio and Catherine was memorable. I pause for a moment. I remember. I move on. There was a similar scene in Oh! Calcutta but it ended differently. Anyway, sticking with my "from big-screen to stage" theme, "Zorro" goes West End, and Lucy has been deciphering the curious "swish" shape for you. I wonder if Lucy ever did fencing?

In "Die Another Day", one of my favourite "Pierce Brosnan-period" Bond films, there is also a grand fencing scene between an English Rose, Rosumund Pike, and a gorgeous African-American goddess, Halle Berry. It reminded me of Grace Jones' performance in another Bond film, the name of which escapes me, but which features an airship owned by a mad man called Zorrin. Zorrin has nothing to do with Zorro, and Piers Hopkirk is not related to Mr Brosnan ... nor is he a fencer. He has, nevertheless, discovered that fare-paying airships are about the ply their steady yet elegant trade in the skies over London once more. He test-flies it for you, lucky aviator.

Did I say I was glad to be back? Gosh, I so am...

And here's the final reason - the Oyster card system went into meltdown at the weekend and may have given as many as 60,000 commuters a free ride: my goodness, they deserve it! Getting replacement cards will be a bind but, hey, smile for the day, that's what I say.

See you at 6.

Alastair and Katie.