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Friday August 1st

Friday August 1st
Good afternoon.
It was either the night before Jill Dando died - possibly two nights before that terrible day - that I last saw her. We were presenting a big fund-raiser for the Royal British Legion at the Natural History Museum with Jeffrey "Lord" Archer doing the auction. It was happy, exciting and profitable for the Legion. A couple of days later I met Katie for the first time: she presented a brilliant Tonight special on Jill's murder and she interviewed me for my recollections of that final encounter.
I have never met Barry George, nor even seen him. I have read many times that a tiny speck of gun-shot residue was found in his pocket which forensically matched the bullet that killed Jill. I have read and heard, many times, about the people who swore, in all honesty I am sure, that they had seen him in or around Gowan Avenue where Jill lived and died. But in what is one of our nations most cherished traditions, a jury today decided that none of what they had heard in court persuaded them that Mr. George pulled the trigger that left Jill, slumped in her door-way, dieing.
It remains an iconic and compelling moment of life in London featuring one of British TV's true stars. Tonight, Lewis explains how we got here and how, for millions of us, there are still no answers to those two compelling questions: who killed Jill and why?
Another iconic moment in London's recent history is 7/7 when four young men decided to take innocent lives by blowing apart themselves and anyone close to them in back-pack bomb attacks on the tube and the top deck of a London bus. Miles of video, a philosophers knot of tape, suggested that some men on trial had helped plot and plan those evil attacks. But, again, a jury simply said "You know what? We're not sure..." Churchill said of democracy, "It is the best system once you have ruled out all the others". I think that is true of Jury trials, as well. You may differ but give us the honour of watching our reports and analysis - then, as ever, you decide.
A little girl has gone missing with the man said to be her father and a woman, who is her mother, has put a "crie de coeur" on the Internet pleading for help in getting the little girl back. Walter Mitty, Billy Liar - Clark Rockefeller? I don't know but the Police in the States have no record of the missing dad so it is a double mystery which Glen will attempt to unravel.
Another suitcase murder, this time in Brazil, finds it's disagreeable way onto our agenda today because the victim is from London. Her Brazilian boy-friend said he did it and photographed his black art. Then he changed his mind. Nick will let you know the latest at 6.
Then we breath a sigh of "It is Friday, after all" relief as we launch into what James K makes of Love Guru which some say proves the genius master-mind of Austin Powers and other movie gems can also produce cinematographic manure - others are kinder. Plus, he'll reflect upon X Files, the movie which features Billy Connolly in an otherwise entirely predictable cast - odd that, given the very nature of the unexpected and inexplicable X files.
Equally inexplicable is how Elaine Stritch - a star of screen and stage for as long as even I can remember - keeps going at the top of her chosen arts: stand-up, musical and sit-com. For years she lived in a suite at the Savoy and she knew Noel Coward: my kinda woman! She is with us tonight.
Robin was going to do his weather forecast from the Zoo tonight but we ran out of live-links so he is in the studio, too. I think he is probably even more of a "Stritchy" fan than I am but the Big Boss says it is due to a lack of live links so I suggest he checks Robin's locker...
London's papers if time permits and something which in the notes for our planning meeting says vertically, "Innocent Clown Red Bull" which I assume means a circus entertainer, also found not guilty of anything today, will be doing aerobatic stunts this weekend: now that IS something Not To Miss..... What?
I have forgiven Salma who was upset about my Richard III reference last Friday: she was, for a week, Queen Caroline to my George IV so I am really sorry and promise to be more of a George VI to her Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons, henceforth.
Vivat Siraj!
See you at Six.
Alastair and HM Salma