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This is the official website of London Tonight, on ITV1 in London and the South East every weeknight at 6pm.


Mon Oct 20th


Good afternoon.

Children fall into two categories, in my experience: puddle-jumpers and ripple watchers.

Puddle jumpers tend to be noisy, slightly grubby and very energetic. They can't see a puddle without leaping into it and enjoying the splash, however much it adds to the weekly wash.

Ripple watchers are more thoughtful: they see a puddle, or a canal or a lake (and London is blessed with many), and have to throw a stone in and then watch the ripples course out from the centre.

London's property market is a bit like a puddle at the moment: estate agents are like puddle jumpers - they'll throw themselves at it to seek an effect. Today they've made the leap with the offer of tiny charges, in lieu of monstrous 3-5% fees. Many are still standing there, waiting to see the result of their extreme action and, truth to tell, not much has happened yet. So, wet feet, wet hair and a rather false smile across their troubled little faces.

Buyers and sellers are more like ripple watchers: cautious, thoughtful, intrigued. They'll pitch a bid, very low, and see what happens or "float" an asking price, a bit on the high side, and pray. They, too, stand patiently by, awaiting a reaction.

Tonight we attempt to see if either type are going to get the reaction they hope for as the market remains in "flat-line" condition. Our Big Puddle is a development in Thamesmead where, in an 84 unit, purpose built development, only two properties are owner-occupied, the rest having been repossessed . It is a dramatic and frightening example of what is going on out there.

Don't mix puddles with canals and leap in the wrong one! Watch us at 6 and, with Kirsty's help, we'll make some sense of it for you. Glen is a puddle jumper and Tamsin a ripple watcher: both have put on their Paddington Bear wellies just for you.

I tell my children they should work hard at school and when that inevitably fails, I think of a "child-friendly" way of inspiring them: "history", I say, "is just a series of wonderful and exciting stories, acted out by big, interesting characters - some romantic , some monsters - some, like Henry VIII a bit of both!"

(Maths is more difficult and if you do master it you might end up as a banker or an estate agent, neither of which is very appealing just now so lets stick with history.)

The "raw material" of history is fascinating, too. Take the document Piers has come up with which tells you who arrived on the shores of this green and pleasant land between 1878 and 1960. His Gilbert and Sullivan-esque "little list" includes the ancestors of the brilliant and surely soon to be F1 World Champ (so long as Ferrari don't indulge in yet more cheating) - and Diane Abbott : love her or loathe her, she is surely one of our more interesting MPs.

There are masses more in between and Piers plays the Prof, just for you.

Shakespeare's plays are catagorised into Histories, Romances, Comedies and Moral Tales though, for me , "Richard III", was all and more besides.

No Shakespeare, however, in the West End just now and, if the recession really hits, there much not be much else either - bar "Mama Mia" which I think would survive the recommencement of global hostilities and a thermo-nuclear attack. Oh, and "Spamalot", whose audiences wouldn't notice closure or an attack from North Korea, Iran or a former Soviet Republic - they'd still be singing "Always look on the Bright Side of........ KABOOM!"

Don't say we didn't warn them.

We ask the theatre critic of TIMEOUT why even the good are failing and why it has taken the rubbish (won't tell you of which one Katie said "But it was awful!") so long to get their come-uppance.

The Kaisers Chiefs have a new album and the Party Line from The Big Boss, who is in charge today, is that "it is VERY good". So, Lucy's thus far glittering career is on the line as she goes to meet the mic-stand-leaping-lot and lets you know what she thinks... (think, Lucy, think very carefully).

A young Christian woman, seeking to do good in Afghanistan, was murdered, early today, by the Taliban.They believe they have God on their side and the infidel within their borders. A fatal clash of cultures and beliefs that leaves one group thinking they've reduced the oppression they endure by a microscopically small degree and one family and one charity, short of a really lovely person who was just trying to help.

I can't make an ounce of sense out of it either - I guess I am a pebble watcher, after all.

See you at 6, via the genius that is Robin and the repetition that is London's papers.

Hope you're there.

PS - Katie's back - big hurrah!