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


Tuesday 23rd December

Good afternoon

'Tis the season to be cheerful, slightly earlier than you might have thought. Don't panic! You haven't missed a thing nor left anything too late.
As we are not on air tomorrow, we are treating tonight as our Christmas eve', just for you.

So, we will raise your spirits with our variation upon a theme of Charles Dickens. Despite these "Hard times" and the absence of even a "Bleak House", London's homeless found the arm of affection and support offered to them at nine Crisis centres today. The people who run this great charity say more people than ever are helping out and Robin was been warming her hands on the glow of human kindness. We'll also be talking to one of the people from Missing People who, among other things, wants to say thanks for all the 'phones you've sent in. You are a good lot.

But, alas, our's is a "Tale of Two Cities" tonight - shocking figures published today report the number of times Old Bill was called out - not to pub' brawls and bank robberies but to uprisings in the lower fifth and other troubled cauldrons of learning. As the arm of affection (see above) was being stretched out to the homeless, the strong arm of the law was helping place a firm hand upon the shoulders of a rather worrying number of boys and girls who do not consider these to be 'The Best Days of Their Lives': more a cross between "D Day" and "The Battle of The Bulge". We chat to a London Head who used to run the teacher's union and ask why talking at the back has turned to wrestling at the front.

The worthy stage-coach was a vibrant feature of "The Pickwick Papers" and, if you plan to venture north from our fair city this festive season, you arguably might do better in a landau and four than on one of National "not that" Express's trains, among other TOCs. That's Train Operating Companies though the "operating" bit is often the subject of lively debate in my experience. Jon is our 'slender' Controller with all the details to help you complete your plans to stay at home. I miss the flags and whistles of rail travel whilst others have long resigned themselves to the loss of seats. Standing room only for this one.

"Oliver Twist" famously said 'Please Sir, I want some more'. He braved brutality for an extra ladle of gruel but I think you'll all raise the roof this evening in a similar plea when you see Glen at the Ritz getting expert lessons on how to roast THAT festive bird. The stuffing bit had me salivating at lunchtime but what the Head Chef did with the birds "pins" may come as a first to you. It did me...

We're risking an "Old Curiosity Shop" full of our favourite bits from 2008 in the hope you'll see a little of what you fancied in the last year. If we've chosen the right bits, it is down to us; if you don't like them, e-mail me and I will furnish you with the Big Bosses personal address. I jest. He has power of hire and fire over me. I really do jest...

Finally, we have "Great Expectations" that you will be heartened to hear the touching messages from some of our brave lads and lasses, stuck in Iraq and Afghanistan, which we are delighted to be the passing on to their loved ones, missing them back home here in London.

And finally a real "Christmas Carol", or two, to end with, courtesy of the phonically fabulous choir of St. Brides.

We really hope you can be with us. It is a special programme at a special time of year for a special bunch of people, and that's you.

See you at 6 geese a laying - not at 5 gold rings, or you'll be too early; and certainly not at seven swans a swimming or you'll have missed the lot!

Alastair and Katie.