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London Tonight Tonight Monday 12th January 2009

Good afternoon.

Unlike Tom Hanks in "Cast Away", I have not lost my basketball but, like Tom, I have been away a while. I have not grown a beard nor, I hope, have I begun to act strangely but you and others will be the judges of that. It is good to be back and to wish you all a belated yet still heartfelt Happy New Year.
Unless you live close to Heathrow in which case I wish you happy "five days of keeping your fingers tightly crossed". This week sees, according to Harris, the decision on the expansion, or otherwise, of Heathrow Airport. Harris has both a private pilots' license and brilliant political contacts, so I and the Big Boss are content to answer his "Come Fly With Me" invitation on this lead with a loud "Roger, Rog' ".
Harris has flown to Frankfurt, not in anger, but in the interests of seeing how they're expanding their airport. They've built a high-speed train and still manage to produce fine hot-dog sausages among many other things. So we kitted Glen out in a flying suit and goggles, called "Chocks Away", explained we weren't talking sweeties, and now await - with some trepidation - his report on the future of LHR from LHR.

Not Happy New Year but Happy Birthday to the DLR station at Woolwich Arsenal! Why Boris was late for the ribbon-cutting tells you all you need to know about the rest of the overground railway system in this fine metropolis.
The fate of 14 year old Zoe Smith tells you all you need to know about what is wrong with the funding formula for our 2012 Olympic hopefuls. If she was a cyclist, a runner or even possibly, a wiff-waff player, she might have been smiling all the way to precious metal. But she is a weight-lifter and so even her training gym down in Kent is threatened with closure and, with it, her best hopes of doing her best by the rest of us. Lewis tries to figure out the logic of it, as well as why the bar doesn't bend in the middle and crush the lifter when you strap 50kg at either end. Dust those hands, Lewis, and tighten that big belt.

The difference between an arithmetic and a geometric progression explains why it is getting easier to move up the property ladder for first time homeowners. Kirstie will explain it in terms that those of you who are not mathematicians will understand. Or that is what Faye, increasingly beautiful with the onset of motherhood, assured the rest of the team having told me to shut up. (White blouse and black trousers , by the way, and not a "Bloomin' Marvellous" label in sight. Yet.)

"Chandni Chowk to China" is Warner Brothers' new baby - Bollywood out of Chinatown, to borrow terminology from the horse-racing industry. Lucy takes to one of the pavement-mounting, window-entering rickshaws to tell all. Now, I am lost, too. Back to my Hanks-like retreat? No, there's more to be done. Katie has just returned, stating that Regent Street and she do not see eye to eye. She is my idea and ideal of a Bond Street girl so maybe she just took the wrong turning at the Burlington Arcade.
Onward and upward... Oh, no: that's it.

Weather, papers and one final thing - a bit of a promise from a mega star of the movie industry who you met recently and who allowed loose talk to book him a return ticket to our studio for a bit of big time celebration and gloating. It'll make sense at the end of tonight's show and even more in a month or so.

Herself and I will not get in the way of your understanding nor enjoyment at 6. Unless she feels it is time to treat me as a basketball and let me drift off into the Pacific Ocean. Here's hoping not.

Alastair and Katie