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Fri 6th Feb

Good afternoon.

George Bernard Shaw was a brilliant word-smith, social reformer and plus-four wearing "lefty". His "Pygmalion" was a blistering critique of social and, specifically, linguistic prejudice. Henry Higgins was his vehicle for proving the that "lot" of Man, (or, in the play , "woman" , via Eliza Doolittle,) was not a given constant but could, with effort, be improved upon and enhanced. By the time Lerner and Loewe got hold of it and morphed it into "My Fair Lady" it had lost some of it's edge and a bit of xenophobia had crept in, aimed at the Hungarians by saying there was no "ruder pest" than the man from "Budapest". But with regard to current UK meteorology, they got it spot on in a test to restore aitches that held that "In Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire, hurricanes hardly happen". They don't. Snow storms, however, do and today is a worrying example. Nick is our Colonel Pickering , observing how the good people of the Home Counties and parts of London, are coping. ( Higgins could tell, from their accents where they came from, down to the street. But we'll put locators at the bottom of the screen for the non-Higgins among you as we range across the region.)

Marcus, who comes from a dense forest ( or a long line of trees) in Hertfordshire, has taken my comments on last night's show amiss. He couldn't get in and told you all in fulsome detail. I ventured it was a long-winded master-class in the craft of lead-swinging, much regarded in those parts. To prove his point, he is, even as I write, struggling manfully through all that the elements can hurt at him and recording it all for posterity on a small video camera. I wonder if, like Captain Oates, he said to his wife "I am just going out. I might be some time" ? My own view is that his super-human efforts have more to do with the fact that we are also previewing his beloved Gunners vs Spurs but maybe cynicism is getting the better of me. You may see Marcus later. Or not. Then'd I'd feel bad, wouldn't I ? Or, "would I not?", to be more grammatical...

James will probably look like Captain Oates, sun-goggles and fury boots, as he struggles in to tell you what he thinks about "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and "Doubt". I know he will be that keen because the casts are remarkable. There's the ever improving Brad Pitt turning, like the chrysalis of a pretty young juve' lead, into the butterfly of an heir to Marlon Brando. The Oscar Academicians agree having given him and his latest offering no less than 13 "Ben Hur-like" nominations. Then there's Meryl Streep who can make me laugh and/or cry as well as Judi Dench and from me that is high praise. The themes of both movies are fascinating so you won't want to miss JK in critical flow.

Nor will you want to miss our America cousin with the latest from Italy on the so-called "Foxy Knoxy" trial for the killing of Surrey student Meredith Kercher but I give no guarantees for pronunciation. Americans, you know, have a way with words. Our words.

And you certainly won't want to miss Gary Go. Take That didn't and were so impressed "they bought the company" - well, they bought the rights to have him as their support act on their up-coming tour. It is a bit like Richard Branson saying he quite likes your idea for a business or Alan Sugar saying he reckons you deserve a trial period in one of his. Gary will hit the big time at Wembley a mere stone's throw from where he grew up. I suspect the fans will be throwing accolades and other sundry items at him by the end of his set but let Lucy "introduce you", as Robbie Williams would say, to the young man so you can decide for yourselves.

We'll have the weather in several ways and the papers which may well seem very similar but we'll see. And we'll have a green snow-caterpillar. "How?" asks the Oz. "Because we can" says The Big Boss. I'm thinking of those wonderful little bottles of icing-colourant my mum had an endless collection of but I guess it could be magic or grass stains.

And to top it all off, a marvellous story. There is no upside to leukemia and to be a victim to it when you are 6 must be shattering, heart-breaking and soul-destroying. But 6 year old people are remarkably vibrant and can dream in a way that only fades when you get older. Perhaps it is because their chances of getting older are less than children who are not burdened with this ghastly ailment that they dream big and with determination. Enter the Met - criticise them for what you want and as much as you want but every now and then they play a blinder. Put those two thoughts together and you might just be imagining why you won't want to miss our report. Phil's your guide but you'll need your own tissues.

Alastair & Alex