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


Thurs 19th Feb

Good afternoon.

My eldest son Alex is a post-graduate in English at Oxford University and has been known to forcefully throw a shoe at the TV when infinitives are split - "duck! It should have been 'forcefully to throw!"

He is also a stickler for other rules of grammar - he has a temporary job in a cafe and, when an American customer who'd been kept waiting a tad ( as THEY say) , stormed up to him and said "I'm leaving! You either need more staff or less customers!" he politely apologised but corrected her suggesting they needed "fewer customers". His is a terrific little cafe and I am sure the only living creatures to occupy it are staff and customers. No caged birds nor cats, curled up on the window ledge. And certainly no cockroaches. Not so in a greasy-spoon on the Leyton High Road. Alas, for them and hurrah for their customers, the Environmental Health brigade found these resilient little monsters and have said "No more bacon sarnies nor tea from here!". Getting rid of the flat brown horrors may prove very difficult. It is widely believed that, in the event of a thermo-nuclear strike, the sole survivors would be cockroaches and Keith Richards, lead guitarist of the Rolling Stones who would also appear to be one of God's indestructibles. Anyway, Ronke has the "find" and we'll ask her to keep an eye on the "cure".

Google is a noun that has become a verb as the corporation straddles the earth. To assist in it's straddling it has created Google Earth - not an assertion of empire but a very useful tool for finding anywhere on the planet apart from the White House, and a few other sensitive spots, that have been blotted out. Can't see Al Qaida relying on Google Earth should they plan the ultimate US outrage but I guess it is another stable door worth keeping shut. They, that's Google not Al Qaida, have, of late , refined GE to "Streetview" which involves a device that looks like it has come off the Dr. Who set on a budget-cutting day - a pole, with a camera on top, sticking out of a van. But it records not only No 31 Acacia Avenue but all the homesteads on that urban thoroughfare and every other street it can navigate. The detail is amazing - front-doors, dustbins, yards and gardens - nothing escapes it's Big Brother peering. But now the citizenary , clutching it's collective copies of the European Act of Human Rights and it's neatly ironed copies of the Daily Telegraph, is fighting back. "My cat's privacy has been invaded!" bellowed bruised of Belsize Park. "My lace curtains are there for a purpose!" hectored het-up of Hampton Wick. The protests are legion and Harris, who has the cell-phone numbers of every MP but keeps his own address a secret, is on the case. Perhaps Google will try to buy him off by asking for a portfolio of his finest aerial photography but I know he is not for sale.

Also on a pole and certainly not looking anything like something off the set of Dr. Who is Abi Titmuss. I have read much about her but in private and discrete moments. Now I am to meet her, in person, in the studio. I am glad the Oz will be there too. Her previous claims to fame have not always been of the most prudent nor even savory type. But she is an actress and she has won an award. And, now, she is to tour in a comedy. My only thought is how much thought did her agent and father confessor give to her casting as a pole-dancer? Leopards and spots, type and cast, dog and trick are just six words which come to my mind but, dear reader, mine is an open mind and I am keen that doubt and benefit also collide as we approach this interview.

Lucy, I have no doubts about. We are so lucky, as I honestly believe are you, that she is our entertainment correspondent. Her performance at the Brits last night was brilliant - she talked to everyone, she performed live and she even caught a minute with THE winner of the night, Duffy, with about 15" notice! Tonight, how little Miss Lovely prepares for her next great adventure -The Oscars in LA. And if last night's dress is anything to go by, you should all be glued to the screen!

Two odd bits of urban planning to end with - do not fall asleep at the mention of urban planning! One is an attempt at a cull of the blind and partially sighted in Sloane Square and on Exhibition Road. Told you it mattered. Liz will explain why a theory, borrowed from Scandanavia, to improve road safety could tidy up our streets only to subsequently litter them with the ranks of the wounded, partially sighted and blind folk I mentioned above.

The other bit of planning sees a fine town in Buckinghamshire, which boasts one of our finest Girls' Public Schools, turn semi-pimp. Well certainly just "sub" semi-pimp. It began with a ban on kissing by Virgin Railways, (an irony in itself I thought), but has escalated to an encouragement to throw away some of our morals. This sensitive subject is in the hands of Glen and I hope, unlike in the opera, his tiny ones aren't frozen in shock.

Maybe Chrissie can tell us. Perhaps we'll read about it on the front pages of London's papers. My money is on Duffy still taking pride of place but I am usually wrong.

Finally Phil is troubled - he mounted a search for his wellies yesterday only to be submerged in four centuries of regal mud in St. James Park. Today, the Big Boss has asked him to go to a farm where there is a planning row. "But the manure could fly!" he voiced as a reasonable concern, in words to that effect. BB wouldn't budge and Phil, fearfully, headed off to Watford asking where he might buy protective clothing that extended beyond his feet.
He is a man of real merit.

The Oz is reading about pancakes on the Independent website - Shrove Tuesday? 5 days away! But do the Australians go for maple syrup or the more proper sugar and lemon juice? I hope I am invited to find out.

See you at 6.

Alastair and Alex