Welcome to London Tonight Tonight.

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


London Tonight Tonight

Good afternoon.
I have to confess it is an odd day.
Most people who use Stansted airport do so for it's "cheap and cheerful" flights operated principally by Ryanair. I was once booked on one and asked, on check-in, if I might have an aisle seat. "If you can get one" came the accurate but not entirely helpful response.
It will be funny, therefore, to see the Boeing 747 which is Air Force One arrive this evening with President Obama on board. He can sit where he wants and doesn't have to queue for duty free, even though he still smokes. He arrives a bit after we finish, but Ben will capture the anticipation. Michael O'Leary, who runs Ryanair, will try and charge the President for anything and everything, but will be whisked away by the men with crew-cuts who talk to their cuff-links and who are constantly listening to the CIA HQ in Langley Virginia on their ear-pieces.

Katie is sitting listening to Oxygen by Jean Michel Jarre who is not on the programme tonight but who can only manage to come and see us today before his concert in two weeks' time. Tres busy cher Michel! So we are talking to him today. You will have to be patient and try to remember the memorable rift in the middle of Oxygen before you see and hear him in a fortnight...

Patience will also be required tomorrow in what is called Gold Command. It is the nerve centre of the Met's operations when "a big one" is in the offing. It was here that the surveillance of Jean Charles De Menezes went so tragically wrong, so let's hope there's been a shift change since then because tomorrow and Thursday they will be looking after London and our 19 "global-leader" guests [G20=Gordon Brown + 19 others!]
Obama has his own small regiment and I would advise the Boys in Blue to smile sweetly, compliment them on their hair-dressing and ask them to "move along please". They neither need nor welcome help. Piers is among those under the command of Gold Command, and KD and I talk to he who will be Gold Commander, live on the programme. We'll avoid asking him about fiscal stimuli, but will try and get one in on what chances there are of getting to the Isle of Dogs on Thursday. We'll risk asking him if he and his Thin Blue Line are likely to over-react and, assuming he doesn't over-react himself and clamp us in irons, we'll bid him farewell and ask for your thoughts.

Despite hints from Downing Street and the Treasury, we will not be diverting The People's Millions to bail out the Dunfermline Building Society or any of the other financial institutions driven into the ground by greed, incompetence, toxic assets and a fundamental lack of paying attention. No, good friends, we will give them to you. Or at least to those among you who come up with the best-argued case for a worthy recipient. Browns and Darlings need not put on wigs and false moustaches! I mean what I write...

Minnie, who doesn't work on London Tonight but works with KD and me on Lunchtime News, has just shimmied by saying "he's cool, quite fit" which neither means he's an Inuit nor a weightlifter. Faye, (pastel check, jeans and ballet pumps - and a year older but not a day less beautiful) says "Yeah, you remember him... what was it KD? That song... you know, bit like James Blunt but not..."
All this supposedly helpful background info blurred in my mind and I gave up. Lucy, who knows what she is talking about, is talking to James Morrison who is performing at the Royal Albert Hall; given what I do know about that venue, I am happy to assume he is both good and famous. You be the judges.

We also have something that isn't really important but is fun nonetheless - a couple from Greenford went to Cambridgeshire but missed Greenford. So they recreated it, Greenford that is, there and then. Well there but not then - it took years. Scale is at the heart of the tale and you won't want to miss it. Believe me.

We always believe Chrissie with her weather but I am thinking of getting the scarf out again, given what I've heard.
The papers don't lie, they just spin a bit, but we'll have them for you.
And our latest talented young Londoner who is called Kevin and is a free-runner. Nope.... I am in James Morrison territory again but I am told the opening sequence of James Bond's "Casino Royale" will help....

See you at 6.

Alastair and Katie.


London Tonight Tonight

Good afternoon.

A lovely woman is selling chocolate muffins in our office for the charity Women for Women which is not some militant, latter-day Pankhurstian group of men-haters, but a really great gang supporting Professor Winston and his fertility work. So I bought one and then treated the Oz to one. She is, as I speak, making tea to go with the aforementioned confections.
Meantime, in 1361, in St Albans, the medieval monastic equivalent of Marco Pierre White, contrived a wonderful bun, laced with cardamom, with two lines, intersecting at 90 degrees, cut into the pre-baked mixture. He didn't call it a Hot Cross Bun but an Alban Bun. Alban was an early English martyr who died, not as a result of eating too many buns, but for his faith in 304 AD at the hands of the Romans. They, I am told by Faye, (beautifully enormous now as a result of her impending motherhood rather than an excess of buns), took the original Hot Cross Buns to Greece where they flourished... so much better than a kebab late at night after too much cheap liquor, I suppose.
Anyway, tonight Ben heads for Verulamium, as was, and samples the modern day equivalent of the bun, as was. The Oz and I have asked for some, too, but we are yet to learn of our luck, so will keep the chocolate muffins under wraps incase The Big Boss decrees we have stuffed our faces, to excess, already. Gorgeous Dan is also worried: he thinks it will make a mess of "his" studio... I do, however, have a dustpan and brush and a passion for a bun. Watch this space.

Talking of "excess": 2 Jumbo Jets, a fleet of helicopters, a battalion of Ray-Ban wearing, cuff communicating crew-cut cadres, a mobile hospital, a private blood bank, a unique Cadillac which has more in common with a tank than a limo', and your own chef might be a reasonable example of that word. When Obama travels, the White House travels with him. So apart from the actual slave-built, architectural edifice on Pennsylvania Avenue, it seems we are getting the lot for the two and half days your man is here. He is a superstar with much of the world's affection and hopes resting on his elegant shoulders, but we will be hard-pressed to see him. Apart from on TV. I think it is a shame and so does Harris; so, on your behalf, he is scouting the City and the East End for possible vantage points. I've suggested a very short haircut, flash sunglasses and Bermuda shorts to help him blend in, but he gave me a very old-fashioned look. By the way, I don't think Obama likes the Cadillac, known as The Beast, as he has just made the resignation of the Chief Exec' of General Motors a condition for more Government aid! Teach him to get the interior and hub caps wrong, won't it?

Marcus is not scouting the East End of the City for vantage points but is on the heels of the Boys in Blue who are scouring Hertfordshire for body parts. Two bits have already turned up and if they can find the rest, they'll know who it is, and start the grim process of discovering why someone decided to do such a dreadful thing. It is a gruesome yet fascinating tale.

What could also be fascinating and gruesome is the new alliance of protesters over Heathrow's expansion. On the one hand, the persistent yet polite people of Sipson; on the other, son of Swampy and the types who will scale the fence and run in front of the 3.20 flight to Tenerife at the drop of a banner. Ronke goes underground and behind the lace curtains, to get the full and balanced story.

Jon is feeling crowded in his flat and so has produced a piece on "extensions". I think this is an attempt to garner favour with the planning committee, or persuade his lender of the merits of a bigger mortgage: I can do "dubious" just as well as "convinced", you see, and on this one it's a "D". Seriously, he is not alone, and Kirstie will tell us if "I'm putting in an attic conversion" is the new "I'm moving up the property ladder".

My favourite story of the day involves silent black and white films of the First World War, a lip-reader and a very busy "beeper". In my view, those young men, and some were obscenely young, were entitled to say whatever they wanted as loudly as they wanted; but, at 6pm, we have seen the better part of valour, and it is caution. It's a bit like the Heathrow alliance - there are some young soldiers, probably called Bertie, who wish their "mamas" all the best; and a few, probably called "Tommy", who tell the cameraman where he can put his lens in rather graphic and amusing detail. In Phil's hands, it will be moving, enlightening and funny.

Our Search for The Stars found some, and we will share. Wacky Rimmel is Faye's hot tip. I think it might be a cartoon car race between items of make-up but Faye's saying nothing. Again, our programme at 6 will resolve all.

Please be there or you will miss all of the above, plus Chrissie and the papers.

(Please e-mail The Big Boss in support of the bun consumption aspiration!)
That's me sacked again.

Alastair and/or, if I am sacked, Alex


What Not To Miss

Here are the official websites of the events featured in this weeks "What Not To Miss"


London Tonight Tonight


Alastair's had his hair cut - I told him it looks slick - he says keeping it short is the only way to make it clear he's accepting going bald on top! Well, he looks very smart nevertheless...

We've got Torvill and Dean in the studio today. They're going to be talking to us about Ray winning Dancing on Ice of course - I had a thought about putting Al forward for the next series - but I've been advised against it. Maybe he'd be better at the dancing without the ice...I'll ask him when he gets back..I don't know why this is all about him so far - he's deserted me this afternoon again so, let's get to the other stuff..

You'll love the movies today - James is here to talk about Knowing - that's the one Nicolas Cage was promoting earlier in the week. James was in the same cinema as me - could have done with him sitting next to me as I was all on my own and it scared the bejesus out of me - will have to ask if he was a scaredy cat too. He's also seen The Damned United - we had the star of that on this week too - the very, very lovely Michael Sheen (NOT to be confused with Martin Sheen!) I haven't seen this one yet but as I moonlight in the sporting world it is on my list - and I do love Michael so think it's well worth a look...I'm sure James will have enjoyed this one..but I've been wrong before (just the once though).

This next story could make a good movie script - it's about a gang of forgers who literally printed their own money. That's one way to sort the recession out I suppose. But the best bit is they've got an average age of nearly 60 - with one of them aged 83! They met at Claridges and a working men's club in Acton to work out the finer details of their scam - I think I'd better copyright that movie idea..they're being sentenced today after being caught red-handed though.

So, from oldies to youngies and Rachel's been to meet some Women's Institute members who are all in their 20s. After spending mothering Sunday learning how to make my Mum's famous Lemon Curd I'm actually quite into this one. The girls want to carry on the W.I. traditions of jam making and cross stitching.

Then Lewis Vaughan Jones is out in a rowing boat on the Thames. It is of course the Boat Race this weekend - which to me is a great excuse to hit a pub on the river for the afternoon/evening now my rowing days are far behind me. So it's down to LVJ -hopefully in an all-in-one-lycra affair - to attempt to join a crew. I have it from the horses mouth that he's done this a few times before so I don't think he'll embarrass himself - unless he wears the lycra of course.

We've also got the latest from the Meredith Kercher trial in Italy and the emotional tributes from Jimmy Mizen's parents after the schoolboy's killer was sentenced to life in prison for his murder.

That's all at 6.

See you then.

Alex & Alastair.

Weather blog

Good evening.

I come to you fresh from a working lunch with Sian Lloyd (or tv's Sian Lloyd as she insists on being called). You might be surprised to learn that the main topic we covered was not the ropey weather & the fact that in a little over 24 hours things will become much more settled with sunshine & better temperatures heading our way, but instead we discussed her recent theatrical triumph in 'The Vagina Monologues'. Sadly, despite my former life as an actor, I'll never get the chance to emulate her success in that particular show -for obvious reasons- but it was fascinating to hear about her experiences & her new found love of treading the boards. In fact, & this should go no further, she has taking to wearing a turban & calling everybody Darling -loudly- but I suspect this is a passing phase....

Meanwhile, back at the coal face, there's a quiet, industrious hum of people pulling everything together for this evening's programme which looks like a corker. Plus the weekend is imminent & the weather's perking up; what more could you want?

See you later,



London Tonight Tonight


I'm very much looking forward to tonight - there are gorillas (avec baby gorilla) and cartoon characters. I'm easily pleased as you know - and these stories are really doing it for me today. Al's off at a meeting, he says he'll be back soon, but I fear he's deserted me...

Meanwhile, Ben's gone off the jump into the gorilla's enclosure at Chessington - I'm not going to be mean to Ben (although I'm finding it very hard not to make some sort of cheeky comment...) I'll focus on the cuteness of the bubba gorilla and the cheeky side of the story. We covered it a while back - the boy gorilla needed a girl gorilla to play with - one was supplied via a bit of matchmaking on the internet - obviously! The zoo keepers were worried they wouldn't get on - but lo and behold they more than got on - they got it on pronto, and have delivered their first little 'un. Faye was wondering how long the gestation period was for a gorilla - I googled - it's 8 and a half months. We thought it must have been less as it seems like only yesterday they were introduced. Later we'll introduce you to their baby...

Before that we've got a bit of deja vu. Remember the taxi driver John Worboys - he drugged and attacked women in the back of his black cab - but the cops didn't link the cases of more than a dozen women. They now think he may have assaulted hundreds of women before he was eventually stopped 13 years too late.

Well, another serial sex offender's finally been brought to justice, but again the cops didn't put all the clues together and Kirk Reid was allowed to get away with it for 7 years. He's been convicted of attacking more than 20 women in South London - but police have had to apologise 'cos they think he attacked more than 70, and they missed so many opportunities to arrest him. Emma Walden's got all the details for you.

Then we're looking at those G20 protests again. As the day gets closer - the cops are getting worried - they've sent divers out today... The bankers are getting worried - their bosses have told them to ditch the pin-striped suits for the day... And the protesters are getting ready to make their point, warning it could get ugly. Simon Harris is the man with the plans - he's going to fill us in on what the police, banks and protesters all have in store for the day the world's leaders come to town.

Next we've got the councils who banked on the wrong banks to make our tax bucks go further. They've been told off for investing in Iceland (the banks not the supermarket) - when we were all told that was a v v bad idea. The councils say they received the warnings too late...Phil Bayles is checking that one out.

Then, there's Gwyneth Paltrow. She's been talking to Lucy about some film she's in - Lucy says it's weird... I think they talk about more than the movie though - so I'm sure we can look forward to chat about juggling the school run, with a Hollywood career and a rock star husband... Don't worry, I won't be feeling sorry for her either!

We've also got Wallace and Grommit - well, their house and their creator anyway... They've mocked up a massive version of their home for kids to play in at the Science Museum - and Liz Wickham's the lucky girl who's gone along.

See that and the rest at 6.

Alex & Alastair.

Weather Blog

Good evening.

I feel vindicated (borderline smug) at having sounded a note of caution in the middle of last week's warm, sunny & settled weather because things have now gone downhill. It's fairly typical of the weather at this time of year as we make the transition from Winter to Spring & it can, at times, feel like a joke that's not really working. It would be comforting to think that a spell of mild weather would be followed by more of the same, getting ever milder with each passing week but the current situation proves that this is too much to ask. Our location on the planet & the fact that we're surrounded by water mean that we get it in the neck & high pressure can be replaced by low in a matter of hours.

Despite a shabby contribution to the day from the weather department, things here are looking good. The programme is in excellent shape & the only rumblings of discontent I've heard concern the number of meetings various people are required to attend. In fact Alastair disappeared almost as soon as I arrived & missed the daily programme meeting because he was needed at another meeting elsewhere in the building.
Talking of which I've got a meeting now so will have to leave you but hope to see you later.

All the best 'til then,



London Tonight Tonight


I've just had a brownie and a muffin - very naughty - but I had to do it. Faye said she'd be forced to eat them all if we didn't help. Yum - happy to be of service. Especially as she's had a bit of a stressful day - I just heard the phrase "I can't pull the news out of my a**e". I laughed but I don't think it's a laughing matter. Al's stepped in to sort it out and everyone seems happier now.

I think it all had something to do with Jade. Turns out the estate in Bermondsey where her Mum lives (Jade's not Faye's) could be renamed in honour of the late Mrs Tweed. It's currently named after a rather famous writer - one Charles Dickens. Glen's been to Bermondsey to see what the current residents think - and some of them really like the idea apparently! He's also going to be chatting to veteran commentator Rod Liddle who I'm told may well have a view which could be described as polar opposite. We'll be asking for your opinions of the whole thing.

Now, we were telling you last night about the G20 summit protests which are planned for next week - well, it turns out the businesses based at Excel (where the summit's a happenin') think they're being kept in the dark. Whilst the anti-capitalists warn they're going to bring London to a standstill and aren't against a bit of property damage - the business owners haven't been told anything more than the suggestion they shut up shop for a few days. They've been talking to Simon Harris about why they're not best pleased.

Then the Queen's out and about - Ben's there to track Her Maj as she heads down East End way just like her Mummy did before her.

I'm sounding a little cockney in my head - I think it might be because we were all transfixed by the reformed collection of the Spandau Ballet boys. They're all Londoners and all a bit geezer. Well, they've done what they said they'd never - and gone and got back together. Al reckons they must have got a tax bill. I remember the songs, but don't really remember all the court battles that ensued after they went their separate ways. Seems all hunky-dory now that they're jumping on the Take That bandwagon. Lucy's bagged us the first interview with them about their comeback tour.

I told you yesterday I went to see Nic Cage's new movie Knowing - bloomin' scary. Just watched a couple of clips back and I'm certain I'm not being a wimp. Check it out for yourself - oh, and hear from the lovely Nic himself too.

That's all at 6, of course.

See you then,

Alex & Alastair.


London Tonight Tonight


I've just been to see Knowing - the new Nicholas Cage movie - and I was soooooo scared!! Sat all alone in a dark corner of the Empire in Leicester Square - I do not recommend. I do recommend the movie - just not viewing it on your own. I went to meet Nic (that's what I can call him now obviously) and you'll be able to hear from him tomorrow.

Today we've got Michael Sheen back in. He was here a couple of months ago talking about Frost/Nixon - which was bloomin' brilliant. Now he's going to tell us all about his new movie The Damned United. After Tony Blair and David Frost, he's now channelling Brian Clough. Apparently his family (Brian's not Michael's) aren't too happy with the movie. We'll have to ask Mr Sheen all about that later on.

Sticking with the showbiz theme Lucy's been to see Priscilla. Queen of the Desert opens tonight - starring none other than everyone's favourite neighbour (after Kylie!) Jason Donovan. He came in a little while back - and made me all giggly - I did have a poster of him on my wall after all. I'm sure the stage show won't disappoint - well I'm hoping it won't as I've already booked tickets for my sister's birthday next month!! Lucy will tell me if that's money well spent later. Fingers crossed.

Scooting back to the start of the show tonight - we're kicking off with some protesters who are prepared to do more than just kick off. Anarchists want to bring London to a standstill with massive protests against the start of the G20 summit. Some of them want to "Burn the Bankers". Sounds nasty - Simon is going to fill us in on what we can all expect.

After that we've the tale of a security guard who was working on one of those cash vans when robbers decided to try and nick said cash. He stood up to them and got showered with bullets for his troubles! Ronke's been to speak to him all about it.

Then we've got Bozza's plans to shed jobs and save cash in his London offices, the council's plans to stop hereditary stall holders on Oxford Street - and some breaking news from the British Museum (well, kind of).

All that (and more I'm sure) at 6.

See you then.

Alex & Ben.


London Tonight Tonight

Good afternoon.
Got a wedding coming up? Want to spruce up your home? Need help in getting that "just-right" gift for someone special? A new company called 'pleaseandthankyou.co.uk' might be just the ticket. On the other hand, you may feel a little less enthusiastic when you learn that the 'daddy' of 'Wrapit' is involved.
'Wrapit' was the company that went bust, breaking many a bridal heart when the nicely crafted wedding gift lists, which inspired acts of real generosity on the part of the best buddies of many lovely couples, came to nothing.
We have just had an interesting debate - not quite Milton Friedman's monetarists VS Maynard Keynes public spenders, but valid, nevertheless: in America people who see their businesses go "bust" are encouraged, yes encouraged, to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and start all over again. It is the fuel of free enterprise, the high octane propellant of the free market. Here, we are a bit more "once bitten, twice shy" aren't we? KD and I were quite "north American" about it whilst Faye, (black patent leather "Pirates of the Caribbean" boots again: "they're comfy", she says, and elegant black cocktail dress), was slightly more "Brit" in her attitude.
Look up "caveat emptor" and I think you'll find KD and I may have the point.
Anyway, Glen, an abacus and Corn Laws man I think, will review the prospects and hear from the cautious as well as those who would throw that commodity to the wind. Then we will ask you what you think.

If only the popular Member for Harrow East had asked someone what they thought, before submitting his expenses, he might have avoided being in the eye of a parliamentary storm. Last week he was announcing the unemployment figures and, if things go any worse for Tony McNulty, he might be joining them. Like all of us, he loves his mum and dad and their home - he pops in regularly, especially when visiting them at the weekend. They live in his constituency and he occasionally "stays over" which is also a nice thing to do. But can he claim, therefore, that this is his second home? And does he really need a "second home" when, if he left Westminster, went to his own family home, then his parents - or HIS "second" - Harrow home, then back to Westminster - he'd have covered a shorter distance than from Whitehall to the coast?
It seems he didn't actually break the rules, but Tories and watchdogs alike are saying he might have, and he certainly should have thought a bit more. Harris is ranting, as I write: more about how difficult editing on your own can be, than what Mr McNulty may or may not have done. But I'll be tuned in on any account and I suggest you are too.

Harris is ranting but NOT swearing. Unlike a Londoner who went to Thailand and was stopped at Immigration where they promptly put the wrong passport number into the computer system and questioned him about his intentions. He is currently on bail facing trial and possibly jail... not for who he IS or even who he WASN'T, but for expressing, in quaint Anglo-Saxon terms, what he thought of them and their IT system. Oops! It could get nasty, "bleep" nasty...

What would be really nice, on the other hand, would be if we could help our good friends the De Gales find a donor for little Imogen, a six year old who is desperate for a bone marrow transplant but, for whom, a donor cannot be found. I am talking about Daniel's parents who, despite his sad death a few months ago, still work tirelessly to get black and other ethnic groups to pluck up courage and become donors. Time is running out for Imogen so we owe it to her and to the De Gales. Ronke will prod consciences, and have the details of how you can help.

Lucy spends time tonight with Richard Curtis, who's Notting Hill and Black Adder still make me laugh aloud, and Gemma Arterton, who I loved in Quantum of Solace and got all in a tizzy over in St. Trinians. They launch "The Boat That Rocked" tonight in Leicester Square which didn't even have a pond last time I was there so it could be fun! How embarrassing for Gemma to have her "form control" revealed to the world this week. Uncalled for, in my view. Whoever did it deserves a spank or even Spanx, come to that...

We will have Chrissie's weather and London's papers which, earlier today, were very cross about Mr McNulty. By tea-time, they may have moved on - find out with us, at 6.
We will also talk to some youngsters about Jade Goody to see what merit they think there may or may not have been in all the coverage of her illness and her death. My mind is open, as I am sure is yours. But talk about walking tightropes...

See you at 6, unless I fall off.

Alastair and Katie.

Pete Doherty

Did you miss our Pete Doherty interview on Friday?

Here are the highlights.


London Tonight Tonight

Good afternoon.

I am watching Natasha Richardson's coffin being moved from her home in New York for burial. What a sad loss. I have interviewed her mother Vanessa and her uncle Corin and admire them, deeply. I feel so sorry for them, her gifted husband Liam and their two teenage sons.

Alex can't be with us tonight because she is also attending a family funeral so I am thinking, affectionately, of her too.

Let me now lift your spirits by telling you that in her place I am lucky to be sitting with Lucy Cotter - a beautiful and gifted young woman who is more used to working with the George Clooneys of this world so how lucky am I?

Less lucky is she - she went to interview Pete Doherty. Pete's mum has been on the show and Pete, himself, has made several appearances - most, fair to say, as he walked into or out of court. But Lucy has landed a proper sit-down with the troubled young troubadour. She had to wait for him to turn up and then had to wait for lucid answers to some of her questions. But, because it is was in her hands, we have a remarkable bit of television which I think you will find very interesting.

We also have the parents who found it "very interesting" to receive a call from someone saying they had just seen their 3 year old toddler in a McDonalds. Not because they were anti fast foods but because they could have sworn he was on a school trip with his nursery. Well he was until he got left behind. It is not as funny as Home Alone because it is not funny at all and Home Alone is, to be fair, funny in parts. Ours is a horror of a tale and what the nursery "offered" to the parents to make-up for things left us with jaws dropped. I think you may react in the same way.

I have found the whole Julie Myerson/Jake Myerson saga jaw dropping. We all have run-ins with our kids but to go public about them in a newspaper column and then a book requires a certain amount of explanation. Emma is our mother-confessor. In Julie's defence, I would concede that to have a son involved with skunk, a particularly virulent so-called recreational drug which the experts say is much more a wrecker than a recreation, may get Julie off the hook - to a degree. Lucy and I will listen with open minds and ask for your comments.

I do not know what an Ait is but I do know that a Raven, or an "unkindness" of Ravens (look it up if you don't believe me!), had or have one in the Thames. What is more it has been occupied by squatters making life difficult for would-be newly weds. I have not been experimenting with skunk - Phil will wade out and explain all.

Glen has got his big cheque book out again and will be waving it in a tempting fashion tonight. It is The People's Millions time again and we are keen to give cash away to deserving causes. The cheque is as big as Glen but the amount of money is even bigger so it is worth going for. He'll peer over the top and explain.

James towers over me, physically, but meets, in Lucy, something of a match when it comes to movies. So I may sit to one side and enjoy a clash of the celluloid titans as they talk "Duplicity" and "Age of Stupid". If there's a rodent involved, I'll comment: If not, "mum" may be the word.

If she survives Pete D, Lucy will also tell you what not to miss this weekend and we will both share tonight's front pages with you.

Robin, one of life's "nesters" , has shimmied down Earls Court Way in search of his ideal dwelling only to find a whole show dedicated to his needs. He'll show you around and then tell you the weekend weather which looks seriously promising.

If it turns out nasty, I do not recommend "skunk and Doherty" but rather a good walk , perhaps to see if Raven's Ait has been liberated or if Glen has had his cheque blown out of his hands. I fear for his safety. All should take coats.

See you at 6.

(...which is probably what the toddler's parents said before it all went Johnny Rotten....)

Alastair & Lucy

Weather Blog

Good evening.

We've arrived at the vernal equinox. Today, near as dammit, night & day are of equal length & we can declare that Spring has begun. This will not make the blindest bit of difference to how the weather behaves over the next few weeks; we're as likely to be sitting in a sunny park at lunchtime as we are to be scraping frost off a windscreen in the morning, but I think it's a vital psychological lift to acknowledge the start of a new season.

The weather's been glorious this week & will remain so tomorrow but thereafter it'll start to change, becoming increasingly cloudy, unsettled & -dare I say it- colder. I'm sorry to mention the c word but it's worth remembering that the recent daytime temperatures (highs of 17C) have been well above average & we should think of the warmth as an extra gift rather than waste energy resenting the comparitive cold that's heading our way next week.

Still, it's Friday & people here are looking forward to the weekend. Alistair's done his usual & ripped off his tie & Lucy, his companion for tonight, is beavering away at her showbiz commitments in order to be able to join him on the sofa later.

See you then.



London Tonight Tonight

Good Afternoon to you,

I'm breaking away from the rather heated debate that's brewing around the London Tonight desk this afternoon. The subject is 'pushing presents'. For anyone unfamiliar with the term, it's a gift that some fathers give to the mother of their child, as a thank you for bringing baby into the world. Anyone who finds their mouth has now flopped open in disbelief should line up to my left. Any mothers-to-be now rifling through the Tiffany website should line up to my right... I'll drop the hanky and everyone can go for it...

While that issue gets the kick around it so richly deserves, I'll give you a quick rundown of the debates we'll be bringing you on the programme tonight.

1. London. Is it kaput?'
We're taking a close look at three stories that suggest the economic misery that hovers over the entire country, is beginning to have a harshly felt impact here in the Capital. A number of colleges have begun expansion work only to be told the funds they'd been promised are no longer in the pot. The black hole in the tube's finances we've been warned about could soon mean a number of improvements will have to be shelved. Oh, and the deluxe all-singing all-dancing Motor Show that Excel fought so hard to snatch off the NEC... Has been cancelled...
We ask what impact it will all have on our great city.

2. 'My play area should get lottery money, and not your minibus for pigs!'
Yes, it's People's Millions time again, when various fantastic causes pitch for some extra cash from the National Lottery fund. We sift through the applicants, present you with an 'either/or' and then you choose. This week we're starting the whole process by reminding you of who won last year and what they did with the cash. Tonight, it's Surrey Docks Farm and they bought a bus apparently! Glen will explain.

3. Is a pig a good pet?
The RSPCA have sent us some adorable pictures of some adorable little piggies who were a surprise addition to their sanctuary... And they want YOUR help to try to find them a home. We think they may be inundated with offers once you've seen how cute they are. The Oz (as Alastair calls her) says she'll take one already, and she hasn't even seen Julie's report from Potters Bar... I foresee a fight coming.

All that, our newspaper headlines, Chrissie's weather, and Lucy on the movie that was nearly never made, about a movie that was never made.
And if you understood that, you're cleverer than me! I hope the Great Cotter will be more enlightening.

See you at six.

Ben and Alex


London Tonight Tonight


You know by now that I hate trains - I think it may stem from a rather unfortunate incident I had a Clapham Junction. This was pre-ticket gates at Waterloo. I'd run to get the train and turned up at The Junction sans ticket. The guard just looked at me like I was a cheeky fare dodger when I told him I didn't have a ticket from Waterloo and needed to pay for it. He wasn't having any of it - told me I'd be fined twenty quid and made me cry (ok, I cry easily..and yes, I did think it might help my cause). The point of all of this, is that our old Mayor Ken of the Livingstone has done a similar thing - and has only gone and got away with it scott-free!

Not Fair I say - what do you reckon...? Apparently it's not just because it was Ken - according to the train people, it's up to the guard who gets fined and who doesn't. This should work in our favour then ladies - batting an eyelash, yes? But, NO! Simon's going to sort through the ticket stubs and find a nice guard - hopefully!

Before that - a really sad story about two teenagers who sought refuge in a take-away. They'd been chased and the man in the shop said they could hide out there. He went home and told them to lock up when they left. Problem is they never did - and he came back in the morning to find the young girl dead and the boy in a really bad way. The police think they may have been overcome by carbon monoxide fumes - Lewis is looking into it for you.

Then Marcus is tracking down a father and son who've apparently been trapping wild birds and selling them on as pets - unbelievably they've been accused of catching them on trees they've covered in glue! Ben (who's with me tonight) reckons it sounds like something out of one of his childhood books. I'm not sure how they're meant to get the birds off the tree once they're stuck. But that's not the point is it...?

Phil Bayles is on an island tonight. No, he's not been sent to an exotic location - he's in Kingston on the Ait (that's olde worlde English for island apparently) that's been over-run by squatters. They've taken over after the company who used to use it for weddings and parties etc. went bust and shipped out. The squatters want to stay and turn it into an "eco town" - find out more later.

And don't miss finding out more about lesbian vampires - Ben and I have been warned about this one by Faye... Ok Ben mostly - but still - I'll tread carefully. It's for James Corden and Matthew Horne's new movie - Lesbian Vampire Killers. That's who they are in the movie and Lucy's met them. Three of the ladies will also be with us in the studio - we'll try and avoid heading down the smutty (obvious) route and talk about the movie itself... Wish us luck!

Meanwhile - we'll be wishing you luck - with the launch of The People's Millions! It's time to get your entries in if you're involved in a good cause that needs our (well... Not ours... but the National Lottery's) cash.

Get thinking.

See you at 6.

Alex & Ben.

Squatters occupy the Thames

Have you heard of Raven's Ait? Maybe you've even been to a wedding reception there. It's an island in The Thames off the A307 Portsmouth Road. It used to be used for functions, but shut at the end of last year. Now it's been occupied. The video below is from the squatters themselves - we're going over to the island this morning and will bring you the full story tonight.


London Tonight Tonight


It's me again. It was going to be Al - but he's just said a rude (well 3 rudes to be precise) and has left the building with laptop (source of said rudes) under his arm heading for PC World. He will be back I'm sure - but not via the Apple store. Dan and Faye both suggested this and were told even though he has loved them dearly in the past they now "resembled excrement on a very expensive carpet". Oh dear.

He's already been hard at work today for the show - interviewing Sir Paul Stephenson about his new life as the Met Police Commissioner. He told Al he wants bobbies on the beat on their own... Not sure that sounds like a safe idea to me... Find out what Sir Paul's got to say about this, and why he was left a little red-faced after a dawn raid this morning...

Before all that though there's a burning bus - not just any old bus - this one's a school bus - and it had kids on it. They're ok (they all got off safely and have filmed the blaze for us) but their parents had been worried about said bus for some time, and didn't want the little ones on it anyway. They've staged a sit-in - Harris was there to see it - so you can too.

Amy Winehouse has been in court - looking her usual self - full of the joys of spring she was. She turned out in a lovely summery frock and beehive to deny assaulting a fan at a charity bash.

And then we've got the continuing story of Daniel De Gale's family. As you all know we tracked his amazing battles during his life, and continue to follow his amazing family as they work tirelessly to save others after his death. Ben's down at the first Daniel De Gale Blood Donation day today and will be live from there.

There's also a look at Southend Pier - but I can't go into detail as this is really, really late already.

You'll see at 6 anyway.

Oh and Al's back - and Dan's offered me a bite of his Yorkie.

It's all too much.

See you then.

Alex & Alastair.

Amy Winehouse in court

More detail on London Tonight at six


London Tonight Tonight

Good afternoon.

I feel like one of those Victorian bee-keepers, with a white hat, veil and an odd "puffer" which, I think, kept the bees at peace. But I fear my puffer would be beyond today's challenge. I am surrounded by a swarm of worker bees, buzzing in every direction: Harris, counting floors as some count sheep when suffering from insomnia; Piers, coursing through lists of what is acceptable, and what is beyond the pale, in the lunch boxes of Barnet schoolchildren; and Chrissie, flitting from capital to capital, as if between daffodils in search of pollen, to list just how many places London is hotter than today. What a hive of activity! What a nest of industry!

And, at the heart of all this energy, our very own Queen Bee, Faye - strikingly all in black today. One of her many skills, and they are legion, is a fluidity and proficiency with the Queen's English - indisputably the most creative and comprehensive spoken language in the living world. So, her slump into the days of the Anglo Saxon Chronicles to express her views at our meeting, just now, came as something of a shock. Perhaps she is rehearsing for The Great Moment when expletives need not be deleted! Only a thought: But I, for one, blanched. The Big Boss was last seen checking on the spellings of most, and the derivations of some of the words she threw across the room to make her points.

A little more detail as to the cause may help. A school in Barnet has told mums and dads not to send their "littles" to school with a range of what some would call comfort food in their satchels, but what others may call junk food. Thus, a plain nutritional "pulse and fruit" bar will win a mention at assembly, whereas the same, dipped in lovely milky chocolate, will preface the outbreak of World War Three in the classroom. Crisps bad. Non-saturated, fat-free potato skins good. There is a touch of Orwell's 1984 about it, though Katie made a telling point when she enquired as to our likely reaction if the schools we sent our "littles" to, stuffed them with chips, crisps and chocolate bars at lunch??!
If parents attempt to make their heirs and heiresses smugglers and are caught, they can have the junk food back at the end of the day. I guess that rules out burgers, fried chicken and kebabs but crisp lovers and chocoholics may live in hope. Piers plays the Beadle in our "Barnet-meets-Oliver-Twist" offering - "Please Sir, I want some junk...."

Harris and the "floor counting", next. He is seeking the Donald Trump of the South bank who plans to thrust The Shard into what is currently a rather big, and I hope for the developers' sake, deep hole. Bozza was asked and agreed: the south of the river skyline is entitled to a towering ... tower. So towering that it will tower over Canada Wharf, will make anything Paris has to offer look like a "deux en haut, deux en bas", and reduce Berlin.... No, that is tasteless so I will leave it at that.
Harris has some spectacular pictures of what doesn't yet exist and will explain why the Russians won't be happy.

I am not happy that Visit London have suggested that London might be in need of a "makeover". Visions of Lawrence LLewelyn Bowen taking pink drapes and odd cornices of plaster of Paris to some of our architectural gems makes me wince. Inside Buck House already has them, but outside? Give us a break! Big Ben in day-glow stripes? St Pauls lit up like a one-armed bandit? Tate Modern like a coffin that glows in the dark? Actually it already looks like a coffin that glows in the dark but I think you get my point. Phil takes them on and I hope takes no prisoners. It would be like putting ads on the side of St Martin's in The Fields. What? Oh yes, so they did. BUT THEY SHOULDN'T HAVE!

Jimmy Mizen died an innocent in his family's eyes and we reported it at the time. At the trial of the young man accused of his killing, Jimmy's family now have to hear what happened that day. Rachel is standing beneath the lady with the scales of justice at the Old Bailey listening to the evidence.

Lewis has been listening to the good folk of Hyde Heath, reeling at the news of a thirteen year old girl who was molested on her way home from school. It shouldn't happen to anyone, but no-one in that charming little village can remember it ever having happened there before.

Heather Small helped us win the Olympics so you either love her, or feel she owes you a serious apology. She has sold 10 million albums which must make her feel good. But does she feel good about going back on stage for the first time in years? We'll ask her.

Finally Chrissie finds that London is warmer than Byzantium, Constantinople and Istanbul which, impressive though it sounds, is not everything it seems, especially if you find time to pop into the splendid exhibition currently running at the Royal Academy...
Alexander the Great kept bees and conquered Byzantium. So it started, and so it finishes.

See you at 6.

Alastair "where are my crisps" Stewart, and Katie "put that chocolate away" Derham.


What Not To Miss

St Patrick's Day Parade & Festival

One Life Live

British Music Experience

London Tonight Tonight


Kauto Star's won the gold cup at Cheltenham - Al's not happy... he put his money on Barber Shop. Dishy Dan picked Alberta's Run in the office sweepstake - I had the unfortunate task of telling him it was a bit of an outside chance....

Another outside chance you might have thought - feeling unsafe in the back of a black cab. Robin's just asked if I'd feel unsafe now...I don't reckon I would. Despite John Worboys being convicted of drugging and assaulting female passengers, I still think it's one of the safest ways to get around London late at night. Ronke's going to be looking at the background to this case - as more disturbing details emerge about the former stripper and black cabbie... Ben's going to take the lead on safety - talking to the black cab bosses and the cops about how they're going to make sure another sex offender doesn't slip through their net.

We all know the credit crunch is on and we have to watch our pennies - but some people are getting desperate. I desperately want to go out for a lovely dinner tonight - but think I may cook at home and then just go for a few cheeky ones to try and cut costs. Not desperate measures I admit - just common sense. But some people are going to very different lengths to try and cut back/save themselves a few bob. They've decided shoplifting and fraud is the only way to make ends meet. Phil's looking at why - and talking to victims - whilst Rachel's gone back to Selfridges - third time this week! Don't worry she's not splashing the cash. It's the third instalment of her look at the iconic store which turns 100 this week and she'll be finding out how they're coping with the credit crunch.

Then the lovely James is here to talk movies - it's Marley and Me - which I still haven't convinced the other half to go and see with me! It's got puppies and everything - he's not convinced - despite the presence of Jennifer Aniston. I'll see what James says - not about coming with me obviously - just about the movie! And there's another flick called Hush. I've just watched a clip - looks v scary - not like something you should watch alone... But quite a lot like something I've seen before.

Finally Lucy's been to meet Annie Lennox - she's just released her greatest hits album. Fascinating chat apparently, so well worth hanging around for.

See for yourselves at 6.

See you then,

Alex & Alastair.


London Tonight Tonight

Good afternoon and welcome.

Richard the Third, who was "not made for sportive tricks", was so deformed, according to Shakespeare, that dogs barked at him in the street. I have just been barked at by a cabbie for smoking in the street. I should, perhaps, not smoke and I can't in the office, by law. But, for now, I can in the street and felt the barking was uncalled for.

For six years, since the report in to the death of Victoria Climbie, Lord Laming has been "barking" at Ministers to get their acts together over child care. They didn't and along came Baby P. And, tragically, Baby P died. So the Ministers asked him to do another report... Well today, like a teenage agitprop proselytizer the noble Lord simply told them to "Just Do It" as he published his report into the Baby P case. Interestingly, this impartial grey-beard recognised that many social workers are good eggs, under-paid, and over-worked members of what is a "Cinderella" profession. Emma looks at what else this fine gent had to say, what Ministers have to say (which doesn't appear to include 'sorry') and what frontline social workers feel now. We hope to talk to Esther Rantzen who knows a thing or two about these matters. I think it is just a case of "your place or mine" at the moment. Tune in to find if we get her and, having given ear to her and to Emma's fine report, tell us what you think.

Those who crossed Al Capone were not left with the means to "think" again - they were battered about the head with baseball bats. Chicago, in the prohibition 20s, was like that. But swans in Southall in the C21st? Yes, that's what I thought too. A spate of appalling attacks on these magnificent creatures has saddened us, but infuriated the guys and gals of the RSPCA. Piers joins them for Tales From the Riverbank that would make Hammer House of Horrors finest offering look like a Disney adventure.

The tragedy that is Jade Goody and her cancer is at times like a Disney romance with new, heart moving pictures of her wedding to Jack Tweed. In the elegant hands of Lucy, blessed with beauty and judgment, I think you will feel well served. They are moving pictures.

I loved last night's report from Rachel on Selfridges and she has part 2 tonight for you and, I like to think, for me.
It is a day in the life of the high altar of retail - a shrine shoplifters call "HelpyourSelfridges". Apparently Harry Gordon Selfridge, who established the shop 100 years ago, blew the bulk of the profits at the card tables and died in poverty in Putney. How odd is that? I'll bet Ralph Lauren and Coco Chanel never went further than a fiery hand or two of whist! The irony of that is to be found somewhere on the clothes rails between size 8 and size 16!
Talking of which, Faye, who I have not mentioned lately, is on fine form as the days tick away to The Great Day. A sweet little matelot tee-shirt nestles under a fierce black top, atop fierce black trousers and fierce Kiera Knightly Pirates of the Caribbean boots. She gets me to meet my deadlines, I can tell you.

Phil has spent the afternoon with two delicious ladies of a certain age. This is a matter for Phil and Mrs. Phil and the delightful Phil-ettes. All I can say is that the video evidence of this encounter in Chelsea will shock and amaze you in a way that will make you smile with affection, shed a tear of pride, and shudder with excitement as another sexist barrier is broken down in the name of elegant femininity. Even Mrs. Phil will forgive.

Gorgeous Dan, who the Oz mentioned yesterday (I think there's something going on there) asks to be mentioned: "Dan". There you go. I love him too, in truth, but in a different way. A very different way.
The Oz is on the phone, smiling. She has either just done a quick "two falls, two submissions or a knock-out" on some unapologetic politician... or she's telling Dan he's "in" the blog. I'll find out shortly.

Chrissie is with us - we would be incomplete and bereft without her... But it was cold when I was smoking and being shouted at a little while ago, so I hope her forecast smiles upon us...

The papers will be big on Baby P but find out, with us, what else tickles their fancies.
And that, I think, is about it.

So maybe Esther, possibly Ministerial apologies (though not likely), perhaps some scumbags who've been abusing the loveliest avian creature God ever crafted - all in all, it will be good, I think.
Be there at 6 or feel left out.

Alastair and Alex


London Tonight Tonight


The countdown to London 2012 is on - I know it, you know, the rest of the world knows it (especially the French eek....pardon..) but Bozza and Co. don't seem to be shouting about it in Cannes....more of that in a moment as there could be another sort of countdown here soon - one on the streets.

You know the pedestrian crossings - the ones that go green when you can walk (after checking the cars/buses/bikes have paid attention to the red light pointing in their direction) and then flash a bit giving you a subtle push to speed up or do a little trot/stumble if you're in my heels - which I don't recommend but I think Al may consider trying after reading this! Well Boris wants to get a countdown thing on them which tells you how long you've got left to walk/trot/stumble out of the path of oncoming/revving traffic. It could mean we get 6 seconds less to get across - which sounds like a lot more rushing around in heels to me - and sounds like bad news for the elderly and disabled. They're not impressed by the plans. But Boris says it'll mean a greener capital - with less cars waiting around at lights and stuff. I don't think I've explained this properly - think I best stop rambling now - will leave it up to Glen who's no doubt going to be running back and forth across the roads as fast as his little legs can carry him later.

Back to 2012 and we've already investigated why there aren't billboards and posters up celebrating the fact the Games are coming here in less than 3 years. You'd think there'd be more - there aren't. Well, the London lot are in France and they're not shouting about it there either. Big tents promoting London and investing in property in the capital - but no sign of a boast of the games.....surely this is v good and will tempt people into investing in property etc... Simon Harris has the tough job of slumming it on the Cote D'Azur - trekking after Boris and asking him - for why? and what's going on? and how much is all this bloomin' well costing!??

There's a sad countdown on for Jade Goody - she's going home from hospital.. Marcus has the latest on what could be her last trip and her last few days. The show about her wedding's on tonight - soooooo sad. Do hope the guidelines are changed now so girls are checked for cervical cancer cells at 18 instead of 25 - seems obvious. Also, do hope she's not in too much pain and that she gets to say goodbye to her little ones and that they're looked after properly.

Really wish all little ones were looked after properly - sometimes doesn't it seem like the people who really should know how make the most tragic mistakes - not talking about Jade now - talking about sad story of family with little one who had meningitis - only the hospital apparently said it was just a throat infection. By the time they got their little one to another hospital - who agreed that it was meningitis (what the parents themselves had told first hospital!) it was too late. They wants answers - and don't want it to happen again - Liz Wickham's been to speak to them.

There's a lot on tonight so will have to speed up the countdown to the show here - Phil's been out with a top air ambo guy - retiring at 65 and has saved soooo many. And Rachel's been shopping - less said about that the better. Was for an actual story though - she's at Selfridges who are 100! Hopefully they've passed on gifts to celebrate....

Dishy Director Dan has just been over trying to get me to write something about him in the blog - suggest he doesn't try and compete with Kiefer Sutherland - and bribe me with something better than a pocket full of change next time...Ski trip would work...

So it's swiftly on to Mr 24 - Lucy gets to check out dishyness on the red carpet chatting to Jack Bauer himself. Yum. He's starring in Aliens Vs Monsters - have just watched a clip...I am a sucker for cartoony type things - this is Dreamworks and looks pretty good...lack of cute animals..but they have upped the cute monster count to compensate. It's 3D too - so silly glasses wearing may persuade me. Lucy and Kiefer will tell us all later.

Al's watching Cheltenham and chuckling at the jockey who's just fallen off his horse before the race has even started. They're now on their 3rd false start - he's transfixed. He's now shouting "C'Mon, C'Mon!!" Very distracting - some of us are trying to work!!

Will get him tea and chocolate so he can focus on the task at hand before 6.

See you then

Alex & Alastair.

Jade returns home

Jade Goody has returned home. She left the Royal Marsden this morning. We'll be live with the latest on London Tonight at six.


Greetings from Cannes by Simon Harris

When the London Tonight team (all two of us) arrived in Cannes this morning we thought for a moment we'd come to the wrong place.

We're here to report on the world's biggest property show but this place looks more like the world's biggest boat show. The venue, the Palais Des Festivals is on the edge of the harbour and every inch of quayside is occupied by the most OTT floating gin palaces you've ever seen. And they're not here sheltering from a Winter storm - or even an economic one! Many of the luxury yachts have been chartered to act as hospitality suites by exhibitors. I counted three being used by local authorities, though not from London I should add.

Most of the attendees from the capital are in a less-than glam tent. Still, even that's not cheap and it's hard to escape the impression that there are some people here who don't know there's a recession on. The truth however is that most people at Mipim are only too well aware that business is seriously down this year. The sun is shining and the wine is flowing but this year's conference will probably end with a bigger hangover than usual. Some of those deals which were so easily tied up at Cannes conferences in the past simpply aren't there for the taking any more. The best advice I can offer is get out of property and invest in a luxury yacht! Bon soir.

London Tonight Tonight

Good afternoon.

There has always been a close connection between property and politics. A hundred and fifty years ago, unless you were part of the property owning classes, you didn't even get a vote. Some places, like University towns, had two MPs and but a handful of electors. The masses looked on aghast from the days of the Levellers right up to the Suffragettes and wondered what this democracy thing was all about. It is better now and apart from felons, lunatics and Irish peers, everyone over 18 can vote. But the magnetic charm of property remains a bit of toxicity, as rampant among our rulers as a dodgy mortgage in a bank's balance sheet. And so we find Harris, in sunglasses, straw hat and swimming shorts, on investigative duties on the Cote D'Azur. In Cannes, specifically: a fabulous town famous for it's film festival and as a playground of billionaires. Here, among celluloid's glitteratti and the high-rollers for whom the credit crunch is something "poor people" endure, he has found a band of your democratically elected representatives, led by Bozza but willingly supported by an entourage of Councillors, Chairs and not a few Special Advisors. They are attending a property market conference. Their theme is inward investment; their purpose to keep all that foreign dosh heading London's way; our concern - is this the best way to spend your hard-earned Council Taxes? Harris rattles their consciences and mutters " recession, what recession?" at them.

Roman Abromavich, who likes Cannes, but has to moor his yacht at sea because it won't fit in the harbour, has seen his fortune slide. But he still counts it in the billions - just a few fewer than a year ago. But his Chelsea FC goes from strength to strength, and tonight they take on Juventus in the Champions League. He buys and sacks managers as if he were addicted to the sport ( of sacking, not soccer) but Gus Huddink is doing well and may last until we go on air at 6. Ned joins us to read the tea leaves and mulls over Arsenal's less savoury appointment in the Eternal City that is Rome, tomorrow night. It was bloody mayhem last time.

Dog fighting is always bloody mayhem which is why it has been illegal for some time. That ban is widely ignored in the countryside and increasingly so in our inner cities. Nasty "sport" attracts nasty "types" and tonight we have the strongest evidence of just how nasty those "types" are - when one dog didn't live up to their hopes it didn't live much longer. It's death did not come in the jaws of another angry canine, but at the bottom of a six storey fall, lobbed, mindlessly to its demise by a gang of disappointed yobs. Marcus has the horrid details.

Odd, on a day that Northern Ireland mourns the death of a murdered policeman in the wake of the two soldiers gunned down at the weekend, to remember the IRA attack on Guildford in October 1974. That's 34 years ago. Guildford, today, conjures up images of leafy suburbs, an attractive albeit crumbling medieval castle and a wonderful county show ground. But it also boasts a firearms training centre and such are the fears of the Surrey constabulary at the rising level of real and "repro'" gun-crime that the place has never been busier. Glen dons his ear-mufflers, and steps up to the plate to learn what the Boys in Blue are taught to make some of you safer.

As I re-read that little lot I am minded to bring some beauty and levity to your lives and so, hey-presto - Ms Julia Roberts. She of Notting Hill and Pretty Woman fame is in town to promote her latest offering - Duplicity - and threatens to honour the red carpet. Lovely Lucy has been warned off by JR's publicity people for risk of our belle out-shinning their's... So we are sending Nick. He may run into difficulties, however. If he runs into Clive Owen, on similar grounds, so he's gunning for an interview with just JR. If someone yells, from the crowd "Who shot JR?" I hope our cameraman will say "I did". Fingers crossed.

I am yet to see a copy of any of London's papers so will hang in expectation with you for that glimpse of the front pages, but I fear Northern Ireland may still be clouding our collective horizons.
Chrissie is our meteorological gloom-lifter tonight.

The Oz has finally managed to order her new bed but she is not clear what an Allen Key is. I told her she should have gone to Liberty's but she is so mindful of how tough it is out there, and believes that concerns about the economy outweigh her ignorance of assembly tools.
She's heading for make-up now so I think I'll get away with that.

See you at 6 unless I am wrong and she blackens my eyes - in which case, enjoy her company and I'll see you tomorrow.

Alastair and Alex

Chelsea visit Juventus tonight

On tonight's London Tonight we get some words of wisdom from our good friend Ned Boulting from ITV Sport, who's in Turin.

Before that.. some words from Guus Hiddink..


London Tonight Tonight

Good afternoon.

Bozza wants "more" green spaces in the Capital - he told us so, at election time. The people of the Kingshold estate, Hackney, just want "some" green space - they told their Councillors. "But you've got some", observed the Councillors, pointing to the nearby park. The "nearby park" is, to the law abiding citizens of Kingshold, what the north of Cyprus is to the Greeks living south of the Green line - we are talking "no-go-area". Nick puts on his flak jacket and heads North-East to discover why, and whether property development may have a small say in the matter, too.

Talking of which, the one upside to our collective half-trillion pound (that's £500,000,000,000) bailout of some of the Banks (and there are a few more still festering in the wings) is the instruction from the Government, on behalf of us "shareholders", that they get lending again, especially on mortgages. Do you see a property market, ablaze with interest? A banging down of estate agents' doors? Nope - it's still as lukewarm as yesterday's left-overs. Melanie Bien joins us to explore when things, at least hypothetically, may change.

There used to be a great programme on TV called "Hypotheticals" - they'd set a scenario and ask the great and the good what they'd do:
"An unknown virus is sweeping across the south of England. What do you do?".
"Move North?" would not have done.
Then they'd develop the scenario: "And we've run out of hypodermics"
"Bulk buy sugar cubes?" would have fallen short, too.
Anyway tonight we have the tragic story of the family that found itself playing a real-life version of "Hypotheticals" that ended in tragedy.
First scenario - "Dad is displaying stroke symptoms - slurred speech, limp limbs and so on. What do you do?".
"Phone the GP?"
"Good! But, actually, the GP is not there and an out-of-hours service has kicked in, instead. Now what do you do?"
"Give a bit of background and ask for advice?"
"Good. Your getting the hang of this. The out-of-hours service suggests paracetamol. What do you say to that?".
"Not happy. We'll phone NHS Direct. OK?"
"Good - NHS Direct tell you to take him to the Doctor".
" But he's too big to get out of bed - can we call for an ambulance?"
"Yes, but you'll never guess what the paramedics in the ambulance will tell you to do ........"

I am not going to give the punch line away but you reach it via wrong-headed diagnoses including vertigo, yet more recommendations of paracetamol, a trip to A&E, and then the screen fades to black.... Phil listens to the family who have spent more time recently talking to lawyers than medics.

Half a million of London's immigrants would rather not talk to lawyers, if you don't mind: they are illegals and make up two thirds of the national total. Bozza wants to call an amnesty. A lot of the illegals say they just want to stay, work and pay taxes. That, to some cynical old minds, may distinguish them, for the better, from a lot of our homegrown stock but I merely pass on the gossip in the snug... Harris takes a much more clinical, and never cynical, look at the challenge and asks if the election timetable has anything to do with other great political leaders keeping a bit mum on the whole thing.

Michael Ball doesn't do "mum" - he speaks boldly, sings loudly and celebrates, extravagantly, his 25 years in showbiz today. He is sweeping, histrionically, our way to have a natter before sweeping, wondrously, back to do "Hairspray" for the masses I see queuing at his theatre every night. We are lucky to have him, as are they.

We celebrate Chrissie's being with us - it is bright but very cold today. Why? Keep it simple, missy: I am getting on in years.
The papers will litter your screen before littering London until we all learn to do the right thing, assuming we can find a bin.

And we have a piece from a doctor who says we broadcasters get science wrong, though some get it more wrong than others. I like to think we are more a "nuclear fission will happen, one day" programme than a "flat-earth" believer's broadcast. And remember, E only equals MC squared if neither is a rapper nor an illegal drug.

The Oz felt the need for soup as I devoured a chocolate bar - she is wiser and healthier than I am. But I think I am still just a bit happier than her. Soup vs sweeties? Sorry, Doc: it's a no brainer.

See you at 6.

Alastair & Alex

Love London Awards: The Shortlist

The shortlist for the Love London Awards is out!

You can vote by clicking the link on the right hand side of this page.

Best Neighbourhood Bar/Pub: East Dulwich Tavern
Best Neighbourhood Bar/Pub: The Angel Inn
Best Neighbourhood Bar/Pub: The Holly Bush
Best Neighbourhood Bar/Pub: The Larrick
Best Neighbourhood Bar/Pub: The Spaniards Inn
Best Neighbourhood Bar/Pub: The Warwick Arms
Best Neighbourhood Bar/Pub: The Queen's Arms
Best Neighbourhood Bar/Pub: The George
Best Neighbourhood Bar/Pub: The Gun
Best Neighbourhood Bar/Pub: The Red Lion and Sun

Best Neighbourhood Restaurant: Base Restaurant
Best Neighbourhood Restaurant: El Parador
Best Neighbourhood Restaurant: Il Bordello
Best Neighbourhood Restaurant: Osteria Puccinella
Best Neighbourhood Restaurant: Rasa
Best Neighbourhood Restaurant: The Depot, Barnes
Best Neighbourhood Restaurant: Gioberti
Best Neighbourhood Restaurant: Inside
Best Neighbourhood Restaurant: Moomba Bar & Kitchen
Best Neighbourhood Restaurant: Chimes

Best Neighbourhood Gastro Pub: Islington Tup
Best Neighbourhood Gastro Pub: The Larrick
Best Neighbourhood Gastro Pub: The Well's Tavern
Best Neighbourhood Gastro Pub: William IV
Best Neighbourhood Gastro Pub: The Old Ship
Best Neighbourhood Gastro Pub: The Clarence
Best Neighbourhood Gastro Pub: The Duke
Best Neighbourhood Gastro Pub: The Dartmouth Arms
Best Neighbourhood Gastro Pub: The Noble
Best Neighbourhood Gastro Pub: The Drysart

Best Neighbourhood Coffee Shop: Bertie & Boo Cafe
Best Neighbourhood Coffee Shop: Chicchi
Best Neighbourhood Coffee Shop: Coffee cup
Best Neighbourhood Coffee Shop: Espresso Bar
Best Neighbourhood Coffee Shop: Flat White
Best Neighbourhood Coffee Shop: orli cafe
Best Neighbourhood Coffee Shop: Spence Coffee Shop
Best Neighbourhood Coffee Shop: The Corner Cafe and Deli
Best Neighbourhood Coffee Shop: Fly
Best Neighbourhood Coffee Shop: Bar Italia

Best Neighbourhood Cinema: Everyman
Best Neighbourhood Cinema: Ritzy
Best Neighbourhood Cinema: Greenwich Picturehouse
Best Neighbourhood Cinema: Renoir
Best Neighbourhood Cinema: Rio
Best Neighbourhood Cinema: Phoenix
Best Neighbourhood Cinema: Gate
Best Neighbourhood Cinema: Screen
Best Neighbourhood Cinema: Lexi Cinema
Best Neighbourhood Cinema: Watermans

Best Neighbourhood Theatre: Arts Depot
Best Neighbourhood Theatre: Bob Hope Theatre
Best Neighbourhood Theatre: Hackney Empire
Best Neighbourhood Theatre: Greenwich Theatre
Best Neighbourhood Theatre: South Bank Centre
Best Neighbourhood Theatre: Tricyle Theatre
Best Neighbourhood Theatre: Questors Theatre
Best Neighbourhood Theatre: The Mary Wallace Theatre
Best Neighbourhood Theatre: Chicken Shed
Best Neighbourhood Theatre: Broadway Theatre

Best Local Sports Centre: Alexandra Palace Ice Rink
Best Local Sports Centre: David Lloyd
Best Local Sports Centre: Esporta
Best Local Sports Centre: Seymour Leisure Centre
Best Local Sports Centre: Swiss Cottage Sports Centre
Best Local Sports Centre: Oasis
Best Local Sports Centre: The Spa
Best Local Sports Centre: Aspire Leisure Services
Best Local Sports Centre: Wavelengths
Best Local Sports Centre: West Wickham Leisure Centre

Best Local Music Venue: The O2/Indigo2
Best Local Music Venue: Wembly Arena
Best Local Music Venue: Half Moon
Best Local Music Venue: Roundhouse
Best Local Music Venue: Union Chapel
Best Local Music Venue: Jazz Cafe
Best Local Music Venue: Hammersmith Apollo
Best Local Music Venue: Jazz at Boaters Inn
Best Local Music Venue: The Bedford
Best Local Music Venue: The Hob

Best Neighbourhood Delicatessen: Rosslyn Deli
Best Neighbourhood Delicatessen: The Cheeseboard
Best Neighbourhood Delicatessen: The Fat Delicatessen
Best Neighbourhood Delicatessen: Fratellli
Best Neighbourhood Delicatessen: Garcias
Best Neighbourhood Delicatessen: Kennards
Best Neighbourhood Delicatessen: La Fromagerie
Best Neighbourhood Delicatessen: East Dulwich Deli
Best Neighbourhood Delicatessen: The Ginger Pig
Best Neighbourhood Delicatessen: Deli Suz

Best Local Shop: Alfies Antique Market
Best Local Shop: Fancy That of London
Best Local Shop: Mystical Fairies
Best Local Shop: Owl and the Pussy Cat Book Shop
Best Local Shop: Frank Godfrey Family Butcher
Best Local Shop: You Don't Bring Me Flowers
Best Local Shop: Drings Butchers
Best Local Shop: Hindley Antiques
Best Local Shop: Love Me Again
Best Local Shop: Pip's Smoothies


What Not To Miss

Featured this week:

London Tonight Tonight


I'm in a foul mood - Ikea won't deliver my new bed to my new house cos it's not the same address as my billing address - obviously!! I'm moving. Grrrrrrr. Robin is doing his best to cheer me up with custard jokes (more of in a mo) I think Al needs cheering up too.. his computer's broken and it doesn't seem like the people at PC World have given him a proper diagnosis. Grumbles from his direction..

I feel his pain and am spreading the love today as I also hate trains - it takes forever to do a ten minute journey from Clapham Junction to Waterloo - even longer for the stupid bus to arrive at Waterloo to bring me to the office (if only I was Al and got chauffeur driven everywhere - not true of course - but I don't like to think of him being stuck on trains like us). The trains are stupid, stupid, stupid and so are the buses. But the trains really are bloody slow - it's a fact. Some South West Trains journeys take longer than they did before the war. I'm not surprised - and it won't surprise the American tourist on my train this morning either - who said (surprisingly loudly...) "This guy drives slower than my Grandma!" I couldn't help but nod in agreement. Phil Bayles has been dispatched to find out why so sllooooooooow!!??

Back to the custard and another angry person. Leila Deen was so mad there was nothing else for it - green custard in Peter Mandelson's face. I don't think he's been moonlighting at either PC World or IKEA - he got Leila's blood boiling over Heathrow. She's from Plane Stupid - and says he's not helping their cause. So he got slimed! I've been reliving images of Ghostbusters. Marcus has been quoting things about green slime running through Mandelson's veins. He's going to explain all and show us the pics later - and take a trip down memory lane - not to Ghostbusters - but to more of our favourite politicians getting custarded. I'm just watching the pics again and am slightly concerned that Ms Deen managed to calmly walk away from the sliming...don't people get arrested for doing things like that - cue Robin...I don't think a custarding is assault "If it was they'd be facing a custurdial sentence". I'm smiling now.

400 others are not smiling though - they're puking and pooping and it's all thanks to a certain chubby duck. I've always had Heston's restaurant in Bray on my list of places I really should get around to eating in. But it has gone down the list now the food's apparently not going down too well. First 40 people said they'd got sick after eating there - now it's 400! Heston first thought it might be sabotage - but turns out they don't think that now - what it is Tamsin Roberts will be trying to find out as the 3 Michelin starred eatery stays shut for another weekend. No credit munch there then..

What else...there are some smash and grabbers caught by CNN on camera in Oxford Street which sounds well worth a look - and listen if Big Ed's imitation during the meeting (something of a roar!) is anything to go by. There's also James with the flicks - Watchmen (which looks like a boy's things to me) and The Young Victoria (which is definitely one I'm up for but am not sure I'll be able to persuade the other half..).

Ah yes - then there's Cannon and Ball - not a pair I'm familiar with as I don't recall them making it big down under...but I'm told they were the stars of ITV in the 80s - something to do with braces - which Al has forgotten to wear today so can not demonstrate - something to do with rocking on...I'm told I should be all excited - we'll see... They're in to talk about the Best of British Variety Tour - I'm looking forward to hearing about Nookie the Bear...That should put me in a better mood.

Now I just have to sort out my stupid phone - contacts and calendar have disappeared...it just is NOT my day!

Chocolate is called for.

See you at 6.

Alex and Alastair.

Politicians under attack

You'll see a few of these on the programme tonight. But here's an early reminder of some of the politicians who've been targetted in the past..

Lord Mandelson and the Green Custard

See the full story on London Tonight at six..


Michael Jackson in London

So he's coming..
If you missed London Tonight, this is what happened in Greenwich late this afternoon..

London Tonight Tonight Thursday 5th March 2009


It's all gone a bit Wacko Jacko here. Since we found out yesterday that the King of Pop is heading for the O2 it's all anyone's been talking about. Lucy's down there with a load of die-hard fans waiting for the man himself to make the big announcement - we were told it was going to be 4 o'clock - but as Faye rightly pointed out - it's bound to be later - hopefully it'll be before 6!
Posters all over the tube this morning have kind of given the game away but it's still going to be quite something to hear from Jackson himself that he's getting back on stage and see what kind of state he's in after rumours that he's been really ill. We're not allowed to film him with our own cameras - Al wonders whether it's 'cos he'll melt, Big Ed reckons the two cameras that will be on him will be smeared in vaseline soft-focus stylie - so we'll see - but only what his people want us to see I guess.
We had a bit of a debate about whether this is all really really exciting or not - mainly as Al doesn't seem convinced. I agree with Faye who says despite what he's been accused of in the past, he's still MICHAEL JACKSON! If we can get our hands on tickets I'll be there but won't be counting on Al for company.

While we wait for the results of that press conference the results are in on our councils. Not surprising news when it comes to Haringey - they're down to just one star after the Baby P case. They have promised to sort out the way they look after kids in the area - even though it's too late for him, it hopefully won't happen again. But Surrey council's been warned a Baby P case could happen there if they don't sort out the way they look after their children. It's one of the wealthiest counties but apparently vulnerable kids there just aren't being looked after properly. Surrey aren't happy to be in the same boat as Haringey when it comes to that one star rating. Ronke's gone to speak to them about it.

Harris is in Paris - it rhymes and everything!! Simon's been sent back to the land of the baguette to check out the Crossrail train there 'cos it's just like the one we're getting. We'll show you that and hopefully see how fast it goes!

DJ Ian Collins has been sent to Soho - the land of seedy late night offerings. The council wants to sort its image out - and try and close down the brothels etc. which survive alongside the bars, clubs and restaurants drawing people in. I'm hoping Ian won't have to sample the offerings in his report - especially not those hot dogs off the street - they do smell good when you've had a quick drinkie or three, but they really can not be good for you. Those street vendors look set for the chop along with the clip joints. I'm just hoping they'll put the bins back - getting rid of the litter would be a very good way to start cleaning up!

Oh - And I've just seen Jacko's car arrive at the O2 on the telly - there's a chopper up tracking his every move! This is going to be entertaining.

See you at 6.

Alex and Alastair.


Weds 4th March

Good afternoon.

Acting is a precarious trade. There's a lot of "resting" going on between jobs and a good deal of waiting at table or serving behind a bar whilst hoping for the agent to 'phone. Sally and Colin Knox are a lovely couple and one of their children, Rob, decided it was the trade for him. But far from warning him about "resting", they are the sort of parents who said "Go for it!" and he did. A little while back he landed a part in the latest Harry Potter movie. I wasn't there but we can all imagine his joy and his parents' pride. Who knows how far he might have gone in his chosen trade. I am just watching them, on TV, reading out a statement. Not at the joy of their son's achievement but at their quiet satisfaction that the young man who murdered their son Rob has been jailed. Sally is talking about keeping up the fight against knife crime. They are of a special breed and Lewis spoke to them before today's sentencing. Karl Bishop, the killer, will get life.... for taking Rob's.

It is a moving interview and you will get a lot from it, not least an oft' needed confirmation that, amidst the scum out there, there are good people. Colin and Sally are fine examples of the better breed.

We continue to delve into the schools crisis in London - many of you have been in touch following our report yesterday that showed 26000 not getting their first, second or third choice and 5000 not having been offered a place at all. We are expecting a Minister to join us to explain why, so we are currently doing our best to find a place for her in the studio.

Finally, we have a staggering report from Phil on the impact the recession is having on many of the welfare services so many of you either rely upon or have occasional but vital need of.

It is a serious part 1 and I make no apology for that - sometimes it is the tough stuff that matters most and we are proud to rise to the challenge.

Then there's Michael Jackson. He is in town staying at a fine hotel with fine balconies but , so far, no sign of his kids being dangled - but we've kept our cameras there, poised. He is here to make a major announcement which we think involves trying to out-do The Artist Formally Known As Prince down in The Stadium Formally Known As The Dome. Lucy covers the story and keeps her eyes peeled for whomsoever else might show up. She is a magnet, that girl.

Bozza has been flashing the cash - I talked, yesterday, about the bottomless pit that is his sofa, as he found millions for low cost housing, today, another sweep through the biscuit crumbs and Lego bits and he's found another scoop of lucre to tart up our parks. Love it! Fresh sods for Hyde Park and a lick of paint for the ageing boats on the Serpentine? Liz has the detail.

I sense , re-reading this - that I am a little less than my normal madcap correspondent. ITV has had a bad day and 600 of our colleagues will be spending more time with their tellies rather than crafting stuff for you to enjoy on yours. It is a hard day but, given we have reported on many hard days these last few months, it is unsurprising that the man in the black cape with the sharp scythe has come our way. Sad, though.

Hope you find something to move, inspire, entertain and even irritate you there.

The Oz and I will do our bit - all you have to do is watch... at 6.

Hope you can

Alastair and Alex



Good afternoon.
It is still said that if you want your child to go to Eton you have to "put their name down" in the instant between the mid-wife creating their tummy button and the doctor slapping their bum. Having a son helps, too, though I suspect the same applies to lassies destined for Beneden, Roedean and St. Paul's Girls. But for most folk who are happy to give the state schools a go you apply in the year before they are supposed to start. "Comprehensive" was the name given to the system created in the 60s by a Labour Government with more Winchester, St Paul's and Westminster School types on board than a shadow Tory Cabinet could shake a boater at. "All encompassing" in terms of subject, ability and student - that was the idea. So it will have come as a bit of a shock to the parents and guardians of 26000 little darlings when they discovered that their off-spring had not managed to get a place at their 1st, 2nd and even 3rd choice of school! And, for a further 5000, there is so far no school at all. Now that might bring a naughty smile and cause a glint to the eyes of the Just Williams among the younger generation but their folks don't get the joke. We've the story and we've the advice. Don't fret: it doesn't involve a trip to Eton Wick or Harow - nor being measured up for a tail coat and shirt with "wings". Glen dons his short trousers and blazer to do the Tom Brown bit for you.
I have taken to wondering just how big the Governments sofa is - it seems they are always coming up with vaste amounts of money to replace even more vaste amounts that have been lost. I think the money is lost down the back of their sofa only to be found, miraculously, again alongside biscuits and bits of Lego. Bozza has just taken delivery of a cast-off settee as he has just "found" £135 million to give housing a boost in the capitol. And he, the former Tory MP for Henley, says only the public sector can rescue us from the collapse in the market. He has in common with Karl Marx unruly hair but I didn't know they had economic analysis in common, too. He'll be quoting Rousseau to the 'chavs' next, telling them to shake off their" chains" and be free again.
Phil is our man from Land of Leather checking that delivery at the City hall treasury.
Three separate deliveries - 2, 3 and 5 years ago - created a family of siblings no one wants. Merton wants to keep them together and is looking for a family with lots of love and lots of bedrooms who might take them on. It is a tall adoption order but there are really good folk out there so we are helping Merton in their hunt. Liz is our version of Dr Barnado's beautiful young sister.
Queen Victoria died a fat, bloated and bitter old thing whatever people like Richard Starkley and Norman St John Stevas tell you. She had so many children it made Merton's challenge look like one extra nipper for tea. She was in mourning for more than a quarter of a century and presided over a time of rank hypocrisy, appalling architecture and troubling colonial expansion. That said, they made some lovely stamps with her profile on and I do like the water-colours of her era. Her husband, (see "mourning" above) was a differnet kettle of fish: a dashing young German with an eye for the main chance: he left a tiny Prussian principality and became Regent of a global Empire. He was gifted and oversaw the rebuilding of the burned out House of Commons giving us the magnificence of the Charles Barry-Augustus Welby Pugin edifice that graces the north bank of the Thames at Westminster. His is the Albert Hall and the Albert Memorial; and the modern British army was dressed, drilled and structured according to his master plan. What a dude! If he hadn't died so young, more would have been done and she might have cheered up a bit. Anyway, there's a film I am looking forward to which traces Grumpies early years in His company - Lucy, more of a Young Bardot than a Young Victoria, guides us through it on the red carpet. Victoria would have even had that turned black, so how lucky are.
Rick Astley still is and is in the studio to tell us about his 80's tour - not reminiscing about something that happened thirty years ago but enthusing about what will be happening shortly to rekindle a love for the music of those days.
We've also all the news thats fit to print - or broadcast - including the seriously sad tale of the young psychopath who warned everyone he was a killer and whose mum passed on those worries - all too late for his first four victims. It is a sad, sad story.
As is Chrissie's weather, through no fault of hers.
The papers and that's it.
The Oz made the tea run and got me a chocolate biscuit. If I smile even more tonight it is in gratitude to this elegant and thoughtful co-worker I am blessed to share our sofa with. No cash, though, in our sofa. I caught her checking yesterday. Unless that is where my chocky biscuit came from.....?
See you at 6 unless salmonella kicks in.
Alastair abnd Alex


London Tonight Tonight Monday 2nd March 2009

Good afternoon.

The Oz is tired but is still sticking to her impressive Lent resolution to single-handedly collapse the economy of the Great State of Virginia. She wondered if not smoking made her tired and I ventured, au contraire, it might make her more lively: more oxygen would now be surging towards her muscles and her neurons. She glazed over. I have that effect, sometimes, when I attempt to be knowledgeable.

Phil wonders if those who had first sight of the report into how London coped with last month's cold spell gave the same reaction. It concluded in a way that would surely earn a PhD from the University of the Bleeding Obvious, that we hadn't coped too well. But the bit that really is interesting is the bit which deals with the Emergency Services, especially London's splendid Ambulance Service. They reported evidence of an inability to organise a Bacchanalian excess in a beer factory. They also say more buck was passed, or bucks were passed, than at the annual convention of "The Not Me Guv - Wasn't My Fault Society". And what they heard when they asked local Councils to clear the snow so that they might save lives, will tempt you to tear up your Council Tax demand when it drops on your doorstep. I am not inciting law-breaking but rather offering what might prove to be a reasonable defence if you took such extreme action having been kept waiting for an ambulance last month.

No delay in the ambulance taking Jade Goody from her hospice to hospital and then on to yet another hospital. Jade has a lot of supporters and publicity but she hasn't got a lot of time. Her new husband may get a little "time", at her Majesty's pleasure, if he is convicted on a charge of assault. If acquitted, of course, he won't. Marcus keeps an eye on her prospects for you, and his.

Working about as well as our anti-winter-weather public services, has been the system for vetting people who want to work with children. The vast majority of them - teachers, care-workers and sports centre types - are absolutely fine. But because it is kids we need to be doubly careful, don't we? So when a German on the run from the sex crime police in Cambodia shows up at Northwick Park Hospital, looking to work on the kiddies' ward, you'd have hoped the checks were meticulous. They were, and yet he slipped through the net. Glen exposes a fundamental flaw in the system which we hope will never be repeated but we are not holding our breath.

Nor is Kirstie holding her's for a recovery in property prices, but she assesses how many swallow-like splurges of extra lending might make a housing market spring.

Man U beat Spurs in the Carling Cup which is sad if you are a Spurs fan and predictable if you are a "Red". No goals in 120 minutes ((45 x 2) + (15 x 2) I'm told by the Oz and Dishy Dan, who says he's more of a rugby boy)) so the drama that is The Penalty Shoot-Out unfolded before expectant eyes. The Man U goalie reached for his I-Pod. Not, I am told, to while away the moments whilst the Spurs man did his best; nor to seek the calming influence of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb"; nor even to enjoy the ecstatic stimulant that is The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World's "Start Me Up!"
Lewis, also a bit more of an oblong sphere merchant, truth to tell, reveals all. Well not all, though the rating boost would be welcome! He EXPLAINS all including why the FA couldn't care less...

We meet a woman who sailed both ways round the world. Both ways? Clothed and unclothed? Ah! East and West. She might have saved someone en route but that is a little unclear, as must have been her second journey as she thought "Haven't I been here before .... but going the other way?"

Lucy meets Jennifer Aniston at the stomping ground of her life that is The Red Carpet. "Marley and Me" seems to be the title but I am not sure if that is grouting, glaze and Marley Tiles or "No woman, No Cry" Bob Marley. I'll certainly be tuned in.
The Oz is looking at clips of it, right now, but is yet to laugh. Probably not a comedy then; or, if it is, perhaps not a very good one.
"It looks funny", she suddenly says. "It's got a dog in it", she adds. Not what I would call a boost on the way to the Oscars but we'll see and you can be the judges.

Chrissie judges a fair forecast and the papers - getting thinner it seems to me - will do their best to compete for your fleeting attentions.

Faye thinks the best story of the day is the claim by Heston Blumenthal - (second name, family; first name, a nod to the Services on the M4 - HONEST! ) - that the food poisoning at his top-rated gaff in Bray was sabotage. We joked about "Spike" Rhodes and "Foul Mouth" Ramsey helping the fuzz with their enquiries but it sort of faded.... like Faye's elegant jeans. I think the fashionistas call it "distressed" which is what The Big Boss will be if I don't finish, publish and be damned.

So I will.

See you at 6

Alastair and Alex