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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