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London Tonight Tonight

Good afternoon.
Among the pantheon of great journalists in the canon of English literature, two tower above most: George Orwell and Charles Dickens. I don't think "1984" or "Animal Farm" would make great musicals, though there are a few laughs in Orwell's "Keep the Aspidestra Flying". But Dickens' "Oliver Twist" begat "Oliver!", to lasting success. It is, in truth, a bleak morality piece with an uplifting finale of family love. At its dark, throbbing heart is a gang of young criminals who, in modern times, would have been held up as frightening examples of abuse and neglect; but in the musical they are an "artful" band of "dodgers" who sing and dance their thieving way through London's streets. They are all boys. Today we have a troubling example of a C21st Fagin who frightened a posse of young girls into mounting a lucrative campaign of pick-pocketing on the London Underground. Phil reports on the devastating scale of their "got to pick a pocket or two" antics and what befell their svengali.
I love horses and so do my children. They are lucky enough to have their own and lavish TLC on them without too much prompting. Though big, they are creatures with warm, winning eyes, a controlled power which respects the presence of smaller creatures and a curious ability to reciprocate affection despite their relative size compared to the young, human recipients of that affection. To read of the uncaring cruelty visited by the Gray family upon their collection filled me with sadness and disbelief. The RSPCA, as they often do, came to the rescue and the Courts are poised to do the right thing, too. Glen, a fine reporter who, in another life, might well have made an equally fine jockey, saddles up and rides off into the sunset - well, to Amersham actually.
That will take him north from here: just as well he isn't heading south, towards Sidcup, given he might just fall off his steed and be in need of A&E. It is a service that is to be lost from Queen Mary's Hospital in that fine borough. And, God forbid that he should have a sex change and fall pregnant - maternity being downgraded too! The planners say, as planners always do, that it'll be alright, and good, and even better; the locals say not if you have a stroke, heart-attack or go into labour. Lewis, our healthiest young reporter (no risks here!) is on his way with a blue light on his handsome head to discover who is right in this clash of the claims.
Our dear American Cousins are in Perugia with the latest on the Meredith Kercher case - DNA is said to link Amanda Knox to the killing of Meredith. Our hope is that technology will link us to the Cousins: fingers crossed.
Fingers, arms, legs and anything else that "crosses" if you play your cricket against Thames Ditton. A man with a past has joined them and we will reveal him at 6 - as he whacks all opponents' hopes to the boundary without them touching the ground! Marcus is all in white, with his trousers held up with his old school tie.
At risk of offending Marcus, and every other Gooner, plus my son Oscar, and every other Blues fan, I will say that we are previewing a Battle of the Giant LOSERS of the Beautiful Game. Who needs the Champions League when runner-up status is at stake in the Premiership? This doesn't get any better, does it? I'll stop and move on.
Films - can't bear Star Trek - but quite like the sound of the "fantasy horror animation" as described by the New Boss. But what will James make of "Coraline" and the Trek offering? Don't boldly go to the channel changer and you'll find out at 6.
What Not to Miss is not to be missed; some debate about where to put Robin - the roof beckons but who knows: not him, yet!
The papers are full of second homes, Jaffa Cakes, horse manure and MPs.
And Faye, (black suit, silver pendant, smart shoes and the biggest belly I have ever seen for one so lovely and normally so size 8-ish) has popped in to say Hi. That's nice but I think next time there will be two of them - or three if hubby comes to celebrate too - and I think it will be soon.
The Oz is in make-up, not that she needs much. She is going to see a girl-friend in her first-ever flat-racing race at the weekend which I envy, in so many ways. Perhaps I'll just have a fiver on the outcome.
Gosh, is it that time? People are talking to Faye about towels and hot-water, hospitals and birthing pools. Odd that. But not as odd as the letter that arrived from the Post Office Press Office, containing some really beautiful new stamps celebrating Henry V111's 500 years. They forgot to pay the postage! And the Government expects to sell it off to the Dutch? They must be mad.
See you at 6, unless I am sent to you recorded delivery in which case, see you Monday.
Alastair and Alex