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London Tonight Tonight

Good afternoon.

The Oz is away and I am here which, on the basis of some of the last few BLOGS, may make a change! She is rehearsing something to do with what we do if something goes wrong. I hope the taxi getting her back here is not part of the plot.

Something shatteringly and darkly wrong happened in Wimbldeon 17 years ago and yielded an iconic image of a beautiful woman, a spring in her step and a smile on her face, almost dancing across the Common. It is of Rachel Nickell, before she was murdered. Her son Alex was with her. It sparked a matrix of anguish and many chapters of human tragedy. A partner robbed of the love of his life; a very young child, not only deprived of a loving mother but, at an unforgiveably young age, made a witness to the greatest loss he could ever endure; a murderer, roaming free for more than a decade; and an innocent man, pilloried in the press, convicted in the public conscience, only to be exonerated - his own life, left in tatters.

Tonight we talk to Andre Hanscombe, the partner of Rachel and father of Alex. It is an awesome responsibility but I hope you will judge it a powerful reason for joining us at 6.

Another pretty gripping reason for being with us will be the evidence Amanda Knox's mother gives in her daughter's defence at the hearing in Perugia, Italy. Amanda stands accused of murdering Surrey student Meredith Kercher. Her parents are convinced she is innocent but will they be able to persuade the Italian Court? Keith Miller, our NBC partner, will share his take, live from Perugia.

And finally, if someone used that old chestnut, "the cheque's in the post" to persuade you they have settled that nagging debt, today is not their day nor your's. Lewis avoids angry dogs to explain why.

I feel it encumbant upon me now to lighten the tone as I slide from hard, and I mean hard, news to the entertaining entertainment part of our Friday fayre.
Joe Meek lies somewhere between Phil Spector and George Martin in the pantheon of music producers. A troubled genius if ever there was, he produced Telstar for the Tornadoes and scored the first ever UK Number One on America's Billboard Top 100. That's good. Turning down the Beatles was not so good. But it ended even more bleakly and has sparked a book, a play and a film. Tonight we talk to the man behind the film, Nick Moran, a star himself; and he's joined by Con O'Neil who plays Joe alongside some other greats including Kevin Spacey.

Then Lucy goes all "luvvie" down in the West End where a festival of thespian frivolity unfolds before the unsuspecting tourists and the sang froid locals. Bet even they can't keep a straight face. I've asked Lucy for some giggles as I feel we need them tonight.

James plays transformers with us to talk about the all-age blockbuster of the summer. I remember my eldest son having a wellington boot that seemed to turn into an articulated lorry some years ago. That's a clue not a boast.

Robin is under orders to promise good weather for a much needed weekend and for the British Grand Prix. If he lies I'll tell you.

The papers, I think, are in search of a lead.

We have more than you could shake a printing -press at. It is that good, believe me.

The Oz is back.... and is off again.

No time for cliches but I feel the hand of history on my shoulder.

Well, if not history, the hope of a powerful programme.

See you at 6.

Alastair and Alex.

Robin's weather ramblings

Good evening,

Waterloo station is a much less vibrant place since Eurostar moved to St. Pancras & Waterloo International was put into mothballs. There's a buzz & a glamour which only international travel can bring to a big old commuter hub, but this week - thanks to Royal Ascot - those two commodities have returned.

The usually grey concourse is awash with colour once again; men in tails & silk ties & women in high shoes & even higher hats, all providing those of us stumbling bleary eyed off the early morning trains with welcome distraction. All, that is, except me because I'm left feeling worried. My concern centres around the strength of today's wind & the precarious nature of the almost architectural structure of some of the racegoers' headgear. I have visions of netting, feathers & possibly clumps of scalp being swept away on a stiff westerly & a day at the races being ruined.

It's at this point (before it all gets truly gothic) I have to remind myself that a lost hat is not the end of the world & that the strength of the wind is not my responsibility. In fact conditions are set to improve quite substantially next week; too late for the horse fanciers perhaps but spot on for any tennis fans out there.

Hoping your weekend is more sun than shower & that you'll join us later,