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London Tonight Tonight

Good afternoon.

I was at boarding school when Jack Kennedy was shot and we were marched into the chapel to pray for world peace.

I was at a dinner party in central London when it became clear the Berlin Wall was about to be breached and it proved such a bugger to breach that I managed to get to Berlin in time for the collapse of the wall and, with it, east European communism.

And I had just got back to my hotel room last night when news agencies made that fatal transition from reporting the illness of Michael Jackson to suggesting he had died.

So, here I am, after four hours sleep, four programmes already, and yet poised and keen to tell you we have even more, and fresher, to tell you about this sad event.

To some he was that odd bloke whose nose kept changing shape and who allegedly had odd tastes in how, and with whom, to express his affections.

To millions of others, across the capitol and around the world, he was a deeply gifted, albeit deeply flawed, genius who rose from membership of a talented novelty act to become a redefining , re-inventing dynamo in the world of popular music.

Tonight we talk to people who echo that , here and in the US of A.

And given he was so good and so popular, his recently launched series of concerts, like topsy, grew and grew with demand. In the end there were to be about 50 and they'd still sold out. Touts were getting four figure sums for single seat tickets. Now that for clinically incontrovertible reasons he can no longer fulfill his contractual obligations to O2, nor they to the thousands of fans, a mighty mess emerges. There is talk down Greenwich way of "self-insurance". No, new to me as well. You crash you car into another car and tell the 3rd party "Fear not - I have self-insurance". No, I don't think so either.
We'll ask O2 the £300 m question, (for that is what seems to be at stake here), "Whatchya gonna do about it?"

The Oz has just returned from talking to an expert witness on the "cultural influence" front - it was her destiny, I guess. Or at least the off-spring of it.

The clues are there, dear friends.

Lucy has donned wellies and borrowed a tent to talk to the pyramid stage brigade down druid way and she will share her expert thoughts and their emotional
out-pourings, too.

Then we will ask for your thoughts - they can be eulogistic or enquiries about how you get your cash back - both acceptable though I think the former have the edge over the latter in terms of getting read out.

Then - swimmers, barges, HMS Belfast and glass-top-tourist-boat operators.... beware! Some large spherical objects are shortly expected to be floating down and then up the Thames. "Beware" the man in the crow's nest might call. "Aye aye" might come the response which, phonetically would be right on the money. Phil mounts the ferris wheel of fate for an explanation.

James will talk about "Year One" , which every seems to hate, and "Sunshine..." , which seems to have other words in it's title which no one can remember just now. But he is complete and very good so I'd listen to him.

The Oz will have tips for the weekend not including net practice for the Oz eleven nor tinny tipping training for their supporters. No, much more sensible than that.

Chrissie is safely back in the studio having been chatted up by the ghost of Henry VIII yesterday. We take our duty of care seriously.

And tonight is the last night of The Big Boss. He is heading north to fresh challenges. He is a friend as well as a boss - how lucky am I? He is a boss AND good at what he does - how lucky are we and how rare is he?

If you have liked what we've been doing these last five years, cry hurrah for The Big Boss. If you haven't, blame everyone from Ken Livingstone to Dame Shirley Porter, via the Bendy Bus, Congestion Charge, Thames Water and the rest of it. But not him. He only tells it like it is. Thats why he's good. He's nice because he's nice. That's why I like him and will miss him.

See you with a tear in my eye at 6.

Alastair and Alex