03/02/2012 Midlands Today


03/02/2012

The latest news, sport and weather for the Midlands.


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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today, with Suzanne Virdee and Nick Owen.

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The headlines tonight. Chaos and frustration, as a

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derailment leaves thousands of train travellers stranded. It's sad

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that we seem to have a rail system that is not as efficient and

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effective as business needs and the country needs.

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As the cold snap continues, preparations are underway for

:00:20.:00:30.
:00:30.:00:30.

widespread snowfalls. Mick McCarthy admits he has had

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words with his chairman. I've spoken to him and it's been sorted

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out. He knows my feelings on it... And that's enough for me.

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Under Paralympic medallist whose hopes for 2012 could fall at the

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:00:58.:01:00.

first hard will after his horse Good evening, welcome to Friday's

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Midlands Today, from the BBC. Tonight, frustration for thousands

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of rail passengers after a train derailed, throwing journeys to the

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capital into chaos. The West Coast Main Line was closed when a freight

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engine came off the tracks at Bletchley, near Milton Keynes. That

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meant passengers between Birmingham and London were forced to try to

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switch to alternative services, and all on one of the busiest days of

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the week on the railways. Giles Latcham is at New Street Station

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now. How's it looking there tonight? Better than it was. It's

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busy on the concourse but that's usually the way on a Friday night.

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The good news, though - the West Coast Main Line has been partially

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re-opened and services are now running again. Not quite back to

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normal but, thankfully, after a difficult, trying day, things are

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improving. Hold that train. A ten-minute dash

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from one station to another. One way of keeping warm on what, for

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some, proved a trying day. information at all on the internet

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that helped and I phoned a National Rail Enquiries and they had no idea

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how I could get to London either. usually use the Euston line. I had

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to go to Moor Street. And then my fight was cancelled as well! So I

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am going home! A stream of Virgin and London Midland passengers

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unable to travel down the West Coast Main Line from New Street

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became a flood heading for Moor Street, where Chiltern Trains still

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running to London Marylebone took the strain. On a Friday heading

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into the weekend rush hour, a degree of chaos and confusion is

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inevitable, but rail companies who normally are fighting each other

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say today has been all about corporation. Many Virgin passengers

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were very impressed with staff giving them as much information as

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they could about their onward journeys. If Tickets were honoured

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and extra carriages laid on. Even a tough-talking former politician

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trying to get to a radio studio pronounced himself satisfied.

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Everyone has been dead helpful, dead friendly! Good information and

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everybody is trying. Can't blame anybody but you just have to get

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this sorted out quickly. The cause of all this - a freight engine

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derailed in the early hours near Milton Keynes. The driver injured,

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and tracks and and overhead cables damaged. By mid-afternoon, a

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limited number of trains began running again, but services won't

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be back to normal possibly for several days.

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More on the situation now. The West Coast Main Line is made up of four

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lines. Two of them reopened at about 3.40pm this afternoon. There

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are now two Virgin services an hour running between London and the West

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Midlands. Normally you'd have three. And two an hour between here and

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Manchester. London Midland services to Euston are going only as far as

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Northampton and then you're on a bus. The advice, as ever, check

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ahead. And looking ahead, two of the lines remain closed tonight.

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The damage is quite substantial and will take several days to repair.

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Virgin are warning that there could be disruption for several days yet.

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Officials from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch have begun an

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inquiry into what caused this derailment.

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Freezing temperatures this weekend are likely to bring snow and ice,

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and with it, a fair amount of disruption on our roads. Among

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those most at risk in these sub- zero conditions are elderly people,

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of course. Steve Knibbs has been out with a volunteer who's making

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sure they stay safe. It is a busy time for this project

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in Gloucester. They helped take the homeless off the streets. This man

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I sleep for an hour, an hour and a half but then I wake up and move on.

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Like others here, he knows the night shelter will save lives.

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Without people like this, I wouldn't cope. Most of us would

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have died. I don't know... What would happen. For workers spend a

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lot of their time looking for those sleeping rough, and in cold weather,

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it is more important than ever. main priority is to get out and

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look for those sleeping outside. These temperatures can kill.

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these woods, food and blankets are left for a man who chooses to make

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this place his home, and he will be sleeping out tonight. We will keep

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an eye on him. The medical team will give him bits of extra food,

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build up a relationship. For those with a roof over their head, the

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dangers of cold weather can still hit. Sallyanne Batchelor is a

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village agent in Gloucestershire and regularly visits the elderly

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not just to make sure they are warm, but safe. They wrap up in a blanket

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but the rest of the house is freezing cold, so it is good to pop

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round and make sure things are fine. People know that or they have got

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to do is phone and Sally will be there. For many, that knock on the

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door is a lifeline. Talking of the cold, Ben's been

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watching the weather maps for us. And it's looking like snow? Yes, it

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certainly feels like winter's arrived now. Temperatures are

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already down to minus one Celsius here in Birmingham and we're

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expecting a spell of snow tomorrow. If you're travelling this weekend,

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make sure you join me for the Manufacturers need to invest in

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skills, innovation and better design to win back lost export

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orders, according to a top business analyst today. Lord Digby Jones was

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speaking at the launch of a new software company on the site of the

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old MG Rover works in Birmingham. China leads the list of countries

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winning business that once went to Midlands firms. In 2000, British

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imports from China stood at �4.8 billion. But in just a decade, that

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had gone up to �30.6 billion. There are signs, though, that the Chinese

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are no longer having it all their own way, as Cath Mackie's been

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finding out. The jet engine, the Mini, the

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microchip and fine bone china. Inventions which transformed the

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way we live. All designed in the West Midlands. Fast-forward to the

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21st century, and innovators across the region are ready once again to

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take on the world. Like Newgate Clocks in Oswestry. For 21 years,

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they've designed their own products and they're about to bring

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manufacturing back from China to their Shropshire base. We are a

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British company and we thrive on British design. And we can shout

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about the fact it is also made in Britain and fry the British flag

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over our products as well. Elsewhere in Birmingham and

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Worcester, two more companies coming up with unique designs. Gary

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Bryant, from Birmingham, has just invented a new secure clasp for

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earrings. We are particularly good at precision things and that is

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where this actual product is so precise, it is made 200th of a

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millimetre. That is where I found it brilliant working with great

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engineers. Nick Grey in Worcester thinks it's time the region claimed

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the design and innovation crown. His company in Worcester creates

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cleaning and gardening products. China of a superpower in

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manufacturing but we can be the superpower in design. We have the

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skills and we are built for design. We are confident and eccentric and

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inventor and, -- inventive, so British people might the best

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designers. -- make the best designers. This is another place

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where a design revolution is said to be taking place - the Longbridge

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Technology Park in Birmingham. On the site where the iconic Mini was

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born, a new company is inventing what it calls groundbreaking

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software, to take on the IT giants. At the helm is the former Trade

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Minister, Lord Digby Jones. He says we need to invest more in giving

:09:24.:09:27.

the right skills to young people. It is no good Birmingham and the

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West Midlands thinking, tell you what, we can make things that sell

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on price, commodities. We can provide services you can get

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anywhere. China will have your lunch and India will have your

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dinner. We need to design things, be innovative, in what is called

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value added. Add something to this. The region's inventors, designers

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and innovators will be showcasing their talents at the spring fair in

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the NEC this weekend. And they'll be trying to win back business

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that's gone to China and the emerging economies.

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Hard-pressed local authorities are having to find millions more from

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already-stretched budgets to cover a sharp rise in fines for sending

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their waste to landfill. In Worcestershire, for example, the

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County Council is now having to pay out in landfill tax around four

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times the amount it spends on buses. Our political reporter, Tom Turrel,

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has more. A growing landfill mountain in

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Worcestershire and it is costing our councils dear. Locals

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authorities have to pay a so-called landfill tax, essentially a

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government fine, to encourage them to hit European recycling targets.

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But the problem is, despite the fact our landfill waste is going

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down, the fines are going up. More and more of us on recycling a

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rubbish and it is ending up in places like this. But that is not

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enough to keep Brussels happy. people has to me, if we had done

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what the Germans and Dutch had done, we would be well away. But we are

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where we are. We are doing more recycling now than I ever thought

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possible. And with budget under more and more pressure, the

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landfill tax is proving a real headache. In the financial year

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2005-2006, the County Council cent at 262,000 tonnes to landfill and

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paid �3.4 million in tax. But in 2010-2011, we sent to -- 27,000

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tonnes but fine had gone up to �5.8 million. This has caught the eye of

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MEPs on the Continent. This should be for the Westminster government

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and not for Bristol, because we should be able to spend our money

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any meaningful way and not be fined by the EU. But the reality is, if

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we are going to reduce our carbon emissions and catch up with our

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European neighbours, the answer does not lie with poles in the

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ground. If people had understood earlier the drive behind

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sustainability and taken on the Green Party message a bit more, we

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could have avoided a lot of the pain of landfill tax. So what's

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most agree landfill is not the way forward, unless a councils stop

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burying rubbish in the ground, they will continue to throw away good

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money after bad. And this weekend's Sunday Politics

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will be taking the lid off rubbish, and looking at how your area could

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beat it -- affected by landfill taxes.

:12:31.:12:41.
:12:41.:12:44.

You can find out more on the Week were 200 Rae anniversary of

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Charles Dickens is been mocked it was the country. One very special

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guest at what be joining the celebrations this weekend.

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This is a place at Charles Dickens used to frequent. He has performed

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on this very stage and it's the location for Shrewsbury's Dickens

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weekend. I will introduce that special guest in a moment, but

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before that, I have spent the day finding out more about the town's

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connection to one of England's greatest writers.

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Light Charles Dickens, this hotel has many a tale to tell. Little has

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changed inside this sweet. Charles Dickens always asked to stay here

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when visiting the town. Charles Dickens stayed hair twice, possibly

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:13:51.:13:54.

more. Although Charles Dickens would not recognise the hi-tech

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gadget hear it now, much of what he wrote about in a letter to one of

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his daughters still remains. windows bulge out over the street

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as if they were little store windows in a ship and a door opens

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out into the sitting room and a gallery. People like staying in the

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Dickens suite. Are they like the never ending corridors. It is not

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just this hotel that has connections with Charles Dickens.

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The town's musical is one place he performed on a number of occasions.

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Even after his death, Dickens and Shrewsbury were still intertwined.

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A multi- million pound movie of A Christmas Carol was Fonte in 1984

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and Ebenezer Scrooge's grave still remains at one of the local

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churches. Dickens would have stayed in the front room of this hotel and

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performed right here on the stage. He may not have been born or even

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lived here, but despite that, the people of Shrewsbury are proud of

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the stories they have to tell about their town and Charles Dickens.

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Well, they will be showing a Christmas Carol over the weekend,

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but without a doubt, a highlight is this gentleman here. This is

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Charles Dickens's great-great- grandson. What we be doing this

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weekend? It is exciting for me to be here. I will be part of this

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wonderful festival and performing to showers of my own in this room

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where Charles Dickens performed. Some of the things that Charles

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Dickens himself would have performed here in Shrewsbury will

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be part of your act, when to it. Yes. He was not born here, but he

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loved it. A absolutely. Some of his novels were set here. He loves this

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hotel and one of the readings I am doing will be one that he gave

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previously. The fact you are performing on the stage and staying

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in the room where you great-great- grandfather state, it must be nice.

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Be it will be exciting. We will see overnight whether he approves.

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There are also some walking tours around Shrewsbury, all part of the

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Dickens weekend. There are still a few tickets left if you want to go.

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Back to the studio. He does look spookily like his

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great great grandfather. Fascinating stuff. Time for the

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sport now. Words have been sent between Mick McCarthy and the

:16:48.:16:52.

chairman. The Wolves manager Mick Mccarthy

:16:52.:16:55.

says he's spoken to chairman Steve Morgan about him coming into the

:16:55.:16:58.

dressing room after matches. Morgan made his feelings known to the

:16:58.:17:01.

players after Tuesday's 3-0 defeat to Liverpool. Now McCarthy has made

:17:01.:17:11.
:17:11.:17:16.

Every picture tells a 1,000 words and this moment lead to plenty more

:17:16.:17:21.

been spoken in the dressing room. Steve Morgan's pain on Tuesday

:17:21.:17:24.

night was self-evident as Wolves slumped against Liverpool. Manager

:17:24.:17:30.

Mick McCarthy was a happy either, but for him, Morgan coming into the

:17:30.:17:33.

dressing room did not help. I have spoken to him about that and that

:17:33.:17:39.

has been sorted out. Did you feel undermined by that. A I have spoken

:17:39.:17:47.

to him and that has been sorted out. He knows my feelings. -- I have

:17:47.:17:53.

spoken. I don't need to give everyone a headline. Even if

:17:53.:17:57.

relationships are strained, Morgan told us he is not one of knee-jerk

:17:57.:18:02.

reactions. This is not a hire and fire club. I don't run my business

:18:02.:18:07.

is like that. That does not need to say we are soft on things. We say

:18:07.:18:11.

what we have to say behind closed doors. And clearly he did, but

:18:11.:18:17.

lives do not -- but life does not get easier for Wolves. They are

:18:17.:18:23.

playing a wave to QPR tomorrow. I had an instant remedy, it would

:18:23.:18:33.
:18:33.:18:35.

have been done and we would have been sorted out. The club need a

:18:35.:18:41.

response that can get a result. Wolves has a new signing -

:18:41.:18:45.

Sebastien Bassong signed on loan from Tottenham. They need something

:18:45.:18:48.

to change if they are to climb out of their current slump and the

:18:48.:18:56.

bottom three of the Premier League. You can hear more of that interview

:18:56.:19:05.

on aware Facebook page. -- our were faced full page.

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Away from that, I hear the weather is playing havoc with the football

:19:10.:19:13.

schedule. That's right. In League Two, Shrewsbury Town's

:19:13.:19:16.

home match with Port Vale is off because parts of the pitch are

:19:16.:19:19.

frozen. Cheltenham's game with AFC Wimbledon and Hereford's trip to

:19:19.:19:29.
:19:29.:19:30.

Gillingham are also postponed. Also the Birmingham game. There could be

:19:30.:19:33.

a problem. It's the dream of every British

:19:33.:19:36.

Olympian and Paralympian to compete in front of a home crowd at the

:19:36.:19:39.

games in London this summer. But for one young medal prospect time

:19:39.:19:42.

is running out to find the essential partner to keep the dream

:19:42.:19:48.

of glory on home turf alive. Lee Pearson and Ricky Balshaw are

:19:48.:19:51.

best of friends off their horses, but on them they are rivals for

:19:51.:19:55.

Paralympic gold in London this summer. There is one rather large

:19:55.:19:58.

snag though - Ricky's competition horse is struggling to recover from

:19:58.:20:01.

injury. Finding a suitable replacement could cost more than

:20:01.:20:11.
:20:11.:20:13.

�20,000. I need a horse yesterday. That is how tight it is. For me to

:20:13.:20:17.

go to the games it will take something special. I will need a

:20:17.:20:25.

fantastic horse and then I will need to beat Pearson every time.

:20:25.:20:35.
:20:35.:20:40.

Stuart was a tough time for all of them. -- last year. It is

:20:40.:20:48.

ridiculous. I can't get anything right. There is a pressure of

:20:48.:20:51.

making sure you qualify for the Games.

:20:52.:20:54.

No-one knows more about winning than Lee. Nine times a Paralympic

:20:54.:20:58.

gold has been hung round his neck, but in this year above all, he's

:20:58.:21:04.

taking nothing for granted. selectors will be roofless and if I

:21:04.:21:13.

do not get results, I went be selected. I am a feeling confident.

:21:13.:21:22.

-- I am. These games will be life- changing, Bob British athletes,

:21:22.:21:31.

especially Paralympic athletes. would be a shame if these bright

:21:31.:21:38.

stars were denied the chance to go head-to-head in London. We are

:21:38.:21:46.

looking at out for you and keeping a would fingers crossed. -- hour.

:21:46.:21:52.

Dressage is a sport demanding calm and control.

:21:52.:21:55.

A band almost missed out on their big television break when their van

:21:55.:21:57.

and all their instruments were stolen. It happened just hours

:21:57.:22:00.

before The Musgraves were due to appear on a recording for the

:22:00.:22:03.

Graham Norton Show on BBC One. Despite the theft the Birmingham

:22:03.:22:06.

based four-piece have became the first unsigned band without an

:22:06.:22:09.

album deal to appear on the show. Ben Godfrey's been to meet them.

:22:09.:22:12.

The Graham Norton Show has seen the likes of Madonna and Coldplay

:22:12.:22:14.

entertain the studio audience, so a modest pop-folk band from

:22:14.:22:15.

Birmingham seem unlikely showstoppers.

:22:15.:22:18.

Meet The Musgraves. It's been a memorable week. On Monday morning,

:22:18.:22:21.

their van was stolen in Lichfield, along with a violin, a piano, two

:22:21.:22:24.

guitars, a personalised drum kit, SatNavs, even the lead singer's new

:22:24.:22:34.
:22:34.:22:42.

It has definitely been stolen when you see that. It was unbelievable

:22:42.:22:46.

when we were in the studio doing the show. Every so often we would

:22:46.:22:54.

think, we have got no staff. It was weird. You go from excited to, you

:22:54.:23:00.

know. The Musgraves had to quickly borrow

:23:01.:23:03.

instruments to record The Graham Norton Show. The presenter became a

:23:03.:23:07.

fan when he played their debut single Last Of Me' on his Radio 2

:23:07.:23:14.

show. But their first radio audience was

:23:14.:23:23.

last year on the music show BBC WM Introducing. It was something that

:23:23.:23:27.

made them stand ahead of others. They have done so well and it does

:23:27.:23:36.

not surprise us that they have gone up on to the The Graham Norton Show.

:23:36.:23:39.

The band's been rehearsing for a gig tonight - a more low-key affair

:23:39.:23:49.
:23:49.:23:50.

at a pub in Birmingham. On Twitter today Graham Norton said he would

:23:50.:23:59.

stop a showbiz search for the instruments. Just so you know,

:23:59.:24:04.

Oprah Winfrey would have given him a house. Hopefully something good

:24:04.:24:11.

will come of it all and it works up for the best.

:24:11.:24:14.

While the Musgraves are busy lining up gigs, Staffordshire Police are

:24:14.:24:24.
:24:24.:24:25.

trying to locate this white van and the band's many instruments. That

:24:25.:24:31.

is so cruel. Your big break. I know. And you can catch The Musgraves on

:24:31.:24:34.

The Graham Norton Show on BBC One at 10.35 tonight - that's straight

:24:34.:24:37.

after our late news. Ben's got more now on what seems to

:24:37.:24:42.

be a snowy and icy weekend. Yes, a very wintry forecast coming

:24:42.:24:45.

up. But first, 2,500 snow champions are ready to spring into action in

:24:45.:24:49.

Sandwell. The council's handed out shovels and tubs of salt to

:24:49.:24:52.

volunteers so they can help their communities. They will clear an

:24:52.:24:54.

elderly neighbour's path for example, or the pavement outside

:24:54.:25:04.
:25:04.:25:05.

their home. I just think when times are hard, people do tend to mark in

:25:05.:25:11.

a bit more. It is a great idea. It is a work community. It is not up

:25:11.:25:16.

to the council to do everything for us. We need to get involved. Thank

:25:16.:25:20.

goodness for those no champions this weekend because some of the

:25:20.:25:29.

white stuff is in the forecast. The Met Office has issued an amber

:25:29.:25:34.

warning. Nothing too disruptive tonight though. It is fine and dry

:25:34.:25:40.

and quiet, but under the clear skies, temperatures will plummet

:25:40.:25:48.

down to around-eight Celsius. -- around minus eight Celsius.

:25:48.:25:53.

Tomorrow, cold air to the east, mild air tried to come in off the

:25:53.:25:58.

Atlantic. Were you see the weather fronts to the west, that is the

:25:58.:26:02.

front line of the battle. Wet weather that will turn wintry as we

:26:02.:26:07.

go to the day. As we go to the day, there will be bright spells to

:26:07.:26:13.

start. Increasing cloud and during the afternoon outbreaks of sleet

:26:13.:26:23.
:26:23.:26:23.

and snow. There could be up to four inches of snow that could be

:26:23.:26:28.

disruptive on a very cold day. That noble persist for some of us into

:26:28.:26:32.

the evening. But in the West we could see Marles et al working its

:26:32.:26:37.

way in which will turn a bit of it back to rain before it clears.

:26:37.:26:44.

Temperatures will still be below freezing which will mean an icy

:26:44.:26:51.

start on Sunday. Sunday is a quite a day there and and would be as

:26:51.:26:56.

cold. If you are travelling this weekend, and I cannot stress this

:26:56.:27:01.

enough, there is a chance of snow and ice that could cause

:27:01.:27:04.

disruptions to your travel plans. If you want to keep up with the

:27:04.:27:09.

latest, tune into your BBC local radio station. A cold weekend with

:27:09.:27:16.

snow on the way. The main headlines - the

:27:16.:27:20.

environment secretary Chris Huhne resigned after being accused of

:27:20.:27:26.

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