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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight:
It was trialled in Birmingham. Now the first pill for multiple
sclerosis will be available on the NHS.
Brought home to rest. Hundreds expected for the funeral in
Stafford tomorrow of the policeman who killed himself after being
blinded by a gunman. He has always been there as a big brother and I
put him on that pedestal. He Gold Cup delight. A triumph of
timing for the Gloucestershire trained horse Synchronised.
And as towns across the region bid for cash to regenerate their high
streets, can Twitter give Warwick the edge?
Good evening and welcome to the start of the weekend here on
Midlands Today. Our main story tonight: the world's first pill for
multiple sclerosis patients will be funded on the NHS after trials in
Birmingham. Gilenya helps prevent severe and painful relapses. It has
proved more than twice as effective as the current leading treatment
for the disease, for which there is no cure. Around 100 thousand people
in the UK have multiple sclerosis. A year's supply of Gilenya could
cost �20,000 per patient. It is approved in 55 countries but until
now hasn't been available in Britain. Our Health Correspondent
has been looking at what the new treatment could mean.
Multiple sclerosis patients exercising in Birmingham. Keeping
as supple as possible is important in fighting a debilitating brain
disease for which there is no cure. Clare Stevenson injects herself
once a day, but when that treatment stops working. She relapses with
terrible consequences. What it is terrifying. It is like your whole
body has gone route out of control. You lose the facility to be able to
talk and walk. Anything could be taken from you. But now patients
who relapse can look forward to a new treatment. It is something
which will stop the relapsing perimetry York and that is great. -
- the relapse 0 a courier sort and Multiple sclerosis is caused by the
body's own white blood cells. Aggressive cells enter the brain
and attack the sheathes around axons. What Gilenya does is to
block the aggressive cells from escaping from the lymph nodes,
giving the body time to repair itself. It is fantastic and they
rarely fills the gap between the very first lines of therapies which
have been injectable for some time and we're expecting further
progress over several years. I think there's a lot of promise here
for multiple sclerosis patients. But there are possible side-effects
and it can't be given to pregnant women. The first time people use
this, they will be a heart monitor for six hours. Afterwards, they
will require an I test. -- eye test. But this type of research which
goes beyond just controlling inflammation, is lifting MS
sufferers hopes that they can live active lives for longer.
Simon Gillespie is the Chief Executive of the MS Society. He
joins us now from our London studio. How important a breakthrough is
this? Well, I think it is a really good break through. You pointed out
in your report that there are many other countries where this is in
use, so we're slow off the mark. But the impact of having a suitable
pill for MS is a huge step forward. 55 countries have been using the
struck for quite a while. Why is Italy just available here? Weir
23rd out of 26 countries in Europe for the take-up of therapies. -- we
are. Whilst Gilenya seems to be very expensive at first, the impact
that it is having on making people carry on with normal lives is
incredible and will save money in the long term.
Still to come tonight: The grow your own revolution and how it
could save you hundreds of pounds at the supermarket till.
Tomorrow will see the funeral of PC David Rathband in his hometown of
Stafford. It is expected hundreds of mourners will turn out to pay
their final respects to the officer who was shot and blinded by the
gunman Raoul Moat. Our Staffordshire Reporter joins us now
from Stafford Crematorium. First this is where David
Rathband's family will gather tomorrow lunchtime for the funeral.
He was found dead last month at his home in Northumberland two years
after Raoul Moat shot him. That resulted in him losing his sight.
Ever since those dreadful events, his family say they have been
struck by the level of support he received from his home town in
Stafford. In 2010, he switched on over the Christmas lights. This was
the place for he grew up and some where her he had very close family
ties. His twin brother has described how David would stick up
for him when they were growing up. He would greet me in the morning
outside school in the lockers and asked if I was OK. If anyone was
picking on me, he would step up and sort it out. He would make sure
they stopped bullying me. I was more quiet at school. He has done
that throughout his life. He has always been there as a big brother
and I put him on that pedestal. of David Rathband's lasting
legacies is the charity that he set up. They say they will continue
doing work in his memory. There'll be celebrations in
Gloucestershire tonight after a locally trained winner took the
coveted Cheltenham Gold Cup - in fact the horse we featured on this
programme last night. It meant there was no fairy tale ending to
the career of Kauto Star. But it pleased the bookmakers who've taken
a hammering during this year's festival.
MUSIC. This young Irishman sang his heart out for a popular champion.
The experts look forward to a classic Gold Cup. Some people say
this is a two-horse race, but really there is only one in the
focus and that his colt will star. -- Kauto Star. Synchronised had
travelled 10 miles up the road. It did not take long for Kauto Star's
dream to fade away. Two warm applause from those watching, he
was pulled up and synchronised pushed on to victory. There was a
thrilling a finality. It was a 50-1 outsider. A hugely popular winner
for this local training team. The horse is only seven. He will do
nothing but improve. The Gold Cup usually ends in tears of joy and
occasionally sadness. Tonight, there will be a sense of relief
that out of store -- Kauto Star has returned home safe and sound. His
career is now that -- part of folklore.
Great race. We were banging our desks this afternoon.
We will be back live at Cheltenham a little later in the programme.
'60s pop star PJ Proby has been cleared of benefit fraud. The 73-
year-old from Twyford near Evesham seen here at an earlier court
hearing had denied cheating the benefits system out of more than
�47,000. He was found not guilty of all nine charges against him today
following the discovery of new evidence.
Solihull-based Land Rover has announced record global sales for
With the deadline just two weeks away, several towns across the
region are putting the finishing touches to bids for a share of �1
million of Government money. They're hoping to be chosen to
become a Portas Pilot. The retail guru Mary Portas has been advising
ministers on how to regenerate high streets after surveys revealed more
than 15,000 shops have disappeared over the last ten years. The
company says strong demand for the new Range Rover Evoque helped push
sales above 28,000. That is a rise of 52% compared with a year ago and
the company's best ever monthly We have to look at the high streets
as multi-functional social and shopping streets. This business is
award-winning. Who had the ambitious young people are so keen
to see others do well. This is about assisting people across the
country. It is not single-minded. We want to be able to roll things
out across the UK. We feel that we have the drive and the passion and
community spirit to put those ideas forward.
Increasing rents and fears of increasing business rates are
worries for all businesses. In Warwick, one trader is using social
media to galvanise local businesses into a powerful lobbying group.
There are trying to implement positive change in at the high
street. Twitter is a powerful tool. You can do things in 10 minutes
that used to take weeks. We have all part of the time talking to
each other now. The market square in Warwick might seem like an
unlikely location for a high-street revolution, but several towns in
our region are all competing for the Mary Portas project. They are
determined that their towns will lead the way. Just 12 times will
eventually be chosen to take part in a pilot. What this scheme is
showing to politicians and business leaders is that the high street
will unite to show their survival. As well as encouraging businesses
to take advantage of new government grants, the British Chambers of
Commerce is pressing the Chancellor to use his budget next week to
scrap a planned increase in business rates of 5.6%. Our
Political Editor is here now. How likely is it he will bow to this
pressure? It is an automatic increase like the fuel duty
increase that we stop protesting against last week. But the
Chancellor cannot make exceptions for everyone in every case. There
could be a reduction in the burden of corporation tax. Also employers
National Insurance contributions. Employers see this as attacks on
jobs. We have heard of one place where they have doubled their work
force over five years. For the country, it is more to expensive
not to employ them. Their choice is between these contributions and
more people on benefit. My argument would be to get people in
employment and find businesses were young people can work force. And as
we have seen, the Labour Leader Ed Miliband has been at Warwick
University today, setting out his plans on youth unemployment. What
exactly is he proposing? He was addressing his use conference. Many
young people were out of a job. His answer is a plan which would
guarantee everyone under 25 our job is they have been out of work for
at least one year. We tax the bonuses of the bankers and use that
money to offer jobs to every young person who has been unemployed for
more than a year. There are 49,000 young people in that position in
the UK at the moment. It -- this is all in the run-up to do in the
budget and we will have more on that in the Politics Show on Sunday.
And ahead of the budget there is a special programme here on BBC One
about the regional economy. That is on Monday evening at 11:05pm.
Still ahead: Staffordshire-born actor Neil Morrisey and how 45
minutes in make-up transform him every night into Fagin on stage in
Birmingham. And I will be here with the weather
forecast which for the first time in ages includes some rain. But
will there be enough for our parched farms and gardens? I will
have the details in a moment. With food bills soaring, interest
is growing in growing your own. And it can save families a lot of money,
whether it is some veg in your garden or perhaps an allotment.
Some estimates put the saving on a family food bill at up to �1,300 a
year. Interest is such that sales of vegetable seeds are now more
than double those of flower seeds. And there are 100,000 people on the
waiting list for an allotment. This is our report on making your garden
work for you. This man is part of a growing band of that producers.
Maria and Gareth from Coventry are part of a growing band of food
producers. Research shows 26% of us now grow our own vegetables.
Any savings are a bonus. It is vegetables and we can make jam with
our for it. -- fruit. To reflect the growing interest in planting
and self sufficiency, the Edible Garden Show at Stoneleigh in
Warwickshire expects to attract 11,000 visitors this weekend. The
event wants to show budding gardeners they don't have to
confine their ambitions to traditional crops. We have a
selection of regular English vegetables that people are growing
all over the country. Lettuce, radish and a whole range of things.
But there are whole range of things different to this that you would
never expect to be able to grow in the UK. Cream tea is one of those.
This is like a regular chilly, but they can cope 2-5 degrees. Go you
will be able to use lots of chilli peppers. These goals will reduce
enough milk to feed a family of five every day. Residents in an
increasing number of villages are calling together to rear there on
pegs. You not make much money, but you'll get some nice meat and you
know the animals will be well looked after. Perhaps more of us
will join the Community of many farmers and growers in the coming
spring. It is a big weekend for Stoke City.
They are just one game away from the FA Cup semi-final which means a
return to Wembley for the third time in a year. But it also means a
trip to Liverpool to face Steven Gerrard who scored a hat trick this
week. One man not shying away from the pressure is former Liverpool
ace and Stoke City striker Peter Crouch. He is hoping the Potters
can go there and play their cards right.
Stoke City are just one game away from a return to Wembley. Liverpool
are the favourites to win, but the Potters are hoping they can be the
wild card. And there is one man hoping to be shuffled into Stoke's
starting 11 on Sunday. He wants to add to his tally of 10 goals this
season. He is former Liverpool front-man Peter Crouch. So what
does he reckon the odds are for a Stoke City victory? How are Stoke
going to combat Steven Gerrard? it is going to be very difficult.
He's on fire at the moment. He is a top-class player. He is someone
that we will have to watch. What will Stoke's strengths be? You've
built up an impressive partnership with Jonathan Walters. Yes, he's
great for Stoke. We work off each other well. Your England goal
I have enjoyed playing with him. You're England goalscoring record
speaks for itself. 22 goals in 42 games. How do you feel about still
not getting the call-up? Yes, I'm frustrated. I've always tried to
play my best for England. If I am doing well for Stoke City, I hope
to catch the manager's I. Playing for England as the best thing in
the world. I would love to play in the European Championships. Crouch
also talked to me about settling well into the Stoke Squad with the
help of the other players. Who is the joker in the pack? Ooh, there's
Jonathan Woodgate and Jermaine Pennant. And that's all you're
that cup quarter final and the rest of the weekend's football action,
tune into your BBC local radio Let's go back to Cheltenham now.
Our reporter is at the racecourse. There have been calls for an
inquiry into the deaths of five horses which fell during the
festival. What has been the reaction there? Panda lighted to
say there have been no more fatalities today he -- and I am
delighted. But there were deaths earlier in the week. The RSPCA have
said they are concerned. The British Racing Authority are saying
that they will hold a full inquiry. This week has been very sad. But
things like that happen in our sport, I am afraid. In football,
the worst that can happen is a red card. Here, the highs and lows are
difficult to take. But that is what we all signed up to four Stott as
for the racing itself, is there anywhere with the magic of
I don't think there is. It is 25 years since I first came here.
Every year, new racing champions are Crown. There has to be no
fairy-tale ending for Kauto Star today, but two local trainers have
done well. That was popular with the record-breaking crowd of 70,000
people. The village is fast being deserted. The brick makers have
gone home. Tomorrow, thousands of punters will start saving up for
the Festival next year! Actor Neil Morrisey who was born in
Stafford is back on stage in the musical Oliver! At the Birmingham
Hippodrome. He is best known for his role in one of the most popular
sitcoms of the 90s, Men Behaving Badly.
I once built a treehouse but we didn't have trees so I built it on
the ground! Neil was brought up in care in
Stoke-on-Trent, something he has talked about in a TV documentary.
And he can see some parallels between those early years and the
troubled youngsters who join Fagin's gang.
There are parallels. Thank goodness it was not as bad when I was in
care. You had to learn how to pickpocket yourself and there was
not an older man to teach you. You made a moving documentary about
your teenage years. What was it like to make it? It was difficult.
Meeting people that I was in care worth 30 years ago and beating
their children for are in care now. There are many similarities. The
basic thing is being torn away from your family.
It leaves you with a big star. It is the most damaging thing. We
tried to deal with that -- we deal with that within the documentaries
with me leaving the viewer's hand. I spoke about the system and the
various peoples were my life. I couldn't have done it without you.
We are very proud of you. Thank you very much. It took one year to
shoot, so it was constant heartache. You're approaching 50 this year.
am still the child inside. When I walk along the street, I hopped
along the wall and try to avoid the cracks in the pavement. Could he
never -- could he ever have imagined taking on a role like this
in Oliver!? No, I could never have considered that will start but you
fall into age group. It took a while for them to allow me to
audition. It was difficult for them to see me as Fagin. I had to going
and sing the songs and back in front of Andrew Lloyd Webber and
Cameron Mackintosh. -- act. You are looking good just now, but you want
be in one hour. It is a massive job be in one hour. It is a massive job
with the make-up. There is a five piece beard and moustache to be
glued in place. There are so many attachments. There are two
microphones. It takes one hour to put it on and half an hour to put
it off. And Neil plays Fagin at the
Hippodrome until the first of April Hippodrome until the first of April
before Brian Conley takes over the role.
I will think any of us really want rain at the weekend. But we have to
face facts. We need some wet weather and there is little in the
forecast. But it will be in the form of showers and there will be
some sunny spells in between. If we will see some rain overnight. Some
bits and pieces of rain overnight. It will stay mild. There is a
weather front straddling across our region first thing tomorrow. There
is some uncertainty about how quickly this will push away to the
east. But I think you should move away fairly smartly. We will be
left for sunny spells and bright conditions. Some of the showers
could be heavy. Hail and thunder is possible. It all feel too bad and
the sunshine. Just a moderate south-westerly breeze. Initially,
the showers clear away in the evening and it will be cold
overnight. But then more showers push in from the north by the end
of the night. Some of those will be with us during the day on Sunday.
Perhaps the odd heavy one. Through the day, the showers will gradually
become consigned to the south of the region. If you're heading to
Liverpool, a lovely afternoon there. The reason for things slowly
turning more settles during Sunday is this ridge of high pressure
pushing up from the south-west. It will be significant next week.
There will be some rain over the weekend, but settled again for next
A look at tonight's main headlines: The head of the Church of England,