The latest Hackney podcast traces the Hackney Empire's past ups and downs and considers its future as it prepares to "go dark" after this year's panto run comes to an end. A venue that has played host to Opportunity Knocks, Maria Callas and Giant Haystacks as well as Marie Lloyd and Clive Rowe can surely adapt and survive. I certainly hope so. I'll be at Aladdin on Boxing Day, maintaining what has become a family tradition. This year's Susie McKenna presentation has already been praised in the Evening Standard and by my kids when they went a couple of weeks ago. I wasn't there that time and they've been very good about not telling me all the jokes. Happy Christmas to the Empire and all the best for the New Year.