No Business Like Showbusiness

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been busy and lots of fun. A few months ago now I went to see my first ever Oscar Wilde play. I really enjoyed it. The Vaudeville Theatre in London this year are staging a season of his plays. The other week I treated myself to another one of his masterpieces “An Ideal Husband”.

Like the previous one I saw “Lady Windermere’s” Fan. Again this production featured a fantastic cast including Edward Fox, Freddie Fox, Frances Barber, Sally Bretton and Susan Hampshire. Having now seen two of his plays. He does appear to have had a fascination with the establishment and politics. Which he liked to explore and play with in his work. He was almost doing topical satire in his plays before it was invented. If he was still with us today. I reckon that he would be a regular guest on Have I Got News For You.

It is certainly not a new thing to say that he was ahead of his time. But some of his comical observations about society and politics are still relevant and applicable today. In fact some of the lines from this play could literally have been written about the last couple of years.

An Ideal Husband
An Ideal Husband

His plays seem to reflect everything that he was himself clever, witty and flamboyant. It is fair to say he is no Agatha Christie in the way he sets out the plot. You can fairly easily work out what is going to happen. But he certainly makes you laugh a lot more than she does.

He was also writing strong female characters in to his plays at a time when I would guess that was not necessarily the fashion. The cast were brilliant and the performance faultless. It was all done in a very traditional and vintage way. With a violinist coming on stage to play to the audience. While the scenery was being changed. As I imagine they would have when these plays were originally staged during the Victorian times.

I had another thoroughly enjoyable evening at the theatre watching this play. There are still more to come in the series. I am certainly not ruling out seeing another one. Any man who can go through customs claiming “I have nothing to declare but my genius” is alright with me. Although obviously set in the eighteen hundreds. The main story line of the play is a situation that could have possibly arisen in the last few years. Which does I believe make it a timeless classic.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I do watch a lot of live comedy but there are still loads of comedians that I want to see perform. But have not quite managed to yet. I did  tick another one off my list last week. I have liked Shappi Khorsandi since I saw her on Live at The Apollo. I interviewed her several years ago. When she was doing a gig locally to me. That I could not get along to unfortunately.

She was great to chat to back then and of course recently she has been on the latest series of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. Which is one of my favourite television programmes. Finally I got the chance to see her in action the other Thursday. She was doing her latest tour show Mistress and Misfit at the Soho Theatre in London.

It is such a great little theatre. The bar there is almost a bit of a meeting place for comedians. You will generally see faces you recognise. Either there supporting their mates or just relaxing after their own gigs there.

The show was brilliant, funny and smart. Plus it is not often you see a comedian walk out to “In The Navy” by the Village People. The great thing about the Soho Theatre. Is it is a place where people who really love their comedy go, so the audiences are friendly, respectful and well behaved. Therefore the comics can just relax and do their thing. I am glad I finally got round to seeing her. It was well worth the wait. A very entertaining evening spent laughing lots.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I was delighted and excited to see someone I know performing on Britain’s Got Talent last Saturday Night. I knew he was going to be on, so I tuned in especially. He did not disappoint. I thought he was absolutely brilliant. His name is Ben Langley. If you saw it, he did the act with the songs and cue cards featuring some genius misheard lyrics.

I first met Ben around fourteen years ago. When I was working at Ivel fm in Yeovil, Somerset. He was in pantomime at The Octagon Theatre, playing if my memory serves me right Buttons. He came in to the radio station with several other members of the show’s cast to be interviewed about it. Incidentally that cast also included the ace Jodie Prenger. I wonder what happened to her.

Ivel FM Studios
Ivel FM Studios

I got on with Ben straight away. He was lovely, polite, cheeky, silly and very funny. We also met up again at the Christmas Lights Switch on and did a bit on stage together. Then after the Pantomime Press night. I went out for a few drinks with the whole cast. Which was fantastic fun. They were all a really good laugh.

This cycle was repeated every year during the next four years. So once a year I would get to catch up with Ben. Have a chat and a good laugh with him. Then watch him be totally brilliant as the comic lead in the Panto every single year. One year I ended up seeing the show twice. In fact after press night drinks one time. He and his lovely wife Sarah ended up back at my flat for some after, after show drinks.

When he was not in Pantomime, he could often be found in Covent Garden in London working as a Street Entertainer. Or appearing in other plays and shows around the country. While also working on his very own stage plays and writing projects.

He decided to write a series and known stories in his own style and perform them in his unique way under the “Ha Ha” heading. The first of these he debuted at the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil.  This original version also featured yet another talented actor I had met through Panto called Charlotte Milchard. The show was called Ha Ha Holmes and was his comedy take on the story of Sherlock.

I thoroughly enjoyed this show and thought it was brilliant. Luckily I was not the only one. As a West End producer was there to see it. And on the back of what he had seen wanted to take on the project and put it on a national tour.

Fast forward a few years later and I had the pleasure of watching a updated version of Ha Ha Holmes now also featuring Joe Pasquale at the Wycombe Swan. And then making a very brief but fun cameo appearance in it. When it was on at the great Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury.

The next play I saw in the Ha Ha series was Ha Ha Hood. Which as well as the writer and creator Ben Langley. Also featured comedy legends Cannon and Ball along with Sue Pollard. I again saw this twice in Wycombe and Aylesbury. After the Aylesbury show I had drinks with the cast at their hotel. Where I got to meet and chat to Tommy Cannon. Which was amazing.

Ha Ha Hood
Ha Ha Hood

I remember meeting up with Ben for a cup of tea in Chesham one time. He was there to support Paul Zerdin on his UK Tour. Paul went on several years later to win America’s Got Talent. I am hoping may be this connection proves a lucky omen for Ben on BGT.

On the audition show last weekend he only got the chance to show a glimpse of what he can do. His whole act is very funny. He is a highly infectious and very likeable performer. Plus his show is the definition of Variety. I could honestly not think of a more suitable thing for A Royal Variety Performance.

BGT London
BGT London

I am really hoping he makes it in to the live shows. As although he did get four yes’s and a standing ovation from all four of the judges. They always put more people through than they have spaces for. We then have to endure that painful episode. When they keep talking about photos of people that we cannot see, as they try to whittle it down.

I am completely behind Ben Langley and I really think he should win it. Yes he is a friend and I know him. But I also now how hard he has been working and how much time and effort he has put into his act and career over the last twenty years. He is also a lovely man. Which I think is another important factor. Go on Ben!

Ben Langley
Ben Langley

I enjoyed a family theatre trip with my parents and sister to see a matinee performance of the current London production of Chicago at the Pheonix Theatre. We treated ourselves a little bit, so booked a package where we got a glass of Prosecco and nibbles in an exclusive room prior to the show. We also had some great seats, four rows from the front and right in the middle.

I had already seen a touring version of the show a few years ago and previously the film version. But it was completely new to the other three. It has some great songs in it and of course a very jazzy feel to it. In tune with the time in the American city that it is set. One thing I like about it is that the band are on stage with the cast and are very much part of things. There are no scene changes everything happens right in front of you on the same set throughout. It works perfectly with the story and the feel of the show though.

The cast as you would expect were amazing. I recognised a lot of the Ensemble from the touring version. They were all brilliant. The main stars are Sarah Soetaert (Roxy), Josefina Gabrielle (Velma), Paul Rider (Amos), Alan Richardson (Mary Sunshine) and a certain Oscar winning actor called Cuba Gooding Junior. Who was playing Billy Flynn. It is was also due to future musical legend Ruthie Henshall as Mama Morton. Sadly she was off for this performance. However her understudy Zoe Gappy was brilliant in the role.

Chicago
Chicago

Cuba Gooding Junior, as you would expect a man of his class to do puts his own spin on the Lawyer. While keeping the character and the attitudes of the man. He can sing, dance and really hold a note. I thought he was excellent. But a man with his ability and charisma could never be anything else. It was a very slick and entertaining production. And for anybody interested in my theatre wine updates they do serve a lovely glass of Rioja there.

After the show we went for a meal at the Ivy Garden in Covent Garden. The place was absolutely packed. But as I am well versed in organising these things. I had booked a table in advance. The food and the service was magnificent. I had their slow roasted lamb with some red wine and a Chocolate Bomb for pudding. Then me and my dad rounded things off with a champagne and beer cocktail. Which was a lot nicer than it sounds.  A wonderful way to round off a great day.

Family Meal
Family Meal

I went to Tottenham’s final Premier League “home” game of the season at Wembley Stadium. It was an odd game. There were nine goals. Spurs won the game five- four. It was great to end the season with a win. But it was quite a dull and boring game, unbelievably. I have been to much more exciting games featuring a lot less goals this year. It had an end of season feel to it and some of the defending was shocking. To quote Alan Hansen.

It meant Tottenham finished in third and qualified again for next season’s Champions League. Therefore at the end of the game we had earned the right to celebrate. I of course stayed to clap and cheer the players and management, as they did their lap of honour.

Tottehham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

I have really enjoyed the season and seen more live Spurs games than ever before. I have enjoyed feeling more part of things. It has been fun being at Wembley. But you can’t beat your own ground, so I am looking forward to getting to as many games as possible at the new Stadium next year.

Congratulations to Harry Kane who has been named as the England Captain for the World Cup. What a great honour for the man who has yet again had another brilliant year for his club. I am not that excited about the World Cup yet. But I am sure that will change as our first match approaches.

England v Germany
England v Germany

Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil

Catching Up

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been busy and fun. I met up with a very good friend for drinks in London recently.  We worked out that it was actually the first time we had seen each other this year. We speak regularly on the phone. But this was the first face to face catch up for a while.

Life is so busy and hectic these days, especially if you are married with young children. The balancing act to look after them. While still trying to spend some good quality time with the other half. Tends to mean it is not always that easy to organise a night out, that often.  Well, so all my married friends tell me anyway. And I believe them.

But even without any children. I am pretty hard to book for a night out. As I like to keep myself nice and busy, so I generally fill any spare time or any free weekends up with things to do. Usually months in advance. I always tell people to book early to avoid disappointment. Although I reckon my mates think I am joking.

Anyway these are the reasons that we have basically waited around four months in to the year to see each other. But this gap does not matter with close friends. You always have lots to talk about and as you know all about each others lives. The conversation flows freely and it is like you only saw them yesterday anyway.

South Bank London
South Bank London

We went for a few drinks along the South Bank. Which was cool. There are some decent bars and pubs around that area. We were joined by his younger brother. Who, as it happens was the person who designed and built my first ever website. When he was still at University. And if my memory serves me right, I paid him in beer for his services on that project.

To give you some idea of how long me and my mate have been friends. I think his brother was around eight years old. When I first met him. It was a brilliant evening relaxing and chatting with the both of them.

London Night
London Night

Last weekend I met up with a friend who I used to work with at Ivel Fm in Somerset. He is working for a radio station in Cornwall. Where he now lives. Him and his mate, who I also know came up and met me in Windsor. We had booked a hotel for the night, so we got together there late Saturday afternoon.

I am always ridiculously early for everything. I got to the hotel about an hour or so before they were due to arrive. As it was a nice sunny day. I did the only thing that you should do in that situation. I got myself a pint of shandy and sat out in the beer garden to wait for them. It was pretty good timing in the end.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

As they arrived just after I had finished my first drink. They instantly joined me for a few more drinks outside in the sun. Well you have got to make the most of the weather, while you can in this country. Plus you have to re-hydrate after a long drive.

Once we had finished these, we got ourselves ready to head out in Windsor for the evening. With the big Royal Wedding taking place there in just a couple of weeks at this point. There was Union Jack bunting up across lots of the streets. Plus in various shop windows I spotted cardboard cut outs of the Queen, Prince William, Prince Harry and of course Meghan Markle.

First we headed to a well known pub chain who have a venue right opposite Windsor Castle. This particular company are known for food and drink deals. It turns out that they have added a new one.  You can get a Pizza and an alcoholic drink together in that bar for nine pounds. And for the record the Pepperoni Pizza I had in there was really nice. As was the American Shipyard Pale Ale I had with it.

"Gloriana" looking very regal at Henley Regatta
“Gloriana” looking very regal at Henley Regatta

From there we headed over the Thames to Eaton. Where we found a pub with a nice beer garden to enjoy the last of the day’s sun. While sampling a beer from the local Windsor and Eaton Brewery. Which was very pleasant and I must say unusually sweet for an ale.

As it happened the night was basically me taking them to all the old bars in the area. That I used to visit when I went out there in my twenties. Therefore next we stopped off in Browns for a drink. That place has not changed at all. It was exactly how I remembered it.

We ended up, as most nights out in Windsor in the past did. At one of the bars under the Arches. There did seem to be less bars there than I remembered. But old classics like Vanilla and The Scotch Bar where still there. We went in to the Fuzzy Bear.

Well I thought it was about time that I let my guests choose at least one place to go in to. It was fun in there, good atmosphere and some decent music. As all the bars in that area are built under arches. They are all really long and thin. Not like most normal bars. But once you have been in one for a while, you do kind of get used to it.

It was another entertaining night. I do like Windsor for a night out. There are some nice places to go and it is a pretty friendly town. It was nostalgic to talk about the old times at Ivel fm. And just have a general catch up on life and each others world’s. The weekend was of course rounded off with the obligatory full English Breakfast on the Sunday morning. I think next time I will head down to Cornwall to see him. Any excuse to visit the place and enjoy the coast down there.

Windsor Night
Windsor Night

It is Tottenham’s final league game of the season at Wembley tomorrow. I have recently been to two home games in fairly quick succession. I was there to see us beat Watford on the Monday Night football the other week. The performance was not great but we won and should have scored more goals. It was also nice to go to a game now that the weather is a little warmer. That does make it a bit more enjoyable in the stands.

Spurs v Watford
Spurs v Watford

This week I was back at Wembley once again to watch Spurs play Newcastle United. After our defeat away at West Brom in the last game. A win was desperately needed to secure a top four finish and the crucial Champions League football for next season. Happily a win was achieved, albeit by just the one goal in an otherwise fairly ordinary game. The one moment of magic was provided by none other than Harry Kane.

Spurs v Newcastle
Spurs v Newcastle

On the same night Chelsea were held to a draw by Huddersfield. Which means they are now four points behind us with one game to go. Therefore we have now already qualified for the Champions League for the third successive year. It also will make us the highest placed London club for the first time since the nineties.

If we beat Leicester we will finish in third place.  Which would be a wonderful achievement for a team who have technically had to play a whole season of away games. I am looking forward to the deserved celebrations after the game tomorrow.

Spurs v Real Madrid
Spurs v Real Madrid

The annual comedy event that is the Tringe Festival is back next month. It is the event at which I made my stand up comedy debut nearly six years ago now. It is also where I performed again last year at the always brilliant Roving Comedy Night.

Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy
Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy

In fact that event kicks off this year’s proceedings. I have already booked my ticket to check out the new batch of Logan Murray students. See some professional comics. Who I have not seen live before. And catch up with some old friends. It is taking place on Sunday 24th June. It is always a fun and enjoyable evening.

I had a fantastic time gigging at it last year. The audiences are lovely, the venues are good and it is all excellently organised. But most of all it is just great fun to be involved with. Part of me will miss not being on stage this year. But watching will mean I will hopefully be a little bit less nervous than I was before it began last year.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The Roving Comedy Night kicks off three weeks worth of gigs in the Tring area. Lots of them are comedians previewing and honing their new shows. Which they will be doing at the Edinburgh Festival. Later on in the summer. It always manages to attract a star studded line up. With some hilarious comedians once again lined up to appear there.

Here are just some of the names you can see at the Tringe this year. They include Rhod Gilbert, James Acaster, Nina Conti, Mark Watson and Marcus Brigstocke to mention but a few. Most of the gigs are at the wonderful Court Theatre in Tring. For more details on this just follow the link. But I will warn you, tickets for this do get snapped up quickly http://www.get-stuffed.biz/tringe/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I watched the improvised special of Car Share on Bank Holiday Monday. We already know that Peter Kay is a comedy genius both at stand up. And at writing and performing in funny television shows. This episode was basically edited together from lots of the footage of him and Sian Gibson going off piste and randomly chatting  on set during the filming of the last series.

A lot of it was so good they figured they could make a whole special episode from it. And they were totally right. The conversation is so relaxed and genuine between them. They just bounce off each other expertly.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

While still seemingly taking great pleasure and joy in trying to trip the other one up. Or send the discussion in a surprising and totally different direction. There was one bit in it, which I loved. It was where they both genuinely made each other laugh out loud a lot. Natural, spontaneous giggling is one of the best feelings in the world.

It is a really clever show. The way they take the rise out of local commercial radio is brilliant. I like to believe it is done with love and respect for the medium. Having worked in it. I should be offended, of course. But a lot of it is pointing out exaggerated examples of things that have more than likely happened on air. Plus I know he is a fan of radio in general, so I am sure it is all a bit tongue in cheek.

Neil Quigley

The other brilliant thing is all the extra visual jokes and gags that go into the external shots of the car. And the views of the streets they show. Including some comically named shops and businesses. A dog doing its business by a phone box. In quite graphic detail. Featured in the latest one,

Just lots of odd to see on TV, yet normal things you would more than likely see if you were driving around a town. Many of course with an extra comic element or two added to them. I reckon you could watch it several times and possibly spot something new every time. Funny and clever, which sums up the man who makes it.

Neil Quigley in Car
Neil Quigley in Car

Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil

Grand Event

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been busy and lots of fun. I have been to Liverpool for my now annual visit to the Aintree Grand National meeting. Which as ever was fantastic.

I arrived on the Thursday night, so I was rested and ready for the main day of madness. Which is Ladies Day on the Friday. Looking very sharp in my lucky suit. I made it to Aintree for around one. It is always such a colourful and spectacular day. You really do see some eye popping and amazing outfits.

Grand National 2018
Grand National 2018

I did not have any winners on the day. But I am still prepared to give the suit another chance at Royal Ascot later in the year. As it gets pretty crazy due to the amount of people there, me and my mates headed in to Liverpool City Centre before the last race. To get ahead of the game. Which worked perfectly, as we managed to walk right in to The Jacaranda, get a drink and find a table instantly.

It is a bar I like. It was one of the first places The Beatles played in their home city. It looks cool and always plays good music, so we stayed in there for quite a while. Then we went on to another bar. Where we had some cocktails and a dance. There was not actually a dance floor there. We just created our own. Well at least we cleared a space for ourselves anyway.

Grand National 2018
Grand National 2018

The day was rounded off how any good day out drinking should be with a burger from a fast food restaurant. Well it was actually a Five Guys one, therefore it was not that fast. But at least you can get your food custom made. I am not saying I may have had a few drinks but I spent far too long trying to throw and catch the free peanuts in my mouth. But I was pretty successful at it to be fair.

On the day of the Grand National itself. We went to a pub to watch all of the afternoons racing from Aintree. Including of course the big race. I won some money on Tiger Roll at Cheltenham. And I was very impressed with how he ran and jumped the fences. Therefore when I got home from there. I instantly put ten pounds on him to win the National at odds of 16-1.

Grand National 2018
Grand National 2018

I did have a couple more each way bets on the race. But they all did nothing. Though that did not matter much when Tiger Roll powered down the final straight and held on at the last to clinch it. It is always nice to pick the winner of this iconic event. It is not easy as mostly it is unpredictable and never goes to plan. I did buy a round of drinks to help celebrate my victory.

Grand National 2018
Grand National 2018

After the horse racing we went straight to a different pub to watch the Tottenham against Manchester City game. Let us just say you can always rely on Spurs to put the dampener on a great weekend. Though they are now the Champions and they deserved to beat us. As is becoming another small tradition now. My National Day ended with a Dominos Pizza. It was not the healthiest weekend I have had for a while. But it was the most fun.

I am already looking forward to returning again for next year. If you have never been to Liverpool, you should. It is a great place with lots of fun and interesting things to see and do. Plus during the National Weekend it is just one big party there.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I had to go for my first ever MRI Scan the other week. I have had lots of X-rays taken over the years for various things and had some Ultra Sound treatment on one of my knees as a child. But this was my maiden encounter with this particular piece of medical machinery.

I was told not to wear anything with any metal in. As if I did I could just wear my own clothes for it. Instead of those horrible backless hospital gowns. This did mean I had to quickly purchase a new pair of jogging trousers. But I felt that was money well spent to avoid any potentially awkward situations, while I was there.

I was having the MRI scan on my head. You walk in to the room and this contraption looks like it should live in the lair of a Bond villain. The two gentlemen who were doing it were great. They got me in to position. Which as far as I could tell involved putting on a neck brace and sealing my face with a plastic shield. The reason I am unclear on this is that I chose to close my eyes at this point. They then press a button which sends you in to the contraption.

You are allowed to request music to be played while they are doing it. I asked for Radio 2 but either they did not hear me or forgot, as I had no music playing in the end. They did give me a button to press if I wanted to stop it at any time. But all this did was make me view it as like a Bush Tucker Trial on I’m A Celebrity. So there was no way I was ever going to press it. As I was very determined to win all the stars to feed my camp mates. Fortunately it did not fill up with Cockroaches.

I am not going to lie it is not the most pleasant experience in the world. Plus with no music. I could hear every clunk and buzz the machine was making. I am pretty sure at one point it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It was bearable and painless but at the same time I was pleased when it was all over. I felt I had achieved something, though.

It was just a precautionary thing. I received the results a week or so later via my doctor. If you do ever have one, do not worry. They are fine but I would make sure the music is working, as that would make it a little more relaxing on reflection.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I spent last weekend with my oldest school friend and his wife. They live in Shropshire now. But came down to Buckinghamshire for a few days. We stayed together in a hotel in Beaconsfield. They arrived on the Friday evening. So we just had a lovely meal and a few drinks in a couple of the pubs round there. Places that I have now been visiting for over twenty years. It is a nice town and I do enjoy spending time there specially with good company.

When we got up on the Saturday. Despite having been going out in the place for years. I had never stayed there before, so I had no idea where to grab some breakfast. Luckily in easy walking distance from the hotel. We stumbled across an old style Tea Room. Which did a tasty one. It worked out well and set us up nicely for the day ahead.

Kinky Boots
Kinky Boots

The main reason they were down was that we were all going to see Kinky Boots in the West End. I had seen it before but it is one of his wife’s favourite films, so she wanted to see the musical. And it is so good I was more than happy to see it gain. We made a full day of it in London first, though. With me acting as a kind of expert tour guide.

I took them for a coffee outside the BBC for starters. We spotted Ricky Wilson heading in to Radio 2, as he was covering Zoe Ball’s Show that day. Then I took them both for a pint of Guinness in my favourite pub in London Waxy O’Connor’s. It was a nice day weather wise and the sun was out. Therefore next up it was a stroll and a cup of tea along the South Bank.

London South Bank
London South Bank

As with any good Theatre trip. We then went for a lovely pre-show meal. Nothing to fancy just a Bella Italia. But I have to say the food and especially the pudding was fantastic. It was Marathon weekend, so the place was full of runners loading up on pasta. Once dinner was over. It was time to head across the road for the main event.

Kinky Boots is on at the Adelphi Theatre on the Strand. We had some great seats in the third row. I did have my usual theatre red wine. And I can tell you that the Rioja there is acceptable. The show itself was again brilliant. It is so fast paced, colourful and extremely entertaining.

The whole cast are great but I must say I think Verity Rushworth is brilliant as Lauren. She really gets so much extra comedy out of her character. It is the musical that contains the most ordinary and then the most ridiculous stage outfits. Depending on what part you are playing. It is a great fun show and we all had an amazing night seeing it.

Kinky Boots
Kinky Boots

Tottenham Hotspur have now lost their last eight FA Cup Semi Finals in a row. Which is not a pleasing statistic. I really thought we stood a chance this year against Manchester United at Wembley. I thought it could finally be our year. It would have been a fitting way to end our one off season at the home of English football by winning some silverware there. Well in my opinion anyway.

But alas that was not to be. As we were beaten by Jose Mourinho’s men after taking an early lead in the game. It is possibly even more disappointing this year, I think. We are playing really well currently and have been pretty consistent in the League over the last three years. However we really do need to win some silverware soon, so that we have something to show for it and something to celebrate.

That said now is not the time to panic. The manager and the players are doing a great job. And you cannot win them all. Although I would have loved to have seen my team lift the cup this season. But I have seen them do that before. If this group could actually win a league title. That would actually be something I had not witnessed before and it would be amazing. To dare is to do, on-wards and up-wards.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

While I was working at Ivel fm in Yeovil. I ended up featuring in a ITV West Country documentary presented by the great John Nettles. In this Podcast hear what happened when he came in to my studio and what happened when he interviewed me. Click on the link and hear it all via I-tunes. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-neil-quigley-radio-show-podcast-ep12/id1236437663?i=1000409103344&mt=2

Neil Quigley meets John Nettles

As I was arriving at work the other day Bill Gates walked past me. You really do never know who you might see or bump in to. It can often be the most random and unexpected people. I am always a bit concerned about being cornered and then interrogated in a lift by Andrew Marr or Emily Maitlis. That is the beauty and the lottery of using the work lifts. You never know who you might be standing next to.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil

Copy That

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been pretty busy as ever and lots of fun. I managed to get myself along to a television recording at the newly re-opened studios at Television Centre recently.

The building was sold by the BBC. A lot of the old building has been turned in to really expensive flats, as well as shops and restaurants. However two of the original studios have now been brought back in to operation. Therefore once again some shows are starting to be made there.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Which personally I think is fantastic. It is a shame that it is no longer how it originally was. As so many great and very popular shows were produced there over the years. Not least the iconic children’s show Blue Peter. Which was probably the first, what you might call real TV programme, that I watched. The front of the place has been changed a bit. However it does still have a ring of familiarity about it. But it  does not look as iconic, as it once did.

It was a brand new ITV show that I was there to see being filmed. It is the idea of Jon Naismith. The man behind such radio comedy shows as The Unbelievable Truth and Sorry I Haven’t A Clue. He claimed he came up with the idea. When he worked with Rory Bremner on the radio several years ago. He was just waiting for the right opportunity and ITV have given him it. To produce it and make it for them.

It is called the Imitation Game. I watched the last one of the six episodes that are being made. It is hosted by the brilliant Alexander Armstrong. It also features, as the team captains the truly amazing impressionists Rory Bremner and Debra Stephenson. Each week they are joined by some other top mimics. At the show I was at, they were the top quality Jon Culshaw and the brilliant young American Christina Bianco.

During the show they play a whole host of fun and sometimes silly games. Which of course all involve impressions of lots of different famous folk. Therefore giving the impressionists the chance to prove just how good they are. All four of them on the night were amazing. Some of the voices were indistinguishable from the actual people. For example Jon Culshaw’s Ricky Gervias and Christina Bianco’s Jennifer Aniston were both perfect.

It was a very funny evening, Everyone was on top form. Rory was magnificent. Not just when the cameras were rolling. But he was wonderful during breaks with extra impressions and stories to keep the audience entertained and amused. While certain things were set up. They also have a live house band to because there are a couple of music based rounds.

It will be on ITV later on in the year. If you fancy some silly fun with top quality impressions. I would urge you to keep an eye out for it. It is definitely worth a watch in my opinion. Even Alexander throws in a few of the voices he can do in one of the rounds. It is astonishing how many different voices four people can actually do. And how diverse and different they are.

Television Centre
Television Centre

The year before last I took my Mum on a sight seeing tour of London. She was really taken with St Paul’s Cathedral. Which we just looked at from the outside. She decided that she really wanted to see inside it and have a good look round it. Last Christmas I said I would take her on a tour of the place. As one of her presents.

It took us a while to find a suitable day that we were both free on. But finally last week we managed to achieve that. I had purchased tickets in advance. Once you have got them for entry, they do also allow you to book yourself on one of the tours, when you get there for no charge.

St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral

We arrived there about half past eleven. Mainly so I could enjoy an off peak and relatively quiet train journey for a change. The fact that we had pre-paid tickets meant that we could go straight in via the fast track queue. We managed to book on to a tour starting at one. Which gave us an hour to investigate what was up the stairs, as the tour does not go up there.

There are three galleries that go up into the Dome of the building. The first of which is the Whispering Gallery. Which is around a two hundred and twenty step climb. From there you do get a stunning view of the painted dome roof. And a great birds eye view of the ground floor of the iconic church. It is called the Whispering Gallery, as you can stage whisper into the wall and somebody listening to the wall across the room from you, should be able to clearly hear it.

There are two more galleries that we did not visit on this occasion. They are both outside and involve quite small staircases. They do apparently give you great views of London. I will take a look at them when I go back in the Summer. As once you buy one ticket to visit St Paul’s it becomes an annual pass. That you can use to visit as many times as you like.

We then just had time for a cup of tea and some cake before our tour. There were about twenty of us in the group. We were all given headsets and the tour guide Fiona was wearing a mic, so we could clearly hear what she was saying. Above the basic noise of the place. Which worked very nicely and meant that she did not have to shout.

I found the tour fascinating, from what happened to the original, how long it took for the replacement to be built, to how much restoration has been required over the years. You forget how much history the place is steeped in. I mean just for starters, the actual architect behind the amazing place is buried there with his own shrine. As are both the Duke of Wellington and Lord Nelson. Three huge historical figures all laid to rest in the same place.

You can really feel the association with the military in the place. And some regiments even have their own dedicated areas. I had no idea the poet John Donne was the first Dean of the original St Paul’s. The man behind “No man is an Island” and “For whom the bell tolls. He was also buried there and has a memorial there.

The building is beautiful on the outside and the inside. It does have a really British feel to it. The paintings, sculptures and the statues are spectacular. I spent so long just staring up into the dome to admire the paintings and artwork. It is a Church and there is a prayer on the hour. Which means that every sixty minutes there are a couple of minutes of quiet contemplation to be enjoyed. We were there for nearly four hours and probably needed another two or so at least to properly see and read everything that was on show.

Going to St Paul’s and doing the tour reminded me of so much UK history that I had kind of forgotten. It triggered memories of the things I learnt when I was doing my History GCSE. There really have been some fascinating and amazing people who have lived before us. It turns out that Wellington was relatively low key and reserved in his outlook, while Nelson was flamboyant and loved the attention. I will let you decide which of them I am more like.

London
London

Afterwards we went for a nice meal to top off the day properly. An excellent steak with a glass of red wine and cheesecake for desert. We ate in Bills on Baker Street. It was my first time in there. I would certainly not rule out a return visit at some stage. We had a lovely  day. It was nice to be able to take my mum to do something she really wanted to do.

Neil Quigley in London
Neil Quigley in London

As a Tottenham Hotspur fan I am still smiling from us finally beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge for the first time in twenty eight years. I am not saying it had been a long time coming. But before Dele Alli it was Gary Lineker who scored our last winner there.

The other great thing about it was that it really put us in a strong position to finish in the  top four and clinch Champions League football for next season. Which is so important to keep players and to start off at that level in the new stadium.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Well done to Declan Donnelly for presenting Saturday Night Take Away solo. He is a total professional and great at his job. As he has proved countless times over the years. But it must have been a bit tough not having his mate there for the first time ever. He just about held it together during the first link. Then after that he was flying. He did a fantastic job.

Although in music this is a pretty common occurrence. Somebody leaves a group or a duo and goes it alone. And often they have an equally. if not more successful career. It does feel odd when you first see them but you quickly get used to. If they are good enough. I do know this was an enforced move. Hopefully Ant will recover from his issues and return soon. But if not I am pretty confident Dec will still find plenty of work on his own.

BGT London
BGT London

In case you were wondering. Here is an update on the Nike Trainers that I ordered from Amazon. They have now sent me two of them in the same size. Which is a huge improvement on their first effort. I am now wearing them with the dark red body warmer and travelling around on a skateboard while hanging on to the back of cars. (If you do not get this reference, I suggest you read the previous entry).

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Just a quick reminder that I do a weekly podcast. Which is basically a radio show on the internet with no music featuring stories and old interviews from my twenty years working in radio. It is available on I-tunes, so why not subscribe to it? Then you will get every new episode automatically downloaded to your device. I would also like to point out that it is free. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/neil-quigley-podcasts/id1236437663?mt=2

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

I am up in Liverpool this weekend for my annual pilgrimage to the Aintree Grand National Weekend. Which is always a lot of fun. I will tell you all about it of course the next time we speak.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil

Star Man

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been busy and fun. If you remember the last time we spoke it was March 17th or to give it its other name St Patrick’s Day. I have an Irish Surname, my Granddad was born there and I am always up for a fun day out. Therefore I do try to celebrate this day in some way every year.

There was a bit of a spanner in the works for this year’s plan. My intention would normally be to go straight to Waxy O’Connor’s off Leicester Square in London nice and early to get a place and get in before the queues. However my football team Tottenham were in action in the FA Cup Quarter Finals against Swansea. Kicking off at a quarter past midday.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The Irish Pub were not showing the football and there was no way I was going to miss the game. Luckily the fantastic Comedy Pub just down the road were showing it. Fair play to them they put the game on a big screen on their third floor. The room was full of Spurs fans, so it was a great place to watch it. With quite a good atmosphere for a pub game.

I did still get in to the spirit of the day by having a couple of pints of Guinness during the match. It all went perfectly for my team. We won quite convincingly. Much to the annoyance of the one Swansea fan in the room. Who left about twenty minutes before the end of the game. The afternoon had started very well with Spurs making it through to the FA Cup Semi-finals.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Then the plan did go a little pair shaped, as I feared it might. It was the final of the Rugby Six Nations that weekend. On St Patrick’s Day afternoon England were playing Ireland. That game started fifteen minutes after the Spurs game ended. It was also a Saturday, so more people could get to the pub earlier. Therefore when I tried to get in to Waxy O’Connor’s after the football. There was a queue round the block.

I am not one for queuing at the best of times but especially not when it is freezing and snowing. So I then decided to head to All Bar One in Leicester Square for a drink. I concluded there was little point trying to get into my favourite bar. Until at least after the rugby. Next then, mainly so I did not have to walk to far. I went and had a drink in the Hampshire Hotel Bar. It is a bit up market, so there was no Guinness on offer and I had to have a red wine.

Finally I wandered around to Waxy O’Connor’s and managed to get in and have a couple of pints of in my opinion the best Guinness in the capital. They had live Irish music. It was absolutely rammed, as usual. The atmosphere was great and it was lots of fun. I am already planning next year’s St Patrick’s Day. When hopefully I will be able to get straight in to Waxy’s and spend a bit longer in there. Football matches willing of course.

St Patrick's Day
St Patrick’s Day

I attended the unveiling of the world’s first David Bowie Statue in Aylesbury. The reason he is being remembered in this way in the Buckinghamshire town. Is because he made his first ever appearance as Ziggy Stardust there. He appeared at the very popular, iconic and now legendary Friars Music Club. The driving force behind the art work was the man who run the club David Stopps. He set up a kick starter campaign to raise the one hundred thousand pounds needed to fund the project.

It was designed and sculptured by renowned artist Andrew Sinclair. It took him around a year to complete. It is a very detailed piece of work featuring Bowie depicted at various different stages of his life and career. He was there on the day and talked us through every bit of his masterpiece explaining the ideas and reasoning behind certain parts. Which was interesting to hear from his point of view being its creator.

David Bowie Statue
David Bowie Statue

Also on stage and speaking at the event were some other famous local musicians including Howard Jones and a couple of members of the Aylesbury band Marillion. Plus the town’s MP David Liddington. He is someone I have known and interviewed several times over the years. It was nice to catch up with him for a bit after he had finished addressing the crowd. It was all nicely done with a stage set up in the Market Square showing David Bowie videos mixed in with some live performances from local bands.

It is certainly an eye catching thing. And is a fitting way to mark a man of his stature. Although you could argue his ties with the town are slightly tenuous. I have met the man behind it David Stopps a few times over the years. He is fiercely passionate about his music and has worked in the industry all over the world with some very big names for over forty years, so he knows his stuff.

His first real venture, which was the Friars Music Club, as well as bringing David Bowie to Aylesbury. Also saw Genesis, The Police, Lou Reed, Roxy Music and Gary Numan play in the town, After quite a break he bought it back in 2009. Therefore he is still putting on music concerts in Aylesbury on a pretty regular basis, Which I think is great.

David Bowie Statue
David Bowie Statue

I went and saw the force of nature that is Danny Baker doing his final Cradle to the Stage one man show at the Shepherds Bush Empire. I was in good company as Jonathan Ross and Kate Robbins were both there to enjoy it to. I remember watching him on the Six O’clock show as a kid. I loved the original TFI Friday programmes. That he made with Chris Evans. And I have read his first two books and liked his autobiographical TV comedy Cradle to The Grave.

I have also for years admired his work on the radio. I have been lucky enough to see him around at the BBC a few times recently. The next logical step was to see this show. Which is basically him telling many stories about his life and work in show business. We have always known the man can talk. But despite it being a near on three hour performance. I felt he only got to touch on a small selection of his anecdotes from his crazy life.

Danny Baker
Danny Baker

Literally as he finished one story, it reminded him of another which then led to another. He had to keep censoring himself to move on and actually get on with the show or we could all still be there now. For a man who admits he has been lucky and is a bit of a chancer. He has met everyone you could possibly imagine from the world of entertainment over the last forty years. And has a story to tell about all of them.

It was a funny, entertaining, interesting and amusing evening. I must confess he has a better singing voice than I was expecting. He is of course super talented. You do not achieve the success he has had or be involved with the shows that he has been over the years without it. You can see why so many celebrities over the years have ended up hanging out with him. He would be great company in a proper old fashioned pub. Where you could just drink beer and chat. Well you could chat, if you could get a word in edge ways. Which may be the only issue.

He is going on a brand new tour soon called Big Time Charlie. In which he will talk more about his early days at the NME. Where among other things he was in Led Zeppelin for thirty five minutes, he went shoe shopping with Debbie Harry and hung out with Michael Jackson for a few days. As you do. I am looking forward to seeing that show. Hopefully later in the year.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have often said on here what a big fan I am of the work of Ant and Dec. Who I do think are brilliant presenters. That opinion has not altered. However I have lost a lot of respect and appreciation for Ant after his arrest for drink driving. I am aware that he is facing several personal problems. Which he needs to deal with. I hope he gets the care and support he needs to overcome them. But stepping behind the wheel when over the legal limit is unacceptable.

On a lighter note congratulations to the other half of the duo Dec. Who has announced he and his wife are to become parents for the first time. News I guess, he would have liked to have revealed at a more stable time for his career. But life rarely works like that. It will be interesting to see how it works and how it feels with him hosting Take Away by himself. He is a great presenter. He will do a top job.  But seeing his mate not stood next to him will completely change the dynamics of  the whole thing.

BGT London
BGT London

A friend of mine, who is a fantastic singer and performer has a new song coming out. It is set to be a big tune in the clubs across Europe this summer. Her name is Nickita. The song is called Body Whine. Keep an ear out for it. Also she is often out gigging, so if you get the chance go along and see one of her shows.

Nickita
Nickita

I had a great day out at Wincanton Races with my former boss Steve Carpenter in the week. I used to go there quite often when I worked at Ivel fm. But this is the first time I had been there for years. I went there and back in a day on the train. The race course run a free shuttle bus from and to the train station in Templecombe.

Neil Quigley with Steve Carpenter in Yeovil
Neil Quigley with Steve Carpenter in Yeovil

There was a nice surprise in the parade ring when I arrived. The winner of this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup Native River was in there. He was trained by one of the local trainers to Wincanton Colin Tizzard. I also saw another local top trainer in Paul Nicholls within seconds of arriving.

Native River
Native River

It was a good day. I had a couple of small winners. Then in the final race I backed a horse at 33-1. Which came in second but being an all or nothing kind of guy. I had not done it each way. It was great to catch up with Steve and remember some of the classic moments from my time is Somerset.

The shuttle bus picked up more or less straight after the last race and got us back to the train station for six. The train back to London was not due till quarter to seven. Not a problem, we will just have a quick drink in the local pub, we thought.

However it turns out there is nothing in Templecombe, no pub, no fish and chip shop. There is just one shop in the whole place. Much to our amazement. I think it is the first train station I have ever been to that has not got a pub near by.

Neil Quigley

I had a first this week. An issue with a product I ordered from Amazon.  I have been looking around for a new pair of going out trainers for a while. I finally saw these Nike ones that I liked. I think mainly because they reminded me and the ones that Michael J Fox wears in Back To The Future.

Anyway I ordered them and about five days later they arrived. I opened the box and instantly liked the look of them. I excitedly took out the right one and tried in on. It fitted perfectly and felt instantly comfortable. Which is unusual for new footwear.

I then took out the left one to try that on and found myself struggling to get my foot in to it. I scrunched my foot in to it but it felt so tight I started to lose feeling in it. At this point I am thinking may be my feet are slightly different sizes. And I had just somehow never noticed. But then I take them both off to discover the right trainer is UK size 7 my shoe size and the left one is UK Size 6.

They had sent be the right trainers in different sizes. I have had to send them back. I now have to wait two weeks for the replacement. Which I have to admit is really annoying. As I was looking forward to wearing them. And now I currently have nothing to wear with the red body warmer I got to go with them.

Neil Quigley TV Radio & Live
Neil Quigley TV, Radio & Live

Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil

Neil Quigley Presenter