Variety is the Spice of Life

Hello again, I hope all is well and that you have had nice couple of weeks. As ever I have a nice mixture of things that have happened or are happening in the near future to tell you about. This will not include anything about Celebrity Big Brother as after the first episode I did not watch anymore of it. But I did notice that it was won by somebody who is only famous and I do use that term very loosely for living in a house where everything is recorded and then shown on TV. Surely then I can’t be the only one who feels that may be she had a little bit of an unfair advantage there. Next year I reckon David Blaine should enter. He is used to being watched for over a month in just a glass box hanging above the Thames. So an actual house should be a piece a cake for him. Plus people would not be able to fire golf balls at him in there. Shazam!!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Earlier this month I went and watched my mate Ben Langley perform his new show Ha Ha Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles at the Wycombe Swan in High Wycombe. Ben has written the show himself as part of the Ha ha Brand that he has been working on for the last five years or so. He stars in it himself alongside the very talented Andrew Fettes and the comic genius that is Joe Pasquale. It is a very funny almost old time variety type show with the gripping storyline, great jokes, audience participation, songs, slapstick and lots of ad-libbing. The cast look like they are having as least as much fun as the audience. I managed to catch up with Ben before the show and have a good chat to him. Which was really great for me to hear about how well things are going for him personally and professionally. And I also got to go and hang out backstage with him and the rest of the cast during the interval, as they got themselves ready for the second half. Which was a great experience to see the sort of things that go on and are talked about at this time. The whole cast were lovely and I did get to very briefly meet Joe Pasquale. Which is yet another King of the Jungle from I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here that I have now met. The show is touring all over the country for the next couple of months. I would recommend seeing it if you can, and if you just want a good fun and silly night out. Find out more here http://hahaholmes.com/

Neil Quigley interviewing Ben Langley in Yeovil
Neil Quigley interviewing Ben Langley in Yeovil in 2008

Now believe it or not there is another Neil Quigley in England. He is a big dance music DJ who as well as regularly gigging all over the world also produces and remixes new music. Weirdly he does look at little bit like me and it is fair to say we have very similar haircuts but I promise you we are not related. Normally then this name share causes both of us no problems at all. Apart from may be us competing with each other to see who has the most links to them from various internet search engines. However every now and again this can cause some confusion in the world of social media. For example the other week I was very surprised to get a tweet from a South African music label promoting a new house music album featuring a track mixed by me. Fair play they did realise their mistake quite quickly and worked out that they had got the wrong guy so sent another tweet apologising for this. However I do wonder if I can still claim any royalties for my “work” on this new track.

Neil Quigley in Studio
Neil Quigley in Studio

I made a return to playing Five-a-Side football last Friday as a guest appearance at one of my mates regular sessions. One day I will remember I can no longer run around and play like I am still a teenager. On the plus side I did manage to put in a decent performance scoring three goals in the process and on the negative side I managed to bruise my ribs so have not been able to do any exercise since. This is very much why I limit myself to only playing football about five or six times a year. I am far too injury prone nowadays. It’s still good fun though.

There are only a few television shows that I actually tend to watch but here is news of one I will definitely be seeing. A former boss of mine is going to feature in the next series of Come Dine With Me. Steve Carpenter who hired me for Ivel fm in Yeovil and who I worked with for the five years I was at the radio station has recorded an episode of the cooking show. Which is expected to be shown next month. I do always like watching people I know or who I have met on the TV. It somehow always makes it more watchable and interesting for me. This will be brilliant Steve is a great bloke, who likes a laugh but does not suffer fools gladly which makes me suspect there could be some interesting exchanges between him and the other contestants. He is also a very good cook and has made quite a lot of meals for me over the years, when we were working together. He is the king of the BBQ but do not just take my word for it, ask him and I guarantee he will tell you he is to.

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

This weekend sees the NFL International Series come to Wembley Stadium with the Pittsburgh Steelers playing the Minnesota Vikings. It is sure to be a spectacular and amazing occasion. And I am lucky enough to be working behind the scenes during the day at the Stadium. Which I am really looking forward to. I will tell you more about what I was actually doing and how it was the next time I speak to you. My main mission is to at least meet both the team’s cheerleader squads.

I am really not one for wishing the year away and do not like mentioning the C word to early but with Strictly Come Dancing and the X-factor Boot Camp Shows starting this weekend that does mean I think the countdown to Christmas has kind of unofficially started. As both of those shows will end about a week before the big day. So basically because I have met her and because he lives locally to me and I saw him at the Aylesbury Pantomime press night last year I am supporting Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Brendan Cole in Strictly this year. And I think we are due a female solo singer to win the X-factor this year, but I have no idea who that will be at this stage.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Talking about the start of the X-factor. Over the years I have ended up either hosting or being a judge for many different singing and talent competitions. And believe it or not I can actually sympathise a little bit with the judges on these types of television shows. You have to try and be positive and encouraging with constructive advice, but at the same time you do need to be entertaining for the audience in the studio and at home. And not say the same thing every time. Plus I do think you have a responsibility to be honest with people and if they have no chance or are not good enough you do really need to tell them. It is surely unfair otherwise. Now love or hate Simon Cowell when he was still a judge on the X-factor I rarely disagreed with what he said and he was normally just saying what I was thinking. However I do think I may have put it in a slightly nicer way sometimes. But he is there to make an entertaining TV show and get it talked about in the papers and on the internet. So again I can very much see why he does it the way he does. And although it is very public way of being rejected a lot of people who have been successful in the world of media will have be rejected or failed at some point Simon Cowell included. Before he dusted himself down and managed to lift himself to the position he know finds himself in globally. To quote what Sean Connery once said to Darius “You only fail when you stop trying”

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.

Behind the Scenes

Hi there, how are you doing? I have had another very interesting couple of weeks including doing two things in particular. Which could not have been  more different from each other. So it looks like the weather may be turning then and Autumn is seemingly on its way. I like the way we can have almost eight weeks of sunshine and pretty decent weather. Then after just two days of it being a little grey and wet. We suddenly completely forget about them as if they never happened and then think that it has been damp for what seems like forever. Personally I refuse to accept this and I am still using my summer duvet and have  no plans to turn the heating on any time soon either.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

The other week I was lucky enough to be able to go along and see the launch show of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing being recorded. At their brand new studios for this series at Elstree. Now not only did this mean as I went in I got to take a sneaky peak at the outside of the Big Brother house. Where Celebrity Big Brother is currently taking place. But it also meant I got to see what happens behind the scenes of one of the United Kingdom’s most popular television shows. Strictly Come Dancing not Celebrity Big Brother that is, just to be clear. The one hour and twenty minute show that went out on TV last Saturday actually took around eight hours to film over two nights. If you saw the show last Saturday the Red Carpet sequence at the start was filmed on one evening and then the main show, the bit I watched actually took around five hours to film the following night.

Arriving at Elstree Studios
Arriving at Elstree Studios

It was really interesting to see how they put it all together. As nothing you witnessed on the TV happened in the order it was shown in. To give you some idea about that if you saw it. The first bit we actually saw at the recording was the performance by Rod Stewart. In fact the only bit that was in the right place so to speak was the final dance and the final piece to camera. However when the show went out I have to say it was put together so well there is no way you could tell that at all. The team who make it and produce it are amazing. They are hugely talented. As are its stars. Sir Bruce Forsyth was immense his command of the audience and connection with them was first class.  He came on and did a little bit of a warm up for the audience featuring some jokes, singing and dancing before the recording started. Which showed you exactly why he has been where he has in show business for so long. The man is a legend. Basically it was a great evening out and really exciting to see the performances, celebrities and the dancers live. Plus I was delighted to see my favourite dancer Aliona Vilani back on the show this year. That was a very nice surprise to say the least. The dancers are all good fun and clearly work hard and love what they do. If you are a fan of the show you will be unsurprised to hear that Anton De Beke , Brendan Cole and James Jordan were being the most vocal in between takes and involved in a lot of very good banter with anyone who would care to join in clearly enjoying their work. The judges to all play their parts perfectly Bruno does not stop moving around he is a right live wire and they often turn round and have a chat to the audience behind them in any breaks from the recording.

Neil Quigley Doing Some Filming
Neil Quigley Doing Some Filming

I think it is going to be a really good series I like the line up. There are some very good dancers amongst the celebrities this year. As well as some great personalities. It will be fun and explosive from what I have seen already. And once again this year I have met one of the contestants before at some point in my life. Although it is not quite as straight forward as last year’s connection with Victoria Pendleton. I have met Sophie Ellis-Bextor before but it was a long time before she was famous or before she had her first number one song. Here is how it happened. When I was about ten my mum took me and my sister to see Mickey’s Christmas Carol and The Jungle Book in a double bill at the cinema in Richmond. As we were outside I spotted Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis. And as a big fan of the show I decided I wanted her autograph. All my mum had on her at that time was some scrap tissue paper and her eye make up pencil. Undeterred and armed with these items I got Janet’s autograph. Which she politely wrote out while leaning on my back. As this was happening standing next to her was a very confused looking six year old Sophie wondering what on earth was going on and who this strange boy was I imagine. I still have the autograph. I have actually interviewed Janet Ellis since for one of my radio shows and although she can’t exactly remember the incident she did offer to update my autograph for me. Best of luck to Sophie Ellis-Bextor in the competition. Slightly strange that both her and Victoria Pendleton got Brendan Cole as their dance partner. If there is somebody I have met in next years show, put money on him being their partner.

Here is the interview with Janet Ellis at the end of it I remind her of our previous meeting as explained above. Enjoy.

Janet Ellis
England V Moldova
England V Moldova

Now from one extreme to the other. I was kindly offered the chance to go along and see England against Moldova at Wembley in the World Cup Qualifier the other week. An offer which I very gratefully accepted. Before then the last time I saw a match at the stadium was Yeovil v Blackpool in the League One Play Off Final in 2007. And I was presenting and commentating on the game for Ivel Fm that afternoon. I was technically working and sat with all the other media people in the press area, so could not enjoy the game as a fan really. Specially as the day finished with a disappointing land long coach journey back to Somerset with the fans to round it all off. So it was nice to be there just as a spectator this time round. Plus the last time I had been to an England game was to see England play Holland at the old Wembley Stadium. So I was overdue an appearance there. Got some great seats, which is not difficult as there is not really a bad seat anywhere in the stadium. The game itself was pretty straight forward England were in control from start to finish and probably should have scored a few more goals. It was nice to be in the ground when Ricki Lambert got his first competitive goal for England. Pretty sure England Captain Steven Gerrard waved at me at the end of the game to thank me for my support. Also thanks to the bouncer at TGI Friday’s, who when we went there after the game for a beer instructed us that if we wanted a drink, we needed to head straight to the bar as we as we went in. I am just thankful he was there as who knows what we may have done without his expert and precise guidance in this situation. It was a good fun night out and always nice to see England win.

England v Moldova at Wembley Stadium
England v Moldova at Wembley Stadium

I was walking round London recently when I actually spotted a celebrity which is unusual for me in the Capital. Unless I am in an area where I know particular people work or I will just not see them as a general rule. But as I was passing near Leicester Square I spotted an actress from one of my favourite films. Anna Chancellor, who was in Four Weddings and A Funeral walked past me. As I went past her I thought she looks quite dressed up I wonder what see is doing around here. When I then turned the corner and saw a massive picture of her outside the West End theatre were she is appearing in a play. I didn’t speak to her as she was with some friends and looked busy and not like she wanted to be disturbed by an idiot like me.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I like the fact Kylie Minogue is going to be a judge on the new series of The Voice. I think she will be really good at. She will be able to offer some great advice and who would not want to see her on your TV screen every Saturday night. Now I just need to find some way that I can get to work on that show. When Danny O’ Donoghue was on the first series of it. I bumped into him in the reception of a recording studio in London. I really hope the same thing happens with Miss Minogue during her first run on the show. Fingers crossed!

I am looking forward to catching up with my mate Ben Langley as I watch him perform in his new play also starring Joe Pasquale Ha Ha Holmes and the Hound of the Baskerville’s at the Wycombe Swan in High Wycombe. It will be nice to see him. He has had a very good and busy year, so I am sure he will have lots of good stories to tell me.

Neil Quigley doing Stand Up
Neil Quigley doing Stand Up

I have been spending quite a bit of time working on some new jokes recently. I have some more Stand Up Comedy Gigs lined up in October and November. Which I may look to try some of the new material out at. Good luck everybody.  Also BBC Radio 4’s Newsjack returns to the airwaves on Thursday 19th September, so I will be writing some more jokes for that series in the next few days.

Neil.mix_.pic1_.jpg

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