Upstart Go

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been nice and busy with loads of fun things going on. I once again managed to do something I had not done before. I went along to this year’s National Television Awards at the O2 Arena. It is something that I have watched on television from home for many years. It was great to actually get the opportunity to be sitting there in person to watch it all unfold.

The place was looking very glittery and sparkly. When I arrived it was getting fairly close to show time. I just had chance to grab a quick drink before I had to take my seat ready for the ceremony. There was definitely a buzz and an air of excitement in the place.

With around five minutes to go before we went live to the nation our Arena MC the brilliant Andy Collins came on to get the audience hyped and ready for action. And also to tell us what was going to happen right at the start of the programme. While he is doing this all the celebrities are filtering in to their seats, so that they are all sat down ready for when the proceedings begin.

The opening sequence was pre-recorded, so the first thing we actually witness live is the pay off to the opening gag. Which is Piers Morgan being lowered from the roof. Before Dermot O’Leary re-appears to save the day and remove the Good Morning Britain presenter from view. Then we get live music from last year’s X Factor winners Rak Su.

NTA's
NTA’s

Once their song is over and after Dermot’s opening monologue. It is down to business. The night follows a pretty standard pattern. The people presenting the awards come on, give us the nominations. Then they announce the winners. And they come up to give their speech. In the arena like the people at home, we see the clips and the faces of all the nominees in turn on the big screens.

It was nice to see Ant & Dec pick up another three awards. I was also pleased to see This Morning get one as well to. I have seen the Geordie duo, Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby present various different studio based shows. They are all brilliant and at the top of their profession. It is one of those disciplines that looks a lot easier than it is. Especially when the aforementioned foursome are the ones doing it.

It was a really good night and fantastic to see so many talented performers and writers all in the same giant room. It just reminded me of the high standard of television from all the different genres. That we have access to on our screens. Everyone was actually very well behaved. And the night went pretty smoothly. I thought Dermot did a great job of hosting it. In the main the guests reading out the nominees did what they had to do. Plus most of the thank you speeches were short and to the point. Which is what you want.

I thought it was nice to see Toff coming up for the I’m A Celebrity Award and doing a bit of back stage presenting. I do like her, she is upbeat, happy and positive. Plus I can tell she is keen to learn more about the trade of presenting. She did a great job handling Stanley Johnson, when they presented an award together.

NTA's
NTA’s

It was nice to see Andy Collins on stage doing his thing during the ad breaks. While you at home got sold holidays and hoovers. He entertained us. Another one of his jobs seemed also to be wrangling the celebrities, keeping them in order and in their seats ready for when they were going to be in the next segment. I have met him a couple times.  He is a top man. As well as being very funny.

It was good also to see another familiar face as the Stage Manager for the evening was Alan Conley. Who does pretty much all the big shows. He is on Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent and Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Take Away to mention but a few. He is a man at the top of his particular game and very well respected within the industry.

After the awards were over. I stayed for a couple of drinks before heading home and calling it a night. It was a brilliant experience. I really enjoyed myself. It was a fun event to be at. I got chatting to some younger people just before I left. We were talking about our stand out moments. Most of them said it was Blue Planet 2 getting its award for highlighting the issue of plastic in our oceans. If that is the thing that struck the biggest cord. Despite what some people might think about the youth of today. I do think the future looks like it is in very good hands.

NTA's
NTA’s

As I always turn up for everything very early because I hate being late for anything. I arrived at the O2 before the NTA’s with more than enough time to have a look around the latest Elvis Presley Exhibition they have there. I went to a huge one all about his entire life, that was there a few years ago, which was amazing. This new one is quite a bit smaller and focuses solely on his touring days.

They have lots of his old stage and tour costumes on display, a few precious personal items and lots of footage of him on stage in various locations. They also have a recording of a press conference he did to promote one of his tours. Which is an interesting watch. If you are a fan of the man and have the time, it is worth a quick look round, I think. I certainly enjoyed it.

Elvis Exhibition
Elvis Exhibition

I was lucky enough to be able to go and watch an episode of the new series of Upstart Crow being filmed at the London Studios on the South Bank. It is a show I really like a lot. The subject matter is great. Ben Elton is an amazing writer. I really like how even in his history based comedies. He still manages to get social comment and a bit of politics in to them. He does it brilliantly with this programme, specially with Shakespeare’s always long and awful commutes between London and Stratford Upon Avon. It is also so clever how each episode is basically all about the writing of a different Shakespeare play. That in itself is genius.

Not only is the writing brilliant but the cast are all fantastic. It is a star studded line up to say the least, with a lot of comedy experience between them. Everyone is so good in it and play their parts so perfectly. But a special mention does have to go to David Mitchell, who is the only one who has to appear in pretty much every scene. So he by far has the most dialogue to learn. And thanks to the writing of Mr Elton. Some of his speeches are not only long and complicated but often tongue twisting challenges. He has to be one of the best comedy actors, we have at the moment. In fact he is just a very funny man. As he proved during short breaks between some of the scenes.

It was the first time I had been to a filming of a classic studio based sitcom with four different sets to move between and the actors playing out the whole scenes with about six cameras pointing at them to record all the dialogue and reaction in real time. It was such a funny night. This series I think could be even funnier that the previous two and I thought they were great.

I watched what will be the first episode. When this latest series is shown on the BBC in the Autumn. I had such a quality time laughing out loud with a group of very happy people. They record each scene all the way through twice. Then do any pick ups before they move on. There was a guest star on this one to. I do not want to give anything away but let us just say this person has previously worked with the writer.

Talking of which it was great to see Ben Elton there. He was on hand and on mic to introduce each of the cast to us, give us some background details about the characters and the plot. He did also point out the main idea is based on historical facts. Well from the six or so facts only, that we know to be true about the exceptional play write. He also told some jokes and brilliant stories in true Ben Elton style. He still has the same energy, he had when he appeared hosting Saturday Night Live.

When he introduced his old mate Harry Enfield, he did a Stavros impression. The cast seem to have a lot of fun making it. They were focused, professional and wanted to get the job done. But when the time allowed it, they were happy to mess about and add even more value to the recording. It was a fantastic evening. I cannot wait to see the whole series later this year.

The Globe Theatre
The Globe Theatre

I have mentioned Logan Murray a few times before. I attended one of his brilliant Comedy Courses a few years ago. Which means I have something in common with Josh Widdicome, Greg Davies and Rhod Gilbert to mention but a few. The latter mentioned Logan during an interview with Simon Mayo on Radio 2. Which led to the comedy guru himself Mr Murray being on the next day talking a bit about his course and the basic set up of it.

It was nice to hear him on and it brought back lots of great memories from my time in his company. I did my course as part of the Roving Comedy Night at the Tringe Festival. Which is just a fantastic experience. They are looking for people who would like to do it this year. I would urge anyone to give it a go. Follow this link for all the details. http://www.get-stuffed.biz/tringe/2018/06/roving-comedy-night/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I spent another hilarious night in the Phoenix Pub in London at The Old Rope Comedy Night. Which is a new material evening for the cream of comic talent to come along and try out new jokes. It is the run by Tiff Stevenson along with her parents, who manage the door. Which instantly gives the place such a friendly and inclusive feel to it. Tiff was away in New York this week. So the night was hosted by the brilliant Lou Sanders. I have seen her a few times before. She is very funny. She did a wonderful job of moving the fun along while keeping us entertained between the acts. It is fair to say we learnt a lot about her during the evening, some of which I can never unlearn.

It was another amazing line up. As it always is at this place. You get a rough list of comedians advertised before the gig but normally you get a few special guests just popping in unannounced. This time I saw Tom Ward who was ace. Jasper Cromwell- Jones, who I had not seen before but who is a character act based around a very posh adventurer. Which I feel we may see a lot more of.

Geoff Norcott was on next, who you might know from the excellent Mash Report. He has got a pretty definite style and was brilliant to. Then the last act in the first half was Lloyd Langford, who I really like. He had been out for lunch with fellow comedian Matt Forde. Which was meant to be just food but turned in to a bit of a session. So by the time he got on stage. He was around eight pints to the good. Mind you he held it together fine and was still very funny. Although I think he might have been slightly relieved when it was all over. Top work all round during part one.

Old Rope
Old Rope

Part two kicked off with the always great Tony Law. The man who headlined my first ever Stand Up gig. I got to spend the whole evening with him as we performed. He was once again great. He is another who has his own very distinctive style. Then it was Marlon Davis. It was great to see him back on stage after recovering from a very nasty car accident.

Then there was a surprise appearance from Simon Brodkin. Possibly better known as his alto ego Lee Nelson. I actually had met Simon before because I played a Press Officer at a football club in the pilot of The Lee Nelson Well Good Show. But I was cut from the show, when it was eventually shown. That is show business kids! He was doing some new material as himself and was also very funny.

Next up was the always fantastic Eleanor Tiernan. She was as ever brilliant. It is such and fun and funny night. Which is even more astounding when you remember that a lot of the gags are all brand new. The headline act for this visit was the excellent Hal Cruttenden. Who was on fantastic form. He was so good and assured. As you would expect from a man of his standing and experience. He rounded off the evening perfectly. If you are ever in London on a Monday night and not sure what to do. I would always say go to the Old Rope. You really cannot go wrong.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

My team Tottenham Hotspur are very lucky to still be in the FA Cup after nearly getting knocked out by a valiant effort from Newport County. We could really do without another game with the Champions League about to restart. But I will happily take that replay all day long to still be in the competition.

I went to see the Manchester United match Wednesday. Which was a very pleasing night. I think scoring in the first eleven seconds did help us out a lot. But it was a great performance and a crucial win. Bring on the rest of the season!

Spurs V Man Utd
Spurs V Man Utd

This week I have launched my brand new podcast. This will be available weekly. It contains lots of stories from my past, thoughts on everyday situations that I and everyone else find themselves in. Plus a selection of interviews that I have done in the past with various interesting people.

If you sign up and register with i-tunes then you will get it delivered to your phone or tablet automatically when the latest episode is released. Why not get involved and give yourself a nice new treat for 2018. It will basically be like a radio show but without the music. Sign up here. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-neil-quigley-radio-podcast/id1236437663?i=1000401179310&mt=2

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

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

Frankly Good Fun

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been fairly busy and lots of fun. I went to the Theatre Royal in Haymarket to see The Rat Pack Live from Las Vegas Show. I had already seen a version of this at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury around six years ago, so I kind of knew what to expect. They have a full orchestra on stage. Led and conducted by the pianist. All to help recreate the famous Las Vegas Show that Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Junior did at the Sands Hotel.

I have seen video footage of the original performances from the actual Rat Pack. And this production does capture all the humour, interaction and chemistry between these three legendary entertainers. Who were all very good friends. The cast are great. They all look and sound exactly like the artists that they are portraying. The outfits are spot on. Plus they all have exceptional voices, so as you would expect they belt out those huge numbers perfectly. The songbook for the night is of course top quality.

This version features a special appearance by Ella Fitzgerald and again the actress playing her was brilliant. It is a very slick re-enactment of a golden time for music and performers. There are quite a few funny moments and the cast look like they are having a good time doing it. It is a nice tribute to these iconic characters. Brilliant though it all is, it just makes you wonder what it would have actually been like being there to see those shows for the first time live, as they were happening. Another good night out at the theatre. If you are a fan of this kind of thing. I would say it is definitely worth going along to see this show.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I got given David Jason’s new book Only Fools and Stories as a present. I have started reading it and as you would expect it is very amusing and interesting. Especially as a big fan of Only Fools And Horses. As the title suggests it features behind the scene stories and anecdotes from the making of the programme. Detailing the secrets behind some of the best known scenes and lines, plus some of the things they used to get up to during breaks in filming. I am really enjoying it and looking forward to finishing it soon. So I will know all the stories behind the making of one of the all time best ever television comedies by then.

I am a big David Jason fan. Although I have never met him. I have been in the same room as him a couple of times. Which was still good. One of these was at a Pantomime Press Night. A radio colleague of mine Adam Morris, (who did the Breakfast Show at the time) was actually talking to the great man. His daughter used to listen to him on her way to school, so I think she wanted to meet him. Which led naturally to a conversation with her dad. You know when you are trying to make eye contact with someone and using your eyes trying to beg to be introduced. Well it didn’t work. But I kept my cool by not gate crashing things. I will get to meet him one day properly, hopefully.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I had a great catch up with a friend and former boss of mine Steve Carpenter. A few Friday’s ago he was the DJ at a big event at The Hilton in Park Lane, London. I did see some of the pictures from the night and it looked amazing. The day after I met him outside the hotel and we made our way to my favourite pub in London for a few drinks.

That pub is Waxy O’Connor’s just off Leicester Square. Where in my opinion they serve the best pint of Guinness in the Capital. While we were chatting about the old times in Somerset and updating each other on our latest projects. We did enjoy a couple of pints of the black stuff. I mean it would have been rude not to right? It was nice to see him and a fun couple of hours in one of my preferred relaxation venues.

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

I like sampling new places to eat and trying new dishes and different foods. Last weekend I ended up in the Chinese Restaurant Ping Pong for the first time. If you have not been it is like a Chinese Tapas place. You order a large selection of dishes. Which all come in small portions. I was looking through the menu and I had decided that was the best way to explain what the deal was. When the waiter used that exact same description. It is good to know my observational skills are still spot on. They had quite a wide and varied selection of dishes. The person that I was with and I decided to pick three options each. Then just share everything. That way we could both get to sample more of the food on offer.

I was very impressed with the quality. Between us we managed to pick a very nice combination of the dishes. Which as it turned out complimented each other very nicely. We ordered this duck dish. Which was basically the roast duck, spring onions, cucumber and plum sauce, like what you would get from a take away. But instead of a wrap it came with this very strange sort of bread roll thing. The likes of which I have never seen before but it tasted fine. I enjoyed my first experience of the place. I would happily go back there again to sample some of the other options they have on the menu.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have been to Wembley a couple of more times recently. Firstly to witness the start of Tottenham’s FA Cup Campaign. A third round three – nil win over AFC Wimbledon. The Premier League is all ready out of reach this season.

I would obviously like to see my team win a trophy, so I am really hoping that we have a very good go at trying to win this competition this year. Next up we have a tricky away tie at League Two Newport County. Which is one of those games you should win but strange and weird things can happen in this cup. As has been very well documented in the past.

Spurs v AFC Wimbledon
Spurs v AFC Wimbledon

My next Wembley visit was to see Tottenham play Everton. A fixture I always enjoy. As I have a lot of friends who support the team in blue from Merseyside. Therefore there is always plenty of banter before and after these clashes. My enjoyment is also enhanced by the fact that recently we have done rather well in this match. And have now won the last three meetings in a row. It was a great game from mine and Spurs point of view. As we ran out as four nil winners. And it honestly could have been more. It was yet another enjoyable evening at the home of football for me.

After the game I met up with one of my best friends and his son. Who are both Everton fans and who had both been at the match. I was very controlled and only gloated for a bit about the victory before hardly mentioning it for the rest of the night. We had a walk round waiting for the crowds to die down. While finding somewhere to eat. Which it turns out is not the easiest thing to do after a big match at the Stadium.

We eventually ended up in a chicken place. Where they managed to fulfil our needs. Despite being a fast food place. It was actually not to bad. We had a bite to eat and a chat about the game. Then we got the train home together. It all worked out well. The next two games I am going to see Spurs play are Manchester United and Arsenal. Both of which I am really looking forward to.

Spurs V Everton
Spurs V Everton

I went to see the Dream Girls musical at the Savoy Theatre in London. It was a massive success on Broadway when it was originally launched in the eighties. It was then made in to a film starring Jamie Foxx, Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson in 2006. And now it is on in the West End. It is loosely based on the story of the Rhythm and Blues groups and singers trying to achieve success and fame in the late fifties, early sixties. If you vaguely know the history of that time in music in America. You can very easily work out who some or the main characters are seemingly based on. And you can also see why certain people may not have been overly happy with the comparisons. When the show was first released.

It is a very slick and entertaining show featuring all original Soul and Motown sounding songs. That were written specially for it. The cast are fantastic. The leads have great vocal ability. Which they really get to show during the course of the performance. The story is moved along quickly and cleverly. But it is very easy to follow and to keep up with what is going on.

The big song from the show is probably One Night Only.  Which does actually play quite a pivotal part in the plot, as it happens. Having been on the outskirts of show business, the situations and dilemmas faced are pretty true to life. But ultimately it is a feel good and uplifting show. Which is certainly worth seeing. Had a fun time watching it and there are some pretty powerful performances from the cast to admire.

Dreamgirls
Dreamgirls

The latest Celebrity Big Brother is happening now on Channel 5. I have not seen any of it currently. And I have no plans to change that situation. Although I have noticed that the former Boyzone singer Shane Lynch is in the house. I met him once many years ago now. It was during the time that the Irish Boy Band were taking a break. He was part of another music collaboration. In which he was rapping, so it was a bit of a departure from his previous musical direction. He and his new band were headlining a charity music event. That I was helping to host in Great Missenden.

I got to meet him before the gig and he was great. He was very friendly, chilled and happy to chat to everyone. There were several other musical acts on the bill. But Shane was the big star on display. I cannot recall his name but the man who was the stage manager had recently come from fulfilling the same role for the last Steps tour.

We were also joined on hosting duties by a young female television presenter from the children’s Saturday morning show Diggit. It was a fun event and I remember there being quite a good audience there to see it. If I am honest I cannot recall too much about Shane and his bands performance, so let us just say they were really good. I personally think he must stand a decent chance of  winning this latest series of Celebrity Big Brother.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am looking forward to the year ahead. I am in the process and working on a new Podcast. Which I hope to be able to give you more information about soon. I do plan to do some more Stand Up Comedy at some point in the next six months.

Plus I would like to do a bit more radio. So watch this space and we will see what happens. Whatever happens in the next twelve months it is going to be fun, exciting and an adventure. Which is exactly what life should always be like, I think.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

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

Happy New Year 2018

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you had a really nice festive period. Mine was pretty busy but great fun. I was actually working all through Christmas this year, so my celebrations were a little bit disjointed. The company I am working for currently, the BBC, are very much a twenty four hour, seven days a week operation.

I was working nights from Christmas Eve right through to the day after Boxing Day. Therefore I had to work within that fairly big parameter to fit in my Christmas. On the Friday before Christmas Eve. I managed to pop round to see one of my mates and his family at their house for a cup of tea and to hand out a few presents, which was great. Then later that night I went for some festive drinks in London. My Christmas party in effect.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Christmas Eve morning itself I went and met another good friend at a Coffee Shop in Marlow. To give out some more presents. As well as enjoy a cup of tea and a nice catch up with him. Then I went to work. I finished Christmas Day morning arriving home at about nine o’clock. I went and saw my parents and my sister and we exchanged gifts. I did very nicely once again, getting pretty much everything that I asked for. Including the new book by David Jason, a classy new hat to wear out, nose/ear hair trimmers plus some much needed new slippers. Once the presents were opened. I then went to bed for about an hour or so.

Before getting up, having a shower and then heading up to a local pub at lunchtime to meet a couple of my Uncle’s and Cousin’s. As is the tradition in our family. I had one pint with them. Bearing in mind by this point I had only had barely two hours sleep. I was just about there with them. But it was fun and good to see everyone. I then went back to my parents for the full Turkey Christmas Dinner. Which I enjoyed with a single glass of Red Wine. As always it was up to the normal high standards with all of the trimmings.

When we had finished eating we then retired to the living room to chill and talk for a bit. Before my Dad got the Karaoke out. We then spent the next ninety minutes taking it in turns to do songs either individually or in pairs. I would like to apologise to the neighbours or anybody who just happened to be walking too close to the house. When I was singing, and I use that term loosely. I then left them to it before grabbing a couple more hours of sleep. When I woke up there was just time to see a little bit of the big Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special before it was time for me to head back in to work. Christmas Day was a bit of a blur for me but I am glad I got to see everyone and do everything that I did.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Boxing Day was a lot more low key. I split my sleep up during the day, so that I could get up to see Tottenham beat Southampton on the television. Which was nice. Then I just got on with working through the remaining nights. I did then get a few days off between Christmas and New Year. On my first full day off. I did treat myself to a glass or two of festive fizz. That somebody very kindly gave me. It was good fun working over Christmas. We had a lot of fun and spirits were high. We did a Secret Santa to ease the pain.

I got given the book “Get Started in Stand Up Comedy Make ’em Laugh” by a certain Logan Murray. Which did amuse me. As I know Logan. I did one of his comedy courses and have done a couple of gigs with him. Which obviously the person very generously and thoughtfully buying me it probably did not know. Anyway it will not be to hard for me to get my copy signed. It is actually a book I had been thinking of getting for ages. Since I did the course. Therefore I am really looking forward to reading it. Secret Santa had clearly done his or her research on my interests and what I like. May be he or she really is omnipresent.

Logan Murray
Logan Murray

I am a massive fan of the theatre and in fact any live performance. I am also a big kid and I do love to see a Pantomime every year, if I can. Last week I got the chance to go and see Dick Whittington at the London Palladium. Which itself is such an iconic venue. As you can imagine a performance at a theatre like that in the capital can attract a very impressive cast. Therefore appearing in the show were Julian Clary, Elaine Paige, Ashley Banjo & Diversity, Paul Zerden, Nigel Havers, Gary Wilmot, Charlie Stemp, Emma Williams and Lukus Alexander.

It was absolutely brilliant. With that much talent in one play, you really cannot go wrong. It is a very funny show, which moves along at quite a pace. It also gives everyone the chance to shine and show off their skills. I will be honest I have seen more in-depth versions of it with more details of the story in the script. But that is not a moan, as it does not matter, we get the gist of what is going on. Just with lots of laughs along the way.

Julian Clary is fantastic as the Fairly. I am not being derogatory. That is the part that he plays. He is wickedly funny and risque. With the devil to try to put off and wind up the rest of the cast. Elaine Paige is the evil Queen Rat who plays it perfectly. She does play evil very well. But there is also lots of scope for her to show off her amazing voice. Singing versions of her biggest songs. And with a voice as spectacular as her’s. It is very hard to boo her. The show is produced by The Really Useful Theatre Group, which is owned by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. So this gives them very easy access to a lot of big tunes.

Then there is Ashley Banjo and Diversity. Their dance routines that are thrown in are just unbelievable. I was also pretty impressed with Ashley’s acting to. As he does have a few lines to deliver. A friend of mine Ben Langley was on tour with Paul Zerden a few years ago now. And I remember meeting him before a gig that they were doing in Chesham. That was before Paul went to the States and won America’s Got Talent. Since then I have seen him perform at one of the “At The Palladium Shows”. For me he is easily the best ventriloquist around at the moment. This show gives him chance to show off his considerable talents. His individual bits were very funny.

Nigel Havers is simply Nigel Havers. A British institution, who is just along for the ride and to have a lot of fun. Happy to send himself up, join in and just have a right old laugh. A brilliant performer having some fun on stage. Simply playing and messing around. Gary Wilmot is the dame. And brilliant he is to. I do remember watching him regularly on the television show Copy Cats as a child. I have always been a fan of his work. He played his part perfectly. And he deserves special praise for singing a song containing every single London Underground Station in its lyrics. What a memory that man must have.

I saw Charlie Stemp play the leading role in the most recent production of Half A Sixpence and thought he was brilliant in that. Needless to say he is fantastic as Dick in this. He is clearly going to be a leading man for years to come. He makes everything, acting, singing and dancing look so effortless. Which more than explains why he will soon be heading off to star in Hello Dolly on Broadway. I have seen Emma Williams before in Mrs Henderson Presents. She was fantastic in that, as she was in this. Finally Lukus Alexander who played the cat Eileen. He really does bring it to life and make it a noticeable part of the story. He can really bust some moves.

As with all Pantomimes there were plenty of parts for the kids to enjoy. But in this one there seemed to be lots more aimed at the adults. In fact I do not think I have been to one where there are so many adults and so few children in the audience. But the production, the outfits, the slapstick set pieces, the effects are all there to keep the children entertained. Yet with Julian Clary around it delivers plenty of cheeky fun for the over eighteens to. Simply such a fun, silly and joyous show. Which as far as I am concerned is exactly what a pantomime should be.

Dick Whittington
Dick Whittington

Happy New Year! I really hope you have a fun, positive and happy 2018. I also trust you enjoyed your New Year’s Eve celebrations. I went to a little family gathering at my Auntie’s house. My Mum, Dad and Sister were all there. We reckon that is the first time we have all spent this evening together for well over twenty years. Normally down to me, as I was often Dj’ing in the past on this night. Also attending were a few more Aunties and Uncles and some of my Cousin’s.

It was a lovely evening with people that I had not seen for ages. My Cousin’s Fiancé had set up his Dart board. So we had a few games of that. He is really good and plays regularly. I had not played for about three years. In our first match I beat him with the flukiest double fifteen out shot you will ever see. I then went on to beat my Dad in the next game. Which never stops being fun, by the way. Before then being thrashed for the rest of the evening by pretty much everyone.

Blues Brothers
Blues Brothers

We then went on to play a couple of games using the Twelve Days of Christmas song. We paired up and each had a couple of day’s to sing each. Every time it was your turn you had to jump up and sing your bit. The further you get into the song, the faster and more fun it gets. Then we played a second version inspired by a Pilates class one of my cousin’s had been to. Where they did different moves for each of the days. This time we had to sing our piece while doing the relevant move. I got landed with ten Lords A Leaping. Which was and I was not sure how and argued against this but it was lunges. I had to do ten of those every time my bit came round. Therefore I am now starting the New Year with thighs of steel. It was all a good laugh, though.

Then we saw in the New Year by watching the Fireworks from London’s South Bank on the television. It was another impressive display. Then I headed home to bed. As I was working the next day. Start 2018 as you mean to go on. I hope you have a wonderful twelve months and achieve everything you want to and a lot of things that at this time you probably did not know that you wanted to. As well as being focused on goals and plans. Do remember to laugh, have fun and enjoy the company and support of all your family and friends.

New Years Eve
New Years Eve

I will be continuing my quest to see as many Tottehnam games as possible this year. While they are at Wembley. I was at the West Ham game the other night. And I will be at the FA Cup game against AFC Wimbledon tomorrow.

I am hoping for a quiet January transfer window and a great end to the season. Plus I am also looking forward to catching up with some good friends at the Everton game next weekend to.

Spurs v West Ham United
Spurs v West Ham United

Happy New Year. Have fun, We will catch up in a couple of weeks, Cheers Neil

Another Year Older But Still No Wiser

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been fairly busy with lots of fun stuff going on. During the last two weeks I have celebrated my forty-first birthday. It is fair to say that this year was a lot more low key than the massive party I threw myself last December. I think I have now reached the age where I will only be holding major events to mark these statistics every ten years now. But that as ever is subject to change.

I was working on my special day this year in London. Which meant I could not do the annual drinks down my local, which I normally do. Which was a shame as that is generally a last minute random gathering. That is lots of fun and a good excuse to see people who I have not seen for a while. Plus I can just walk home from the pub at the end of the night.

Although obviously you can’t not do nothing to mark this monumental occasion, so when I had finished work in London on my birthday. I went for a few drinks in one of my favourite bars, with a view in the capital. That is the Radio Roof Top Bar at the ME Hotel on the Strand. I have been there a few times before. I like it because although you can just walk in there off the street. It still does feel quite classy and exclusive.

They let you in and then you get the lift up to the bar. As I was walking out of the lift to go in to the bar itself a Will I Am look-a-like was just walking in. There is a resident DJ playing some pretty funky dance and house tunes, stunning views of London and most importantly it serves some very nice wine at reasonable prices.

View from Radio Rooftop Bar
View from Radio Rooftop Bar

It is often quite busy, so finding a table can be difficult unless you reserve one. Which I was not organised enough to do, so we ended up sitting at the bar. There were about three or four private parties going on scattered around the room. Which provided a lively, fun and vibrant atmosphere. Perfect for a celebration.

Although it was a little bit more sedate than the previous year. It was still a very enjoyable way of commemorating another year spent here on planet earth. Thanks for all the cards, birthday wishes and presents I received. I appreciate it. I am very grateful. When you get to my age most presents either consist of something you can wear or something you can drink.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Being born in December you do kind of have to share your celebrations with the birth of someone else later in the month. That most of the county also seem to celebrate. I have in the past been to Christmas events on my birthday. But I do try to distance myself from it a little bit and keep my birthday as the main focus.

I refuse to do anything for Christmas until after my birthday. I never do my present shopping until after it. But four days after is fine. Which was when I got all of this years’ Christmas shopping completed within just over two hours.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I employ the same plan every year. Where I either deal directly with the recipients or decide in advance exactly what I am getting everyone. I will then make a list. Which I take with me along with a pen. I then normally go to a shopping centre and do my entire shop in one single visit, crossing off the items from my list as I buy them. This plan is aided by the fact that my immediate family make lists of what they want. Then the rest of the family liaise with each other and we all buy from that list. That way we all get what we want but we just don’t know who it is coming from and which items we will or will not get until the day itself.

It works for us and it certainly works for me when it comes to the Christmas present shopping. I have now got it down to a fine art. There is something very pleasing about starting and finishing it all within a couple of hours. Even better I have now already got it all wrapped up ready for the big day, so with a few days to spare I am ready. I do always go a bit over the top with my wrapping. I put ribbons and bows on everything. I also use a lot of Sellotape, so people have to work hard to get into their gifts. It can sometimes take ages. Which I must confess amuses me and makes me think they are getting their moneys worth out of the situation.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Life just seems to be so busy nowadays. There is always something that needs doing or something you have booked to do ages ago. As a result of everyone’s lives being like this. It can actually be quite hard to organise meeting up with family and friends. The other week I did manage to catch up with some very good mates over dinner and a few drinks. After no word of a lie having to change the date and time of it at least once. And after some complicated three way negotiations. That I suspect would make the Brexit talks seem simple. But the important thing is we managed to get ourselves together at the same place and time. We of course had a brilliant night.

The thing with really good friends is you never run out of conversation, you normally have so much news to catch up on from each other. And finally because you know each other so well you can tease each other and have a right laugh at each others expense. The pubs we went to served decent drinks. The meal we had I thought was excellent. But we could have been anywhere doing anything. We would still of had as good a night. As the most important factor in these things is the people you are with. It flew by so quickly. Which is always a good sign that you are having fun. We all have stress and challenges in our lives. But I really do think a regular night out with your best mates should be prescribed on the NHS. How can that not be good for you? As a way of relaxing and losing yourself in laughter for a bit.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am not a frequent visitor to the cinema. I am not good at sitting still for long periods of time. I probably average one trip there every two to three years. It has to be a film I really want to see to get me there. That movie came out ten days ago now. I am and always have been a massive Star Wars fan. Ever since I saw the first one as a kid.

I saw all three of the originals. I even had a whole box of Star Wars toys. Which I got when I was ten and sold at a car boot sale about six years ago. Just before they bought back the original cast. It is all in the timing. Among those toys was a replica of the Millennium Falcon. Which I used to play with a lot. I had Luke Skywalker in every outfit that he ever wore and several different versions of all the main characters.

Star Wars Exhibition
Star Wars Exhibition

Therefore I of course had to see the latest Star Wars film The Last Jedi as soon as I could after it was released. I had really enjoyed the last one. Which was bridging the old and new characters and the story together. It was called The Force Awakens. Or I guess you could subtitle it the Han Solo story. Funnily enough that was the last time prior to this latest trip that I had been to the cinema. The way it was made in the old traditional style and seeing all those characters I grew up with back together again made me feel like a child again. I had a big smile on my face throughout. So as you can imagine I was really looking forward to this latest offering. Specially as I knew from the tease at the end of the previous one. That we were going to see more from Luke Skywalker in this one.

I was way to excited about seeing this film for a man of my age. I booked the tickets about two weeks in advance to watch an afternoon showing. I was so keen to make the most of it that I splashed out an extra two pounds to secure a premium seat right in the middle of the screen. I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought that again it was all done lovingly in the style of the original trilogy with some nice one liners and bits of comedy. Like there were in those first three films.

But as well as this nod to the past this film still moves the story forward and gives us chance to learn more about the newer characters. For them to really establish themselves. I am never going to tire of seeing X-Wing Fighters and the Millennium Falcon fly through space. It features a powerful performance from the wonderful Carrie Fisher. It reminds us of what a brilliant actress she was.

Star Wars Exhibition
Star Wars Exhibition

The film is two and an half hours long but it kept my attention all the way through. Which is no mean feat at all bearing in mind how few movies I will sit and watch. I loved it! In a way it was like catching up with some old friends. Them still behaving like they used to. Doing what you would expect them to do. It still makes me feel like a child watching them.

I did watch and like the three prequels that were made in the middle. I did venture to the cinema to see them all. But personally I prefer the first three and these latest two. As they remind me more of the Star Wars that I first became engrossed in. I do like the new characters and their links with the past. I already cannot wait to see episode nine. When that is released.

Star Wars Exhibition
Star Wars Exhibition

I went along to the Old Rope Comedy Club Christmas gig at The Phoenix Pub, which is just off Regents Street in Central London. It is a new material night that takes place on a Monday. Nish Kumar was hosting and it featured performances from Eleanor Tiernan, Aisling Bea, Tiff Stevenson (whose comedy night it actually is) and a headline performance by James Acaster.

It was another top evening. Everyone was on good form. But for me Nish and James were the funniest. On Nish’s part because he really was treating it as his Office works do. And Mr Acaster is right on the top of his game at the moment with his everyday surrealism. You know it is a good night when your cheeks hurt from laughing. I will be back for more fun times there next year.

Old Rope
Old Rope

It has been another up and down couple of weeks for my team Tottenham. We have had some good wins and some deserved but annoying defeats. But that is football and in general life. You have to enjoy the good times and get through the bad times.

It was nice of the club to send me a birthday card signed by Mauricio Pochettino and the rest of the squad. That was a nice little touch. I still plan to get to as many games as I can at Wembley until the end of the season. Starting with West Ham United on the 4th January.

Neil Quigley Happy Christmas
Neil Quigley Happy Christmas

A very Happy Christmas. Have a brilliant festive season and I will speak to you in 2018. Cheers Neil

Drinking In A Winter Wonderland

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been very busy with loads of fun stuff going on. I finally got round to seeing the musical version of Aladdin the other week. Ever since I went to a recording for last year’s Children In Need and saw the cast perform a couple of the songs from the show. I had been meaning to go. It has only taken me just over a year to make that happen. It was however well worth the wait and it did not disappoint at all. It is a fantastic show.

It is produced by Disney. As it is their version of the story, adapted from the cartoon film they made in 1992. With it being by Disney that means it is all done to the highest possible standards, the sets, the props and the staging is all spectacular. The whole cast were fantastic. They did an amazing job. But there is one man who really does steal the show. He is Trevor Dion Nicholas and plays The Genie. He really provides the fun, lots of comedy and the brightest most flamboyant costumes on display. You cannot help but smile when he is on stage. It is worth seeing for him alone, I would say.

It also features the former UK Eurovision Song Contest entrant and one time Sugababes member Jade Ewen as the Princess Jasmine. It gives her chance to showcase her stunning  voice. Singing some of the brilliant songs in the show like for example “A Whole New World”. And just in case there was any doubt I can confirm the version that she and “Aladdin” Matthew Croke perform is way better than the Katie Price and Peter Andre version. It is a real feel good family show. It is definitely worth seeing if you get the chance.

Aladdin
Aladdin

I once again visited The One Show studio last Wednesday. To see another episode of the programme go out live. I actually walk past the studio pretty much every day and I do sometimes have a peer in the window to see who is on. But you really cannot beat being inside and watching all the action as it happens. As with most television sets they are actually a lot smaller than they look on television, when you are sat on the sofa at home. The One Show studio is very small and cosy. It is all very chilled and low key. In that you get in there only about five minutes before the show goes live to air. And it is standing room only.

Then Matt Baker and Alex Jones wander in, say hello and sit on the famous green sofa ready to start the programme. Then the evening’s guests are shown in. On this latest visit they were Alexander Armstrong and Alexandra Burke with a cameo appearance from her current Strictly Come Dancing partner Gorka Marquez. The show also had a Pantomime theme running through it. So there were lots of people dressed up in costume as various characters. In fact during the night I was at different points stood next to a Dame, a villain and a pantomime cow. Right before the show started we had a quick rehearsal for some Panto style interaction with Matt. Which if you saw it, you may have heard right near the start.

It is always a fun experience being there. There are the chats with the guests which are great but of course there are lots of films to. You do get to watch them on the screens in the studio. While the presenters and the guests are setting up for the next item. I am always fascinated about how television is made from camera angles to auto cue and everything that happens in and around the studio to make it all work seamlessly. The end part of the show saw us head out to the Piazza to see more Panto animals in a bit hosted by the man I once saw on a train between London and Slough Matt Allwright. It was a good laugh. The whole team including the presenters are always so nice and friendly when you are there.

The One Show
The One Show

Talking of returning to places that I have been to before and after not making it along there last year. I did pay my second ever visit to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park on Monday. It is a massive event with lots going on, if you like your fairground rides, Christmas stalls and winter activities like ice skating.

Personally I have no real interest in those things. But having been twice to Oktoberfest in Munich. I do like Bavarian style Beer Keller’s. Which is something else that they have on offer to enjoy there. Entry is free to the actual site, so it costs nothing to visit these bars.

Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland

Therefore as you have probably already guessed as soon as I arrived I just headed straight for said Bavarian Village. You can buy pints in plastic glasses or you can pay a five pound deposit and get a handled pint sized stein made out of a tougher plastic. As you get your money back on the return of your glass when you leave. To enjoy the beer a little better this option was a no brainer for me. So I got myself a stein of Bavarian Gold. Which I have to say tasted great. It is a nice drop.

Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland

When I went a couple of years ago there was a singer performing all sorts of classic and Christmas style songs. Well he was back there again doing exactly the same thing. I mean pretty much exactly the same set to be honest.

He does a great job, though. I really enjoyed hearing him do his thing again. It all makes for a really good atmosphere.  There are also other bands and singers dotted around the place. But as I was enjoying his work and as I had managed to find a table. I stuck with him for the whole evening.

Bavarian Village
Bavarian Village

It does make you feel Christmassy being there. Everybody is there to have fun and have a good time. Pretty much everyone seems to be drinking to. It was busy enough on a Monday, so I imagine it is absolutely rammed during the weekend. It was a nice evening of music and beer. Which let us face it is always a winning combination.

I certainly think the place is worth an annual visit. If you have never been it is worth experiencing. Be prepared to queue for a bit on the way in and I would try to avoid the really busy periods or it could become a bit frustrating with waiting for drinks and food.

BBC
BBC

I recently spent an evening in the BBC Club. Which is just that, a bar for members of staff to relax in after work. I was there for a leaving do for someone who is heading back to his native New Zealand to host a new Breakfast Radio Show there. It was a top night, it was lovely to relax and chat with people that I normally only get to see in a work environment.

It is a venue I do not visit that often as I rarely seem to get the time. You never of course know who you might see in there. As it is open to anyone who is at the BBC. They do tend to have some decent beers on offer, whenever I have been in there. Which is definitely a plus point. It is very basic and simple. Like any social club you would see attached to a workplace.

BBC
BBC

It is the final of this years I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here tomorrow night. My choice to win did not even come close to happening as Shappi Khorsandi was voted out of the camp first. In her defence I thought she came across very well, was very amusing and did not do anything wrong. But that is show business. It has been another fun series and as ever on the whole they have all thrown themselves in to the experience. The surprise for me has been “Toff”. I will be honest I had no idea who she was before the show started. But she seems really nice and positive. Which is something I really like. She always sounds so upbeat and excited whenever she talks about anything.She coped well with everything that they have thrown at her.

Ant & Dec were once again on top form. I think they are getting cheekier and more brutal when taking the rise out of the camp mates. While of course not taking themselves or the whole thing to0 seriously. They know what it is all about, simply entertainment. This series did bring up an interesting moral dilemma. When Amir and Ian won the Dingo Dollar challenge and ate the reward of Strawberries and Cream. Before they got back to the camp. Then initially lied to everyone by telling them they had not won it. What would you have done? Would you have eaten them? I would not have eaten them myself, as I am a team player. But if I had one thing is for sure I certainly would not have told them about it while I was still in the Jungle. That would have been a confession in the hotel bar of the luxury hotel afterwards, just after getting a round in.

I have been quite lucky in meeting a few of the winners and contestants from it over the years. My first ever live radio interview was with Tony Hadley. I interviewed Katie Price at one of her book signings. I worked with Kerry Katona at Truckfest. I once appeared on stage with Joe Pasquale. I have hosted an East 17 gig featuring Brian Harvey. I was in the same bar as Sid Owen in Tenerife once. I have worked with Blue a few times, so I have met Anthony Costa and Simon Webbe. I have interviewed Jenny Frost. I have chatted to Tommy Cannon in a hotel bar. I have spoken to Myleene Klass. I have met and interviewed the legend that is Christopher Biggins. I have met on a couple of different occasions the lovely Timmy Mallet. Many years ago now I met Britt Ekland at a pantomime press do. Finally I have met and briefly worked with Pat Sharp.

Neil Quigley with Christopher Biggins
Neil Quigley with Christopher Biggins

I was at Wembley this week for the final Champions League group match for Tottenham Hotspur. Before which we had already qualified in first place from the so called big group of death. Therefore it was a kind of odd game.

It gave us chance to play a few players who needed some match time and to introduce a few younger players in to the first team set up for a bit of experience. It was a very comfortable three nil win. It was nice to see a couple of players get their first goals for the club. So we now look forward to the knock out stages. Bring them on!

Tottenham Champions League
Tottenham Champions League

I had a brilliant celebrity spot in London recently. I was walking with a friend near Baker Street. Ahead of us I noticed a man step in to the road to try to hale a taxi as it was going past. It stopped he spoke to driver but then it drove off. By this point we were getting nearer to him. He stepped back on to the path pretty much right in front of me. Then as he turned round, we were pretty much face to face. I realised it was Noel Gallagher. I did not speak to him but gave him a knowing nod and a smile as I walked by. I have to admit he was looking well. He does just look so cool, though. Every inch the rock star.

School of Rock
School of Rock

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

Neil Quigley Presenter