So here it is Merry Christmas

Hello again, I hope all is well with you. And that you have had a very nice couple of weeks. I have had an absolutely brilliant time. Not least because during this period I celebrated my Birthday. I am very much someone who enjoys my special day. I always make sure I do at least something fun, to mark such a memorable and big occasion. So on my Birthday itself I did go down to my local pub in the evening and have a couple of Birthday drinks with my cousin. Whose actually shares the same birthday as me and his twin sister, funnily enough. So it was very much a joint celebration really.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

Then on the following Saturday I met some friends of mine for a few combined birthday and Christmas drinks. It was a really great night out and led me to having my first actual dance to a Christmas song this year. I do not like to hear these songs too early in the month but once my big day has been and gone. My festive barometer shoots up. I was reading an article the other day on how much money in royalties these songs make for their writers, every year. Here are a few examples, Slade earn around five hundred thousand pounds a year for “Merry Christmas Everybody” Wham around three hundred thousand pounds a year for “Last Christmas and Shakin’ Stevens around fifty thousand pounds for “Merry Christmas Everyone”. So my plan for next year is to write and release an amazing new Christmas song that people will want to hear year after year.

Neil Quigley Conducting an Orchestra for a laugh and badly
Neil Quigley Conducting an Orchestra for a laugh and badly

Last weekend I went on my first Christmas Party this time around. I have to confess at these events. I am usually a bit of a traditionalist and will where possible always try to simply have turkey with all the trimmings. However as this do was at a well known pizza restaurant. That was not an option. That said they did have a Christmas style menu which is what I went with. This meant I had an Italian take on a spicy stew for starters followed by a roast pork pizza with an apple sauce topping. Which was then finished off with a mixed winter berry crumble. It was all delicious. And if I am being honest with you it made a nice change from what I normally eat at these things.

After the meal we went to a near by pub to watch an Abba tribute. Now if you went to see an act performing the music of the Swedish super group. How many members would you expect to see on stage? I will be honest I was expecting four. So was quite surprised when only two girls appeared. Now over the years I have worked with and seen a lot of good Abba tributes and a few bad ones. And let’s just leave it at that, shall we.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Now every year the event I go to that always signals what I view as my official countdown to Christmas. And always without fail puts me in the festive spirit is my visit to the press night of the pantomime. So last Monday I went to the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury to see this year’s production “Sleeping Beauty”. It is always a brilliant night out with a small reception ahead of the performance. Where I got to catch up with lots of people I had not seen for ages and have a good laugh and a gossip ahead of the show. Then it is downstairs to take our seats for part one of the main attraction. Then during the interval it was back up for a further drink and chat before returning to our seats for the second half. I do love pantomime. There is always something so joyful and magical about it in my opinion.

So to the show itself then Sleeping Beauty starring Anita Dobson, Andy Collins and Holly Brewer featuring Christian Lund as the Prince. It was written once again by the Panto genius that is Eric Potts. I have been lucky enough to meet and interview him. He is one of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet funny, warm and friendly. I also went to see a play he was in. Where he seemed to revel in trying to make the other characters laugh and put them off, which he did well.  And bearing in mind that was in a show that he was also directing. It is fair to say he likes a laugh. So the script for the show was funny and entertaining, with as ever lots of local references thrown in for good measure.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Anita Dobson was brilliant as the evil Carabosse and well and truly steals the show, with her acting, singing, dancing and goading of the audience to boo her and hate her even more. Andy Collins who again is a lovely bloke, is brilliant as Chester the Jester bringing fun and stupidly where required to the proceedings.  As well as performing his now legendary Twelve Days of Christmas routine. Which the kids and adults all seem to equally enjoy. And which gives Andy a pretty decent workout. Then we have Holly Brewer who like Andy is again back at Aylesbury for a second year in a row playing Princes Beauty. Giving the Buckinghamshire born performer chance to showcase her fantastic singing and acting skills. Christian Lund is also great as the Prince and gets the chance to share with us the fantastic singing voice that has made him such a popular concert vocal performer in his native Denmark. Add to that a fantastic supporting cast. Who all play their part in a hugely entertaining and funny take on the well known fairytale. In particular Graham Kent as the show’s dame Nurse Molly Coddles, who has more outfit changes than Lady Gaga!

A great family show with everything you would want from a Christmas Panto. If you get chance go along and see it and have some fun. Do make sure you join in though or Andy Collins may get his revenge. And you might find yourself up on the stage with him. There was a drink’s party with the cast after the performance, which I also attended. Which was great to be able to see them, have a quick chat and pass on congratulations for their hard work.  Holly Brewer did say how much she was enjoying being in it. Which I think really comes across on stage. I did also meet some of the backstage and technical crew. Who also work extremely hard behind the scenes to make the show a success and they all seemed to be enjoying the whole experience of it to.

Neil enjoying a Mince Pie
Neil enjoying a Mince Pie

Anita Dobson was of course in Strictly Come Dancing a couple of years ago now and this weekend see’s this year’s final. It is nice to see the couple I have been supporting from the start Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Brendan Cole still be there at the end of the competition. I think they have put in some incredible performances so far. And not always got the credit they deserved from the judges. I hope they go on to win it. The one thing that worries me about that. Is none of the professional dancers have ever won the Glitter Ball trophy more than once. And Brendan has already won it with Natasha Kaplinski is series one of the show.

Fingers crossed they can break that curse and go on and be successful. It is good to see my second adopted couple of Susanna Reid and Kevin Clifton in the final to. With the support they appear to be getting from the viewers. I think personally there is a good chance that they might win it. Whatever happens I am sure it will be a fun and very sparkly night of great entertainment. Good luck to everybody involved. It was very nice to be there in the audience at the first show to watch the series get under way. And see the reactions of the celebrities. When they got paired with their professional dancers. Who seemingly all went on to become great friends with each other.

BBC TV Centre
BBC TV Centre

Last weekend it was the X-factor final. As this year’s series started I said I thought a female solo singer would win the competition this year. And if you do not believe me then look back through to August on here and you will be able to read me saying exactly that. There were if I am honest a few times during the show. Where I thought I might be proved wrong but the important thing is that I was not and I was one hundred percent right with my prediction. Congratulations to Sam Bailey. Who seems like a really nice women, who does have a great voice. She is the first person to win from the Over 25’s category since Steve Brookstein won the very first series in 2004. Winning a TV talent show does not guarantee you success. But I do hope she enjoys all of the benefits that do come with the achievement. And that may be she is one of the lucky ones who builds a long and rewarding career for herself. Sometimes it is actually better not to win it though as both One Direction and JLS proved.

Neil Quigley in the Studio
Neil Quigley in the Studio

I need to give a quick mention to the final of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. As I have said on numerous occasions. It is one of my favourite television shows of the year and Ant & Dec are magnificent on it. The two finalists this year were both brilliant. I would like to have David Emmanuel constantly looking over my shoulder, advising me and encouraging me. And let’s face it if he was a friend of mine, it would really improve my dress sense to. As for the King of the Jungle Kian Egan. He is the sort of bloke you would want with you at the front of any crisis. He is  reasonable, fearless, a great team player. Who is not scared of showing his emotions. And he would be able to make sure you always stood up at the right point during any key change. The final two deserved to be there and I thought Kian did just deserve to take the crown. I already cannot wait for next year’s show.

Neil Quigley Doing Some Filming
Neil Quigley Doing Some Filming

I watched the British Comedy Awards. Which to be honest were a bit awkward and shambolic in places. It is always a bit of an odd event. Something as subjective as comedy can be really hard to judge on an even playing field. It is a tough night for whoever hosts it with them having to tell scripted jokes to an audience of comedians. Many of whom are the ones getting slated in the aforementioned jokes. It seemed to have a very odd feel and atmosphere to it. Even though as an industry they really should be using it to highlight and celebrate great pieces of work. The most disappointing thing for me about the TV coverage of the event was them cutting off Steve Coogan during his speech. When he was accepting the outstanding achievement award. When they had let people who had not won awards speak for longer than they should have. It just seems a bit harsh to give someone a great honour then slightly ruin the moment for them. In my opinion it was some well deserved recognition for Steve Coogan. I mean, what is there not to like about Alan Partridge? Well done Steve!

Neil Quigley doing Stand Up
Neil Quigley doing Stand Up

Last night I went to the town where I first performed stand up comedy. To watch a Christmas Comedy Night at the Anchor in Tring featuring some comedians from this year’s Roving Comedy Night at the Tringe Festival. Which is something I took part in a couple of years ago. It did include a couple of very good professional comedians. who I know. Ronnie Rigsby was the host and the headline act was the brilliant Silky. Who not only was hilarious but did buy me a pint after. He appeared on the same bill as me during my stand up debut and I did give him a lift back to his hotel that night. So what I am saying is I had earned that drink. At the end is was great to see my comedy teacher Logan Murray there as well. It was a good fun, entertaining night out. And has set me up nicely to enjoy the weekend before Christmas.

Neil Quigley Happy Christmas
Neil Quigley Happy Christmas

On that note have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Have lots of fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil.

It’s My Birthday Week

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had an enjoyable couple of weeks. Mine have been good and heavily television based due to the fact that two of my favourite shows of the year are both on our screens at the moment. Plus a former boss and friend of mine has been starring in a Channel 4 programme all last week. So as someone who does not really watch a lot of TV normally I have been watching loads recently and enjoying it. Specially with the interaction Twitter gives you during certain programmes.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

Now every year I find that I can never get too excited about Christmas until about half way through the month of December. This is not because I am a bit of a Scrooge, or the Grinch or anything like that. It is simply because my birthday is on the 10th December. So I always like to enjoy and celebrate my special day before I even think about sending cards or buying presents. I am not complaining at all. Anybody with a birthday at a similar time to me will understand that sometimes it is difficult to keep birthday celebrations separate from Christmas Celebrations. Due to festive drinks and work’s parties. While if you are born in the middle of the year say. It is a lot easier to distinguish between these two big events. Normally I do try to have my birthday as a day off with ideally drinks with friends and family members at the local pub in the evening. Which now has actually become quite a tradition. I remember one birthday when I was working down in Yeovil. I actually spent it sharing the stage with the Drifters at the Westland Leisure Complex for a big Christmas Party there. I have also been on the radio a few times when it has been my birthday. Which always made for a fun show. Well it did for me anyway.

Neil Quigley in the Studio
Neil Quigley in the Studio

All last week then my friend Steve Carpenter was one of the contestants on the Channel 4 show Come Dine With Me. I have to confess I had never watched the show before although I know a lot of people, who regularly do. But with Steve on it there was no way I was going to miss a single second of it. When I worked with him he was very good to me and often invited me round for meals. So I have first hand knowledge of how good his culinary skills are. And I have to say he is a very good cook. And always an excellent host. If the show was filmed at the height of the summer. I think he might have done one of his legendary BBQ’s for his fellow diners. They were always fantastic.

It is always interesting watching someone you know on television. Steve was just as entertaining as I knew he would be on the show. Making me laugh at lot and reminding me of situations and places we had been in together. When we were faced by shall we say a room full of people with very different personalities. Who we did not really know that well. Which was exactly what he was facing during the show. I thought he did great when it was his turn to host. His meal looked great. Although it was slightly more elaborate than I ever remember being offered when I had diner at his place. But I can confirm there was always cider on arrival if required.  That programme does have the most sarcastic sounding voice over man ever. I found him pretty annoying during the first show but then by the middle of the week. I kind of got used to it and found it very funny. So well done to Steve on his appearance on the show. I thought you were great mate. Good work!

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

Now brace yourselves for this but there is actually another Neil Quigley in the world. He also operates in the world of show business. Scary though that is. I assure you it is totally true. We are even similar ages and have fairly similar haircuts. Although I promise you we are not related. I have been aware of the other one for about the last eight years or so. But it was only in the last couple of weeks thanks to social media that we actually acknowledged each other. He is a well known International Dance DJ and record producer, who runs his own record label.

Recently I got a tweet mentioning me by my twitter name promoting my great new album that I had just released and teasing an on-line question and answer session. Which I was going to do on this subject. So slightly panicked that I was going to get a lot of questions I probably would not be able to answer. I quickly contacted the people advertising this event giving them the correct twitter handle of the Neil Quigley they actually required. And if I am honest the one they needed for this. For which the other Neil Quigley got in contact to thank me for. I guess I will just have to wait and see now, if he ever gets to return that favour for me.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am still very much enjoying this year’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. Simply for how good Ant and Dec are on it. The show gives them the perfect vehicle to display not only what fantastic natural presenters they are. But also the chance to do some comedy and some amusing skits in between the jungle footage. Where they poke fun at the camp mates and themselves in equal measure. For me what actually happens in the camp in almost secondary. That said the celebrities this year all seem pretty nice. And all know what it involves and are prepared to try their best and give their all to every challenge which I like. And which has not always been the case in previous years.

I have never watched The Only Way Is Essex but I had seen Joey appear on other shows. And if I am very honest I thought he was a bit of an idiot. Now I think that he is actually a really nice, good hearted bloke. Who seems like a lot of fun. I also do have to confess I was not aware of David Emanuel either. I have never been into fashion. Which anyone who has ever met me, would be able to testify. So I was not aware of his work, but he seems like a lovely bloke who offers great advice. And has a voice that would make the worse news in the world sound good. So far I have not been able to predict any of the evictions and I do not expect that to change tonight. I still have no idea who out of the remaining people in there will actually win it. All I know is it has in my opinion been excellent television and a complete joy to watch. And just in case they ever need any new presenters for the spin off show Get Me Out Of Here Now. Can I just go on record as saying I would be very happy to go and work in Australia for a month on that programme. Count me in.

Neil Quigley Doing Some Filming
Neil Quigley Doing Some Filming

This Thursday night it is the British Comedy Awards. Which are being held this year at The Fountain Studios in Wembley. Which is actually where the X-factor television series also is broadcast from. It is always an interesting night which has seen some interesting incidents in the past, shall we say. I won’t go into them here, you can do your own research on them, if you like. It is the biggest night of the year for the UK Comedy scene. I would like to see the following people or shows win awards Lee Mack, A League of Their Own, The Last Leg, Jon Richardson, Sarah Millican, Ant & Dec, Jack Whitehall and Jo Brand. It is always a good and fun night.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Another one of my current TV highlights is Strictly Come Dancing along with the spin off show It Takes Two hosted by the brilliant Zoe Ball. This series is brilliant and there is such a feel good factor at the end of every show. It is getting far too close to call, as to who might actually win it I think. My favourite pair of Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Brendan Cole are still very much in the competition. And I thought their dance last weekend was stunning. My back up couple of Susannah Reid and Kevin Clifton are still in to. Although I must confess I do fear for them a little this weekend. The thing I think I like most about this show is the closeness of the special bond that builds between the celebrity and their professional dance partners. They seem to become so close and such good friends. You really do feel for them when they get voted out and realise they will not be dancing with each other any more. The emotion of the whole thing really drags you in I find. Doing Strictly Come Dancing must be an amazing experience and a great way to get one to one dance lessons with some of the best dancers in the world. I would chose that any day of the week to be on. Rather than eating bits of kangaroo anatomy in the jungle.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I said earlier that as far as I am concerned my Christmas celebrations do not really start until after my birthday on the 10th December. But the thing that for me really marks the start of Christmas and puts me in the festive mood is going to a pantomime. I am delighted and very excited to be going along to the Press Night for Sleeping Beauty at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury on the 16th December. It is a big tradition of mine to always attend this great event. This year the cast includes former Eastender and 2011 Strictly Come Dancing contestant Anita Dobson, alongside the very funny Andy Collins, the beautiful and very talented Buckinghamshire based singer and actress Holy Brewer and Christian Lund. I am just a big kid at heart. So I already know I will have a lovely evening at this event. I will give you a review of it all next time we speak. That will include the Panto itself and any pre or after show happenings to of course.

The charity football match I was due to play in later this month has now been moved to April. Which speaking as someone who is now more of a fair weather footballer nowadays. Sounds more appealing than paying on a cold December afternoon. I will give you more details about it nearer the time. In case you fancy coming along to raise some money for a good cause and have a laugh at me in action.

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.

Celebrate Good Times

Hello again, I hope all is well with you and that you have had a nice couple of weeks. I have had a brilliant few weeks catching up with friends and being a very small part in the events that they have very much been the big stars of. Which has been a lot of fun and made me proud of what they have achieved. The time has flown by and the weather is definitely now turning colder. I know this because as a man who has little insulation on my head I have had to bring out my winter hat for the first time this week to keep warm.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

Last Friday I was an Usher at my mate’s wedding. The whole day and the evening were fantastic. The bride looked stunning and the groom looked probably as smart as I have ever seen him. Even though it was November it was a nice sunny day with a clear blue sky which all added to the occasion. The whole event went so smoothly and was rounded off by a brilliant party at the reception. Which saw me spending quite a lot of time on the dance floor.

I really enjoyed being an Usher and the Master of Ceremonies for this very special day. This meant I had a few little jobs to do throughout the day. In fact these duties started the day before. When I ended up helping the Groom and the Best Man transport some items to the Wedding Reception venue. This quite predictably ended up with the three of us having a lunchtime beer in the hotel bar. Which also doubled as an important logistics meeting for the following day of course.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I stayed with the Groom the night before and we had a very relaxing evening watching the film Dinner for Schmucks. Which if you have not seen it, it is a little bit odd to say the least. He however did miss a bit of the film when I sent him to the dining room to work on his speech. After he made the mistake of telling me he had not quite finished it. I can be quite the tough task master sometimes.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

On the morning of the Wedding we all went for a big fry up. Before getting changed into our matching suits. When we went on nights out as teenagers we would often accidentally wear similar outfits but on this occasion it was acceptable and actually on purpose. I had to tie the Grooms tie for him. And I have to admit that it is very difficult trying to tie a tie on somebody else. After four failed attempts I was starting to get worried we might be late for the church. But we got there on the next go.

In fact we arrived with enough time to pop to the pub for a cheeky half first. Then after handing out all the button holes to the Wedding Party. I then had to meet, greet and sit everyone in the Church. While handing out the Order of Service. Next up I got to test my shouting skills by organising a picture with everyone at the church before we moved off to the reception. On arrival there I helped co-ordinate the rest of the required pictures, while enjoying some pink champagne. Which I have to confess tasted absolutely amazing. Then after announcing it was time to sit down for food I had to welcome in the Bride and the Groom in to the room. Who were then clapped to their seats.

Then came my favourite part of the evening when after dinner I got to host the speeches section, which I really enjoyed. All the speeches were brilliant and thankfully my little bits in between them seemed to go down well with the audience and the stars of the show. My final duty was the get everybody gathered round the dance floor to watch the happy couple take to it and perform their first dance. It was a very memorable and lovely day and it was an honour to be there and be so involved with it. And may I take this opportunity here to wish Mr and Mrs Ross all the best for the future and thank them for letting me be a part of their big day.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The last couple of weeks have seen a lot of Christmas Lights being switched on up and down the country. Emma Bunton and Melanie C sung together as the Regent Street Lights were turned on in London. That brought back some memories for me as I once went and watched the Spice Girls turn on the Oxford Street Lights. It was hosted by Neil Fox and I remember finding it quite funny that the girls actually got a chauffeur driven car from the hotel over the road to the stage. All of about two hundred metres. I have been a part of and actually organised quite a few Christmas Light Switch On’s over the years. They are fun and exciting occasions that I really loved being involved with. It does make you feel quite powerful and special when you are there up on stage leading the countdown and knowing that when you get to zero the lights will come on. To me that always means the start of the countdown to Christmas. Some of the people I have lit up town’s with include Jonathan Wilkes, Gary Lucy, Mike Sterling, Sue Hodge and Ben Langley.

Aylesbury Christmas Lights Switch On 2011
Aylesbury Christmas Lights Switch On 2011

Talking of Ben Langley he has been on a big UK Tour with a play he wrote, directed and starred in alongside Joe Pasquale and Andrew Fettes. I went and saw them perform it in High Wycombe back in September, which was show three of the tour. It was a very funny show and I really enjoyed seeing it. Being mate’s with Ben when I saw that it was coming to the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre for the penultimate night of the tour last Saturday I thought it would be nice to meet up with him again for a nice chat and catch up. When I suggested that to him I also mentioned that if he needed someone to do a certain thing that I had seen take place in the play previously I would be happy to do that. He said he would let me know and we just left it at that.

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

So last Saturday afternoon I met Ben for a cup of tea and nice catch up in the cafe at the theatre. It was great to see him, hear all about how the tour had been and his plans for Christmas and beyond. We then sorted me out a ticket so I could see the show. Which I was very excited about. Then about half an hour before the show starts I get a text from him asking if I wanted to do the “thing” I had previously offered to. So I immediately said yes and got the instruction to go and see him backstage during the interval. So I watched the first half of the show from the stalls. Just having a right good laugh like the rest of the audience. Then as instructed during the interval I went and met Ben in his dressing room. Now in the play there is a very random moment where someone in a Beaver costume appears and walks across the stage. It is a very surreal and weird moment in the show and I found it very funny when it happened, when I first saw it in High Wycombe. This is what I was now going to do in the town I was born in Aylesbury.

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

So while in his dressing room Ben got me the costume and I put it on. He then explained exactly what I needed to do and gave me the required stage directions. So the second half started and I was sat watching on the side of the stage until I was required. Then Ben gave me my cue and on I walked very slowly waving to the crowd and then to Joe Pasquale who was on stage doing his thing. Now I knew the next thing that was going to happen but it still threw me. A blow up doll fell from the ceiling and I have to confess it made a bigger thud than I was expecting and it made me jump unexpectedly. Being in the costume it was hard to judge but I think I got some laughs. Which is the whole point of it. Then the next bit was about two minutes later when the Beaver walks back across the stage with a carrier bag, as if he has just popped to the shops. On the way off the final thing I had to do was pick up the doll by its leg “like a Caveman” and walk off. Now I could not see that well out of the head of the costume. So when I bent down to pick up the doll I really could not see much at all. So instead of picking it up by a leg I actually managed to grab it by shall we say its crotch. At which point all I heard was Joe burst out laughing. Which as I walked off stage in turn made me laugh and as far as I could tell the audience went with it also and laughed to.

Joe did tell me when he came off stage that when I did that it nearly caused him to ruin his trousers with laughter. I completely loved it and had great fun being very briefly involved with a brilliant play, performed by a great cast. The whole company were really nice to me. So thanks very much to Ben Langley for letting me do it, it was such good fun to do and the best thing is nobody in the audience had any idea that it was me.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I was watching The Graham Norton Show the other week. When the guests included Lady Gaga and June Brown. Now I have never met Lady Gaga, although I would love to. I bet she would be fun and challenging to interview. For the record I have seen her sing live at the Brit Awards and she does have an amazing voice and is a great singer. However I have met June Brown. Who is best known for playing Dot Cotton in Eastenders and was on the show to promote her autobiography. I met June backstage at T4 on the beach in Weston Super-Mare several years ago. I went over to interview her for the radio station I was working for at the time. Within about a minute of the conversation starting she was telling me how she and her friend like to sunbathe completely naked in her friends garden because it is on a hill and has big high walls. Now I have to admit that is not an image I particularly needed in my head, but she was very polite and friendly and I do really like her. There is never a dull moment when she is around and she is a great actress I think.

Neil Quigley Doing Some Filming
Neil Quigley Doing Some Filming

I am still watching and enjoying Strictly Come Dancing. And still happy to see that my chosen couple of Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Brendan Cole are still doing well. I am also liking Susanna Reid and Kevin Clifton. I think they are doing great and seem to make a good fun team. Plus to be honest what is not to like about a talented journalist and presenter, who is very attractive and loves football.

While we are on the subject of television I have to mention the return of my favourite show of the year. I am once again really enjoying I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. I do not have a favourite camp mate and I really do not care who wins it but I just think Ant and Dec are fantastic on it. They are so brilliant at having fun at the celebrity’s and their own expense laughing and joking about everything. Which makes it such a entertaining and watch-able show. I tend to tweet along while watching on twitter. Which as the presenters do the same themselves makes it even more enjoyable. I have met quite a few winners of it in the past namely Kerry Katona, Christopher Biggins and Joe Pasquale.

Neil Quigley with Christopher Biggins
Neil Quigley with Christopher Biggins

Lastly I have been speaking to the producer of a brand new ITV show that I might well be involved with. If it happens filming will take place before Christmas. It could be a laugh if it comes off.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Football and Comedy

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had an enjoyable couple of weeks. I have had a great fortnight doing lots of fun things, mostly involving just having a laugh with friends. Which is generally the best way to spend your time I think.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

The other Saturday it was my mate’s Stag Do. Which as I am going to be an Usher at his Wedding. I helped organise. Along with another mate of mine, who is the best man. The basic brief from the Groom was that he wanted the day to involve football, comedy and a nice meal. And I have to say I think we more than delivered this for him on the day. You know it is going to be an interesting day. When you all meet up at Waterloo Station and are having you first pint in the pub there at eleven thirty in the morning. Our first stop was to be Griffin Park the home of Brentford. Famous mainly for the fact that it is the only ground in the league that has a pub on each corner. So we thought it would be very rude not to have a couple of drinks before the game in at least one of them. Now the surprise we had lined up for the groom here was that he and a couple of us were actually going  to go on to the pitch at half time and take some penalty kicks. And then we were all going to have our picture taken together on the pitch with the Brentford mascot’s.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

You should have seen how white his face went. When the best man informed him of this just before the match kicked off. So at half time we did indeed go down on to the pitch and take our penalties. I went first and scored easily, the next person scored to. Then came the star of the show our groom. Who actually managed to miss his penalty. Which came as no great shock to me because he has actually missed every single one I have ever seen him take. Now I know I should have been disappointed for him, but if I am honest I was still running towards the fans behind the goal celebrating my penalty at this point. Before returning to our seats for the second half we did indeed have our picture taken on the pitch. It was a great experience doing all that during a sold out League One match. Good fun!

Then straight after the football it was off to dinner at an Italian Restaurant in Charing Cross. This is how good the timing and planning was. While most of the group travelled straight to where we were getting our food. Me and another mate sneaked off to book everyone into the hotel that we were staying at that night. Then we met them in the Italian just as they were getting ready to order. Perfect timing and carried out with military precision. The meal itself was lovely. And from there we went just round the corner to the Covent Garden Comedy Club. Which was what I would a call proper comedy venue with beer served in plastic glasses and a capacity of one hundred and fifty seats. All facing the stage at the front where a single microphone on its own was standing.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It was a great gig hosted by the very funny Craig Murray. Who is actually the guy from Yorkshire on the Plusnet TV adverts. And featuring three great comedians including the headline act who was the brilliant Kerry Godliman. Who plays Hannah in Ricky Gervais’s Channel 4 sitcom Derek. She is fantastic in the show and also an exceptionally funny live performer. We all laughed lots and left the comedy club feeling great. After that we just found a pub near by and ended the night chatting and drinking before heading back to the hotel for some much needed rest.

You know sometimes when someone catches your eye but at first you do not pay that much attention to them. Until you then look round for a second glance. Well I was waiting at a train station the other day. When out of the corner of my eye I saw someone struggling down the steps with a golf bag. I was then aware that this person had sat down behind me. Then a couple of minutes later I look round to find the former Westlife member and Kerry Katona’s Ex husband Bryan McFadden there looking chilled and relaxed and sporting a very meaty beard. Before I got chance to have a chat to him my train arrived and I had to go leaving him sitting there.

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

I have been doing a bit of work at Wembley Stadium over the last few months. And I have been there the day before and the day after England football internationals and the NFL American Football International Series games. Now somehow the level of activity and the buzz around the place seems to be so much bigger, when our friends from the States visit. They seem to make big international matches for our national sport appear almost low key in comparison to the force that is the NFL. When it is in London town.

From the way the stadium is dressed and set up, to the massive fun parks and the entertainment they put on in the surrounding car parks. To the pre game show and general enthusiasm throughout the games. The whole event just seems amazing. And tickets for these games sell out very quickly. Not only that but the home American team always brings their cheerleaders with them. Which also brightens up the place before and during the matches. Well they do for me anyway. On at least two occasions recently I have been in the middle of something. When they have walked past me. Which I have to admit I have found very distracting but in a very good way. That said England is my country and football is my game. So I would always choose to watch them play over the NFL game’s every single time.

England Football
England Football

On to Strictly Come Dancing and it’s great to see the couple I am supporting this year Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Brendan Cole still going strong. They had a bit of  a wobble last weekend but I am expecting great things from them this time out. All the couples seem fun and really nice this year. But I have to admit I am warming a lot to Susanna Reid who is totally brilliant with her party Kevin Clifton from Grimsby. When I was at the filming of the launch show for this year. His father ended up accidentally having a starring role off camera. As in between the recording. He was randomly chosen to do an impression of Len Goodman from the judging panel and he didn’t do a bad job to be honest.

I have to admit I am a little bit annoyed that Dave Myers is getting some stick, with some people suggesting he should quit the competition. It is fair to say he is not the best dancer but he is working hard and he is very entertaining. Plus the show works on the public vote system and as long as people are enjoying his performances and voting for him. He deserves to be in the competition as much as any of the others. They are the rules and that is how the show works. If you do not like him just make sure you actually vote for your favourite. Oh and lighten up it is just a bit of fun TV for a Saturday Night.

BBC TV Centre
BBC TV Centre

Last Sunday I attended my Friend’s son’s first birthday party. Which was a very nice affair. With what I have to say was some great party food including my own personal favourite item of cheese and pineapple on cocktail sticks, I love that! Somehow during the big cake moment I ended up being the official photographer. Having been handed the camera by my mate’s wife. I got a couple of good pictures and then just at the moment when I had the perfect family and cake shot lined up. I pressed the button on the camera only to find that the memory card was full, so I couldn’t take it. So alas the moment was lost. Technology is great when it works, but very annoying when it doesn’t.

My mate Ben Langley is on tour all over the UK currently with his brilliant play Ha Ha Holmes. He wrote it and stars in it alongside Joe Pasquale and Andrew Fettes. I have seen it and it is absolutely brilliant. On Saturday 16th November it comes to my local theatre the fantastic Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury. If you are free that night go and see it and you will have a good old fashioned laugh. It is a great way to spend a Saturday evening.

There is still an outside possibility that I could within the next couple of weeks be making a small and brief cameo appearance in a comedy stage play currently on a UK Tour. Even if I do. You may not be aware of it until after the event. But if it does happen rest assured I will definitely mention it.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Next Friday I will be an Usher for my mate’s Wedding. We have already picked up the suits and all look very smart. I have my list of jobs and tasks for the day to make it all run as smoothly as possible for the happy couple. I am also hosting the speeches section at the reception. The jokes for this are already written and have been cleared by the bride and groom. So next time I speak to you I will tell you how it all went.

I have been invited to play in a charity football match in December. Which I am really looking forward to. I will give you more details about it nearer the time. Just in case you fancy coming along and seeing me in action. Which should provide you with a couple of laughs at the very least.

Neil Quigley Doing Some Filming
Neil Quigley Doing Some Filming

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

Blame It On The Boogie

Hello again, I hope all is well with you and that you have had nice couple of weeks. I have had another pretty busy fortnight myself and as a result the time just seems to have flown by. Talking of which this weekend sees the clocks go back and so the official end of British Summertime. It would seem that different people have different ways of using the extra hour we get. I spoke to one mate who was excited because he would get an extra hour to party on Saturday night and another mate who was equally as excited to get an extra hour in bed asleep. However you choose to spend your additional sixty minutes use it wisely this weekend is my advice.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

I am actually on a Stag Do this weekend, so the chances are that I will be spending my extra hour drinking and dancing in a London club. So at least I will not be wasting it. I am really looking forward to it. It has been quite a while since I have been out with all my mates. And because it is one of my best friends that is getting married, we have similar interests and tastes. So the plans happen to include everything I like to do as well. Result. We are going to watch a football match first, then we are going for a meal at a nice Italian Restaurant, before heading off to a comedy club and then finishing the evening in an 80’s and 90’s bar. Which just happens to be easy walking distance from the hotel where we are staying. I will tell you all about it in a couple of weeks as there might well be a few other surprises on the way that the Stag does not know about yet, which we do. So obviously I can’t say any more at the minute. I do not want to be accused of doing what Michel Roux Junior did to the Great British Bake Off Final. It will be a lot of fun though that I can say for sure.

Beer
Beer

The England football team have qualified for the World Cup Final’s in Brazil next year after their recent victories over Montenegro and Poland. I was actually in working at Wembley Stadium the day after the Poland game and the atmosphere around the place was great. The Football Association are based there, so there were a lot of very happy people around and it felt fantastic to be involved with it all. I am still doing quite a bit of work behind the scenes there at the minute, which is great fun. Not least because you never know who you might bump into next there.

England Changing Room
England Changing Room

In the last week a TV presenter who was very much part of my childhood celebrated his birthday. That man was the legend that is Timmy Mallet. I have to confess that as a kid I did love The Wide Awake Club and Wacaday. And thinking about it now Mallet’s Mallet although it did ultimately involve being hit on the head with a foam hammer. Did have some educational value and possibly encouraged us to improve our vocabulary and sharpen our minds to reply quickly in conversations. It would be interesting to see how many former contestants of the game actually went on to do very well in their English GCSE’s. Over the years I have been lucky enough to meet Timmy on a couple of occasions. He is exactly as you see him on the television enthusiastic, lively and entertaining as well as being very friendly and nice. He is a top fella. He did some special radio shows for a station I was working at and I co-produced a couple of them. He was also brilliant to work with to, so good and talented. I did get the chance to wish him a happy birthday for which he did then thank me for. Which is something I never saw happening when I was ten year’s old and watching him on TV during the school holidays.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have mentioned my use of Twitter before. I like it and think it is a fun way of staying in touch with people and having a laugh about life in general or certain TV programmes. In fact it is a great additional tool to use when watching the X-factor. I find it really does enhance my enjoyment seeing other peoples opinions on what I am also watching. And bare in mind that I do follow a lot of comedians. They always seem have lots of amusing observations to share. So I see it as a light hearted and fun place to communicate with people you like, and use it as a promotional noticeboard for things you or your friends might be doing. That I have to confess is why I find it hard to understand how some people treat it from time to time. If you dislike a celebrity or are making a joke about them or criticising them I think if you just write their name. That is kind of like having a chat with your mates and making that point about the person in question. Which I think is all right as long as it is not libelous. But it is when people do that but include their @ twitter handle in it. For as far I can see no reason other that to just be nasty or offensive, it is wrong. To me that is like walking up to that person in the street and saying it straight to their face. Which I personally think is totally unnecessary and pointless. I have seem some of the abuse that celebrities on the social networking site have been subject to and as far as I am concerned that is not what it is for. It is just there to follow people you like, see what they are up to, interact and have fun. And to keep in contact with friends.

Neil Quigley with Christopher Biggins
Neil Quigley with Christopher Biggins

A discussion I was having with a good friend of mine in the week reminded me about some of the things I used to do in my early career. When I was starting to go out do disco’s for the first time. It was when I was a volunteer at Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio. To help with fundraising, to keep the station on air me and some of my colleagues used to go and and perform at parties for a donation to the charity. As these built up we started to slowly add more and more things to the act. As we were giving our time for free. We did always make sure we had a good time and enjoyed ourselves to. And for that reason there were normally three or four of us who all went out together to events. Now I am not totally sure where it came from but somebody introduced a props box. Which among other things contained an Indian head dress, a construction workers hat, a policeman’s helmet and a cowboy hat. It also had in it some Afro style wigs. This led to us actually getting a bit of a reputation for and even receiving requests to perform are legendary YMCA and Blame it on The Boogie routines. We did these dances at so many parties and concerts over the years. I am worried that some video footage of one of those routines will appear at some point. So far it hasn’t but that is not to say it won’t in the future.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have to confess I am still watching and enjoying this series of Strictly Come Dancing. Since we spoke last Vanessa Feltz and Julien Maconald have both left the show. Which means the couple I am supporting Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Brendan Cole are still very much in and in fact seem to be near the top of the leader board every week. It is such a good fun and entertaining show. As is the week day spin off It Takes Two. Which kind of sucks you in further to the whole thing. It is actually wanting to make me learn to dance despite the disaster of my previous one and only salsa class. Which was not pretty. I think I would need to be working at least nine hours a day with a professional dancer just like the celebrities are on the show to stand any chance of being able to put at least a couple of steps together.

The latest series of Newsjack ended on Radio 4 Extra on Thursday evening with me again having some of my material recorded for the show. There is something very thrilling about having your jokes read out to a live studio audience and then getting that instant reaction back from them. There will be a new series of the topical news show next year.

BBC Radio Theatre
BBC Radio Theatre

In the week I was having a twitter conversation with the TV Channel Gold that ended with them saying that I have a lovely sense of humour. Which is now a quote I intend using on any promotional material for my future stand up comedy gigs. Neil Quigley – “He has a lovely sense of humour” – Gold TV

There is currently an outside chance that I could me making a one off cameo appearance on stage in a play next month. I can’t say any more at the moment but if it does actually look like it is happening, I will let you know.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Neil Quigley Presenter