Tag Archives: christmas

Happy New year 2019

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you had a fantastic Christmas period. You ate, drank and were merry. And found joy in the giving and the receiving of presents. I had a lovely and quiet Christmas. It was the first one for a couple of years. That I had not been working.

I will never admit to getting older but in previous years I have been desperate to go out on Christmas Eve and to party. This year I just stayed in listening to music and having a few glasses of red wine. And you know what. I really enjoyed it. It is the simple pleasures in life. That are often the best.

On Christmas Day itself. I went round to my parents first thing in the morning. It is a family tradition to start the day with a nice big fry up. And there was no way I was missing out on that. Once the kitchen is tidied up and a cup of tea has been enjoyed. It is then time to move in to the living room for the exchanging of presents. This year with the added bonus of a nice glass of champagne each. To help us with the proceedings.

Neil Quigley

We are pretty clinical in our present buying. We each make a list of what we would like in November. This then gets passed around to the other three. We then liaise to get each other things from the list. The plus side of this is you generally get what you want. The down side is there are rarely any surprises. I was delighted with my gifts. Which included a new alarm clock, thermal socks, a tie with horses on it and some leather gloves.

After the presents have been given out. I then get ready to head to the pub. This has been a sacred family tradition for as long as I can remember. As a child I remember all the adults going there and then coming back slightly merrier. I have been every year since I was old enough. The venue has changed over the years. So now me, a couple of my uncle’s and a few of my cousin’s all meet up at The Red Lion in Whiteleaf at Midday. We have a few drinks. Then we return home to our own homes ready for dinner.

We always have a full traditional Christmas lunch with turkey and all of the trimmings. I love a Christmas meal with the stuffing, pigs in blankets and brussel sprouts. Things I do not normally have at any other time of the year. This is washed down with some nice red wine. The meal is then topped off with a delicious pudding. That must be accompanied by cream. We then have a little bit of a brief rest and a chat. To let the food go down.

Once we are all ready the afternoon of fun and games begins. This year we started off with some Karaoke. This is my annual apology to my parent’s neighbours. Or anybody walking past the house at the wrong time. Who may have heard me trying to sing. Sorry.

Dog joining in with the Karaoke

I then hosted a Pop Quiz. Which I have to say the rest of the family were rubbish at. Lastly we played a game of Charades. Although this was not your usual version. It was a risque variation on the normal theme. That my dad had found. Which did make for a few awkward moments in front of the parents. But it was all good fun!

We finished the day by watching Michael McIntyre. While enjoying some cheese and biscuits with a nice glass of port. It was another fun family Christmas. Which I thoroughly enjoyed. Just as I was sitting at home reflecting on the day. Before I went to bed. I had a small bottle of Baileys. That a very good mate and his wife had very generously got me. Well it was the birthday of our lord and saviour. The only day of the year. When it is acceptable to drink as many different drinks, as you possibly can.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Before Christmas Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio celebrated its 40th Birthday. They had a small party. Which was attended by the station’s Patron Ken Bruce, singer Tony Hadley and the voice of the X Factor Peter Dickson. I would like to say huge congratulations to the station for what it has achieved during the last forty years. And for the hours and hours of entertainment that it has provided to the hospital’s patients and staff.

I was a member there for around seven years. I had a fantastic time there. And met some lovely and amazing people. It was lots of fun. I am happy to say that I am still really good friends with many of the people I met during my time there. I did my first proper radio show on the station. It was in their studios that I got to practice, grow and improve. It definitely helped me to launch my radio career.

Neil Quigley back at Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio
Neil Quigley back at Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio with Martin Kinch

It was volunteering at the Hospital Radio. That enabled me to get my first paid radio work at my local commercial station Mix 96. Based in the town I was born, Aylesbury. I started off reading the local sports results on the Sports Show. Ringing around all the grounds and then delivering the scores on air.

I then got to present the sports show. I did some weekend shows. I then covered the evening show. Before eventually getting to present both the Drive and Morning shows on the station. None of which I would have achieved without Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio. I wish them all the best for their next forty years of broadcasting.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I managed to get a ticket to see Sir Paul McCartney play the O2 Arena in December. I had seen him in concert three years ago in Birmingham. And as you would expect he was fantastic. I was a bit undecided about if I should go and see his latest tour. But I did like his latest album Egypt Station. And he only really tours the United Kingdom every three years. So in the end I made sure that I was there.

I met up with a mate of mine and his girlfriend. Who were also going. We had a few drinks around the Greenwich area. Before we made our way to the venue. We had a quick drink at the Arena. Then it was time to make our way to our seats. There were however, still a few people filtering in. When there was suddenly a light in the crowd and some scrambling in the floor seat area. As it was the last night of the UK leg of the tour. Paul had lots of family and friends in. And he had popped out quickly to see them before the show.

The stage erupted when his band started to make their way out on to the stage. Then the place went totally ballistic. As the main man walked out and put on his guitar. Before launching into the Beatles classic “A Hard Days Night”. Which is a sensational way to kick off any performance. He then spends nearly three hours effortlessly playing Beatles, Wings and his own solo stuff. Seamlessly moving between several different guitars and pianos.

Sir Paul McCartney

The pyrotechnics they were letting off during Live and Let Die were astonishing. I thought they were actually trying to blow the place up. It was an amazing spectacle. He then follows that with the immortal Hey Jude. During which he has the whole audience in his hands. And has us singing along to every note. As he stands there conducting us. What a moment! At that point you thought this gig could not get any better. But it could.

Not only does he come back on for an eight song encore. But before the third song in this section. He brings on two special guests. Firstly the Rolling Stones guitar legend Ronnie Wood. And then much to everyone’s surprise his Beatles band mate Ringo Starr. At which point the whole place goes crazy. Ringo takes his place behind the drums. And the three of them perform Get Back. I could not believe it!

Paul, Ringo and Ronnie

That is the closest I am ever going to get to seeing the Beatles play live together. For obvious reasons. This was a huge deal. This has not happened in this country since the band split up. Even Paul as Ringo was walking off said “let’s just take a minute to soak up what has just happened”. My mate who is a massive McCartney and Beatles fan was literally in tears when Ringo appeared. It meant that much to him. The three of them sounded great together.

Paul then goes on to play another five songs. Brilliant as they were. It could not top that version of Get Back featuring half of the members of arguably the best band we have ever produced. He finished the show with The Beatles song “The End”. I am hoping this does not mean that it may be his last UK arena gig. It is just a sensible song to end any performance with if you have it in your repertoire. Although in the unlikely event that is his final gig on home soil. I am so pleased that I was there to witness it. Sir Paul McCartney you are a legend!

Sir Paul McCartney

During that really odd period between Christmas and New Year. Where you eat what you like for Breakfast and have no idea what day it actually is. My sister and I went to see the pantomime at The Swan Theatre in High Wycombe. It was Snow White. Which was the same story that I saw at the London Palladium just before Christmas.

The Buckinghamshire version starred former Strictly Come Dancing dancer Brendan Cole, Mandy Muden who was on BGT, Jason Sutton and the ventriloquist Kieran Powell. It did share some of the script and skits with its London sister production. So I did know what was coming a lot of the time. But that is my fault for seeing the other one and not theirs.

It was fun and entertaining. Everyone got time and a bit of space to showcase their talents. Mandy did a few magic tricks. Keiran got to do some stuff with his “friend”. And Brendan had the opportunity to display his amazing dancing prowess. Plus a bit of his singing to. Fair play to him. They worked him hard on the dancing front. They had him doing pretty much every kind of dance move you can imagine.

It was a good and proper family pantomime with nothing missing. I am glad I went and saw it. The cast were great. Nice as ever to see the children getting involved and shouting at the characters, when required. Pantos will be a lot of kids first experience of the theatre. Therefore I like to see them have a great time. As they are then more likely to support live shows and go to the theatre more often when they are older.

Panto

It was generally quite a good Christmas period for my team Spurs. We had good wins in the game before Christmas away at Everton. Then on Boxing Day at home to Bournemouth. But then things did go a little wrong last Saturday at Wembley. When we lost to Wolves. But then we beat Cardiff away in the next match. This week we have the first leg of the League Cup Semi-final against Chelsea. And play Manchester United in the league next Sunday. A win in both would be very nice.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

A friend of mine is a big train enthusiast. For the last six months from my local station. They have been running weekly Steam Train rides. I despite this attraction being so close. May never have got round to it. But the mate in question said he was coming down from London to take the trip. And he asked me if I fancied joining him on New Years Eve afternoon for a ride on the Steam train. So I did.

As it happened they had a special offer running . Which meant if you lived in a certain postcode area. Which I did, that you could get the ticket for half price. And this deal also included a cup of tea and a mince pie. You cannot argue with that kind of value. The train runs between Princes Risborough and Chinnor. It uses an old route, That has not been in operation for many years. But that the society who run the steam train managed to get restored.

The journey there takes about twenty five minutes. It is a lovely experience. As you can hear the engine and see the steam pushing you along the countryside. It is actually quite serene and relaxing. When we got to Chinnor we walked to the nearest pub and had a quick pint. Before catching the next train home. But this part is of course purely optional.

The journey back is actually by Diesel train. At the moment they have no way of turning the train around. So the Steam Engine pulls all the carriages to Chinnor and then the Diesel Engine on the other end returns you to Princes Risborough. It was a fun experience. I would say give it a try, if you get the chance. It is a nice flavour of how train travel used to be.

This New Years Eve my good friend and I, Andy Holmes went to my local wine bar in Princes Risborough called Dukes. I have been in there a number of times, since it opened. And always found it to be a wonderful place to enjoy a drink. It was an all ticket event. It started at 7.30pm. And as it happened Andy and I were the first to arrive. I had no idea how busy it would be. So I thought the best plan was to get there early and secure a table. Which we did.

It was a great night. Everyone there was lovely and friendly. And of course rightly in good spirits. They kept bringing around nibbles. I must admit I had a few every time they did. I find it impossible to turn down food. They also had live music. Just a bloke with a mic and a guitar. But he was fantastic. He had a great voice and played all the right songs. He had us all dancing and singing along by the end.

The whole night was washed down with several glasses of a very nice Rioja. The perfect way to see out the old year and welcome in the new one. Here’s to a healthy, happy, positive and fun 2019. A very Happy New Year to you. I hope it brings you everything that you want it to.

Have fun. I will be taking a mini-break from the blog. And it will be back in a month. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you will find out why in the next week or so. Cheers Neil

Happy Christmas 2018

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been pretty busy but lots of fun. I am a massive fan of comedy. And I must admit I do like going to see work in progress style shows. To see top comedians putting together new routines and trying out new jokes. I am also aiming to see as many of them live as I can. 

Handily a couple of weeks ago these two goals collided nicely. As I managed to get a ticket for an Eddie Izzard Work in Progress gig. He had been someone that I had wanted to see for a while. He was on at the famous comedy pub in Islington The Bill Murray. It is a place that I had been aware of for a while. But never been to. The main bar area is quite small. But there is a really cool and creative vibe to the place. Which I liked. 

I was standing at the bar having a drink. Waiting for the comedy room to open. When Eddie Izzard suddenly walked right past me on his way to the dressing room area. The venue there holds about fifty people. I found a seat in the second row. So I had a great view of the action.

He was amazing. Even though he was trying out completely new bits. Plus also trying to add ad-libs and extra jokes to existing stories. He is so captivating. His story telling ability is great. He is super intelligent. My mouth was hurting from laughing. It was that funny.

He of course does have a great stage presence. And total control of the room. He started off as a Street Entertainer in Covent Garden. He was dressed as ever in a suit with high heels, bright red lipstick and painted nails. But that is all irrelevant really. He could be telling those jokes wearing a Panda suit. And would still be hilarious.

He has already performed warm up gigs for this Wunderbar tour in French. And was off to do the same in German. After the show I was at. This means every time he adds something in whichever language. He will then have to translate it into the other two. He really does not seem to like making things easy for himself. If you can, go and see the finished Wunderbar Tour. As I can already tell from what I have seen. That it is going to be sensational.  

Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy
Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy

I went along to have a look behind the scenes at Build TV a couple of weeks ago. They are a Social Media company who broadcast regular interviews with lots of different people. They do this via Facebook and by You Tube. Therefore you can either watch them live or you can catch up with them at a later date. When the live feed ends the recording is instantly available to watch online. 

They have a fairly small studio. It is pretty basic. But is well lit and the set they have looks good on screen. I was impressed with how many cameras they had. It was in total a five camera shoot. Which for a twenty minute online show is impressive. They have room for a small audience of around fifty people. The brand is quite big in the United States. This is the London version of it. 

I watched two of these live to the internet interviews. The first one was with comedians Judi Love and Aurie Styla. They have recently each been given a radio show on BBC London. When the station revamped its weekday evening line up. They were talking about their careers.

Both of which were enhanced by their use of social media. In particular the use of videos on You Tube and Instagram. This got them more coverage and created an interest in what they did. To a broader audience. They also told us what we could expect from the new radio programmes they were hosting. 

Build TV

The next one featured the two men behind The Revolution Will Be Televised. Comedians Jolyon Rubinstein and Heydon Prowse. They spoke a little bit about how that came about. And some of the things that they experienced while filming it. But they were mainly there to plug their brand new Channel 4 show Ministry of Justice. Which has a similar format to their previous work. Except this time they are trying to expose crime rather than politics. 

They are two very interesting characters. They are clearly intelligent and clever guys. And they do talk a lot of sense about the state of the world at the moment. And maybe how we could all try to improve it. But that said they are comics, so do want to make you laugh as often as possible. The set up is such with in the studio. That they can play in clips while they are in conversation with their guests. So I got to see a bit of the latest show and it looked good. 

It is a nice little set up they have there. They are quite a small team. There are a selection of different presenters. Who come and host these webcasts for them. They do from time to time get some huge names on. As it is not television and just online. You do have a little bit more time to let things breathe. Plus there are no adverts during the broadcast itself. This visit has given me some food for thought for 2019. 

Build TV

 It was my birthday on 10th December. Historically I go over the top and really celebrate my special day. This year was by previous years quite low key. It was not a big or landmark birthday. I just had a very nice and relaxing day at home. Then in the evening treated myself to a tasty steak, some red wine and a chocolate cake. Living the dream! You know when you are getting older. When you ask for practical gifts rather than fun and crazy things. 

Build TV

These items included some thermal underwear. I seem to feel the cold more than I used to. And a Fit Bit. I go running three times a week. And I thought it might actually be fun to find out how far I travel every time that I do it. I had a lovely day. Thanks for all your birthday wishes. It was much appreciated. Once my birthday has been and gone. Then and only then do I allow myself to actually start thinking about and getting organised for Christmas. 

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The day after my birthday. I went to my first Christmas Party of the year. It was at a lovely venue on Great Portland Street in London. It was with my former BBC colleagues. They are a talented bunch. For this Do every year. A group of them form a band for the night. This was the first time that I was able to go to it. They played for about one hour and twenty minutes. And I have to say, they sounded great. I was impressed with the wide and varied repertoire of songs that they performed. Including of course a couple of Christmas classics. 

Once the band had finished. A couple of other work mates. Then did a disco for the final ninety minutes. They were ace. Although at one point it did feel like they were doing the set that I used to play back in 2006. When I used to DJ at The Chicago Rock Cafe in Yeovil. A brilliant night! Great to catch up with everyone. It was a nice way the kick start my own personal festive celebrations. 

Happily I have managed to make a trip to Winter Wonderland an annual event. Over the last couple of years. It is held in Hyde Park. I went there last Tuesday. They have a massive funfair. Which I will be honest does not interest me at all. I hate rides. Just being me, gives me a big enough adrenaline rush. I do not need any extra help. That and I find the big ones scary. There are also lots of great food stands, bar areas and entertainment. 

The Band

The main reason I go is to visit the Bavarian Village. That they also have. I love it there. I have been to the actual Oktoberfest in Munich twice. It is brilliant fun. And this event in London reminds me of the time I spent there. The atmosphere is great. They do serve the beer in pint steins. Not the two and half pint steins they have in Germany. But you cannot have it all. They also have lots of live music. 

Winter Wonderland

This year they had a crooner style Sinatra and Dean Martin singer in one area. He has been there the last couple of times I have been. And I think he is great. Funny, as well as a decent singer. In another beer hall. They had a four piece German band. They were playing all the party hits. In the style that you would hear in all the massive Beer Kellers in Munich. During the festival. Where you would literally be dancing and singing on the tables by the end of the night. 

Neil Quigley at Winter Wonderland

In another bar they had a traditional Oompah Band. As the evening progresses, as you look round. All you can see is people swaying in time with the music. And singing along with the songs. I always have a good time when I go there. The day I went it was a bit wet. But the rain could not dampen my enjoyment of it. I will definitely be back once again next year. 

Singer Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland Band

A few weeks ago I spent a lovely Sunday afternoon at my Uncle and Aunties’s house. They held some pre-Christmas drinks. It was nice to catch up with some family members. Who I had not seen for while. These things are always a good laugh. Sadly not everyone could make it to this one. And then I was not available to go to one the following week. Where I could of caught up with the rest of the family. The festive period is always manic with lots going on. I am looking forward to a relaxing Christmas Day, though.

Neil Quigley Happy Christmas
Neil Quigley Happy Christmas

For the second year running I went to see the spectacular Panto at the London Palladium. This theatre has a huge history of putting on these festive shows. And always with a stunning cast. This one was no different. The pantomime just looks visually incredible. As unlike the ones around the country. This is a big old West End Theatre. So they can drop people in from the ceiling. And fly a massive Dragon out over the audience. Which is excellent. What an experience for the children. It is magical, just like Christmas itself.

The show this year is the classic Snow White. But as ever with these Pantomimes at the Palladium. It is performed in a slightly different way. When you have such an all star talented cast. You need to give them space and time to have their own bits. To show off their skills. So the plot is fairly straight forward. But what happens around it, is what makes it so special. The staging is a joy. The dance routines are truly a thing of wonder.

Talking of which it features former Strictly Come Dancing stars. The brilliant Vincent and Flavia. Who come on to perform two absolutely spellbinding dances. The Dame is the legend that is Gary Wilmot. He is ace. He can sing, dance and do comedy all equally effortlessly. He holds the whole show together. Paul Zerdin is totally hilarious. Both with and without his comedy partner the very fluffy Sam. You can see how this man deserved to win America’s Got Talent a few years ago. He really knows his craft. And like all the cast. He is given space to do his stuff and his own routines.

Snow White is played by Danielle Hope. Who won Andrew Lloyd Webber’s last television audition show “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. Meaning she got to play Dorothy in a new production of “The Wizard of Oz”. She can sing and dance obviously. But she was fully involved with the fun and the devil fellow cast members have in trying to put each other off. She was fantastic.

The Prince was played by the wonderful Charlie Stemp. He is I think the best West End performer of the moment. He can sing, dance and act brilliantly. I have seen him in “Half a Sixpence” and he was great in that. He has spent the most of this year appearing on Broadway in Hello Dolly. Next year he is going to be playing Bert in a new version of Mary Poppins in London. I will tell you this now. He is going to be sensational in that show, no question.

Dawn French is appearing in what I believe to be her first ever panto. As the wicked Queen. She is as you would expect amazing. She is just a naturally funny person. The only slight problem with that, is that it does at first make it a bit difficult to boo her. But she is a top quality actress. Therefore the boos do start to echo around the auditorium pretty soon. She plays it brilliantly. There are lots of in jokes and digs between the stars. As regards to their careers and lives. All of course for comedy purposes only.

Julian Clary as ever, virtually steals the show. He plays the Man in the Mirror. He has a different costume every time he appears. And they get more ridiculous each time. Pantomime was made for him. It has always been a medium that works on two levels. The story and fun for the kids. And jokes for the grown ups aimed to sail over the children’s heads. Because of who he is and what we know about him from his career. It seems easy for him to do this. He really is the King or should I say Queen of Innuendo. It is joyously funny.

And finally Nigel Havers is back. Once again principally playing himself, sending himself up, joining in, having fun and just messing about. He is also Julian’s “understudy” which leads to some very entertaining moments. The show is Christmassy, laugh out loud funny and brilliantly entertaining. You will not find a bigger and I suspect better pantomime anywhere in the country. The whole cast are a joy to watch. I hope they are having a ball doing it.

Snow White at the London Palladium

It has been a good couple of weeks for Tottenham Hotspur. We have had a few good wins in the Premier League. Plus we have made it to the Semi Finals of the League Cup. After beating the Arsenal at their place. We still have not had a fully fit squad to pick from this season yet. We look unlikely to make any new signings in January. But I am still excited for the second half of the season. I think it will be fun and interesting!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Happy Christmas, eat, drink and be merry. 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

Best Wishes for 2017 – Happy New Year

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really nice couple of week’s. Mine have been fairly quiet and relaxing. Well it has been Christmas. I occasionally do take it easy and not do too much. That said I was working Christmas Eve night for the BBC. I finished at around 8.30am on Christmas Day.

I then headed straight to my parents. I got there at about 9.45am. When I walked in my Dad was already cooking the fried breakfast. You have no idea how amazing it smelt. And despite having been up all night. It woke me up instantly. This is how we always start every Christmas Day.

BBC
BBC

After we had finished breakfast. It was time to open our presents to each other. Now to avoid any awkwardness and unwanted gifts. We do have a very direct way of dealing with this. We all write a list saying what we would like. Which then gets passed around to other members of the family.

So we all pick what we buy from this list. The benefit of this is you tend to get what you want. The downside of this is that there are rarely any surprises during the unwrapping process.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I was really lucky this year and got everything on my list. I did not ask for too much, I promise. I got a really good electric toothbrush. As recommend by my dentist. A Star Wars T-shirt. Which by the way is really cool and features all the original main characters on it. Which of course sadly became more poignant over the festive period.

I also received two new Tottenham Hotspur T-shirts, a chocolate Santa, a racing post diary and courtesy of my dad a Calendar. Which features a different picture of him and my mum every month. Which great and individual though it is. I can confirm that was not on my original wish list. And to think that last year, I had a Kylie Minogue one.

Star Wars Exhibition
Star Wars Exhibition

Next on Christmas Day it was the traditional lunch time trip to the pub. To have a few drinks with some of my Uncle’s and Cousin’s. I have been doing this every year since I was legally old enough to drink. So let us just say I have been following this ritual for a good many years now. It was good fun as always.

I then returned to my parents opened a nice bottle of red wine and settled in for the rest of the day. We had decided to have a later dinner than usual. So we spent the afternoon chatting and watching some television. Which did include seeing The Queen’s Speech, of course.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

My dad cooked the food this year, ably assisted by me. Well I peeled the potatoes and cut up the parsnips at least. So I am pretty sure that makes me a Sous- Chef. Have to say dinner was great. A traditional turkey meal with all the trimmings. In fact my parents ordered such a huge bird. I believe they have only just finished using it for their Sandwiches.

The pudding was toffee cheesecake selected by me. But supplied and made by a big supermarket chain. It finished things off very nicely. And did also go very well with the red wine, I was still drinking.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

After dinner we returned to the living room to watch Dr Who and the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special. Both of which were excellent. Now my parents have a home karaoke machine. Which is always set up and ready to go at a moments notice. So my dad and sister decided to fire it up and do a few songs each. This was around 8pm.

Now bearing in mind I had been awake since around 9am on Christmas Eve. I will be honest. I was starting to flag a little bit by now. And was drifting off in my chair. Which I must add was no reflection on their performance. So after around an hour. I called it quits and headed off to bed. After a really nice traditional family Christmas Day.

Neil Quigley Happy Christmas
Neil Quigley Happy Christmas

Boxing Day and the Christmas Bank Holiday the day after followed a pretty similar pattern. With lots of nice food, good company and a few drinks. So basically I had a very nice festive period. During which I managed to catch up with friends and family, exchange gifts and have a good laugh.

I caught up with some mates in a coffee shop on Christmas Eve morning. For a get together over a cup of tea and some cakes. How times have changed. A few years ago this would have been later in the day and involved a few pints. But we are more grown up and responsible now. Well the three friends I was with are anyway.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

There was one other present I received that I did not mention earlier. I got given Bruce Springsteen’s Book Born to Run. Which was something that I had very much asked for. I have seen The Boss and the E-Street Band play live twice. Both times they were out of this world. I am a fan of the man and his music. So therefore I am really enjoying reading this book.

You know how he writes intriguing and heart felt real song lyrics. Well he has written it in that same style. He is very honest and open about his upbringing, his family and the area that he grew up in. It actually also gives you a very good idea, as to what that part of America was like at that time to.

Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen

Although I have only read the first five chapters so far. It does highlight the fact. That we are all what we are from what we experienced, when we were growing up. The interactions with family members. The people we went to school with and were taught by. All seem to have some influence on the way you develop, your mind set, motivations and to degree your own character. And your desire to succeed.

Certainly with Bruce, things that happened in his childhood helped shape things like his work ethic and the desire to better himself and improve his life. I am looking forward to finding out how he made it in the world of music. And how he has stayed at the top of his game for so long. It is an excellent read, so far.

The Boss in action
The Boss in action

Now I mentioned this the other month and advised you to watch it. And I very much hope you did. I am talking about “Peter Pan Goes Wrong” by the genius Mischief Theatre Company. A specially recorded version featuring David Suchet as the guest star was shown on BBC 1 on New Year’s Eve. And just like all their other plays that I have seen. It was brilliant.

They have a very unique and perfectly honed style. With their shows just becoming more and more chaotic in so many different and clever ways. They perform the shows themselves. As well as writing them. The whole cast is so talented and great together. They are possibly the hardest working group of actors, I know. The comedy they do is often physical and very demanding.

I thought Peter Pan Goes Wrong was hilarious and brilliant. Plus because I have seen their other two shows on in London. The Play That Goes Wrong and Comedy About A Bank Robbery. I have seen the whole cast perform live. And feel like I kind of know them all. Which made it even better seeing them on my television. I thought Nancy Zamit was brilliant. I noticed it when I saw their last play in the West End. But as well as being naturally very funny. She does have a sensational singing voice.

It reminded me of old style fun, silly and crazy variety. And for me it was possibly the best thing on over the entire festive season. Their original show The Play That Goes Wrong is heading to Broadway this year with the original London cast. So I wish them all the best for their American adventure. They are going to go down a storm there, I reckon.

The Comedy About A Bank Robbery
The Comedy About A Bank Robbery

The only other thing I watched on television over Christmas and New Year. Which is something I have to see every year. Was some classic moments of the best comedy double act ever Morecambe and Wise. They always have so many tribute programmes in their honour every year. And they never fail to make me laugh out loud.

Even though I have seen the sketches and bits so many times. For example Eric Morecambe advising the ambulance going past is not going to sell many ice-creams going at that speed. Is never not going to be funny. They were geniuses and I could watch them all day long.

Museum of Comedy
Museum of Comedy

It was a good Christmas and New Year period for my football team Tottenham Hotspur. We had a couple of decent wins, scored some good goals and played some nice football. Which as a supporter I think is pretty much all you can ask. It looks like we should be making another decent challenge to try to finish in the top four in the League. To try to get into the Champions League again.

Although we have already been knocked out of that this time round. We are still in the Europa League and still playing our home games at Wembley. So I am not ruling out another trip to the national stadium to see Spurs play in the next month or so.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Over the years I have worked a lot of New Year’s Eve’s mainly dj’ing at Private Parties. And once again I finished the last year and started this, while at work. I was working through the night at the BBC. Although luckily I was actually on a break around midnight. And thanks to a chance meeting with another colleague. I ended up finding a nice vantage point at Broadcasting House. From where I could watch the fireworks display on the South Bank taking place around the London Eye.

So I saw out 2016 and welcomed in 2017 on a famous roof. Enjoying a great view of the Capital. While taking in what I thought was a brilliant show. The fireworks looked stunning. And I really think we gave Sydney a run for their money this year in the fireworks stakes. It was I think one of the strangest most memorable places that I had seen in the New Year. May I wish you a very happy New Year. I hope you have a fun and interesting 2017.

New Years Eve
New Years Eve

I gave up making any new year’s resolutions decades ago. I decided that if you want to change something in your life. Why wait for a specific time and excuse, just do it. If it is the right thing to do for you. I do like to think of things that I might like to do or achieve in the next twelve months.

This year I would like to return to doing a bit more stand up comedy. I have got the taste for it again after my performance at my birthday party. I would also like to host some more live events. So I will be looking at a few options in that area. And putting out a few feelers.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It has also been far too long since I presented a live radio show. So that is something that I would really like to do again in 2017. Not so worried about having my own regular daily show again. But if I could get back behind the mic and do a few programmes here and there. That would be pretty good.

I also want to do a bit more travelling. And get to a few more places on my to see and visit list. But mostly I just want to be healthy, happy and to have a good laugh. You never know what exciting and new opportunities are around the corner. That is the beauty of life.

Neil Quigley

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

Happy Christmas 2016

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of week’s. Mine have been busy with lots of fun things going on. Two weeks ago today on Saturday 10th December. I turned forty. To celebrate I organised a big party for my family and friends.

As I figured such an important event was well worth marking in a memorable way. And I do like a party. I had previously thrown one for my twenty-first and my thirtieth birthday’s. So this was the next logical big birthday. That I felt definitely required one.

Happy 40th Birthday
Happy 40th Birthday

At each of my previous do’s there has always been some form of entertainment. At the first one I had a singer and at the next one it was a comedian. I have been trying to step it up each time. For this latest one I really went for it. I decided to put on a full variety type show featuring a collection of acts. Who I had worked with in the past. And me as the main host.

I loosely based it on the Live At The Palladium show’s. But I would like to point out that legally my show was completely different of course. And any similarities were purely coincidental.

Tonight at the London Palladium
Tonight at the London Palladium

I had tried to keep the show a complete secret. So only a handful of people knew it was happening at all. And even less knew the performers that were taking part. Now most of my family and friends had never actually seen me do any of my Stand Up comedy. So I thought that it would be a good time to put that right.

I opened the show with about five minutes of my best material. Thankfully, as they all knew me. They were a very supportive and a nice audience. Who laughed in all the right places. Know your audience, literally.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

My first guest was a brilliant singer called Nickita. I first worked with her about seven year’s ago. When I booked her to play at the very first Christmas Light’s Switch on. That I organised for Mix 96. She came on and did three disco classics. Which were so good. She sounded and I must say also looked amazing. I am just thankful that our outfits did not clash or that could have been embarrassing.

It was lovely to see her and work with her again. She was telling me she has been signed up as a writer for a major record label. And it looks like one of her compositions may be given to a huge girl band. Which would be pretty cool, to say the least.

Nickita
Nickita

I then came back on and did a few more quick jokes. As basically it was my party and I just wanted to build my part up. I then introduced the next act. Who was a fantastic comedian I know from the Brighton area. He was on the bill of the first proper comedy gig I did. For Laughing Badger Comedy in Hemel Hempstead. I thought he was hilarious. So when the chance came for me to book him. I jumped at it. His name is Flange Krammer. And he is a German Skiing sensation. Who is very funny.

It is such a clever and polished act. I was so pleased that he agreed to come and perform for me. He even had me up on stage with him for part of the act. Which was great fun. He is a hugely talented and lovely man. And a fellow Spurs fan to.Which is never a bad thing. He was great. I really loved seeing him in action again.

Flange Krammer
Flange Krammer

Then it was time for a little more of me. Just a few thank you’s and a bit of general messing around. I really do enjoy being on stage and hosting stuff. It is something I really want to return to and do more of next year. The last act on the bill was a friend of mine. Who I met while I was working down in Yeovil at Ivel fm.

He was putting on a show at the brilliant Octagon Theatre in the town. And came in to have a chat and promote it. We got on well and I went and saw him in the show. Which was fantastic. And we have kept in touch ever since. When I planned to do this special birthday show. He was always my first choice to close it.

Neil Quigley and Elvis Presley hanging out in the 70's #crazydays
Neil Quigley and Elvis Presley hanging out in the 70’s #crazydays

He heralds from Wales. He finished second on the ITV Show New Faces beaten by Joe Pasquale on the night. Since then he has gone on to have such a successful career in the world of musical theatre, theatre and music. To give you an idea of just how good he is. He has starred as The Phantom of The Opera in London’s West End. Where he also played the lead role in Les Miserables. So it is very fair to say. He can sing and act a bit. In fact he has one of the best voices I have ever personally heard sing live. And my favourite fact about him. Is that he played one of the Italian soldiers in the TV comedy Allo Allo.

The singer in question is Mike Sterling. And I was so happy and honoured when he agreed to come along and sing at my special party. He very kindly did a sensational thirty minute set. Showing his versatility with some rhythm and blues, some swing and ballads. Plus of course he did the main songs from the two big musicals that he was in. Which were just breath taking. It was such a pleasure to stand there and watch him sing these amazing tunes so perfectly. I really enjoyed having him perform there. He blew the whole audience away. It was stunning.

Mike Sterling & Neil Quigley
Mike Sterling & Neil Quigley

Then I returned to the stage for one final time. To thank all of my guests and close the show the way that every variety show should end. I am a big fan of comedy, music and generally just having fun. For me Morecambe and Wise were the masters of just that. So therefore I ended Live at Neil Quigley’s 40th Birthday Party with a sing-a-long version of “Bring Me Sunshine” led by me and Mike Sterling.

Which I thought was a fitting way to end things. It was great to have everyone joining in to. Mike very generously said later that he was impressed that I was trying to sing harmonies with him. But I pointed out, that it was more likely just me singing out of time.

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

I enjoyed the whole show immensely and really hope my friends and family that were there did to. I also had a disco. Which provided the music for the rest of the night. Thanks so much to James. Who was brilliant.

Not only for the disco but for also sound engineering the whole of the gig for us, so expertly. In the process definitely going above and beyond his duty. It all came together nicely. I spent the rest of the night chatting and dancing. And having an ace time. Seeing in my fortieth year on this planet in style.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The next day I was feeling a little jaded. Possibly mainly due to the fact that there was an after show party back at my mate Jeff Nolan’s hotel room. So the night did not end for me until around two-thirty in the morning. Proving that I might be getting on but I am still rock and roll.

I did happily get to catch up with my oldest school friend and his wife over a lovely fry up. Which was really nice. Thanks to all my family and friends for coming to the do. And thanks for all the birthday wishes, cards and presents. I really do appreciate it. It was great to see everyone there.

Jeff Nolan & Neil Quigley
Jeff Nolan & Neil Quigley

Last Saturday I did manage to get a couple of pints of Pre-Christmas Guinness at my favourite bar in London “Waxy O’Connors.” I really do feel so at home in there. It is almost frightening. That was the first time this year, what with all the birthday celebrations. That I actually started to feel at least a little bit Christmassy.

They had a guitar based trio playing live. Who were really good. They started off with a cover of Shakin Stevens big Christmas song. Which they followed with a great version of George Ezra’s Budapest. It was a fun evening. In a place I can almost guarantee you, that I will be in on the seventeenth of March next year.

Waxy O'Connor's
Waxy O’Connor’s

I am pleased to say that I have completed all my Christmas Shopping. So there will be no last minute mad dashing around today from me this year. I followed the same tried and tested formula, as I do every year. I made a list of exactly what I was going to buy everybody. Decided on a day and a place to go. Then went there and did all my present shopping in a couple of hours. It is the only way to do it, I think.

Strangely it turns out that the singer Jamelia also does it like this. Which led to a brief Twitter exchange discussing this last weekend. Although she seems to suggest doing it this way is a man thing. While I made the point that it is an efficient and organised way of doing things. Either way it means I am sorted for my gifts this year. Keep Christmas simple. That is what I say.

Neil Quigley enjoying the festive Spirit
Neil Quigley enjoying the festive Spirit

Last Saturday night it was the final of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing. This series has almost been perfect with the celebrities and professionals all on top of their game. I have no idea how they are going to improve on this for next year. Especially as head judge Len Goodman will not be in his seat. Having left the show now. Surely Anton Du Beke must replace him. He really does seem to be the obvious choice, right? The entertainment value of this latest season was off the scale. And personally I do think the three best couples made it through to the final. They all fully deserved to be there on merit.

It was just going to come down to who could give the best performances on the night. As there was so little to choose between them. It was for me the tightest ever contest and a very tough one to call. But congratulations to Ore Oduba and Joanne Clifton on winning the Glitter Ball this year. I do think that their dances were the best on the night. So they are deserved winners.

You have to feel a little bit sorry for Kevin Clifton. That is the fourth year in a row that he has got to the final and not won. In fact since he joined he has always made every final. And to make this latest defeat a little bit more of a bitter pill to swallow. His younger sister Joanne has won the competition in only her second attempt. Having a younger sister myself. I appreciate how annoying that will be.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Now the dancers and the production team can have a well deserved rest. Before they start getting ready for next year’s offering. They have got their job cut out. As for a total Saturday Night entertainment show. This year it has been perfect. The right celebrities, amazing professional dance’s, fantastic guests, great band and live singers and much more besides.

I have thoroughly enjoyed watching it all. As it happens Joanne Clifton is the only one of the Strictly professionals that I follow on Twitter. So may be I had a feeling that she would triumph in the end.

Happy Christmas
Happy Christmas

I have got a fairly busy week coming up work-wise. The media world does not stop for Christmas. It very much keeps going. Although I have got most of Christmas Day off. So I will be able to have the traditional meal with the family.

Recently while at the BBC. I have been in a lift with Annie Mac. And a few days later with Huw Edwards. Plus Doctor Who himself Peter Capaldi walked past me the other day. Never a dull moment. And lots of fun to.

BBC Radio
BBC Radio

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