Tag Archives: comedy

Stage and On Screen

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a good couple of weeks. Mine have been pretty quiet really, just easing myself in to the year nice and gently. I did head out on the first Friday night of 2015 with a mate of mine. To go along and support a colleague of his who was involved in launching a new pop music night at a pub in High Wycombe. It was at a place that I had not been to for about twenty years. And during that time I think it has changed its name at least three times. The aim was to play as many different types of popular music from the fifties to the current day,and fair play they certainly achieved that goal. I listen to a lot of music and they managed to play a few songs that even I had not heard for years. It was a pretty laid back,cool and fun night out. Although of course it is traditionally one of the quietest weekends of the year for people to be heading out. So it is fair to say the place was not exactly full to the rafters. But hopefully as the year goes on they can build up an audience and make it a slightly different and fun way of spending an evening. Having a few drinks and a bit of a dance. I may have to pop back to it later in the year and check that out for myself.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I usually like to read in January. I am not sure why. Though I think it’s mainly because it is dark and cold and as there is rarely anything on television I like to watch at night. It is a good way of passing the time before I go up to bed. So I have just started reading John Bishop’s autobiography “How Did All This Happen”. Which I got given for my birthday. This may seem like quite an obvious thing to say and bear in mind he has not even thought about comedy yet,at the stage I am at. But his early life on the whole seems as if it is pretty normal and straight forward. While at the same time with the situations he seems to get himself in and out of. You can see he has the gift of the gab as well as the drive and determination to succeed in what he wants to. I am enjoying it so far and at the moment he has only just left college and got his first proper job. So I have not even got to the point yet where he starts telling jokes. I had also forgotten that his brother was actually a professional footballer, and I certainly never knew that he once worked as a bouncer in Guernsey. Once I finish his book I have John Cleese’s autobiography ready and waiting to be read. Which I am really looking forward to.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

FA Cup Third Round Weekend threw up a couple of interesting ties including Yeovil Town against Manchester United. As I spent five years working at the radio station for Yeovil, Ivel fm, Which then became Midwest Radio. I do have a soft spot for the Somerset team. While I was working there we used to cover their matches, so I have been to Huish Park on many occasions and know a lot of people from the club. In fact before I started full time at the station I got invited to play in a media versus staff football match. For a bit of end of season fun at the stadium. This was probably the closest I ever got to feeling like a professional footballer, which is what I wanted to be as a kid. I drove myself down to Yeovil on the day of the game. And met my mate Andy Holmes who was also playing in the match, at Ivel fm. After recording some interviews with the news team ahead of the big game. We headed off to Huish Park. On arrival we got to go through the players entrance to the ground and in the changing room all the kit was hanging up there ready for us. We were wearing the away kit and the staff team were wearing the home kit. Which on reflection seems fair.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I was sub but didn’t care I was just happy to be involved and it was a brilliant feeling running out on to the pitch to warm up. As kick off approached I took my place on the bench wearing my Yeovil Town warm up top, which in itself all felt great. The staff team included the then manager Gary Johnson, his assistant Steve Thompson, and was managed by former Glover and now commercial manager Dave Linney. And on the media team we had ex-Yeovil player’s and all round top men Tony Pounder and Paul Thorpe. During the first half I was pretending I was on the coaching staff, So was just shouting encouragement and some helpful advice to my team. To be fair it was an even game. The staff side were much more skilful but our average age was a bit lower,so that was balancing things up a bit. I got on at half time and got to play the whole of the second half. I absolutely loved it, so much fun and great to be on that wonderful pitch with those former professional, who were just top class. I did have a couple of chances to score. And in fact I did have the ball in the net but it was harshly in my opinion anyway ruled out for offside.

Neil Quigley in Football Action
Neil Quigley in Football Action

The player of the match for me was the Yeovil Town assistant manager Steve Thompson. He would have been in his early forties and me my late twenties but he was the fittest player out there by a mile and he scored a couple of cracking goals. At one point I was through on goal and had I reckon a twenty yard head start on Mr Thompson. Now I have never been the fastest but he had caught me up and tackled me by the time I got to the penalty spot. Great fun, so pleased to have been involved with it. That evening I stayed in Somerset and went out for a meal with Andy. Who took great pleasure in talking me through his goal which stood from the game. I thought Yeovil Town were a bit unlucky against Manchester United. They are a truly great club, with ace fans. I really do hope they can get themselves out of trouble and stay in League One. I wish Garry Johnson, Terry Skiverton and Darren Way the best of luck for the rest of the season.

Neil Quigley TV Presenter
Neil Quigley TV Presenter

The episode of Room 101 which I went to see recorded was shown on television the other Friday. Hosted of course by one of my comedy idols Frank Skinner with guests Fay Ripley, Gary Lineker and Jack Dee suggesting what they would like to see banished from our world. I watched it and it was very entertaining and funny, even though of course I had technically seen it all before. Jack Dee is so clever, witty and good at arguing his points and the show of course very much suits his on stage demeanour. I would urge you to go and see a television show being recorded, if you do ever get the chance to.

The thirty minutes that the programme lasted on screen was of course easy to watch and be entertained by. But on the night we had around three hours of entertainment that was then edited down to make the show. Often in these situations some of the funniest moments will not make it on to the television for very various reasons. But that makes being in the audience more like being at the theatre. As you are seeing a one off show in full. People who watch at home in their living rooms, will only in effect see the highlights. Plus things are always funnier when people are laughing together in a big group, so the atmosphere at these recordings is usually great.

Arriving at Elstree Studios
Arriving at Elstree Studios

I did allow myself one guilty pleasure recently. I am not particularly a big fan of the show and I only ever watch one episode of it a year. But I did treat myself to watching the launch show for this year’s Celebrity Big Brother. It is fair to say it has already had a few issues this time round. None of which I have witnessed I am happy to report. I do always like to watch programme one though. To see which Celebrity’s are on it. Just to see if I have met or interviewed any of them in the past. Now none of them this time round fell into that category but a couple of them came close. Many years ago when I was working at Mix 96 in Aylesbury the first time around. Alexander O’Neal did a one off gig at the Chicago Rock Cafe in town. He came in one Tuesday or Wednesday night and did a thirty minute set featuring all of his big hits. I will be honest I can’t remember to much about the performance, but I do remember that it was a warm night and he spent a lot of time in between singing wiping his brow with a white hankie.

The second member of the current Big Bother House I have a story about is Keith Chegwin. He once appeared in pantomime at the Aylesbury Civic Centre. A few days after Christmas that year me and a few mates went in to Aylesbury for a few drinks and some food. There was about seven or eight of us. Anyway we went to a pub in the town that also did food and got ourselves a table. We were having a drink and about to order our food when Keith Chegwin entered with the entire cast of his show. After a conversation with the manager. We were then asked if we would mind moving tables, so the panto lot could have ours. So basically we had to move so Cheggers and his gang could all sit together. I would like to stress there was no problem, there were more of them and they just all wanted to sit together, but I sometimes like to tell it as the Keith Chegwin got us thrown off our table story. I hold no grudges and we follow each other on Twitter. I would actually like to see him win Celebrity Big Brother. So good luck Keith, stay strong in there, with them nightmare house mates.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Stars in Their Eyes has made another comeback this time with Harry Hill at the helm. I have not seen the new show but from what I have heard the new host puts a very different slant on it. Which some people seem to really like and others really do not. I am not here to judge and to be honest it is very unlikely that I will see any of this series. The reason I mentioned it though is it reminds me of a disco gig, I did around eighteen years ago now. Me and a mate of mine were booked to DJ at a big party in the function room at Kempton Park Racecourse. We were performing alongside two musical acts both who had previously been winners on the television show Stars In Their Eyes.

There was a Shirley Bassey impersonator. Who when she arrived for the sound check in just her normal clothes looked and sounded just like the singer she was going to perform as later that evening. Then this quite pale looking geezer from London with a cockney accent arrived with fairly short hair ready for his sound check. Now I knew the singer he was there to be. So I do have to admit having seen him I was quite amazed when this stunning Tom Jones singing voice came from him as we started the sound check. But nothing prepared me for the shock of when we introduced him to perform at the party. And he steps out looking tanned, with a massive head of hair and speaking with a Welsh accent. It was like the impersonator in that famous episode of Only Fools and Horses, except the guy we had could actually sing brilliantly. It was a really good night and we closed the show to rapturous applause. Which is always a nice way to end a night.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

This weekend I am off to London to see The Phantom of The Opera as part of my parents 40th Wedding Anniversary celebrations. Which I am really looking forward to. We are also having a nice meal before the show and staying up in the capital, so it will be a good laugh. I have never seen it before but I have seen several excepts of it being performed by my mate Mike Sterling, who used to be in it. So I am looking forward to the experience and I always like a night at one of the proper old and traditional West End Theatres. There is something magical about them. I will let you know what it was like next time we speak.

Neil Quigley in London
Neil Quigley in London

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

Happy New Year 2015

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a good festive couple of weeks. I had a fantastic Christmas basically just seeing my family and friends. While eating and drinking lots. It all started a few days before the big day. When I attended a Christmas Party at a hotel in London with a group of people I work with. We had just booked a table at a big pre-organised event. So there were loads of different people there from lots of different companies and organisations. When we arrived for drinks in the bar we noticed a few Nuns standing on the other side of the room.We must have had at least a ten minute conversation trying to work out if they were actually real Nun’s or not, the costumes were that good. We were still undecided, when one of our group realised she knew one of them. And that they were actually teachers.

We later had a chat to them and they told us they just thought it would be a good laugh and cause a bit of a stir. They were certainly right about that. I spent quite a bit of the evening on the dance floor trying my best to look cool and failing miserably. I did enjoy throwing out a few shapes though, it was the first decent dance I have had for a while. But it is fair to say that I am a long way off the Strictly Come Dancing standard. Unfortunately it did not feel like being in The Sound Of Music on the dance floor as the Nuns had changed into their civilian clothes straight after the meal.

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

The day after that party I had the annual Quigley Pre-Christmas Family Drinks at my Aunties house. This is where we all get together to get festive, have a good catch up on the last twelve months and try to plan or at least work out any big family events that are due to take place during the next year. This is always a fun occasion. Some of the highlights this year included an organised family carol singing session complete with very our own specially printed hymn sheet’s and guest conductors for each song.

My cousin’s husband’s special home made beer. Which he has been lovingly nurturing and perfecting over the years. And which comes complete with its own gas supply to help with the pouring and the overall appearance. Fair play to him it tasted really good and I found it actually managed to provide its own gas supply the following day to. The evening ended with a fun conversation, where we addressed a lot of difficult and sensitive issues and possibly solved a lot of the worlds problems. Unfortunately none of us can remember what we decided. Which is the mark of a good time I think.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I spent Christmas Day at my parents, where it followed the normal set of traditions, that have been the mainstay of our celebrations for many years. It always starts with a nice big greasy fry up. Just to get you up and running, get the energy levels up and to prepare your body for the big day of food consumption ahead. After we have let the first meal of the day go down, it is present time. I did very well once again this year, I got John Cleese’s Autobiography, Lee Mack’s latest Stand Up Comedy DVD, a new Tottenham mug, some going out trainers and a lovely huge proper comfy scarf. The scarf is brilliant, it is so warm, I have never really owned a proper one before and now when it is cold I really can’t contemplate leaving the house without it.

Then at midday it was off to the pub with my dad to meet my Uncle and some other members of the family. For a few cheeky lunchtime pints and a good old fashioned chat and laugh. It’s a very social part of the proceedings. Next it was back home to enjoy a traditional and excellent full Christmas Dinner with all the trimmings and a nice red wine. During the afternoon it was all about playing board games and getting the Karaoke machine out to perform a few of our own special versions of a lot of well known classics. Just be thankful that you don’t live next door. I finished the day watching the Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas Special and Michael McIntyre’s Christmas Show before bed. I did watch a couple of others things on television to, which I will tell you about next.

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If you remember a few week’s ago I went and watched part of the Christmas Day Top Of The Pops being filmed at Elstree Studios. So as you can imagine when it came on Christmas Day afternoon. I was sat in front of the television watching. As ever with these shows the set looked much more amazing on the screen than it did in real life. Don’t get me wrong it felt cool to be there, but it looked more magical watching it back from the comfort of home. I was enjoying watching the acts who I did not see play at the recording that I was at. But I have to confess when the singers I saw live performed I was watching the audience rather than them.Well for starters I had already seen them and secondly I was trying to spot myself.

I thought I just caught a glimpse of myself on one or two occasions but I definitely saw the mate I went with on screen quite a few times. Dancing along to the music and having a good time.There was a brother and sister, who we got talking to while we were there. They were good fun and they seemed to be in lots of the shots. I think we should all probably be grateful that the producers had the foresight to keep my terrible dancing hidden away, so as not to spoil anyone’s Christmas. It was great fun to be there in person. It was very nicely put together and easy to watch on screen with brilliant work from Fearne Cotton and Reggie Yates in linking the whole thing together. Two total professionals showing us how it should be done there.

Top Of The Pops Fun
Top Of The Pops Fun

I also watched another programme on Christmas Day that I was as interested in seeing the audience as much as I was the actual performers. And that was Strictly Come Dancing. The reason being a friend of mine and his wife were at the recording of the Christmas Special. His wife’s brother is the celebrity producer on the show, so he looks after all the people taking part. Making sure they are happy, know what they are doing and when they are doing it. And have everything they need. As he works on the show, he managed to get my mate some decent seats. So they were actually sat right behind Bruno Tonioli. With him of course being one of the judges and someone who it is fair to say is pretty expressive in the way he speaks and is liable to move around a bit. I thought there was a very good chance of seeing them on the television.

I am pleased to say I was right. I spotted them both on several occasions as Bruno bobbed and weaved around in his usual manner. While giving his unique feedback on the dance’s that he had just witnessed. My mate when he told me he had been to see it said he was a bit worried as he thought he would be sat in the corner out the way so had not had a shave before going. He did dress up in a suit though. And to be honest even in HD I could not tell that he had not shaved but that probably says more about his ability to grow facial hair than anything else. Going back to the dances I really enjoyed the show. It was nice to see Sir Bruce Forsyth back on as a one off and I thought Louis Smith and Aliona Vilani were the deserved winners of it.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I did end up going to see a lot of television shows being recorded towards the end of the last year. They were all great fun to see. Another one of these was shown during the festive period. The latest offering from It’ll Be Alright On The Night. The out takes show where you get to see the great and good in television basically getting things wrong. It does seem to be human nature that when something does not quite go to plan whatever it is, we laugh. There were some great moments including some very recent and up to date clips for example Susanna Reid interviewing the actor Dan Stevens and possibly wishing she had phrased her question in a slightly different way. It is still funny that, no matter how many times you see it.

As ever we saw a giggling Philip Schofield, who is brilliant. It is just when you do as much live television as he does occasionally things are going to go a bit pear shaped. After narrowly missing out on appearing on Top of the Pops I did get featured on this show a couple of times. I was just sitting and laughing in the audience, not on screen making any mistakes I would very much like to point out. Having been there to see it recorded and then watched it on television. I do still find it fascinating the way they cut and edit it all together, into a seamless show. That was obviously a bit more stop and start on the night, The magic of Television.

Neil Quigley TV Presenter
Neil Quigley TV Presenter

I hope you had a fun and enjoyable New Years Eve, whatever you were doing. I was out working on New Year’s Eve, as I have done for most of them over the last fifteen years. I was performing at The Ellesborough Golf Club Dinner and Dance. It was a black tie event, so I was in my Tuxedo looking like a budget James Bond. I must admit I do quite like dressing up smart for events. It was a good night, the audience were great and really up for it, so we had a lot of fun and saw in the New Year in style. Always good to start the New Year on a high and it was nice seeing a room of happy people wandering off in to the night. And not only that but the gig was only ten minutes away from where I live, so I still managed to catch the end of a family party before I went to bed.

Neither Shaken or Stirred
Neither Shaken or Stirred

It has been a little while since I have had a decent celebrity spot. I think the last one could have been Brendan Cole on a train, or may be Johnny Vegas in the street in London. But last week I nearly literally bumped in to Charlie Brooker as he was getting off a train and I was getting on it. Because I was more concerned with getting out of his way. I only realised it was him just as he went past me. Trains and train stations do seem to be a good place to spot famous people. I was on a tube train with Stephen Merchant once, have seen Ken Bruce waiting for a train and was once on another train trip with Matt Allright. So do keep your eyes open when using public transport, you never know who you might see.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I do not really make New Year’s Resolutions I kind of think that if there is something that I need to improve or change in my life. I should do it then and there and not just wait for the start of a New Year for it. The most important thing for any year is to be healthy and happy. And to try to spend as much time as possible with the people you want to. I think you have to attack the twelve months ahead, work hard, be motivated and always be looking to move forward. While at the same time enjoying and appreciating, where you are at that moment. So what ever you wish to try and achieve in 2015. Remember it is pretty much in your hands with how you apply yourself to the situation. I wish you a very Happy New Year. I hope you laugh loads, have lots of fun and can look back on it with very fond memories. Don’t just sing it, bring it!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

So Here It Is Merry Christmas

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a good couple of weeks. Mine have as ever been very busy, with plenty going on. So it was my birthday on the tenth of December. Thanks very much for all the nice messages I received on the day. I have to confess this huge annual event is something I do like to celebrate with at least a couple of different gatherings. On the day itself I just went down my local pub for a couple of drinks with a few mates in the evening. It was great to catch up with everyone and we did have a good old fashioned laugh. Although I did somehow manage to knock over a whole pint. When I managed to catch it with my bottom. I am still not exactly sure how this occurred, as I am not exactly Kim Kardashian in that department. But it did not spoil what was a brilliant night, despite me having to do a bit of mopping.

Neil Quigley Birthday Selfie
Neil Quigley Birthday Selfie

As I have already stated I never knowingly under celebrate the occasion of being born. So on the following Saturday after my birthday I then went out in London with a few friends. It was another top night out. We went to a combination of my favourite bars in the capital, mixed in with a few places that I had always wanted to go to. But had not got round to, including the Radio Rooftop Bar. I have to confess I do like a bar with good views over London. And as the name suggests this one very much falls in to that category. It is the set piece bar of the ME London Hotel on the Strand, just near the Covent Garden theatre district. So it would be a great place to visit for a pre show drink in my opinion. It is a very stylish bar, with friendly staff, a nice selection of drinks and stunning views over London. I was in there just as it was getting dark, so when I went and had a look out on the terrace everything was lit up and you could see a lot of the big tourist attractions very clearly, it looked amazing.

View from Radio Rooftop Bar
View from Radio Rooftop Bar

I was once again back at Elstree Studios the other week to see a recording of the Christmas Day and New Years Eve Top of The Pops specials. I do not think I am giving too much away by saying this. I am pretty sure everybody realises it is not live and that all the bands and people have not chosen to spend the day together in this way. To give you some idea how difficult the logistics of organising all the acts and giving them the relevant recording time is. I can tell you it was filmed in four separate parts over two days. So when you sit down to watch it there will be four different audiences featured on the programme, with it cutting between them as they move from song to song. So bearing this in mind the bit I saw featured performances from three different artists.

Top Of The Pops Fun
Top Of The Pops Fun

The first performance was from the great George Ezra. Now as this was for the New Years Eve Show the production staff handed out New Years Eve hats. They then run through the song twice, so they can record lots of different camera angles, then pick the best ones in the edit.Then we moved on to the Christmas Show, so had to change in to Christmas hats before seeing Professor Green perform his song twice next. Then we had Tom Odell on to do his current song, you know the one. The song from the John Lewis advert featuring the penguins. He ended up doing this three times, with him on the piano while being backed by a full strings section. Lastly George Ezra came back out to record “Budapest” for the Christmas Show. All the acts were great and so consistent. Every performance was a complete replica of one previous.

Top of The Pops
Top of The Pops

In between the live music elements the brilliant Fearne Cotton and Reggie Yates were there recording their links to the camera. They to had to start out in their New Years Eve outfits then change in to the Christmas clothes to correspond with which one of the two shows we were currently filming. Complicated business this TV stuff you know. They were so good, really on it, and virtually one take wonders with no auto cue. They were learning the bits first, just before delivering them. A nice presenting master class from the both of them. It was weird but great being in the famous Top of The Pops studio. A quick mention for Danny the warm up man stroke head of motivation and stage direction. He did a great job keeping the energy up and things moving along nicely. It was a great fun afternoon out. Which now means you can all play the can we spot Neil on television on Christmas Day game. To help you out a bit I will be the one dancing, just out of time with the rest!

Top of The Pops
Top of The Pops

With it being the run up to Christmas I have like everyone else been out quite a bit for food and drinks, with lots of different groups of people. I had a really nice catch up with a former work colleague at Giraffe on the South Bank in London. Decent meal with great company and conversation. I arrived at the restaurant a little early so had a bit of walk around first and discovered a German style log cabin pop up market. Which seem to be everywhere at the moment. It was a chilly night and it felt quite festive so I treated myself to my first glass of mulled wine of the year, from one of the stalls. Which tasted good and certainly left me with a bit of warm glow.

I have also been out for a few seasonal drinks at my favourite pub in London, with some work associates. It is Waxy O’Connor’s just off Leicester Square. A place I have been going for around eighteen years now. In my opinion not only does it serve the best Guinness in England, but there is always a great atmosphere in there. The music is good and I really do feel very at home there. If I am in London and have some spare time, there is always a good chance you might find me in there having a pint.

View from the South Bank through Mulled Wine eyes
View from the South Bank through Mulled Wine eyes

So another series of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here has been and gone. I really enjoyed this year’s show. I liked the fact that most of this year’s camp mates got on with each other and had a good laugh. I would much rather watch people interacting in this way than shouting and screaming at each other. I appreciate that there was a small amount of this that went on. But on the whole it was like an antipodean Hi De Hi. Huge congratulations to Carl Fogarty on winning the competition and being crowned the new king of the jungle. I am very pleased for him. Not only because I have met him and he is a top bloke. What you see it was you get. He his nice, polite, funny, tough and humble.

But I am also very pleased he won because he was the person I tipped right from the start to walk away with the title. I thought he came across as a lot of fun and just very real. He has been busy since he has been back in England handing out awards at the BBC Sports Personality of The Year Awards and The British Comedy Awards. Due to his success in the world of motorbike racing, he always signed his autograph with a number one on the end of it. And after this recent success he can of course continue that tradition. Nice one Foggy, well done mate!

Carl Fogarty
Carl Fogarty

I have always loved the Royal Variety Show and although I have never been to the theatre to see it in person. I have watched nearly all of them when they have been shown on television. I am a massive fan of variety acts in general. Obviously I like comedians and musical acts. But I do also like watching dance groups and some of the more off the wall acts that come from a traditional circus background. I do still think being selected to be involved in the Royal Command performance should be a huge highlight and even a pinnacle of your career. I think it is something that should be earned, as I guess I am quite a traditionalist. And I am aware of the long and great history of it.

I watched this year’s show, which I believe is the first one that Prince William and Princess Katherine have attended. It is nice to see that it is being passed on to the younger generation. There were some great acts on and some fantastic performances. The whole thing was marshalled brilliantly by Michael McIntyre as the host. The only thing that I wasn’t quite sure about was this. For me a few of the performers appeared to talk directly to the two Royals, which I thought was a no no. Sure a quick comment or joke at their expense in the right taste is good and traditional. But is seemed a bit weird when at times some appeared to be playing to the Royals and almost ignoring the audience. My view is you are there to perform for the audience in the presence of the Monarchy not the other way round. That said I did enjoy it and thought it was a good and very well balanced show.

Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy
Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy

Last week I was back at BBC New Broadcasting House in London for another meeting about some potential work opportunities next year, Which is all very exciting and it will be amazing if it does come off. While I was there I did see a tanned and sun glasses wearing Scott Mills walk past me on the way to do his Radio One Show. There are four different lifts there and each one has a different BBC Radio station playing in them. It is a lottery which lift arrives first and therefore what your soundtrack will be. On this most recent visit I got the 1 Extra lift, which made for quite an upbeat journey up to my required floor. It is such a cool and yet such a busy building with lots happening there.

It is also now where the One Show Studios are. And you can actually look into the set through the giant window, you can see behind the presenters on the TV. The day I was there, it would appear that they were having a big musical performance on the show because they were setting up a stage and piano in the outside area. In case you are interested the man who sat at the piano and played on the show was Jools Holland. They also had Cameron Diaz on to. You have no idea how much I now wished I had stayed up there to watch the show and may be try to meet her. I just think she is an amazing person! Who is very attractive.

On the way to BBC New Broadcasting House
On the way to BBC New Broadcasting House

As I have mentioned before I am a big fan of Elvis Presley, both of the man and his music. He truly was an exceptional performer. Now my mum as a teenager had lots of his albums and his posters up on her wall. So it is fair to say that she is also a big admirer of his. So yesterday me and her went along to the brand new Elvis Exhibition at the 02 in London. It features over three hundred different items, which have been loaned from the King’s Graceland Estate. The display charts his life right from his birth all the way through to the Las Vegas years. With lots of very personal items including his actual Birth Certificate, some of his army uniforms, original recordings and even a couple of the cars that he actually owned.

Elvis Presley Car
Elvis Presley Car

It was both brilliant and amazing to see all these stunning things together in one place. I thought I knew a lot about him and his life but I learned plenty of new things about him, including what a well respected soldier his was judging by his discharge letter. And also how good his manager the Colonel was at supplying merchandise and making extra money on the side. Even to the point where as well as making and selling I love Elvis badges they also produced some I hate Elvis badges. Genius, why limit your potential market, when you can just please everyone.

Elvis Presley's American Eagle White Jumpsuit
Elvis Presley’s American Eagle White Jumpsuit

My favourite pieces on show, were the actual American Eagle style white jumpsuit that Elvis wore for the Aloha from Hawaii shows. Some of his other amazing jackets and coats that he had. And finally the massive TCB Ring that his wife Priscilla bought him. It is completely stunning. TCB stands for Taking Care of Business. Which was a kind of motto for his personal and professional life that he adopted. It was something which a select group of musicians and friends were included. Taken in to this kind of inner circle. It made sure people worked hard, got paid and got on with each other. It was his way of making sure everything was going well and everyone was looked after. And there was even a special TCB logo designed. Which was used on lots of different jewellery pieces that he and his friends used to wear. Although the ring he had, has to be the most spectacular item in that collection.

Elvis's Taking Care of Business Ring
Elvis’s Taking Care of Business Ring

The exhibition is on at the O2 in London until next August and if you have any interest at all in Elvis Presley or just the world of music in general it is a must see event. This is the first and possibly only time so many of these actual original items will be here in England. As you walk around you hear lots of the great man’s music and see lots of clips of him in action. Plus you can get yourself some fun photos at the end. Me and my mum had a great time there.

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

It is another busy weekend for me, I have a Christmas Party at a hotel in London tonight and then on Sunday it is my families traditional pre Christmas Drinks gathering. With a schedule like that I am very pleased that I have already finished all of my Christmas Shopping. Which I did in my normal way, all in one day and all at one place. It simply involves just writing a list of everything I need to get. And then going to a shopping centre to buy it all in one go, it works every time.

Neil Quigley Happy Christmas
Neil Quigley Happy Christmas

I am planning to have a fairly quiet family Christmas with a traditional dinner, lots of chocolate and cheese. And may be even a couple of drinks. Whatever you are doing over the festive period have a fantastic time. I hope you have been very good this year and that Father Christmas brings you what you want on the big day. Have a very Happy Christmas! I will catch up with you in a couple of weeks, in the New Year. Have fun, Cheers Neil.

Multi Media Fun

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a good couple of weeks. Mine have as ever been very busy with lots going on. Last time we spoke I mentioned the big women’s International Football Match that was taking place at Wembley between England and Germany. And I was saying that a player who I knew would be part of the BBC’s coverage of it. So it was lovely to bump into Ellen White at the Stadium a couple of days after the game. And to have a very quick chat with her. Her recovery from injury is going well .She told me she should be back playing in a couple of months. Also congratulations are in order as she got married last weekend to. So I send my best wishes to her and her new husband.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

I would like to say a big thank you to the team at the BBC World Service, who let me spend a brilliant day watching them in action the other week. I do happen to know a couple of people who work there. And it was through one of them that I managed to set this great experience up. They are based in BBC New Broadcasting House which is at the top of Regent Street right in the heart of London. It is also where the TV News, The One Show, Radio One, Radio One Extra, Radio 3 and Radio 4 all come from. It is a beautiful building both inside and out.

I have to say the studios and equipment there are out of this world. Being in the radio studios there is like being on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. I was there to sit in and watch the Studio Managers in action on several different shows across the network. These included News Hour, The Newsroom and Outside Source. All of which were intriguing and fascinating to watch live from the studio. While they were being presented, produced and broadcast by a host of exceptional media professionals. It was a very enjoyable day moving from studio to studio and seeing how it all works. From the English Language programmes to some of the other many different language services the BBC World Service also provides.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Once I had finished at the World Service at the BBC. I then just went next door to the BBC Radio Theatre to watch a recording of the Radio 4 programme Dilemma hosted by the fantastic Sue Perkins. Before the show had even started we got a bonus treat, with a brief appearance from Tim Vine. All through December Radio 4 are playing out ninety second Christmas Cracker clips from different comedians. They were trying to record these in front of an audience. And as it is difficult to get an audience to come and see something that lasts less than two minutes. They were hijacking other shows to do this. It was different, fun, quirky and involved a guitar. That is all I am saying as I do not want to give to much away. Dilemma itself was very good.

The guests on the panel included the brilliant Sarah Millican and former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis. As a five year old child I actually got Janet’s autograph, when we saw her and a very young Sophie at a cinema in Richmond. We were all there to see the same film which was a double bill of Mickey’s Christmas Carol and The Jungle Book. Just in case you are interested. I do still have the autograph. I then interviewed her about twenty-five years later on the radio and asked about the previous meeting. Which for the record she didn’t remember but in her defence it was a much bigger deal to me than it was to her at that time. She was very good and amusing on the show. It is always a very pleasant way to spend the evening watching a radio comedy recording in the Radio Theatre, as far as I am concerned. I even love just hanging around in the BBC Cafe waiting to go in beforehand.

Neil Quigley at the BBC
Neil Quigley at the BBC

The other month I went to see my friend Mike Sterling perform in a Stars of The West End concert in Sloane Square. Last week we managed to catch up in London for a few drinks and a nice bite to eat. Firstly we found a nice roof top bar in a hotel on Regent Street to have a quick drink in before food. It was a place that from the front you would never have actually guest how good the bar and views would be at the top of it. From there we then went and had something to eat right in the centre of the West End. With Mike having spent so much time in musicals in London. He knows the area pretty well to say the least. So he suggested a nice burger restaurant that he knew just off of Leicester Square. It was called Byron Burger and the food and the staff were excellent. Most importantly the company was good. It was fascinating finding out more about his time starring in both Les Miserables and Phantom of The Opera. And getting a real insight in to what the life of a West End actor is actually like. And to be honest on the whole it sounded like great fun.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

A couple of weekends ago I took a trip up to Sheffield to surprise an old friend of mine. It was somebody who I met when I started doing hospital radio at Stoke Mandeville Hospital twenty years ago. When I joined I was put on his show and we became good mates, doing countless discos together over the years. About five years ago he then moved back to the Yorkshire area, where he was originally from. You know what it is like when you keep meaning to visit people but the time just goes and it never quite happens. But I was contacted by an employee of his saying they were organising a surprise 60th Birthday Party for him. Luckily it happened to be on a rare free weekend so I was able to go. I booked a hotel and took the train up.

Then the employee who was arranging it very kindly agreed to collect me from my hotel and take me to the do. He had absolutely no idea I was coming. When I arrived because there were already quite a few people there and because I walked in with the girl who works for him. He didn’t really clock me at first. He just thought I was with her. Then the penny finally dropped. And I believe he was happy to see me. It was a really good fun night and the birthday boy seemed to enjoy himself. I then met him and his wife for tea and a further catch up the following morning before getting my train home. It was really great to see everyone and lovely to catch up with a good mate.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

As a lot of my friends are performers it means I can often have an entertaining night out when catching up with people. And this was very much the case the other Sunday. When I went to a pub in Aylesbury to watch my mate Alvin Printwhistle perform his Elvis Presley Tribute. I have seen him impersonate the king of rock and roll pretty much all over the country. In many different sized shows. Including a show with a full band and brass section at The Palace Theatre in London’s West End. He is extremely good and brings a lot of humour to his appearances. So they are always lots of fun. His repertoire of Elvis songs is huge, so he often performs different ones at different shows. At the latest one I saw the first part featured songs he sang in the movies and the second part was a full on Elvis in Vegas set complete with trademark white jumpsuit. It was great to have a quick chat to him before the show. He is a huge Elvis fan himself and clearly loves singing the songs. He is pretty much constantly gigging so do keep your eyes open and if you get the chance do go along and see him in action.

Alvin Printwhistle
Alvin Printwhistle

I was back at the Elstree Studios last Tuesday to watch an episode of A League of Their Own being recorded. The Sky One show is now into its ninth series. They filmed the whole series during the last seven days. And it is due to hit our television screens early next year. The one I saw featured tennis player Heather Watson, former Dutch footballer Patrick Kluivert and South African comedian Trevor Noah. As well of course as the regulars, host James Corden and panellists Jamie Redknapp, Freddie Flintoff and Jack Whitehall. It was brilliant fun everyone was on top form. Owing to the fact that James Corden is also someone who grew up in Buckinghamshire. I have always been supportive of his career and most importantly found him very entertaining. The show is perfect for him and gives him plenty of scope to mess around and have some fun.

I was once in the same pub as Jack Whitehall in London. He was out with his mates and seemed very chilled, low key and nice. I have always quite liked him but after seeing him live in that environment. I can confirm he is hilarious. His jokes and general banter really made the show. To be fair everyone who was there contributed to the end product and all played their part. Without giving too much away we saw three world records broken and two amazing team challenges. We may well have found a new star in the form of one of the official Guinness World Record adjudicators. We had some great acting skills displayed by both Jamie and Freddie. Plus we had a right good old laugh in the process. As ever with TV recordings a lot more happens than will ever be able appear on screen but it was such a good night I wish the team editing the episode the best of luck in getting it down to around one hour.

Arriving at Elstree Studios
Arriving at Elstree Studios

I was around the Covent Garden area of London one evening recently when I suddenly spotted a television camera with a big bright light on come out of the Hospital Club. So curious to find what was going on I stopped to watch and spotted none other than Johnny Vegas in front of the lens. They obviously wanted to mock up him arriving at the venue. They sent him across the road to start the piece and literally as soon as he stepped off the kerb a car flashed past and was inches away from running him over. Fair play to him he styled it out perfectly and just kept talking straight into the camera, as if it was all meant to happen. And it was all part of the plan. He then disappeared back inside and I moved on. I am usually rubbish at spotting random celebrity’s on the street. Mind you it does make it a little bit easier when they do have a large camera pointing at them.

Neil Quigley TV Presenter
Neil Quigley TV Presenter

When I was working at Ivel fm in Yeovil I had the pleasure and the honour of performing the official opening of a new wedding shop in Ilminster called Prima Moda Brides. This did involve making a very short speech and then actually cutting a ribbon with a pair of scissors. That shop is still going strong and has recently celebrated its tenth birthday. So if you are starting a new business and need someone for the opening. Do keep me in mind. I have quite a good record of being a good luck charm in these situations. All the best to the lovely Jean and the rest of the team at Prima Moda Brides.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I grew up watching Top Of The Pops every week when I was a kid. I always wanted to be in the audience for it but never got the opportunity. I thought the chance of doing that had passed me by when the show was cancelled by the BBC. But they do still have Christmas and New Year versions of the show. Where they look back at all the big hits of the last twelve months. They are recording both of these shows tomorrow (Sunday). And I am going along to see them. I am very excited to finally get to be in the that studio to see this iconic show being filmed. I have no idea which acts will be there but with it being a review of the year I will be a bit surprised if there are not some huge bands and singers there. I will tell you who was there, when we speak next.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have worked most of the New Year Eve’s for the last fifteen years. And once again this year is no exception. I am looking forward to getting dressed up in my bow tie and dinner jacket to perform the disco at the Ellesborough Golf Club this New Year’s Eve. It will be great fun and I am fired up and ready to get the party started. Bring it on.

Neither Shaken or Stirred
Neither Shaken or Stirred

This coming week it is one of the biggest events of the year..My birthday..it’s on the 10th December.. just in case you wanted to send me a card or may be even a present. Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil.

Cats and Dogs

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a good couple of weeks. Mine have as ever been very busy, with lots going on. Let’s start with some good news I have had the third and final part of my Root Canal treatment done. The tooth is now all good. Plus there was not too much pain caused by the last part of this procedure. I have to confess that when I found out I required this dental work. I was not exactly looking forward to it but actually it wasn’t as bad as I feared. So if you discover you need it in the future don’t panic or worry, it is fine. And it is a lot more common than I realised. That said I have no plans to have to go through it again any time soon if I can possibly help it. My dentist was telling me that she is thinking of having a gold crown fitted to her teeth. But as I have no plans to become a rapper in the near future I am planning on sticking with a more conventional material and colour personally.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

The other Friday I went for a night at the Dog Racing in Wimbledon. I have enjoyed quite a few evenings out over the year’s watching the Greyhounds at various tracks all over the country but this was the first time I had been to Wimbledon. I got there early so went and had a couple of drinks in the town centre first. With it being the home of English Tennis. I guess I should not have been too surprised that the main shopping centre there is called Centre Court. I mean it would have been a travesty not to call it that surely. The stadium itself is quite a way out of town, so I got a taxi there to meet the rest of my mates.

Neil Quigley in London
Neil Quigley in London

As there was quite a large group of us. We decided to have the meal in the restaurant option that they offered. It was a fixed price three course meal with your entry and a race card included. All for a very reasonable price to be fair. Plus they came round to the tables to take your bets, so you did not even have to get up to do that. Which was a bit of a bonus. I had a few winners, which always makes things a bit more enjoyable. It ended with a few us of deciding to get a taxi back from Wimbledon to Marylebone Train station. Now this meant that we got a lovely late night drive right through the centre of London. Bearing in mind a lot of the Streets already had their Christmas Lights switched on and a lot of the big stores had their festive window displays up. It was a pretty colourful journey. One of the people in the taxi with us actually used to be a tour guide on an open top bus around the Capital. So he was giving us lots of historical information and facts on the areas we were passing through. Making the journey even more interesting.

Westminster London
Westminster London

I was once again working behind the scenes at the final NFL International Series American Football Match this year at Wembley Stadium between the Dallas Cowboys and the Jacksonville Jaguars, a couple of Sunday’s ago. It was a really good day. I was helping the Jaguars coaching staff and Video team get around the place and escorting them everywhere they needed to go. This did mean that a lot of the time I was stood around the tunnel area in the lead up to the game. I have to say when all the players came out in their groups and did their huddles and various chants right in front of me. That by the time it came to start the game I was feeling pumped up and ready to join in. I could have just grabbed a helmet and gone out there and got involved. Those guys really know how to gee themselves up and get motivated for a match.

NFL at Wembley Stadium
NFL at Wembley Stadium

There were quite a few familiar faces around the place to. I saw Carla Bruni, Jonathan Trott, Vernon Kay and the London Mayor Boris Johnson walking around. And I was standing right in the tunnel area just as Michelle Williams and Laura Wright walked out to sing the two national anthem’s. Both of which were sang so beautifully.Two really rousing performances from two very attractive ladies. Who both looked stunning for the record, when they went past me. It was a real goose bump moment watching them in action.

NFL at Wembley Stadium
NFL at Wembley Stadium

Last Wednesday I went and saw my mate Ben Langley perform his excellent current play Ha Ha Hood at my local theatre, The Waterside in Aylesbury. Now I first met Ben around Ten years ago when he was in pantomime in Yeovil. And I was working for the radio station in the town. So I have known him for quite a while. I saw this show near the start of the tour. When it played in High Wycombe. And I enjoyed it so much that I jumped at the chance to see it once again. In its final week of travelling up and down the country. Now since I saw it the first time around sadly one of the stars has had to leave the production due to illness, I wish Bobby Ball a very speedy recovery. But the rest of the cast remained the same with Ben, Tommy Cannon, Su Pollard, Andy Pickering. Then Pete who was standing in for Bobby and who was totally brilliant as were the whole cast yet again. It’s just a good old fashioned proper funny show, with jokes, innuendo, songs and general silliness. It is simply laugh out loud funny with plenty of audience interaction. So you have to be ready to get involved and let yourself go, when seeing it. I did and I had a great night.

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

I got to catch up with Ben Langley backstage in his dressing room before the show, which was an experience. Great to have a nice catch up and a chat. Then about five minutes later I was then sat in the audience watching him doing his thing on stage. After the performance I went and joined Ben and the rest of the cast for a quick drink in their hotel. You could really tell they were all enjoying the show and having a good laugh doing it. Plus it was nice to very briefly be a part of the camaraderie of a group of touring actors. I did manage to have a chat to the comedy legend that is Tommy Cannon. Which featured the Ronnie Barker statue that is outside the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury. And that the last time he had been to Wembley Stadium, was when he scored a cracking goal in the celebrity match before the 1988 FA Cup Final between Liverpool and Wimbledon there.

Ha Ha Hood
Ha Ha Hood

My favourite television show of the year started its three week run last weekend. I have been looking forward to it for about the last month and was very happy to see the return of “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here” to our TV screens. For me it is just a perfect evenings entertainment. Ant and Dec are the best presenters in the country no question and they are brilliant on it. They just spend to whole series laughing around and making jokes at the camp mates expense and I absolutely love it. Now in the past I have been lucky enough to talk to many people who have been on the show, including a couple of Kings and Queens of the Jungle along the way. They all seem to have very fond memories of their experience of doing it and would not change anything about it. I have met in no particular order Kerry Katona, Christopher Biggins, Katie Price, Joe Pasquale, Brian Harvey, Bobby Ball, Tommy Cannon, Antony Costa, Simon Webbe. Timmy Mallet, Britt Ekland and Pat Sharp. So having spoken to that many former camp mates, I do consider myself quite an expert on it.

Neil Quigley meets Christopher Biggins
Neil Quigley meets Christopher Biggins

I have previously interviewed one of the current contestants. When he was promoting his autobiography and doing a book tour several years ago now. I had a great chat with former World Super Bike Champion Carl Fogarty. He was so laid back and fun to talk to. And despite his amazing achievements he was so modest and down to earth. As soon as I saw him in this year’s line up. I knew he would be good. Nothing phases him and he just laughs at everything. I think he could actually be in with an outside chance of winning it. Already this current series has been great. And so far they are all being so entertaining in their own way. That I do not want anyone of them to leave. The two Geordie’s are at the top of their game and this one is shaping up to be a classic. I am a Twitter fan and user and it makes watching the show very interactive and even more entertaining. When you view it, while using the social networking site at the same time. If you do follow me on Twitter I will apologise now for the amount of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here tweets you will see from me. But hopefully you will find at least some of them amusing. As my main goal is just to have a good laugh along at what is happening. So my top three to win are Carl Fogarty, Jimmy Bullard, or Mel Sykes who is tough, determined and let’s face it pretty easy on the eye, shall we say.

Neil Quigley is ready for Australia
Neil Quigley is ready for Australia

This Sunday sees the England Women’s Team play Germany at Wembley Stadium. Which is the first time that the ladies have played a match at the new place. A bumper crowd of around 55,000 is expected. There was obviously women’s football at the stadium during the 2012 Olympics but that was Team GB who were playing in that not England. So all the best to Mark Sampson and his squad in what is a very difficult game against the current European Champions. I have been lucky enough to meet an England Women’s International. Sadly she is not available for this game because she is recovering from a long term serious injury. That she picked up playing for her club side Notts County.

Wembley Stadium
Wembley Stadium

Her name is Ellen White and she is from Buckinghamshire. She is a centre forward who has scored seventeen goals for the national side in forty-seven appearances. And she represented Team GB at the Olympics in 2012. So has already played at Wembley Stadium. I met up with her just before those games and she was rightly very much looking forward to them. You may well have heard her on Five Live or seen her on BBC 3 giving her expert views during coverage of the women’s games. In fact she will be at Wembley covering the game for the BBC. It will be a great spectacle this weekend. Ellen is currently very busy working hard in rehab, so she is ready for the start of next season. Plus she is also getting married very soon to. So I would like wish her all the best for that. And say that I can’t wait to see her back playing again.

Ellen White
Ellen White

I am actually pretty loyal when it comes to the things I use in my everyday life. For example I have only ever been with one bank all my life. And whenever I have changed cars it has been down to them giving out rather than me trading them in. I am not a fan of change for changes sake. My first proper mobile phone was a Nokia and I stuck with them year after year until their technology kind of slowed down a bit compared with the rest of the market.Then I reluctantly got a Blackberry, which I happily had used for around the last five years. But recently it was starting to play up a little and I was having problems with the battery.

Neil Quigley in Car
Neil Quigley in Car

As I was due an upgrade I went into my local phone shop. Just to discuss my options. And then less than an hour later I found myself walking out with a I-Phone 5 having traded my Blackberry in then and there. It seemed that everyone I knew had one and the new Blackberry option did not do it for me. So I have gone to the dark side and invested in my first ever Apple technology item. So far if I am completely honest I am undecided if I like it or not . Or if it is any better than what I had previously. I think it may grow on me but either way I am stuck with it for the next two years. So I will have to learn to love it. Mind you it is much easier to take “selfies” with than my old phone.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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