Tag Archives: globe

The Return From Oz

Well I thought I would give you a bit of time to soak up my four part Australian adventure. I had a brilliant time there but obviously since I have returned to England things have become a little bit strange. I have certainly never experienced anything like this in my life before. The shear global scale and impact on the United Kingdom of the new Coronavirus pandemic is quite hard to comprehend.

I think personally that we have to listen to the experts and all of the people on the front line battling this thing and do as they say. There are so many mixed messages and incorrect pieces of information on the social media networks. I actually find that scarier than the actual virus. If we do what is asked of us we can all get through this thing together in the shortest possible time.

The plan at the moment is basically to try to control the number of cases in the country. In the hope that we can give the NHS a chance to give the required treatment to anybody who needs it. I appreciate staying in when you feel fine seems ridiculous but no one is exactly sure how long before symptoms show that you can transmit it. We know it spreads very quickly and is a nasty thing as it attacks the respiratory system. That as an Asthmatic is obviously something I am quite concerned about.

We just need to be sensible, follow instructions, social distance and look after each other. The aim of the game is to ease the pressure on the health service so if you or anybody you know requires their help. They will be in a position to be able to treat you in Hospital how you would expect if taken there in an emergency. If this thing continues to spread at the rate it has been they may struggle a little to achieve that, so let’s stick together and help each other out.

Stay at home if you can. If you are a key worker keep doing the brilliant job you are doing. We all really appreciate it. We can win this with a bit of common sense and some big self discipline. Stay safe and more importantly keep joking and having a laugh to.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

Right that is the serious bit over but I felt I could not really ignore it and pretend that it was not happening. I would like to also point out that the things I am writing about and the things I have been to were actually a minimum of three weeks ago now before everything was cancelled. I have been closely following the government advice since it was made. Even though I find it slightly difficult to take someone who used to host Have I Got News For You and who got stuck on a Zip Wire seriously but sometimes needs must.

Neil Quigley

I went out for dinner in Berkhamsted about a month ago now. I was invited to a Turkish Restaurant there by a friend. We both wanted to have a few drinks. Initially I was going to get a taxi from where I live to Tring get the train to Berkhamsted and then do the same journey in reverse at the end of the night. However as it turned out the taxi would cost the about same amount as staying at Pendley Manor Hotel, which is within walking distance of Tring Railway Station. It seemed like a complete no-brainer to me, so a night away it was.

I had been to a few works parties and conferences at Pendley Manor but I think this was the first time that I had stayed there. It is a very regal looking building set in beautiful grounds. I cannot think of to many places where Peacocks wander around freely. I am not sure why I see that as a big selling point but for some reason I do. Once I was checked in I did the first thing I always do when I walk in to a hotel room I checked the bathroom to see if it was a shower or bath. I rarely have baths at home now so see this as a hotel room treat. It had a bath which I did take advantage of during my stay.

I walked from the hotel down to the station, which I will confess was slightly further than I thought and caught the train to Berkhamsted. It is only about an eight minute journey. I arrived at the restaurant a bit early but went in and got our table which was booked for six. My friend then arrived we ordered some wine and got the menu. It was the first time I had been to a Turkish restaurant. It is a bit like Tapas in that you order a selection of dishes to share. I must confess as a general rule like Joey from Friends I do not share food but I do make exceptions for these occasions.

Neil Quigley

The food was amazing. The variety of the dishes was fantastic. We had delicious Chicken, Lamb, Halloumi and Butternut Squash dishes. All washed down with a little more wine. I am not saying the portions were generous but it is very rare that I am too full to have dessert. It was a place called Tabure and I would certainly recommend it. When they gave us the bill my friend and I both double checked it as we thought that they had undercharged us. It was not cheap as such but I would say very reasonable for the standard and the amount of food plus the drink prices were fair to.

We left the restaurant about eight o’clock and went down the road to the Kings Arms. We were just chatting and having a few more glasses of wine when suddenly it was one in the morning and they were closing the bar. That is the sign of a good night by the way, if you can suddenly lose five hours in the same pub with no gaps in the conversation.

We said goodbye I got the train back to Tring and then strolled back to Pendley Manor for a good night’s sleep. It is a grand hotel but might be getting a little bit old now. It was a wet night and they had lots of buckets around catching water from the leaks in the roof. However it is still a nice place to stay, it has a cool look and feel to it.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Again several weeks ago now I went and saw my mate Mike Sterling do a show at the Kenton Theatre in Henley on Thames. I always like to catch his performances when I can. It was a bit of a mad dash to make this one as I was watching Tottenham play Wolves at the Spurs Stadium that afternoon. (Yes it was that long ago Premier League football was still being payed). I made it to the theatre about fifteen minutes before curtain up. That gave me time to order a beer before it started and the same again ready for the interval.

It was a new show he was performing for the first time. He was celebrating the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein and more. He was joined on stage by his long time friend and musical director Toby Cruse, who accompanied him on the piano. It also featured Joanne Pullen who was his “Christine” when he starred in The Phantom of The Opera. They performed versions of these great songs produced by the legendary composers and lyricists as well as explaining a bit about the history of the songs and the relationships of the people behind them.

Mike Sterling

There was also a cameo appearance at the end of the first half from the superstar that is Vince Hill. He did a few songs including the big hit song he had his version of Edelweiss, which was stunning. He is eighty-five years old but his voice, stage presence and mic control is still first class. What an amazingly talented and very lovely man. The whole show was excellent. It is a while since I have been to a concert featuring just a piano and the singers. It does produce a very raw and real feel to proceedings.

I managed as ever to catch up with Mike for a quick chat and a drink after the show at a little bash at one of the wine bars in Henley. I had a busy day the following day, so could not stay to long but it was nice to see him. I also got to have a brief conversation with Toby who had been working the hardest by far as he was playing the piano all night. He is another extremely talented and nice fella. I now look forward to seeing them both perform later in the year, when it is safe and acceptable to put such things on once again.

Mike Sterling and Neil Quigley

I had been to the Globe Theatre during their summer season in the past and always had a thoroughly enjoyable time. I also had a tour around there once I got to see everything apart from one small part as there was something going on in there.

That missing piece of the jigsaw was The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at The Globe. It is a smaller inside version of the main theatre in the same style and modelled on a venue of the same era. It is very compact, made of wood and candlelit. The room itself looks stunning!

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

I went and saw William Shakespeare’s The Taming of The Shrew. I never studied the “Bard” at school so I am slowly getting around to seeing some of his plays in later life. The Wanamaker Playhouse is a great setting to watch these productions in to get a feel of what it might have been like seeing them the first time that they were performed. The Staff there are lovely and you can bring drinks in with you, which is handy as the first half of the play was an hour and fifty minutes long.

It is bench seating inside no individual seats so you will have to be a bit close and cosy with your fellow audience members, also there is nowhere really to stick your coats. I ended up sitting on mine. It is worth it though as it is such a lovely setting. The play was brilliant, the cast were amazing. I think it is a good sign that when the near two hour long first half ended I was like is that the interval already? The time flew by. It is a comedy so there were plenty of laughs to.

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

The second half was equally as good. I can also confirm for the wine connoisseurs amongst you that they serve a very nice large glass of Rioja in there. It was a wonderful evening, the show, the location and the company I was with. I would happily go back and see something else there in the future.

The night out was rightly rounded off with another drink around Baker Street before we headed home. I fear this looks like the last show I will be seeing for a while, so it was nice to go out on a high.

Neil Quigley

Have fun and we will catch up again soon. Stay safe! Cheers Neil

Shows and Tells

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.I mentioned last time that I went up to see a mate of mine in Liverpool for the weekend and that he had a two year old daughter. Well apparently since I left she has been randomly asking after me quite a bit at various points during the days. Including when she was at Nursery. So much so that one of the staff there actually asked my mate’s mum who Neil was when she collected her one day. She said she didn’t know so unfortunately for my mate and his wife it now looks like everyone at the nursery thinks his wife is having an affair with some bloke called Neil. I have apologised several times to my friend but it is still happening. He actually sent me a text last night saying she was found in a room by herself shouting for me earlier in the day. His daughter not his wife that is. I’m very surprised by the impression I seem to have made and yet at the same time I am thinking about employing her as my agent.

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

A few Saturday’s ago I went to the Cadogan Hall just off Sloane Square in London to see my mate Mike Sterling performing in Stars of the West End. It was the first time I had been to the venue. Which has recently been refurbished. It is a fantastic building to watch shows in with really nice and helpful staff. For somewhere that is right in the heart of London the place weirdly has a really lovely community feel to it. The show itself was absolutely fantastic. It featured Mike alongside fellow West End Stars Shona Lindsay, Tom Soloman and Jayne O’Mahony performing songs from many great musicals backed superbly by the West End Sinfonia led by the brilliant Toby Cruse. Mike who has played the lead roles in both Les Miserables and the Phantom Of The Opera heroically sang the big anthems from both of these great shows in the breathtaking finale’s to each section of the performance. The whole cast were great and it was a really enjoyable night out being entertained by some truly talented people. I happily did manage to catch up with Mike Sterling for a very quick drink after the show. I am so showbiz! It was really good to see him in action on stage, chat to him and hear what he has been up to. It is always nice to see people you know doing well.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I was once again lucky enough to be working behind the scenes at the last NFL International Series Game between the Detroit Lions and the Atlanta Falcons at Wembley Stadium. The game was yet again played in front of a sell out crowd. Who were treated to an on stage performance by Little Mix as part of the pre game show. It was a fun day. There is always a great buzz about the place when the American’s are in town. My roles included escorting various VIP’s to the Field area to watch the players warm up before the game then showing them back to their seats before the action got under way. After the match I was helping to direct the Detroit Lions back to the team bus. They were all very friendly and really nice. Mind you they had won the game with a last second field goal, which I am sure helped their mood some what. I ended up watching the exciting finale to the game on a television in the players tunnel. That had about a five second delay on it. So we heard the cheer then had to wait to see the pictures on the screen before we could be totally sure exactly what had happened.

There is always quite a good celebrity turn out at these NFL events. Guests at this one included Tim Lovejoy, Joey Barton, Alexandra Burke and of course Mr American Football himself Vernon Kay was there. Vernon plays for the London Warriors American Football team. I did happen to have a conversation with one of his team mates. The training regime and food intake required for players of the sport is pretty impressive. A fact highlighted by the way the NFL players leave the stadium with giant pizza’s all to themselves to eat.

NFL at Wembley
NFL at Wembley

Due to the fact there were a few very slight complications the sequel to my Root Canal treatment at the dentists has now been turned into a trilogy. As all the best movie franchises are. I went back for the second phase and discovered there was actually still a slight issue and outside risk of infection relating to one of the three roots of the troublesome tooth in question. So my dentist had to dig out a little more of the root. Which was about as much fun as it sounds. But once again fair play to her it did not hurt at all and I suffered no after effects. It just means I have to wait another week before the procedure will be finished. As part of the visit I saw my first ever x-ray of a tooth, as she explained to me the situation. Strangely I quite enjoyed looking at it and it gave me a good understanding of what was going on. Plus as I am not a parent that was as close I have ever come to seeing a personal scan relating to me.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Last Monday I went for the first time to the ITV London Studios on the South bank. Some of the television shows that are broadcast from this location include Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Take Away, Good Morning Britain and The Jonathan Ross Show. I was there to see the latest It’ll Be Alright on the Night being filmed. Outside the building there is a wall of hand prints of lots of the stars who have presented shows from there. Including Lorraine Kelly, who according to this display does have ridiculously small hands. Then as you walk in to the studio itself there are lots of great pictures on the walls showing stills from many of the different shows that are produced there. I have always been a big fan of the out takes clip show, for just about as long as I can remember. From back when it was hosted by Denis Norden and his clipboard. The current host is now of course Griff Rhys Jones who has fronted the programme since 2008.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Once everybody was sat down and in position. The first thing that happens when they are ready to get going is that the warm up man comes out to tell the audience any information that they need to know about the recording, check audience levels for the sound department and get the crowd ready for a night of laughing, cheering and clapping. The man charged with this role for the evening was a bit of a legend himself. It was none other than Ted Robbins. Who as well as being a hugely experienced comedian and warm up man, also appeared in both series of Peter Kay’s comedy Phoenix Nights. So as you would expect there were several big screens up so we could see the clips and then react accordingly to them. I quite liked the idea of being one of the first people to see all these brand new bloopers before anybody else.

Neil Quigley TV Presenter
Neil Quigley TV Presenter

Before we got started Griff came out and had a bit of a chat to the audience. He was really good from start to finish, he’s very good at what he does. Then it was time to get the recording started. Ironically there was a slight technical fault at the start of the show so they had to re-shoot the opening twice in the end. It was great fun to watch. And there are as ever some very funny moments during it, featuring the great and the good from the world of television. There is no confirmed date for this latest episode to be broadcast as yet but it is expected it will be on our screens either during December this year or January next. Either way keep an eye out for it so you can see some more examples of when television goes wrong. And to see if you can hear my unnaturally loud clap or even catch a brief glimpse of me on the screen.

London
London

Last week I spent the day in London doing a couple of different tours. That were both taken by friends of mine. The first one was called The City Square Mile Walking Tour. Which as you would expect from the title involved walking around a section of the city. That was historically the original centre of the capital. It was truly fascinating learning about which businesses were originally based there. How lots of the streets got their names. Plus all the information about the old and new buildings on view. And discovering how many Roman remains can be seen right in the heart of London, if you know where you are looking. Towards the end of the tour the guide took us to a new shopping centre. Which seemed a bit odd at first until he took us up in a lift to a viewing area at the top, which gave us a great view over London.

The Globe Theatre
The Globe Theatre

The second tour I did on the same day was at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Now I have to confess I did not study the great Bard at school, so I do not know much about him. But in my defence it seems that nobody really knows that much about him and a lot of what we believe is calculated guess work. The Globe opened in 1997 and it is an exact replica of what it is believed the theatre looked like that the Chamberlain Players and The King’s Men performed Shakespeare’s play’s in during the 1600s. It is a brilliant place. I really like the way they try to put the performance on there in the manner and style that they would have been performed it in. Back when these plays were new and being shown for the first time. It was a very interesting tour, during which we got to try out several of the different seating areas for size and learned lots about the theatre. Plus the customs and behaviours of the people during that period in history. Having been there I now really do want to go and see a Shakespeare play performed there. I think that would be amazing. It is on my to do list for next summer when their new season of plays start.

The Globe Theatre
The Globe Theatre

My mate Ben Langley’s play Ha Ha Hood makes another appearance in Buckinghamshire this month at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury this coming Wednesday 12th November. I saw it in High Wycombe earlier in its UK Tour and I have to say it is brilliant. It is just a good old fashioned variety comedy show with plenty of big belly laughs guaranteed from an amazing cast. It stars Tommy Cannon, Bobby Ball, Su Pollard, Andy Pickering and the man who also wrote it, the man himself Ben Langley. The show tells the story of Robin Hood twenty years after where we all left the original story. And it is fair to say things have not necessarily worked out how we would have expected them to. If you saw the latest episode of the new BBC Four Comedy Detectorists you would have seen Ben make a brilliant cameo appearance as a deliver driver towards the end of it. I am very much looking forward to seeing the show in Aylesbury for the second time. And hopefully I will get the chance to catch up with Mr Langley while he is in town. If you fancy a fun and crazy night out then go and see it. You can find more details about the show here http://www.hahahood.com/

Ha Ha Hood
Ha Ha Hood

I can finally tell you a little bit more about the new quiz show that I was helping to do a little bit of research and development with earlier in the year. For starters I can now reveal the name of it. It is called Smart Ask and twists the conventional quiz format on its head. As the contestants are the ones who write and compile the questions in the hope of baffling a team of experts in to giving the wrong answers. The more questions they get wrong the more money the players can win. A pilot was shot in London last weekend hosted by Robert Webb. They are hoping to film the first series of it at the start of next year. Which is still something I might be involved in. You will see quite a bit of publicity about it when it is launched, as it will offer a top prize of half a million pounds.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am again very much looking forward to working at Wembley this weekend behind the scenes at the final NFL International Series Game for this season between Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars. It is as ever bound to be a star studded affair. And being the last one of the year I believe there are some pretty spectacular things being lined up before and after the match to mark the occasion. Normally it is only the home team who bring their cheerleaders over for the game but I have heard some rumours that both team’s troops will be coming to England for this game. Which for the record I am perfectly fine with and have to say this seems like an excellent idea. I will let you know how it all went next time we speak.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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