Tag Archives: Hyde Park

Radio

The last couple of weeks have been pretty radio orientated with the events that I have been attending, which is always good with me. It is a medium I have a huge appetite for. To misquote John Miles “Radio is my first love and it will be my last”. From having my first taste of it when I was just seventeen right to the current day I have thoroughly enjoyed every second I have spent in a studio. Although to be honest these recent occasions were much more social.

Grand Olde Opry
Grand Olde Opry

For the second year running I went to Radio 2’s Festival in a Day at Hyde Park in London. It works perfectly for me as I am a massive fan of festivals but I absolutely hate camping. At this one I can spend the whole day in a field enjoying live performances and still sleep in my own bed. The organisation and overall staging of this event is always fantastic. It is so well managed. Hardly any queues when you arrive to get in plus a huge selection of bars and food outlets. What more could you want?

I went along to it with two very good friends of mine. We met up and got the train in to the capital together grabbing tea and croissants on the way. It was all very civilised but what do you expect it was all put on by Radio 2 of course. We got in to the venue just before midday. The first job was to check where all the important amenities were, namely the bar and the toilets. Then it was just a case of getting a beer and finding a good spot to see the stage, while still being able to visit the two aforementioned facilities.

Radio 2 in Hyde Park

Simply Red kicked things off on stage. I had seen them perform a few years ago at the London Palladium. They are a brilliant group with an excellent back catalogue of well-known songs. Mick Hucknall is such a perfect front man with a very distinctive voice. I thought they were great. They did all the big hits you would expect them to. I think it is a good sign a band are doing well, when you are surprised as I was that their set ended, what felt like too soon. It is true that time flies when you are having fun. They were a top choice to get the party in a field underway.

Simply Red

The next act during the afternoon was the American Country singer Kelsea Ballerini from Tennessee. She was fantastic really looking and sounding the part. I am a big fan of Country and Western music and I really like her stuff. Bearing in mind she is only twenty-six, she will be around for a long time yet. She has also assembled a top quality band. That always enhances live performances. She is the youngest current member of the Grand Ole Opry, which is some achievement itself. Add to that the deep south American accent that she has, that I love. I will be keeping an eye on her stuff for years to come.

Kelsea Ballerini

Sadly Emeli Sande was unable to perform at the event as scheduled due to her losing her voice. Craig Charles who was already on the bill to do a Soul and Funk Disco did a bit extra to fill the gap. He did seem to be enjoying himself up there. The sound system for the event was great. It is so clever nowadays at these huge gigs. How they factor in delays with the speakers and big TV screens, so wherever you are, it all seems to be in sync giving the illusion of hearing and seeing it at exactly the same time.

We got back to the live music performances with the now two piece Bananarama. They were sensational doing all their big hits from the eighties and some of the great news songs from their latest album. I must admit they were both sounding and looking amazing. They still had all the dance moves and way more energy than I did for a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon. They looked to be having a fab time up there. They admitted they were looking forward to seeing the rest of the concert themselves when their slot was over. And the thing you do sometimes forget about this band is that they did have a lot of huge hits.


Bananarama

Next up it was a band I was looking forward to seeing. As not only do they seem like lovely down to earth people. But they are a group of very talented musicians to. Any modern band that is just basically fronted by a Cello and Violin player with guest vocalists is alright by me. Clean Bandit have produced so many massive hit anthems with their blend of electric and classical music. On this evidence they are a fantastic live band. Who really do put on a brilliant show. Nobody is really doing what they are doing, as well as they do it. I thought they were ace. They were one of my highlights of the day.

Clean Bandit

When I was about fourteen, I got myself the double cassette of Status Quo’s Greatest Hits, which I listened to a lot at that time. I had been a fan of theirs for many years prior to that. They have a new single out at the moment which is unmistakably them in the way it sounds. They were the next band to perform for Radio 2 at this celebration of music. There had been a couple of occasions in the past where I nearly got to see them but for whatever reason it did not work out. And let us not forget this was the act that launched the Live Aid concert at Wembley stadium. These guys are rock gods.

I have always been a massive fun of guitar based music. Status Quo thump out those big songs with the strings on their guitars taking a huge pounding, that energy, that drive. I defy anyone to stand still when they are playing. As well as the new single they played a nice selection of their biggest hits. Francis Rossi seemed to be having a good time and despite his advancing years. He may still have been the biggest kid at the event with a glint in his eye and the urge to at least slightly worry the organisers with what he might say.

I thought they were brilliant and totally enjoyed seeing them play live. Many of their songs are timeless classics. I suppose the only slight regret is that I never got to see Francis and Rick Parfitt play together. As the both of them will always be Status Quo to me. But they still know how to put on a great show. They had the whole place rocking. I know it is the old joke about the Quo only using the same three cords but their music is a bit more intricate than that. A really tight and slick band!

Status Quo

Then as the sun started to set in Hyde Park. It was time for the final “warm up” act or to put it another way the next group, who were Westlife. They have been around for over twenty years now. I know right. Does anyone else feel old? I first saw them at a Smash Hit Poll Winners Party in London. When they had just won a regional band’s competition and were stilled called at that point Westside.

Two decades later I am watching them belt out hit after hit in a perfectly performed set. Like Bananrama they are all sounding and looking great. However their dance moves are not as good as the girls. They all seem like top blokes and can all sing and perform live. They sing great songs well and in their own style. This is of course why they have had such a long and distinguished career. I thought they were wonderfully entertaining, as ever.

Westlife

The headline act was The Pet Shop Boys. I was lucky enough to be at the Brits Awards when they won the lifetime achievement trophy there, so I knew how good they were live. Those two always put on a great visual display. Neil Tennant’s voice is possibly sounding better than ever. The staging and lighting was bright and lively. Add to that all those iconic hits. Then throw in Olly from Years and Years, who joined them to do their latest single together. And one of my all-time favourite singers Beverley Knight who came out on stage to perform “What Have I Done to Deserve This” with the lads.

Top class entertainment from one of the great British Pop bands of all time was a fitting way to end a brilliant afternoon and evening. I had a wonderful time with my two friends, having a few drinks while singing and dancing along with the music. It is a fun and uplifting day out. We already plan to do it all over again next year. And you know that Radio 2 will as ever book some amazing acts for it. If you have not been and enjoy live music in a fun and friendly atmosphere, you should definitely give it a try, if you can.

Pet Shop Boys

My local radio station Mix 96 celebrated its twenty fifth birthday this April. I did work experience there when I was at college. And it was the place where I started my professional radio career. I have so many happy and fond memories of the place. I have worked there at three different spells over the last twenty odd years. Richard Carr from Bucks TV, who also used to work at the radio station has made a documentary about Mix 96. It features many former and current employees of the station including yours truly.

Mix 96

It was loads of fun recording my bits. It was great catching up with Richard and reminiscing about old times. He has spent a lot of time and effort finding everybody and putting the whole thing together. Last Saturday night it was the World Premiere of the documentary at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury. It was also a bit of a Mix 96 reunion night to. I had been looking forward to it for quite a while. I was excited to see the film and hopefully catch up with a few people who I had not seen for years.

Mix 96

It was all very well organised. When I arrived at the theatre I was met with a Bucks Fizz on reception. At one point that was actually going to be the name of this new radio station. Then there was chance to chat to everyone there. It was wonderful to see many of my former colleagues all looking so well. We then watched the first part of the documentary on the big screen. This was followed by an interval to refresh our drinks and wait for Mr Mix 96 Nathan Cooper to arrive. He had been on commentary duty for BBC Radio Oxford at Lincoln.

When he did arrive, he did so fittingly to a huge round of applause. We then sat down to watch a slightly edited version of the actual film. It was ninety-six minutes in length. This stuff is not just thrown together it is all carefully planned. It was brilliant hearing all the old stories and seeing so many familiar faces up on the screen. There were lots of great stories and things that I had forgotten about over the years. It was a fascinating watch.

I have already ordered the full version, which I am very much looking forward to watching. It was nice to see everybody. Thanks and congratulations to Richard Carr for making such a lovely tribute to a truly fantastic local radio station. I look forward to receiving my full four hour copy of this piece of cinematic history.

Neil Quigley

I was lucky enough to be able to get away for three days of fun in the sun in Spain the other week. My friend’s parents own an apartment in Marbella that they very kindly rented to me for a few nights. On day one I did have to get up at 3am to get my 7am flight from Luton to Malaga but the thought of a few days relaxing by the pool more than made up for that inconvenience.

The place where I was staying was about forty-five minutes away from the airport. I got the bus into the centre of Marbella and then a taxi to the complex. That was to be my temporary home, which was in Puerto Banus. Not that I have honestly ever seen it but when “The Only Way Is Essex” lot head to Spain. This is the place where they go. They were there filming when I was out there. But I did not bump in to them.

I got there at around two in the afternoon and let myself in. It is a lovely place with two bedrooms (both ensuite), a big lounge, kitchen and a balcony. Firstly I went to the local Supermarket to get some supplies. Then it was time to kick back and spend the rest of the afternoon at the pool topping up my tan in the glorious sunshine. I stayed there until six and then came in to get ready for my first night out there.

Puerto Banus

Most of the bars and restaurants are along the port side, which was a fifteen minute walk from where I was. It is a pretty classy place as you can tell from all the amazing yachts that are moored there. And all the Ferraris, Porches and Lamborghinis that drive past. I found a really nice restaurant in which to enjoy a lovely three course meal. I then just checked out a couple of the bars before calling time on a fairly long day.

Puerto Banus

The next day was spent by the pool in the morning. Then on a sunbed at the beach, which was about ten minutes away, in the afternoon. I did then go back to the pool for a swim and more sun. Then quickly got ready to head out and find somewhere to watch Tottenham’s Champions League Game. I found a decent bar which fulfilled those needs, although we could only manage a draw away in Greece. Then it was food, followed by a few drinks and bed. Sitting around in the sun all day is very tiring you know.

Neil Quigley

During my final full day I just repeated the previous day’s plan. Well if it is not broken do not fix it. For my final night there I went out and had a wonderful steak meal washed down with a couple of glasses of Spanish Red Wine. I then visited a couple of bars along the port that I had come to like, the first of which is called Sinatra’s. It is a nice and busy bar with friendly staff and good music. It has a decent feel to it.

My final stop was Joy’s. It is a live music bar. Earlier in the week I saw a great female solo performer there. This time I was there a bit later and the place was packed. I managed to see two different acts. They both had the whole place rocking! There are pictures of some of the famous people who have visited the place on the wall. These include Cilla Black, Anthony Joshua and Vinnie Jones. Which I am sure you will agree is quite a combination.

The next day I just had time to grab a final few hours of sunshine by the pool. Before it was time to lock the place up and head back to England. I had a brilliant few days. The apartment was quality, the weather was great. Plus the actual place itself was friendly and lots of fun with plenty going on there. I would definitely go back again for a break ,if I ever get the chance. And finally it is always nice to return from somewhere with a bit of tan to.

Puerto Banus

I must confess to being a pretty regular listener to Radio 2 and in particular Ken Bruce. He lives near me and I have occasionally seen him at my local train station. I am a big quiz and music fan. Therefore I do obviously enjoy his daily competition Popmaster. Last Monday the Radio Academy put on a Popmaster live event hosted by the man himself at a bar in London. I managed to get myself a ticket to it.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

On my way to the venue I bumped into the radio legend that is Tony Blackburn, who was also going. I heard him before I saw him as let us face it that voice is quite recognisable. Also at the event were Trevor Nelson, Stephanie Hirst and of course the Popmaster himself Ken Bruce. I saw lots of people I knew there including the fantastic Nigel Mitchell. Who has been on This Morning and Heart. He is such a nice fella it was great to catch up with him.

Popmaster Live

I met up with the rest of my team at our table, then after a chat over a drink. It was time to knuckle down and play part one of the game. It was pretty high tech. Each team had an I-pad on which to answer the questions. Well it was until round four when this system went down and we had to revert to good old fashioned pen and paper. We were doing alright and at the half way point. We were joint third. There was an interval for a comfort break and to get another drink before we returned to the serious pop related business in hand.

You only had fifteen seconds to answer each question. All of them related to a piece of music they played which in a busy bar with a limited amount of speakers made it quite hard to hear from time to time. But we felt we were doing pretty well. The penultimate round was really tough, but we thought we had done alright on the last set of questions. Then it was time to announce the top three. We did not honestly think we had a chance. Then they announced the winning team name and it was us, much to our surprise.

We had won Popmaster in a room full of radio people. So it was not like there was any fierce competition for this title. It felt great. We won tickets to a radio live event next month but even better than that the whole team had our picture taken with Ken Bruce. And I got to shake the great man’s hand. What scenes. It was a really fun night. I still cannot quite believe we won it, definitely a huge achievement, that I will be adding to my CV immediately.

Popmasters Winning Team

As I was at Marylebone station waiting for my train home at the end of the night I bumped in to Ken Bruce again and managed to have a quick chat to him. He is such a down to earth and lovely man. Which bearing in mind that he does the most listened to radio show in the country at the moment is a total credit to him. It was an honour to finally meet him. He is one of the finest broadcasters of all time.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I went to see the new Les Miserables Staged Concert at the Gielgud Theatre in London with my sister last Wednesday. Tickets were it is fair to say pretty hard to get hold of, as it is only running for a very limited time. But I managed it and was curious to see the show to see how it would work. The cast assembled for it was of course amazing. They have all been involved with the long running West End version of the show at some point or another.

Les Miserables

The night I was in John Owen-Jones was Jean Valjean, Michael Ball was Javert and Carrie Hope Fletcher was Fantine, which is not bad for starters. But then you also have Matt Lucas and Katy Secombe as Thenardier and Madame Thenardier respectively, so you really do have a stellar cast up on the stage. Add to that the closeness of the venue and the fact that most people there were die-hard fans of the show. And what you get is an electric and amazing atmosphere in the place.

The whole cast were sensational. There are of course so many big and powerful well known anthems in it. All of which were performed perfectly. We had brilliant seats in the fourth row of the stalls, so got totally involved in it all. Some of the applause breaks during it at the end of songs were longer than the applause that I have seen at the close of other shows. It was all expertly put together, a very slick and smooth production. At the end the company of course got a big well deserved standing ovation. I am so pleased that I got to witness it for myself.

Les Miserables

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

Sterling Work

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. After a few weeks taking it easy. Mine were nice and busy, once again. Just how I like it. My good friend. The lovely and very talented Mike Sterling is currently on tour in Evita. Due to my hectic schedule. The only time I could get to see the show was the other week. When it was in Great Malvern.

I decided to make a night of it, so I booked a hotel there. It was the first time I had visited the place. I got the train there and arrived just before five o’clock in the afternoon. It is practically built on a big hill. Therefore wherever you go. You are either going uphill or downhill.
My hotel was about a ten minute walk both downhill and uphill from the station.

I checked in and went up to my room. I do not mean to sound at all snobbish. But it was a Wetherspoons owned hotel. I had no idea that they even owned them. Therefore I will be totally honest. I was not really expecting much. However it was very nice. The rooms were brilliant. And the view of the countryside through the window was amazing. The staff were also great. I was well looked after there.

Great Malvern
Great Malvern

Once I had recovered from the shock of it all being much nicer than I expected. I thought I would watch a bit of television before going for dinner. I stumbled across an episode of The A Team on some random channel. I had not seen it for years. But instantly I was drawn in to it. It was like I was ten years old again. I sat there transfixed until it had finished. I absolutely loved it.

It did mean I headed off out for food a little later than I intended. So I just went downstairs. And had a nice Steak and Chips with a glass of Red Wine in the bar. It was then time to make my way to the Great Malvern Theatre. To see the show. It was only five minutes down the road. I arrived there with enough time to sample a glass of their Red Wine. And to order one for the interval. Before it was time to take my seat for the show.

Great Malvern Theatre
Great Malvern Theatre

I was excited and proud to see my mate in action. He is playing Juan Peron. The President of Argentina, no less. He is no stranger to the stage or musicals, of course. Having played the leading roles in both the Phantom of The Opera and Les Miserables in the West End. He also very kindly performed at my fortieth birthday party, a few years ago. Recently me and him spent a cracking day out at Royal Ascot.

The show was sensational. Mike was sublime in it. The whole cast and the production is faultless. It is in many ways such a powerful story. Which does kind of hold a mirror up to society and the way the world is run. Plus of course it has some cracking songs in it. It is on at the Wycombe Swan in Buckinghamshire running from 23rd to 27th of October. I would urge you to see it, if you can. It has been getting lots of four and five star reviews. And I can totally see why.  Go and see it for yourself.

Evita
Evita

Then after the show I met Mike at the Stage Door. As we had earlier agreed. We were off out for a few drinks with some of the rest of the cast. It was their opening night in Great Malvern. So drinks after that is a bit of a theatre tradition, I understand. Any excuse I say. It turned out the drinks were actually taking place in the bar of the hotel that I was staying at. Which was a bit of a result for me. It transpires some of the other performers were also staying there.

I had a fantastic time catching up with Mike and chatting to the cast. After show drinks are always the best. He is having a ball. It is quite full on though. They do eight shows every week spread over six days. They get a day off and one travel day every week. And they really are heading all over the United Kingdom. I do like being around actors, singers and dancers.  There is always a good vibe about, I find. It was a brilliant night seeing an amazing show and then catching up with a Pal.

Mike Sterling & Neil Quigley
Mike Sterling & Neil Quigley

I recently spent a lovely relaxing afternoon with two very good friends. We sat and talked for ages. Had a Barbecue. Then to round things off. Me and one of them went down the pub for a few drinks.

In this crazy world where we all currently seem to be running on a treadmill. And getting nowhere fast. A whole afternoon away from it all. Just catching up with best mates. Is something to be enjoyed and even celebrated, I think.

Blues Brothers
Blues Brothers

I managed to get along to Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park. Their festival in a day last Sunday. I have done Glastonbury in the past which is great, but means sleeping in a tent. The good thing about this event is that it has the feel of a festival. But I could sleep in my own bed at the end of it all.

The line up was fantastic. But I must admit it was the lady who was headlining. Who I was looking forward to seeing the most. I arrived there at midday and managed to get in straight away. It was already starting to fill up nicely. It gave me time to have a good walk around. See what was about and on offer. And also get my bearings for when it got really busy later on.

Radio 2 Hyde Park
Radio 2 Hyde Park

I have to say it was all very well organised. And of course there were queues for things. Due to the sheer number of people. But it was all managed the best it possibly could be. I thought it would be rude not to at least sample a bit of what the bars had to offer. So I had a pint of the Pilsner they had on draft. Which was six pounds a pint. Now that might sound expensive. But that is not far off normal London prices to be honest.

I managed to find a nice standing area to the right hand side of the stage. Which I could get to and from quite easily. So I decided this would be my go to area. To watch the acts from throughout the day. Jo Whiley was the main host for the event. However for each and every introduction. She was joined by pretty much all of the other Radio 2 Presenters at some point. It was an excellent line up.

Radio 2 Hyde Park
Radio 2 Hyde Park

First on was Lenny Kravitz. He was simply wonderful. His band and him sounded amazing. He did all his big hits including his current one Five More Days Till Summer. Not only did he sound great. But he is such a cool guy.

I mean who else could pull off flared jeans, leather jacket, big hat and snakeskin Cuban heeled boots. Plus you would never guess he is almost in his mid fifties. It was a brilliant start to the live music for the day.

Lenny Kravitz
Lenny Kravitz

Up next it was Rita Ora. Who also put on a fantastic show. She was sounding and looking great to. Nothing personal against her. But due to timing restrictions. While she was on I was checking out the Real Ale and Champagne Bar’s. Although with the quality top sound set up and the big screens. I could still see and hear her perfectly. Even from right at the back of the park.

The next act were a little bit left of centre. They were a folk group collaboration. Who have a new album coming out that features folk style re-workings of many disco classics. They are called The Band Of Love. Their set included their versions of Night Fever, Gimme The Night and We Are Family. They were really good. And are clearly a very talented bunch of musicians and singers. Who got the audience singing along.

Lenny Kravitz
Lenny Kravitz

Then it was time for a trip down memory lane with an appearance from the All Saints. They did all the big hits from their impressive back catalogue. They were sounding ace. And still had all the dance moves and routines.

They looked like they were having fun. And that they were all enjoying being back together on stage. They finished their set with the hit song from the film “The Beach”, Pure Shores. Which went down very well with the Hyde Park crowd.

All Saints
All Saints

Next it was the duo who stepped in to replace the unwell Carrie Underwood. I would have loved to seen her live. But I have been following the careers of The Shires for a while now. So it was quality to finally get to see them play live. I am a big fan of country music. so I really like their stuff.

These two are already Britain’s most successful band of that genre. They were brilliant. Lovely people and talented performers backed by a great band. They are only going to get bigger and better. Next time they are in Nashville. I would be very happy to head over there with them. Seeing them reminded me very of my time in America.

The Shires
The Shires

The first ever Party in the Park style music event I went to see was one of the early Capital FM ones in Gunnersbury Park. A new Irish band called Boyzone were their performing their first two hits. Over the years I have met both Keith Duffy and Shane Lynch. Who for the record are both top blokes. The group are celebrating their 25th Anniversary this year. Which let’s face it. Is making us all feel old.

They are going to go out on one more big World Tour. Then they are going to call it a day for good. They were excellent. I have seen them live a few times. And I did honestly think they were sounding better than ever. Plus you forget what a great back catalogue of songs they had. For example I forgot they did that cover of the Bee Gees Words. That sounded sensational in the evening sunshine.

Boyzone
Boyzone

In between the live performances. They were playing out videos of some of the live studio performances from Radio 2 shows from the last year or so. A few of these were spectacular themselves.

We did also have DJ sets from Craig Charles and Ooh Gary Davies. Which were fun. The sound quality of the event was perfect. But I would expect nothing less from my BBC colleagues.

Craig Charles
Craig Charles

The last time I had seen The Manic Street Preachers was at the Glastonbury Festival. They were great that time and they were equally as good or even better this time around. They sounded fantastic. They played all their huge hits. It was a very slick and entertaining set from a power house of a band. Plus their latest single is excellent.

The whole day flew by really quickly. Aided by the great live music. And a few more of the Portobello Pilsners beers. Fuelled by a burger, crisps and some doughnuts.  I was more than ready to dance and sing along with the headline act.

Radio 2 Hyde Park
Radio 2 Hyde Park

I mentioned earlier the Capital Fm Party in the Parks. Well I went to the first one they held in Hyde Park. Sadly it was raining so hard that day. I had to leave two songs in to a certain Australian female singers performance. I had now waited a long time for the chance to see her again. So I was more than ready for this. And very excited to see her perform live.

The current host of the Radio 2 Breakfast Show Chris Evans came out to introduce her. As he had promised to do when she was last on his show. She came out looking stunning in a pink dress. And went straight in to one of her big hits. After the first song. She then sang a few lines acapella from some of her late eighties hits. The set list was a real celebration of her glorious and long career. In the year that she has celebrated her fiftieth birthday.

After a quick outfit change in to a nice little black number.  She was back out for more fun. I was having a great time singing and dancing away to hit after hit. Then she goes into the song that I would love to do as a duet with her Especially For You. Although I had to make do with singing the male part of the song. With the rest of the forty-eight thousand crowd. But it was still magical. Specially when Jason Donovan then joined her on stage halfway through to re-create the original dance moves. That was a brilliant moment!

The surprises did not end there. A little later on she started singing her debut single, I should Be So Lucky. During this she references the fact that it does sound a little bit like Never Gonna Give You Up. She sings a little bit of that. Then on walks the man whose song it is Rick Astley. To do a brilliant version of it with Kylie. He then stays on stage to do a version of the hit she had with Robbie Williams, Kids.

It was a brilliant end to a great day of live music in London. She is fantastic live. A great singer and dancer. Who is very at ease talking to her audience. The complete, albeit tiny package. She really did not disappoint. You do not have a career that lasts that long unless you are the real deal. And she very much is. Would I marry her tomorrow if the chance arose? Of course I would. Who wouldn’t? You have to love Kylie!

Kylie
Kylie

I will be having a look around Buckingham Palace soon. I will let you know what that was like next time we speak.

I am also finally getting round to seeing the brilliant “new” musical “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” next week. And today I am off to Wembley to see the mighty Spurs play Liverpool.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Drinking In A Winter Wonderland

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

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

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

Aladdin
Aladdin

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

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

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

The One Show
The One Show

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

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

Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland

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

Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland

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

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

Bavarian Village
Bavarian Village

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

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

BBC
BBC

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

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

BBC
BBC

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

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

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

Neil Quigley with Christopher Biggins
Neil Quigley with Christopher Biggins

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

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

Tottenham Champions League
Tottenham Champions League

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

School of Rock
School of Rock

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