Tag Archives: I’m a Celebrity

Radio And Theatre

We have just had this year’s BBC Children In Need appeal. It is always a very special campaign for a whole host of reasons. And most importantly it always raises lots of money for thousands of amazing charities.

It is actually quite frightening the amount of people who do rely on help from charities sometimes just to exist. Some of the stories are heart breaking. But they also highlight how the people in the worse situations can be the most positive. We can all take something and learn from that outlook, I think.

There is a nice community feel to this event with lots of school kids getting involved to help fellow children not as fortunate as them. A whole host of big businesses also embrace and support it. I must say huge congratulations to Rylan Clark-Neal for his twenty-four hour karaoke marathon. That was live on Radio 2 and brought in over one million pounds.

I will be honest I often find it a bit annoying when “non-radio” presenters are suddenly given shows on the big networks. But just as he had with television presenting, he has clearly listened to the right people, learnt the craft quickly and is doing a really great job. For which I respect him greatly. Plus he seems like a thoroughly nice bloke, which again is not always the case.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Last Sunday I went to see Michael Ball do his Radio 2 Show live from The Savoy Theatre in London for Children In Need. They sold tickets for it with all the proceeds going to the Pudsey Bear fronted charity. I have over the years presented lots of radio shows from outside the comfort of the studio.

They are always great fun but require a lot of hard work and result normally in much more adrenaline flowing through the body. There is so much more that can go wrong when you are out on location. It really does involve flying by the seat of your pants and hoping that everything works.

Victoria Pendleton and Neil Quigley
Victoria Pendleton and Neil Quigley

Kudos to Michael and his production team who were putting on this show totally live from a theatre with lots of live music performances thrown in just to make it even harder for themselves. I must say that they did a fantastic job and it was a very slick programme from start to finish. It requires top notch communication skills from everybody to make it all work. You need to be totally on the ball (pun intended).

They did leave it very late to get the audience in. Although that is of course less of an issue with radio than television. The last person got to their seat just as the travel news was about to finish and the show was about to start. The opening act was a Rock Choir who did their version of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”. Which I would say is quite apt for the start of a live radio show on location. Despite it being just after eleven o’clock on a Sunday morning the crowd were loud and in good spirits, singing and clapping along from the word go.

Radio 2

Michael Ball is such a natural performer and you could tell he was at home on the stage, even though we were watching him do his radio show. That means lots of conversations with the producers while the records or to be more accurate the digital recordings of songs are playing. This is also when the stage was set up for the next item. That is the beauty of radio. When you need time to sort something out or if something is not quite ready on time, you just play another song.

The next guest on the show was the wonderful Rick Astley. He is always happy to help out and donate his time to charity. He was on fine form. He did his excellent latest single. Then he had a quick chat with Mr Ball about his career and his latest tour before treating us to his big break through hit from the eighties “Never Gonna Give You Up”. His voice by the way is still sounding as good as ever. He really is a top quality live performer. I did enjoy singing along to that classic piece of pop history. However if I am honest I am not sure if the person sitting next to me enjoyed it as much.

Radio 2

Michael then played a round of his weekly quiz On The Ball. It is normally played by two contestants who know each other over the phone. But this time he had them both on stage with him. It did not go exactly to plan as the audience could not resist shouting out the answers, so both competitors got I would suggest more points than they normally would. It was all good fun and I must admit I do like a good quiz. Plus if I do say so myself I am pretty good at them. By this I mean I know a lot of useless rubbish.

Bonnie Langford then came on stage for a chat with the host. She is appearing in 9 to 5. That is currently playing at the theatre, more on that later on. It turns out that Michael had his first on stage kiss with Bonnie in 1985, when they were both in the Pirates of Penzance. For a laugh they did recreate it for us. She then showed off some of her dance moves. This is not meant to be at all sexist or ageist but for a woman of her age she can still kick her feet way above her head. She is amazing and a lovely person to.

Radio 2

To end the first hour of the show Michael was joined on stage by his great mate Alfie Boe to sing a song from their new album. It is the third one that they have made together. They are also going out on tour together to. Obviously they both have spectacular voices that compliment each other. But what is really great is the camaraderie between them. They get on so well and have such respect for each other, it is wonderful. Needless to say their version of “Something Inside So Strong” was sensational.

I have been a fan of Status Quo for years and up till this year had never seen them live. I have now seen them twice in the last three months. They were the first act of the final hour of the show. They came on and did their latest single. Then Michael tried to chat to Francis Rossi. I think he is brilliant! He is just like a big kid, he has that twinkle in his eye and just wants to throw the interviewer off and take the rise without really answering any questions. Then the band played “Rocking All Over The World”, which had the entire theatre singing along at the top of our voices.

Radio 2

The time was really flying by, which is always a good sign. Next on stage it was James Blunt. He did his latest song, then had a chat to Michael before playing a stripped down version of “Goodbye My Lover” with just him on the piano. He does seem to get a lot of stick. I am not even sure why as I think he seems like a nice bloke. I would recommend following him on Twitter as he does give some excellent responses to people who troll him on there. They are pretty funny. For the record his new album is excellent.

Radio 2

Right at the end Michael Ball was joined on stage by the entire cast of the Les Miserables Staged Concert to perform “One Day More”. It was stunning. I have been lucky enough to see the full show, so I do know how out of this world their voices are. It was a brilliant way to close an expertly well produced and executed radio show, all in aid of a very good cause. Congratulations to everyone who was involved. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Radio 2

I was back at The Savoy Theatre last Wednesday to see 9 To 5 The Musical. Being a fan of country music in general I am of course well aware of the work of the legend that is Dolly Parton. Although to be honest I had never seen the film version. That is more due to my lack of ability to watch movies than any slight on the story. It is based on the 1980 film which Dolly herself starred in. She is the producer of this stage version. I am delighted to say she does in video form make a few appearances to.

It is a lovely intimate theatre The Savoy of course attached to the famous hotel, whose name it shares. It is always nice when you go in as outside there is usually a load of limousines, so it feels quite grand and a little bit showbiz. I can confirm that the Rioja they serve there is perfectly acceptable to. The bar areas are quite small and compact but the seats in the theatre have plenty of leg room. Well for a man like me with short legs at least

9 To 5

The show was fantastic. It is a comedy so there were loads of funny moments. It was getting plenty of laughs from the audience. But the subject matter and arc of the story contains lots of moral and ethical issues. The songs are of course brilliant as they have been written by Dolly Parton. The cast were all excellent. It is quite amusing as Dolly played one of the roles in the film and let us just say they have kept true to that in this version. If you see it, you will know what I mean. It does need to be like that for it to all work really.

I must say that I did think Brian Conley was perfect as the terrible sexist boss. He played it great and of course being a comedy genius got plenty of laughs. Also Bonnie Langford was amazing in it. She is virtually a national treasure. She can sing, act and dance. In fact her dancing skills in this are sensational. She gets her own solo routine which she absolutely nails. I do not think I have ever seen somebody do the splits so effortlessly and graciously. She is like Super Woman.

Another fine afternoon out at the theatre seeing an excellent show, it got a deserved standing ovation. Then we all stayed on our feet to sing 9 to 5 with the cast, which is a very uplifting way to finish it off. Afterwards I had dinner with my family at The Ivy Garden in Covent Garden. I do really like it in there. The service is fantastic. They have a very good selection of excellent meals. It is always a pleasure to go there.

9 To 5

One of my favourite television programmes returned to our screens last Sunday. Right from the very first series I have always enjoyed it. The show in question is I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. I am a fan of Ant and Dec and I think this is arguably the best thing they do. They get to tell jokes, do mini skits and take the mickey out of all of the camp mates. Add to that the fact they are often so evil to them during the Bush Tucker Trials. I personally think that it makes for top quality entertainment. It is good to see Ant back with his mate after he missed last year due to his personal problems.

Over the years I have been lucky enough to meet many of the Kings and Queens of the jungle, as well as lots of former camp mates. They have all pretty much said the same thing. That it was one of the best experiences of their entire life. I guess it must be such an unique and unusual environment to be subjected to. It simply strips away all the superficial stuff and just leaves the need to acquire food and be with people. It must be quite enlightening, as well as being tough on the body and mind. I would like to give it a try but I will be honest, I am not sure if I could do it. I am not really an outdoorsy kind of guy.

Neil Quigley with Christopher Biggins
Neil Quigley with Christopher Biggins

I know it is still fairly early days but so far I really like all of this year’s Celebrities. They all seem nice and well-meaning people. Which in the current world climate is very reassuring, Mind you they are not cold and hungry yet. The competition has not really started, so that could all change. James Haskell is making me laugh the most. He has some top banter skills honed by many years of playing a team sport, I suspect. The only one who I have met in this line up is Ian Wright. He is a very nice, friendly and decent bloke, who I expect to do well this year. He is certainly very competitive.

I am looking forward to seeing how this series progresses. I know some people like it and think it is good television when people argue and fall out with each other. However I prefer seeing people getting along having a good laugh and working together. I am not a big fan of watching confrontation. I do also like seeing around the hotel they go to when they get kicked out of the jungle. It looks stunning. I am not going to predict who will win, as I do think it is pretty open this year. Plus I always get it wrong.

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

Strictly Come Dancing is reaching an interesting time. It has got to the stage this year where anyone could go. During the first half you can normally pretty much predict who will leave every week, as they are the worst dancer. At the minute with probably two exceptions everyone is at a fairly similar level. One bad dance or one dance style that does not suit could see anyone go. It is quite odd how I hate to see anyone leave but then forget about them pretty quickly when they do. As the old saying goes “That’s Showbiz”

This year as I have said previously I do like Chris Ramsey. He is not the best dancer, but he is very entertaining. He had not danced in public before the show, so has come a really long way. Kelvin is very good and I think Oti is fantastic. They must be in with a real chance of being champions. Karim and Amy are fabulous. Saffron and AJ look great together and always put on a show. It is brilliant to see Anton have a great year with the lovely Emma Barton. It would be nice to see him in the final.

I am sadly a terrible dancer. Several years ago I went to one Salsa class and was so bad that I never returned. Recently I have been trying to learn the Cha Cha Cha via online videos. I am finding it so tough just mastering the basic steps. The way these celebrities learn a new dance style and routine every week and then perform it live on a Saturday night amazes me. They all have my upmost respect. The professional dancers on the show are like magicians.

Neil Quigley

I went to England’s 1000th International football match at Wembley Stadium against Montenegro with my dad. We went for a couple of drinks first in The Arch pub before heading in to the ground. Before the game we had some pizza and I had a cup of tea. This is a pretty standard pre-match routine for me. The game itself was the most comfortable and straight forward England home game I had seen for years. We won eight – nil and Harry Kane had scored a hat-trick by half time.

England’s 1000th Game

This did mean that the second half was pretty dull and a bit boring compared to the first half when the goals were flying in. I must say I was a little disappointed in the half time reflection on the milestone of this match. I expected to see more of the 1966 World Cup team on the pitch and being interviewed, as well as a bigger selection of former internationals. I few former players walked out to the half way line and some were interviewed. But I just felt that more should have been made out of the occasion. Nice to see Wayne Rooney get a decent reception as the country’s record goal scorer.

Talking of receptions it was odd seeing Joe Gomez getting booed when coming on as a second half sub. He was obviously involved in the incident with Raheem Sterling but had done nothing wrong. I found this reaction very confusing. When a player steps out on to the pitch to represent the national team, they should have the fans full support. The win did mean we guaranteed qualification for the 2020 European Championships. The semi-finals and finals of which will be played at Wembley Stadium.

England then completed their qualifying campaign with a four- nil away win against Kosovo. Harry Kane scored his 32nd goal for his country. He is now sixth on the all-time scorer’s list, just twenty one goals behind Wayne Rooney. If he can stay fit I can see no reason why he cannot beat the record. He really is one of the best forwards in the world. He creates so many goals as well as scoring them. May be I am a little bit biased but I do sometimes think that he does not always get the credit he deserves.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Tottenham Hotspur continues to disappoint. I was at the last home game before the International Break. We managed to hold on for a draw against Sheffield United with a little help from our old friend VAR. Which for the record, I hate. It really is taking the fun and passion out of games. You are not sure if you should celebrate a goal now in case it is ruled out. Fans are cheering no goals like goals.

The decisions take ages and nobody in the ground has any idea what is going on. That makes for a very strange atmosphere during the games. Finally it is putting the officials on edge, so they are making more mistakes than they would if it was not there. I wish they would just stop using it completely.

Neil Quigley

I am still in shock at Mauricio Pochettino being sacked by Spurs. I am a massive fan of his, he did an amazing job at the club in very difficult circumstances. I did not only love the manager, I loved the man. How he held himself, the way he spoke, his ideas and passion for the team. I just want to personally thank him for what he has done for us over the last five years. I am sad to see him go and although things have not been going well this season, I would still have backed him to turn things around. Cheers Poch, he is still magic you know!

Tottehham Hotspur
Tottehham Hotspur

I have never been a fan of Jose Mourinho. I appreciate that he has been successful in the past. However he is the new manager of my club and I am completely behind him. I hope he does not moan as much as he has in the past or be such an idiot in some situations. We play West Ham United away this weekend, always a tough place to go. We really need to win as we are at risk of being dragged into the relegation places. Big match!

The London Stadium
The London Stadium

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

Life Begins at 40 Right?

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really nice couple of week’s. Mine have been quite busy with some fun things going on. December is very much a time for catching up with family and friends, I think. So I had a full day of doing exactly that last Saturday.

At lunchtime I went and met up with two of my best mates. For a long overdue catch up. Over some food and a few drinks. Everybody seems to have such busy live’s nowadays with so much going on. So as a result of that, this was actually the first time I think we had all been together for nearly a year.

We went to the Royal Saracens Head in Beaconsfield. When you are with good friends the conversation just flows constantly from the moment you get there. Filling each other in on recent developments, while also reminiscing about the past. Is there a better way of spending a Saturday afternoon than having a laugh with mates.

The food was great to. I had the pork belly, which was amazing. And for desert I had a dish called the Chocolate Bomb. The waitress bought it to the table. And it was just a big ball of chocolate. Then she pours on the special custard. And the chocolate explodes in the bowl. It looked spectacular and tasted so good. It was a brilliant few hours spent with that winning combination of great food and great company.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I then went straight from my lunch meeting to my Uncle’s house for his annual pre-Christmas drinks. This is always a good fun event. It was lovely to catch up with lots of members of my family, all in one go. I do have quite a big family. So there were lots of us there. All having a nice chat and a good giggle. Another tradition that has developed at this event is a family sing song.

One of my cousin’s husband’s is a decent guitarist. So he now brings his axe. And we all get together in the kitchen to sing a few carols and Christmas songs together. I seem to remember that one year someone actually went and produced song sheets for everyone.

Then after the singing there is always some lovely food to enjoy. So everyone is always well fed and watered. Then as the party thinned out a little bit when people started to leave. We moved through to the living room to continue the fun. Now I do not know why but I always seem to be one of the last people to leave any party. And once again I was one of the last people to leave this one.

Another successful and fun festive get together with the family. This event almost signals the official start of Christmas for me. Luckily they are all fun people, so there is lots of joking around and laughing at these occasions. Which is right up my street.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Now as a child I did play a lot of football and have always been a massive fan of the game. Although I kind of stopped playing regularly when I was in my mid twenties. As I started to pick up more radio work at the weekends. Since then I have played the odd bit of five a side.

And seem to have almost averaged about one charity game of football a year. Each time I play in one. It does actually seem to get harder and harder every year. And although I do try to keep myself fit by going running and doing some weights. It is a different kind of fitness, that is required to play football.

Charity Football Match
Charity Football Match

The other week I played in my latest charity game. Which was organised by my mate Andy Holmes to raise money for Bucks Mind. My previous game was at Wembley Stadium. And I did think that may be I should make that my last game. As that would be quite a fitting place to bow out. But Andy is a good friend and I still do enjoy a game of football.

So therefore I agreed to play in it. It took place on the 3G pitch at the Aylesbury Academy. It was the first time that I had been there. It seems like the whole estate it was on had appeared from nowhere. Without wishing to show my age. And sound like an old man. I really do remember when it was all fields there.

Charity Football Match
Charity Football Match

It was very well organised. And we even had kits to wear. I was put on the red and black team and managed to get the number eight shirt. Which was the number Paul Gascoigne used to wear when he was at Tottenham. So it was a choice I was happy with. I think because I play so little and so rarely. I always seem to injure myself when I play now.

Normally I think this is because when I step out on to a football pitch in my head I am eighteen. So I race around everywhere but in reality I am not of course. So predictably within a minute of kick off I collided with a defender while running and went flying. Hurting my shoulder and giving myself a very impressive cut and friction burn from the pitch on my left knee.

Charity Football Match
Charity Football Match

I picked myself up and got on with the game like the hero I am. I was playing up front. Now when I was younger and was pretty good. I scored lots of goals in my teens and my twenties. But nowadays I still know what I want to do with the ball in my head. But my body is not quite as responsive as it used to be. Which I think led to me missing lots of chances. That I am pretty sure a younger me would have put away without thinking about them.

I did still produce a few moments of class to set up some goals. But sadly I could not get myself a goal. It was not for the want of trying I can assure you. My team won 8-6. But the real winner was the charity of course. As we raised over seven hundred pounds for them. It was good fun, despite the fact I was struggling to walk for two days after it.

Charity Football Match
Charity Football Match

So Tottenham Hotspur’s Champions League experience has not gone brilliantly. I went to two of the home games at Wembley. And saw us lose both of them. We are now out of the competition. Which I guess means we can concentrate on the league and possibly the FA Cup now. At least we had a nice win last weekend against Swansea. As we head towards the second half of what is our very last season at White Hart Lane.

I still plan to get to at least one game there. To say good bye to the old place. It is nice to see the manager getting our star players signed up on long contracts with Harry Kane and Jan Vertonghen. Both signing new deals this week. So the future looks bright and exciting, I think.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It has been another great series of Strictly Come Dancing. The standard of the celebrities this year has been astonishing. Even the much maligned Ed Balls improved as a dancer and put in some really good performances. Which although were not technically perfect were very entertaining. I think it is very difficult to choose between the final four. They are all such good dancers. Who have all put in memorable performances. Danny Mac was brilliant from show one but has maintained these standards. Ore Oduba has steadily improved every week. And the two ladies Louise Redknapp and Claudia Fragapane have both just got better and better each week.

I think Louise might just edge it and get her hands on the Glitter Ball trophy. Mainly because of her partner Kevin Clifton. He has reached the final every year since he joined the show. So I think he is over due his win. Which could be made even sweeter by beating his sister Joanne. Who partners Ore. The bond and friendship that develops between the celebrities and their professional partners. Just makes the show so watchable and often very emotional. It is a great all round family entertainment show. Which is just perfect for Saturday Night’s.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Another television show that I really enjoy is I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. I think Ant & Dec are brilliant on it. Linking it all together smoothly with lots of good jokes. And amusing set pieces normally at the expense of the camp mates. Who this year have all been really nice. It has been a good happy fun camp with lots of laughter and very few arguments. Which I have really liked.

I would much rather watch people getting on and enjoying each others company. Than people screaming and shouting at each other. I did not really have a favourite. They all seemed like they were nice people. I thought that may be Danny Baker would have lasted a little longer than he did in there. But I guess as you get the same money if you get voted out first or last. Then why not get out early and enjoy living it up in the six star Australian hotel. As opposed to sleeping on a camp bed and eating rice and beans for three weeks.

Neil Quigley with Christopher Biggins
Neil Quigley with Christopher Biggins

Well done to Scarlett Moffatt who was crowned the Queen of the Jungle this year. It just shows you how the world of reality TV has developed. As she is basically famous for watching TV. While being filmed for TV. You some times forget that the show has now been running since 2002. Scarlett made us all feel very old. When she revealed she used to watch it as a ten year old and dreamed of being on it. She seems like a nice girl and I wish her all the best for the future.

I think this might show how the programme’s demographic has changed over the years. When you think an established name like Tony Blackburn won the first series. And now the last two have been won by up and coming reality style stars. While it used to be the chance to revive the profile of existing performers. It is now may be more of a stepping stone for future celebrities and stars. Still I do enjoy it and it is a great fun show, whatever.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

So since we spoke last while I have been at work. I have been in a lift with Radio One’s Scott Mill’s. I have seen his former producer Beccy Huxtable in the office. I have also spotted in and around the building Pete Tong, Bradley Walsh and Julie Walters.

There is always so many cool people about New Broadcasting House. I also got to speak to the legend that is journalist Martin Bashir the other week. As he was doing a report in to one of the shows that I was working on.

BBC Radio
BBC Radio

So today it is actually my 40th Birthday. I am not quite sure how this has happened. And it seems to have come around very quickly. I do always make sure I do something to celebrate my birthday. And as it is a landmark one. I am throwing a big party tonight. Which I have organised and arranged all by myself.

Every party I have had has included some entertainment. And I have really pulled out all the stops for this one, this year. I will tell you all about, when I speak to you next. But needless to say I am really looking forward to it and it should be a lot of fun. I have no hang ups or issues about heading in to my forties. Age is just a number. I will carry on just, as I always have.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Celebrate Good Times

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been busy with some fun things going on. For starters last Saturday we had an early pre-Christmas family get together at my Uncle’s. He has hosted this event in the run up to the festive season for at least the previous five years. So we now employ a tried and tested formula. That we all know works perfectly well. We arrive, have a few drinks while chatting to and catching up with everyone.

Then the food is served. This year it was a tasty chilli with rice or pizza. Just for quality control reasons I sampled both. And I can confirm they were both excellent. Then after the food the Christmas Songs come on. And it turns in to one big family sing-a-long with everyone joining in and getting involved.

It is always filmed but thankfully so far none of this footage has ever leaked outside of the family circle. And on to You Tube. It was another fun afternoon/evening. Which kick started this year’s Christmas Celebrations very nicely. It is always great seeing the family at this time of year. And finding out what everyone has been up to.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

I was lucky enough to be invited along to the recording of Michael McIntyre’s Big Christmas Show. Which will be shown on BBC One before the main evening news on Christmas Day. It was filmed at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, right in the heart of London’s Theatre land.

I obviously made a day out of it. So after stopping by the venue to pick up my ticket for the evening. I treated myself to a leisurely three course meal at an Italian restaurant in Covent Garden. The food was great and the staff were lovely and helpful, so it made for a relaxing and enjoyable afternoon.

Covent Garden
Covent Garden

After dinner I still had a bit of time before I had to be at the theatre. So I went and enjoyed a drink in one of my favourite bars in that area. I went and spent an hour or so in the ace Radio Rooftop Bar at the ME Hotel on The Strand. It is such a cool and trendy bar with a great chilled vibe to it. The two things I like best about it are the views over London and if I am honest also the fact that it has radio in its name.

View from Radio Rooftop Bar
View from Radio Rooftop Bar

I then left there and headed to the Theatre Royal in time for the TV recording to start. They looked after me very well and actually gave me a cracking seat right in the second row. So keep your eyes open on Christmas Day, when you are watching it go out. As you never know, you might just spot my smiling face staring back at you. The show itself as you would expect was brilliant.

Michael McIntyre was on top form from start to finish. He was very funny in the actual show and also between takes. When there were any breaks in proceedings. The whole affair felt very “Christmassy” and the start of the programme sets the tone for that very nicely, as you will see when you watch it.

Neil Quigley Happy Christmas
Neil Quigley Happy Christmas

The guests included comedian’s Dara O’Briain and Russell Kane. The latest winner of America’s Got Talent. Who is English and is the truly amazing
ventriloquist Paul Zerdin. He was excellent. The musical guests were the wonderful Ellie Goulding and the legend that is Sir Tom Jones. There were a few other surprise appearances on the night to but I will let you discover them for yourself when you watch it. Needless to say it was a extremely funny and enjoyable night out at the theatre.

Theatre Royal
Theatre Royal

It was also good to see Holly Willoughby there on a night out with some of her mates having some fun. The recording did go on quite late and led to me having to dash across London to make my last train home. Which I did with about a minute to spare. It was like how “the King” Elvis Presley used to disappear at the end of his gigs. As by the time the curtain was down I was already half way to the station. If you are in when it is on, it is definitely worth a watch. It will really add to the Christmas Day celebrations.

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

Recently one of the Car Parks at Wembley played host to a fairly unusual event. It was an Anti-Drink Drive Campaign Race Car Demonstration Day. It was organised by Johnnie Walker as part of their “Join The Pact” promotion. Here is what happened. They turned the Car Park in to a mini race track. They got some high powered McLaren Sports Cars and had amongst others Mika Hakkinen, Fernando Alonso and Jensen Button there to take people on laps of the circuit.

Wembley Racing Event
Wembley Racing Event

It was hosted by Chris Moyles, who interviewed all the drivers on stage before they took it in turns to jump in the cars and show off. I was lucky enough to be able to watch a little bit of the action from the VIP paddock. I saw Fernando Alsonso take several members of the public for a spin in a McLaren S650. Now I have to be honest I am not a massive fan of Formula One Motor Racing but seeing the control, speed and skill of the Spaniard in that vehicle put a big smile on my face. He was really going for it and was leaving a lot of rubber from the tyres on the tarmac.

Chris Moyles
Chris Moyles

At one point he was doing doughnuts with one hand on the steering wheel and the other out of the window waving at the crowd. Truly brilliant. While I was there both Mika Hakkinen and Jenson Button walked past me both looking very cool and relaxed. It was certainly a fun event to see and also one that does of course promote a very safety conscious and important message.

Jenson Button
Jenson Button

I have once again really enjoyed the latest series of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Ant & Dec were on fire and so funny. The gags, the links and the set pieces they do, all so good. Plus it is such an interactive show now with Twitter. As not only can fans of the show swap views and jokes in real time, while watching. But the two Geordie’s get involved and tweet along during the show, when they can to. Which really adds to it all for me.

Ant & Dec
Ant & Dec

If I am totally honest the one camp mate I did not really enjoy all the time was Lady C. Although I will admit some of the things she did and said did make for great TV. She constantly annoyed me and I thought killed a lot of the fun and spirit in there too often. Which is a shame because at the start and in her first Bush Tucker Trial I quite liked her and thought she would be amusing and quirky.

Neil Quigley with The Beatles
Neil Quigley with The Beatles

Despite the shall we say issues he had with her I thought Tony Hadley was great in there. I have met him a couple of times. He is such a nice, generous and friendly person. Who is happy to talk to anyone and who just loves singing. As I said previously I would have liked him to win it but I thought he did very well in there. I also got the impression he was ready to go when he did and hang out in the hotel with his family.

I have no complaints about this year’s winner though. I thought Vicky Pattison deserved to win. From the second she entered she attacked everything full on, with good grace and a wicked sense of humour. She was probably the camp mate who made me laugh out loud the most this year.

I had never heard of her or Ferne McCann before but I thought both of them came across well and seem like really nice genuine people. Which I think deep down is what the public like and are looking for in their jungle King and Queen’s. Another great series and I am already looking forward to next year’s. Well done again to Vicky. I have a feeling we are going to be seeing a lot more of her over the next twelve months.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I did watch this year’s Royal Variety Performance when it was shown on television recently. I thought it was actually the best one I had seen for a long time. Jack Whitehall did a great job hosting it. The comedians were all good with Romesh Ranganathan just shading it for me as the best on the night. The music guests were very strong to. Any show in which Kylie Minogue appears only improves it in my opinion.

There was a nice contrast of variety acts and the whole show flowed really well. They also had some great exerts from some West End shows including a snippet of the fantastic “The Play That Goes Wrong” I saw it earlier in the year and it is arguably one of the funniest things you will ever see. I would certainly recommend it. Well done everybody who was part of it I thought you all did an excellent job.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

So we are heading to the business end of the series for Strictly Come Dancing. The standard of the celebrity’s on this year have been amazing. Their performances have been so entertaining. It is hard to try and predict a winner. Tonight it is the semi-finals with the glitter ball trophy being presented next week. So far in the programme’s history none of the professional dancers have ever won the show more than once.

The only dancer this currently applies to is Aliona Vilani. So if this fact stands that would mean Jay McGuinness would miss out. It is really nice to see that Anton Du BeKe actually has a partner who can dance this year. And although possibly technically not the best dancer I think it would be great to see Katie get there for him. I do like Kellie Bright and Kevin Clifton as a pairing. They have been in the bottom two a few times along the way but I think they have been unlucky to end up there based on their dances.

Elstree Studios
Elstree Studios

I think if it goes to the best dancer Georgia May Foote and Giovanni Pernice will win but if it goes to the most improved it should go to Anita Rani and Gleb Savchenko. Whatever happens I am sure they will all put on a good display. And it will be a fitting end to the series. If I could be on one television show I think Strictly is the one I would like to do most.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It was my birthday last Thursday. I had the day off. So I just spent it relaxing at home drinking cups of tea. Someone gave me the new Steve Coogan autobiography “Easily Pleased” which I am really looking forward to reading. I did treat myself to a nice rib eye steak for dinner. Which I have to say I cooked perfectly. I then watched my Peter Kay “The Show That Doesn’t Tour, tour” DVD before heading out to my local pub for a few birthday drinks with some mates. All in all a very enjoyable birthday.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am off to my cousin’s 40th Birthday party tonight. Me and his twin sister all share the same birthday but they are exactly one year older than me. So I have my next big landmark birthday next year. I can tell you now there will definitely be a party. The do later is slightly awkward because although they are twins. His sister did not want to have a joint party.

So it has been solely organised by him as his do, but his sister is coming along as well. So do we still sing them both happy birthday or not. I guess that I will find this out later. Whatever happens it will be a fun night and I am looking forward to it. I am not going to tell him I am just using it as a warm up for mine next year though.

Neil Quigley having a go at conducting the Orchestra
Neil Quigley having a go at conducting the Orchestra

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

That’s Entertainment

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a good couple of weeks. Mine have been busy and very entertaining. A fortnight ago I went along to the last ever Laughing Badger Comedy Night at the Rose and Crown in Hemel Hempstead. It was the final event run by Lee Bryant after three years of putting on shows in the Hertfordshire area.

As I said previously I actually performed at the very first one. Which was headlined by James Redmond at the Hemel Stags Rugby Club. So basically I was the third ever act to appear as part of the brand. It was a fun night and a lot of the audience had stayed loyal with them from the start right to the end. So it was a nice celebration of lots of good fun times.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The final Laughing Badger Comedy Night was hosted by Matt Hake. Who has been performing that role for the last couple of years. Like me he is also from the Tringe Festival Roving Comedy Night production line. Having been taught by the comedy guru that is Logan Murray as well. The line up for the evening included the pretty unique President Obonjo, local comedian Tom Mayhew, the Rev Henry King, the brilliantly funny Filthy Phil and the man of the moment Lee Bryant.

It was then headlined by Stu Turner, who combines comedy with some brilliant magic to very good effect. All the acts I have to say were totally brilliant. The place was packed with happy people up for a good time. It was a fun night. And a very fitting send off to an old friend, I thought.

Lee Bryant in Action
Lee Bryant in Action

In the bar next door afterwards there was some Karaoke going on. Now Filthy Phil sings his own very rude parody versions of some pretty well known songs. Which are both hilarious and in parts disgusting. One of the best bits of the night for me was after the gig when Filthy Phil took over the main pub karaoke. To sing one of his versions of a song. The looks on people’s faces were priceless. As you could see them thinking I am sure these are not the right words for this but not properly registering what he was actually singing. Making it a very very different song. Congratulations to Lee Bryant for putting on such a good night. And all the best with your future projects.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

A few Sunday’s ago I was at the wonderful BBC Radio Theatre at New Broadcasting House in London to see two episodes of a brand new comedy show called Live at the BBC being filmed for BBC Three. It focuses on mainly upcoming acts who have done well and been spotted at the Edinburgh Festival mixed in with a few more well known comedians. On the afternoon I was there.

I got to see a cracking five minute set from Adam Hess. The whole of Felicity Ward’s last Edinburgh Show. A totally madcap five minutes from Spencer Jones. And finally the whole of James Acaster’s current show. It was a lovely way to spend a weekend afternoon. Inside a great venue and having a good old fashioned laugh at some great new comedy. It will be shown on TV, some time early next year. So do keep an eye out for it.

BBC Radio Theatre
BBC Radio Theatre

I attended the England versus France Friendly Football International match at Wembley Stadium. I had my ticket before the tragic events that took place in Paris on the Friday before the game. Once the game was given the go head. I was always going to be there to show my support and respect.

It was I have to admit quite a surreal and at times eerie atmosphere outside the ground and even inside before kick off. But after the two teams walked out of the tunnel. And once the important, poignant reflection and unity was shown. The game kicked off and everything felt right and more normal again.

England v France
England v France

It was a decent game I thought with England playing some very good football at times. You could of course forgive the visitors, if their minds were not completely on it. But they did well and it made for an entertaining spectacle. The occasion and reflections were of course much more important than the sport being played.

It was nice however as a Spurs fan to see Deli Alli score his first goal for his country. Although it was a bit weird seeing it fly past Hugo Lloris. Good to see Wayne Rooney add to his tally to. A nice night spent watching the game with my Dad. Thinking about family and friends and how important they are in our lives.

England v France
England v France

I had an excellent afternoon last Friday at the Elgiva Theatre in Chesham seeing Neil Sand’s Christmas Memories. It is a brilliant two and an half hour show. That features so many classic Christmas Songs and carols. That if you do not leave at the end of it feeling very festive you have no soul or festive spirit at all.

It features a very talented cast including the sensational singers Gemma Turner and Chelsea Turnbull plus of course the man himself the great singer and all round entertainer that is Neil Sands. It is a really fast moving show. With something for everyone including a fair bit of comedy as Christmas Memories are shared with an audience very happy to reminisce about this most wonderful time of the year.

Neil enjoying a Mince Pie
Neil enjoying a Mince Pie

It was great to catch up with the legend that is Neil Sands after the performance. He is one of the nicest people you could meet in show business. And he really does put his heart and soul in to his productions. They always do have great singers, great songs and great costumes to. He does tour several different shows around the country every year. So do keep a look out for them at your local theatre. If one is on trust me go and see it. You will have a great time.

It was also lovely to see Gemma Turner again. I met her previously several years ago when she was on tour with Neil in Yeovil. She has an absolutely beautiful voice and is such a top performer. And it was nice to meet Chelsea Turnbull, albeit very very briefly. She is another class vocalist. Who can certainly belt out a tune. I left the venue with a nice warm glow after seeing the show and chatting to the cast.

Neil Sands
Neil Sands

So this is quite big. Last Wednesday I got to fulfil one of my childhood dreams and play football on the pitch at Wembley Stadium. I was invited to be part of a Football Association Charity Day raising money for Breast Cancer Care. There were several matches running through out the day. Each game lasted twenty-two minutes. I was lucky enough to play in game eight. So wearing my Tottenham Hotspur 1991 FA Cup Final replica shirt. I got to play at the biggest and best sporting ground in the country, if not the world.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It was such an amazing feeling to run out there and then get to perform or at least play a bit at the home of the England National Football Team. I was secretly hoping Roy Hodgson might be there on a scouting mission looking for new players for next summers European Championships but he wasn’t. To think of all the truly great footballers, who have appeared there over the years. And to have now done so myself it is mind blowing. It was a brilliant day and an unforgettable experience.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I do not think I have stopped smiling since. We raised over two-thousand pounds for the the charity. Which is of course the important thing. Although the team I was playing in won three-nil. Which does mean I have an one hundred percent win rate at Wembley Stadium. Which is better than a lot of professional footballers. It was a fantastic honour to do it and I am so thankful for the opportunity to take part. I still have not cleaned my boots yet so they still have some Wembley turf on them.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have of course still been watching and enjoying the excellent Strictly Come Dancing. It is such a good entertainment programme with a generally positive feel to it. Filled with people trying hard to learn a brand new skill with varying degrees of success. And with extremely close relationships and bonds being formed between the dancers and their celebrity partners. Then there is the genius of those professional dancers. In the way they teach the contestants each different dance so well. And create the choreography and overall spectacle for each performance.

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

Last weekend the couple I was supporting Jamelia and Tristan left the competition. I have always really liked her and think she is very interesting and entertaining. If I am honest I chose her before the series started. And being a pop star I thought she might already be quite a natural mover. However this did not necessarily prove to be the case. But you can’t fault her for effort and commitment to the whole thing. I do not want this to sound like sour grapes because my girl has gone. But personally in the dance off last Sunday. I thought her and Tristan’s one off dance was better than Peter Andre’s and Janette’s.

Don’t get me wrong. I really like him. He is a top bloke. A better all round dancer than Jamelia and the two of them do make a great couple. But just looking solely at both dance off performances only. I really did think Jamelia and Tristan should have stayed. The only slight consolation was that the head judge Len Goodman did at least agree with me. I will still be watching the show. It is brilliant fun and all the celebrity’s still in, are fantastic. The competition is so tough this year. I am not going to pick a new favourite pairing. I am just going to support them all equally, that way I can’t lose. Keep Dancing.

Elstree Studios
Elstree Studios

I am again loving I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of here. It is my favourite television show. Ant and Dec are as ever on top form conducting the madness and having a good laugh at everyone’s expense including their own. I have met two of this year’s camp mates. Firstly Susannah Constantine who I met at a radio station in Somerset. While she and her fashion colleague Trinny Woodall were being interviewed by a colleague of mine.

The other person is the brilliant Tony Hadley. I first met him when he was promoting his autobiography and he came on my radio show in Yeovil. I have since bumped in to him at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury and at my local fish and chip shop. The last two meetings occurred because he now lives near to where I do. He is such a nice fun, friendly and positive man.Which I personally think is coming across in the jungle in quite trying circumstances on occasions.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It is a really good and interesting cast this year. Full of very interesting characters. I am still very much supporting Tony Hadley and I hope that he can win it. I have to confess that I have never watched Geordie Shore. So I had no idea who Vicky Pattison was when she went in with the other reality TV stars. But I have to confess I really like her. She is smart, funny and a little bit feisty. Plus I can’t explain it but I have always found the accent in a lady shall we say intriguing . So I wouldn’t mind her staying till right at the end. She is not a drama queen and seems to have a great sense of humour.

So I guess what I am saying is that I want Tony and Vicky to be the final two left in there. The other thing I really love about this show is being on Twitter, while it is on. So I get to interact with people all over the country about the show. Which really adds to my enjoyment of it. Specially as hardly any of my friends seem to see it.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Next Sunday I am heading along to the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane to see Michael McIntyre’s Big Christmas Show being filmed. I am pretty sure the guest list for this will be good. So I am looking forward to a great evening spent in the West End in the company of a top comedian. I will let you know what it was like, next time we speak.

Michael McIntyre
Michael McIntyre

My Birthday is approaching so I am making plans and looking forward to celebrating that. It is on Thursday 10th December this year. Just in case you want to send me any cards or presents. I am not sure what I am doing just yet but I will say now that next year’s plans will definitely be much bigger as it is a landmark age then.

I have had some wonderful birthdays over the years. I try not to work on them but occasionally this can not be helped. One year I found myself working with the Drifters on the night of my special day. They were singing as the cabaret and I was djing at a Christmas Dinner and Dance. Which was absolutely the right way round of doing things. Happily I love them and their songs. So it was a great evening.

Neil Quigley Birthday Selfie
Neil Quigley Birthday Selfie

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

The Sky Bars The Limit

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been busy with lots going on. I mentioned previously that a member of the Wembley Stadium management team was leaving. Well on his last day there, they arranged a few drinks in the evening at the Sky Bar at the Wembley Hilton. The hotel is used by a lot of the teams, who play at Wembley. And also by artists who are performing at the Arena next door. It was though the first time that I had been in there.

It is a very cool bar. Which would have wonderful views right across London. If it wasn’t for the great big stadium in front of it. You do get a brilliant view of the stadium. And from that vantage point you can see what a spectacular building it is. It did provide a lovely backdrop for the occasion.

They also had potentially the most addictive bar snacks ever in there. They were like miniature chilli flavoured rice cakes. It was impossible to just have one and walk away. You could not stop helping yourself to at least three or four every time you walked past them. Trust me they seemed to disappear very quickly. Personally I thought they complimented the drinks very nicely but then you would expect that kind of class from a hotel of that calibre.

Wembley
Wembley

I was once again working behind the scenes at the final NFL American Football Game of the year at Wembley Stadium between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Detroit Lions. It was a fun weekend working with both the teams, VIP guests and the officials from America. Also at the game were the Spurs forward Harry Kane and the singer and actress Alexandra Burke. So I was in very good company. It was great to see the Military Wives performing the National Anthem. They did a brilliant job and looked to be having a good time.

The pre-game show saw Madness perform three of their biggest hits. I was lucky enough to be one of the few people inside the ground when they were sound checking. So it did feel like Suggs and the gang were giving me a bit of a private concert. They were sounding fantastic and as you would expect went down an absolute storm before the start of the game. It was great seeing over eighty thousand folks all doing their best Madness style dancing in the stands.

It was another successful NFL International Series at the home of English Football. There will be at least two matches played at Wembley Stadium next year to. If you ever get the chance go along and give it a try the atmosphere is always electric. The Americans really do know how to put on a great show.

Dolphins V Jets
Dolphins V Jets

I hope you enjoyed a safe and fun Fireworks Night. For the first time in as long as I can remember I did not actually go to a display this year. As much as I do like them. It was nice to take a break. Owing to working in Radio for over a decade. I have been to and hosted a lot of these big events over the years. I have also sometimes organised the entertainment element of them. So I have booked acts to perform, hired staging plus Sound and Lighting. I have even stage managed a few of them.

Making sure everything goes to time. This normally included having the Fireworks set to music. So as you can imagine the timing on something like that is very critical, to say the least. I have loved every minute of doing them. I had great fun being involved and standing up on the stage, seeing the people really enjoying themselves. But it was certainly a nice and refreshing change to have a slightly less stressful Bonfire Night. This year I just kicked back and relaxed with a nice cup of tea. While watching others’ displays from my window.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley point’s the way on stage at the Mix 96 Fireworks.

I do like live comedy. And I do like to see as many different comedians as I can perform in person. Last week I managed to tick another person off my must see list. When I went and saw Sean Lock do a Work in Progress gig at the Leicester Square Theatre in central London. The last time I was there was about twelve months ago. When I was taking part in a Stand Up Comedy competition myself. It is fair to say that there were slightly more people there to see Sean.

I have seen quite a lot of these warm up kind of shows from many different comics and most bring on bits of paper and books to remind them of their new material. He had a big white board flip chart on stage with him. Mind you it seemed to work a treat as the new stuff he was doing seemed to flow expertly and effortlessly. And most importantly it was very funny.

All of the top comedians do tend to have their own brand and style. So nobody else could do the jokes and material that he does. As it would not really work without his personality and seemingly slightly grumpy outlook on life. They talk about finding your own voice in comedy. That is something all the top performers have. It is not just about telling the jokes. It is about making it sound conversational and natural. It was a top night out. If you have tickets for his tour, you are in for a treat.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Something else that I would recommend seeing is the latest Derren Brown Show called Miracle. It is on at the Palace Theatre in London until the 16th January next year. I was lucky enough to go along and see its opening night in the Capital. It has been on tour around the country earlier this year but will now be based in the West End for a couple of months.

I am massive fan of what he does and I have seen him live before at The Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury. This latest show has got all the magical ingredients that you would expect from one of his appearances. All of it just leaves you thinking. How on earth did he do that?

There is plenty of audience interaction with lots of different people involved in the elements of the evening. There is also a lot of humour and jokes in the show. Which all just adds to the entertainment. I like the way he makes no secret of the fact that he will be able to slightly manipulate people to do what he wants. Yet there is nothing at all you can do about it. It does touch on one of his earlier Channel  4 televisions shows (which I also love), for a bit.

It is a positive and feel good production. Which will leave you feeling upbeat and with a big smile on your face. The stuff he does on that stage is amazing. You can clearly see the dedication and hours that have gone into honing his almost super humans skills. Not to mention the way that he and the production team have put it all together, in to such a great piece of theatre. With his breath taking mind skills. He is the nearest thing that I have ever seen to a real life “Jedi”.

Derren Brown
Derren Brown

Later tonight I am going to the last ever Laughing Badger Comedy Night. It is a comedy club that was set up by Hertfordshire impresario Lee Bryant around three years ago in Hemel Hempstead. I was honoured to be one of the acts who performed at the very first one. It was my fourth gig after the Roving Comedy Night at the Tringe Festival. Night one was headlined by the former Hollyoaks and Casualty actor turned comedian James Redmond. Who is a top bloke and really funny. It also featured the brilliant Flange Krammer. He is well worth seeing by the way, if you get the chance to.

I did about four or five of the Laughing Badger Nights and really enjoyed them. It is a shame that they are ending. But I am assured by the main man that they are going to go out with a bang. It will be a memorable end to what has been a fun venture. I am really looking forward to it.

It will be lovely to catch up with some friends and have a good old giggle. No one knows the list of comedians who are performing yet. But I have a funny feeling that Lee has some good things up his sleeve and lined up for us all. Congratulations to him for running them for the past few years and I wish him all the best with his future projects and plans.

Laughing Badger Comedy Night
Laughing Badger Comedy Night

This weekend is packed full of comedy for me. Tomorrow I am going to the BBC Radio Theatre in London to see two separate stand up comedy shows recorded for a new BBC Three show called Live at the BBC. They are keeping the acts a surprise at the moment. So at this point I do not know who I will actually be seeing. I am also not sure when it will be shown on television either. But I am really looking forward to spending Sunday afternoon in a lovely venue. Enjoying some top quality comedy. I will let you know who the comedians were next time we speak. But I am confident it will be a great line up.

BBC Radio Theatre
BBC Radio Theatre

 

Many years ago when I was working in Yeovil I met a great gentlemen called Neil Sands. Who came on to my radio show to talk about his Country and Western show that was playing at the Octagon Theatre in the town. He is a very interesting man who has done a lot of cool stuff. He was a professional wrestler for a while for starters.

And if anybody of a certain age remembers going to Bagley’s Warehouse near Kings Cross on a Sunday to enjoy the crazy party that was “The Church”. He was actually one of the main people and promoters behind that. Next Friday I am looking forward to catching up with him in Chesham. Where he is performing in his latest show called “Christmas Memories” at the Elgiva Theatre at 2pm.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

And finally my favourite television programme of the year also starts tomorrow night. I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here returns with Ant & Dec at the helm expertly steering the ship. I have met two of the camp mates on this year’s show. But you will have to wait until my next update to find out which two that is. In fact I have met one of them on more than one occasion.

And if I am honest they are such a top person I already want them to win the whole thing. Even before the competition has started. This series I fear will pretty much take over my life for the next few weeks. Well certainly my evenings at least.

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

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