Tag Archives: London Palladium

Stand Up And Dance

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been very busy and good fun. I did take at least one day away from a theatre or a stadium to go Horse Racing with my dad. We went to Warwick Races for an afternoon of jump racing. It was my first time there. It is a lovely and friendly track with a really nice feel to the place.

I did actually randomly bump in to someone else I knew. While I was there. It was his birthday. He is a massive racing fan. And although he lives in Liverpool. He had travelled down for the day. I did have a few celebratory drinks with him. It would have been rude not to. Mind you that was the only thing that we had to toast all day. Neither of us picked any winners. Fun day out in the fresh air, though, so all good.

Warwick Races
Warwick Races

After I got home from the races. I then made a random last minute decision to go and see Jason Manford at The Swan Theatre in High Wycombe. I interviewed him probably about twelve years ago now. He was brilliant, very easy and fun to talk to. I actually spoke to him the day before he was going to be on Jonathan Ross’s chat show for the first time. I hope, I proved a useful warm up for that.

Anyway somehow I had never actually managed to see him perform live. I had been hearing really good things about his current Muddle Class tour. So I decided to go along and take a look. He had a warm up act on called The Raymond and Mr Timpkins Revue. I was aware of this duo but had not seen them before. They were brilliant. Their whole act is set to music and is very clever and very funny. They did their thing. Then there was a short interval before Jason came on.

The main show was fantastic. I like his style. How chilled and relaxed he generally is with the audience. That said though, he will deal with any hecklers in a robust way, if required. His first job was as a glass collector at a comedy club. When he was only sixteen. Therefore he is very experienced. And has seen it all before. It is a very relatable subject for most of the audience. Well it was for me certainly. I am pretty sure that I am Muddle Class.

It is a very funny show. Mostly story telling from things that he has come across in his life. Focusing on relationships with family, friends and the people that we all randomly encounter in life. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can see why it has been getting such great reviews. I also think Jason Manford is a top bloke, nice fella.  Who does not like to spend an evening laughing?

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Which is why I was delighted that I managed to get a ticket for the Absolute Radio Comedy Night in aid of Stand Up To Cancer. Which was at the London Palladium. It was a couple of Sundays ago. That theatre has so much history and nostalgia. I love going there. And as referenced by the performers. The ashes of Sir Bruce Forsyth are now interned in the building.

The charity event was hosted by possibly my favourite comedian Frank Skinner. He was brilliant. As he always is. He came out first and did about fifteen minutes. Before he introduced the opening act Chris Ramsey. I had seen him once before about six years ago at the Limelight Theatre in Aylesbury. That was right before his sitcom was  launched. After which he became a more regular face on television.

Absolute Radio Comedy Night
Absolute Radio Comedy Night

Both the times, I have seen him now, he has been excellent. And very funny. As comedians get older, like us all, our life experiences change. Therefore their material alters to fit in more with what is happening in their life. That is particularly noticeable when you have a long gap in seeing a comics live show. A quality set from the cheeky Geordie. Who always makes me feel like I want to be his friend. When I watch him live.

After a bit more from Frank Skinner. Next up it was Nish Kumar. I have seen him record an episode of Newsjack and also at the Old Rope Comedy in London previously. He was as with every time I have seen him, very good.  Clever with topical gags. These sort of gigs, they only do a small part of what would be an hour or so show. Nish’s set was quite ranty at the start. Which I liked and was fine with because it was funny. I fear a few people were missing the joke. And possibly oblivious to the fact that he was doing it a bit for effect.

The next comic on was Glenn Moore. He is part of the Absolute Radio Breakfast Show team. But is an established comedian in his own right. After previously working as a newsreader in commercial radio. He was really good on the night. He does have his own unique style to telling his jokes. I expect to see and hear more from him over the next few years. I do not just mean on the radio reading the sports news.

Closing the first half was the brilliant Rob Beckett. I have been a fan of his for a while. But this was my first chance to get a look at him in the flesh. And he did not disappoint. Really amusing and yet again someone who just feels like a mate telling you a few stories. Which I like in my comedians. He is getting ready for a new tour. Which on this evidence is going to be fantastic.

Absolute Radio Comedy Night
Absolute Radio Comedy Night

We then had a short interval. Before Frank Skinner came back on and got things moving again. By bringing on Matt Forde. Who I really like.  I saw him do a small warm up gig in Berkhampsted once. And I did enjoy his latest full show at the Edinburgh Festival this year. He is best described as a Political comedian. Which means there is lots of material around for him. But because everything keeps changing all the time at the moment. He is constantly re-writing his show.

He was hilarious on the night. What I liked as well. Is that you could tell he was loving it. Having the chance to play to a full house at the London Palladium. Who would not want that opportunity. His jokes were right on the money. And his impressions of Boris Johnson and Donald Trump are scarily good. It is like they are the in the room. The only worrying thing is that his Trump says more sensible things that the actual one.

Then it was Jo Caulfield’s turn to take to the stage. She was totally amazing. It was such a wonderfully funny set. I think she had me laughing more regularly than any of the other acts on the night. I would now like to see her full show. Therefore I will be keeping an eye out for when she is next playing in London. Top quality stuff.

The penultimate act was actually the first show I saw when I got to the Edinburgh Festival this year. It was Gary Delaney. He is the master of the one liner. He is just a huge gag machine. There are no stories or anecdotes. Just quick fire jokes. He is great. Clever to, because sometimes the shortest jokes are the toughest to write. I enjoyed his set immensely. There are always a few groaners in there. But I do like the odd one of those.

Closing the show it was Jon Richardson. I like him and think he is really funny. He did an excellent job finishing off the night. With as always, some wonderful stories and observations. It was a lovely evening spent laughing in a beautiful theatre. While raising money for a marvellous cause. What is not to like? Great fun from start to finish.

Absolute Radio Comedy Night
Absolute Radio Comedy Night

The night after that I found myself in another historic London theatre. I was at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane. It is such a nice experience there. It is beautifully designed.

The spiral staircases look stunning. Plus there is lots of space. Which is something that cannot be said for all theatres. I was there for the sensational 42nd Street. Which was a show that somehow I had not managed to catch before. I mean, it has only been around since the early eighties.

This version starred the exquisite Bonnie Langford. She was brilliant. As were the whole cast. It is such an all singing and all dancing show. The dance routines are truly a thing of wonder. It is a proper old school big production musical extravaganza.

The story line itself is pretty straight forward and basic. But that does not matter at all. It is more than super seeded by the energy, the colour and the whole spectacle of that many performers dancing around the stage. It of course does contain some classic and well known songs as well.

I am so glad I have now seen it. The choreography for those big group dance numbers was insane. Plus I do admire tap dancing greatly. It looks and sounds amazing. When done properly.

It has several sub plot stories running through it. But I think the main message is to dream big, work hard and be nice to people. Which seems like quite a good motto to have towards life in general to me. Another top night out at the theatre. And finally for the record the Rioja there was very nice.

42nd Street
42nd Street

I was probably one of the last people in the country to see it. But I have made for me what is a rare trip to the cinema to see The Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” I believed that I loosely knew the story of the band and its legendary front man Freddie Mercury. However having seen the film. I now realise that there was quite a bit that I was not aware of.

I thought the casting was perfect. All the main characters looked and as far as I could tell acted exactly like the people there were being. I also liked how the story was told in an intelligent and sympathetic way. An insight was given into what was happening with the viewer left to make the leap and fill in the gaps in their own head. Without it being graphically explained to us.

I felt it showed that like a lot of outstanding performers. He clearly had some issues with being at ease with himself and who he really was. Not helped by some of the people he trusted and invested in. But he was the ultimate showman. If not a little troubled at times during his career.

While watching I developed a new appreciation for John Deakin. He may be my new favourite member of Queen. Even if at one point when having a pop at Roger Taylor, Freddie uses the line “If you were anymore boring you would be Deakin”.

I thoroughly enjoyed the film. I liked how they pitched it and told the story. You could tell the band, despite their differences clearly all cared for each other. All in all, it just worked out for them.

Add in of course that sensational sound track. Queen did produce a plethora of top quality songs over the years. And they sounded good on the cinema surround sound. Finally I must of course mention the way they recreated the Live Aid scenes. That was all very clever. Looked and sounded excellent. And felt very real. I am glad I went to see it in the end.

School of Rock
School of Rock

Over the last two weeks I have experienced the classic highs and lows of being a football fan. Tottenham beat Chelsea three-one at Wembley. We played brilliantly from the start and honestly could of had six or seven.

A few days later we managed to nick a one nil home win against Inter Milan. To just about keep our hopes alive of going through to the knock out stages of the Champions League. At that point everything was looking rosy. We were all smiling. Confidence was high!

Then last Sunday we were fairly beaten by the better team on the day in the North London Derby against Arsenal. Which is never a game you want to lose. But specially when it means your biggest enemies leapfrog above you in the league. So that was a little bit disappointing to, say the least.

It was frustrating as we played so differently to how we performed only the week before. Then just a few days later we beat Southampton. Climb back up to third in the Premier League ahead of the Gunners. And all is good again. You have got to love football.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

It is my birthday on Monday. Which of course I am very much looking forward to.

I think I am just going to have a quiet day at home and catch up with my family. But these things are always subject to change, so we will see what happens.

General Lee
General Lee

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

Under My Skin

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 do spend a lot of time in and around London. Which with my tea drinking addiction means I visit a lot of Coffee Shops. To keep myself topped up or sometimes just to kill some time before meetings. I went in to one of these establishments at Waterloo Station recently.

It was the chain where they ask you your name and then write it on the cup, supposedly to make it easier to collect your drink when it is ready. It always seems a bit of a waste of time though when you order tea. As they generally do this straight away and then hand it directly to you anyway. I was pretty sure when he asked my name I said Neil but I can only presume he did not believe this and actually thought I was a character from The Matrix. As when I received my cardboard container of tea it said “Neo” on the side.

Neo's Tea
Neo’s Tea

I was back at the Elstree Studios the other Friday to see another edition of Celebrity Juice being recorded. It has since been shown on television. It was the one that featured Ben Hanlin, Sara Cox, Rylan and Judge Rinder. It was totally hilarious. And if you thought some of the stuff that went out on air was too rude. You should have seen some of things that did not make the final edit. It was a bit of a crazy evening and it is fair to say that a couple of the regulars really got in to the spirit of things. At one point Holly was threatening to try something that she believed she could definitely do. But was actually so dangerous the stage manager had to step in and stop her.

Judge Rinder looked pretty confused through pretty much all of it. If you saw it on TV you will know. He read out two of Lemon’s Law’s on the show. There was a third one that they got him to read out in the studio, which almost caused me to hurt myself laughing but which can very much not be repeated.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It was as ever a good fun evening. I was sitting right at the very front in the middle. I was that close I could have almost reached out and touched Keith Lemon. It was brilliant to see Sara Cox in person. I have liked her on the radio for years now and I think she sounds excellent on the Radio 2 Breakfast Show. When she stands in for Chris Evans. Rylan seems like a very nice bloke, who is up for a laugh and doesn’t take himself to seriously. And I will never tire of seeing Holly Willoughby in action in a TV studio.

Last time we spoke I said it would be good to see Andy Collins again. Well I did not have long to wait, as he was doing the warm up duties for the evening. He was on top form. And kept the whole audience pretty much on the edge of over excitement all night. If you saw it, you might have noticed a lot of the crowd were standing up and cheering. They were so hyped up. It is such a wild and crazy show but so entertaining. And such a good laugh.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I was working behind the scenes at the NFL American Football Game between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets at Wembley Stadium a few Sunday’s ago. It is always a huge spectacle, when they come to town. From the pre game gatherings in Regents Street in London the day before to the big fan park that appears outside the ground on match day. The whole thing just builds and builds right up to kick off.

My role was to assist VIP guests to get to where they needed to be. This included showing one of the Miami Dolphin’s Vice Presidents to their Box. Taking the coaching teams to and from the vantage points that they were watching the game from. And directing the New York Jets players back to their team bus. I also got to witness Laura White sing the National Anthem before the start. She has an amazing voice and always does a splendid job. I did also manage to spot the force of nature that is David Hasselhof pitch side, enjoying the game.

Dolphins V Jets
Dolphins V Jets

I quite like watching American Football but I can’t claim to completely understand how it works. But it does seem very tactical. I did not have a team that I supported. But this may now have changed as I discovered that I have a namesake playing for the New York Jets. Ryan Quigley wears number four and is the Punter. So therefore I am now adopting them as my NFL team. Well at least until he either leaves the club or retires from the sport. So as I said I had to help show the players back to the team bus after the match. They were all so polite, nice and a pleasure to work with.

To put this in English Football terms that would have been like me talking to all the Tottenham Hotspur squad. Which would have been amazing and highlights how cool this was, to be that close to these superstars. If you think our footballers get paid a lot of money have a look at what some of the big NFL stars get paid. As ever it was a terrific experience working at this event. I am hoping I may also be involved in some way in the other two matches that will be taking place at Wembley Stadium in the next month or so.

Ryan Quigley
Ryan Quigley

It has been another brilliant series of the Radio 4 Extra topical news show Newsjack. The last episode of the current run was on Thursday night. I have really enjoyed writing jokes for it once again. Several of my jokes have made it in to the scripts and been performed in front of the live audience during its recording. But unfortunately none of them have quite made the edit and made it on to the show this time round.

It will next return to our radio’s for a new series in the new year. Congratulations to all the writers who had their material included. Having experienced it in the past it is a nice feeling and gives you a nice warm glow. When you get something on it. The cast and producers have done a wonderful job and I have really enjoyed listening to each programme.

Radio 4 Comedy
Radio 4 Comedy

It is no secret that I am a massive comedy fan. A couple of years ago now I got to see the Geordie Chris Ramsey perform at the Queen’s Park Art Centre in Aylesbury. As part of the Tringe Festival. It was just at the time when he had filmed the sitcom Hebburn. But it had not been on television. So I guess you could say it was just before his career really took off. It was basically a warm up gig for his Edinburgh Festival Show about rolling the dice and the concept of chance. It was proper laugh out loud funny.

There is actually some video footage of me reviewing this show somewhere. In it I am pretty sure I said something along the lines of “with his slight Geordie lilt, it is just like having a lovely chat with a mate” it all felt very warm and inclusive. He is returning to the Queen’s Park Art Centre next year on Friday 4th March. With his latest show “All Growed Up”. I would recommend going to see it if you can. You will not be disappointed.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I had a brilliant evening at the London Palladium seeing Sinatra recently. Firstly I have to say it is just such a great and iconic theatre to be inside. Just being there gives me a buzz. The show features a twenty-four piece orchestra and a massive troop of dancers plus video footage of Frank Sinatra himself. Who appears singing all the songs and telling you little snippets about his life. So you get a brief behind the scenes history of his career in his own words. And a great selection of his best known songs. In effect performed on stage by him. It is all very cleverly done and nicely put together.

London Palladium
London Palladium

During the interval I got talking to the man sitting next to me. It turned out that he was a huge Sinatra fan. And that he had actually been at the Palladium watching when “Ol Blue Eyes” made his first appearance on stage there in 1950. It was a brilliant show, which has now sadly finished in London.

I saw one of the last West End performances of it. To make the evening a bit more authentic the person I was with suggested we should drink Whiskey during it. I am not even really a fan of the drink at all, but I went with it and oddly it did feel right and add to the occasion a little.

Neil Quigley at Sinatra
Neil Quigley at Sinatra

I was very sad to hear of the death of Jim Diamond. A lovely man and amazing singer. I had the pleasure of interviewing him once when he came in to my radio show at Ivel fm in Somerset. A total professional and very easy person to talk to. I do remember having a slight argument with him about his best song. I was saying it was “I should Have Known Better” and he was adamant it was “I won’t Let You Down” which he released when he was the lead singer with the band PHD. On reflection he was the best man to judge it, so I am happy to accept his suggestion as the correct one.

Then on the day things got even better. When he got out his guitar and was joined on the saxophone by the legendary Snake Davis. He performed a couple of live acoustic songs. His voice was out of this world and it honestly made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It was an big honour to see him and Snake play in that small room with just me sat in there with them, listening intently. RIP Jim.

Snake Davis
Snake Davis

It was also the first time I met the brilliant Snake Davis, a sublimely talented musician and also one of the nicest blokes you could wish to meet. He was in the M-People. He has toured with Simply Red, played at several Prince’s Trust concerts and with the Eurythmics. And my favourite Snake fact is….. it was him that recorded the famous Sax solo on Take That’s “A Million Love Songs”

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

My chosen couple on Strictly Come Dancing this year nearly fell at the first hurdle as Jamelia and Tristan found themselves in the bottom two on the first vote off moment. Happily they survived and Iwan Thomas with his partner Ola Jordan became the first couple to leave. I am still sticking with them as my favourites. Even though I have to say other partnerships are looking much better notably Jay McGuinness and Aliona Villani. Their Pulp Fiction inspired Jive was ridiculous for week three of the competition.

Elstree Studios
Elstree Studios

Anthony Ogogo and his partner Oti were the next two to go. I always get drawn in to this show. I love it and know absolutely nothing about dancing. I only lasted just one session when I tried Salsa lessons, many years ago now. Once again Zoe Ball and the team are doing an amazing job on It Takes Two. The nightly spin off show. Where you get all the behind the scenes gossip and can just enjoy the wonderful relationships developing between the celebrities and their professional dance partners. I am still hoping to find time to go and see one of the live Saturday shows his series. Fingers crossed.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

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