Tag Archives: newsjack

Live From The BBC

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been nice and busy with loads of fun things going on. A couple of Sunday’s ago I spent a brilliant afternoon seeing a stand up comedy television show being filmed in the BBC Radio Theatre. It does sound slightly bizarre that but it is actually a nice venue for comedy.

The show features new and up coming acts. Who have been scouted up at the Edinburgh Festival by producers. And who then get invited to perform that latest show for the cameras. Which is fantastic for them, as unless you are a McIntyre, Kay, Manford, Murray or Carr you will probably not be releasing a comedy special on DVD or Netflix, so it means they get a quality recording of that show to keep and enjoy for ever.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I saw two comedians perform their full Edinburgh Shows. As it was a TV show they had the brilliant Mark Olver as the Warm Up man. I have seen him a few times and he is always fantastic. Great at his job. While being very funny and inclusive. The first act was Chris Washington. Who I actually saw arrive at reception with his lunch in a well known supermarket’s carrier bag. He is clearly still very grounded and enjoys keeping it real. He was nominated in the Best New Comer category at the famous Scottish Arts Festival for his show Dream Big (Within Reason). Which he performed for us in full.

The show was excellent. Really funny and well performed. Like all good shows it was personal and very much about him and his life. Telling the story of how he ended up at the Edinburgh Festival and as a result of that. Then doing the show for us at the BBC. I would happily see him again. He is very likeable and entertaining. I would definitely go and watch another one of his full length shows. There are no real new ideas in comedy. You just need to say funny things to make people laugh. And that is exactly what he did. It was a pleasure to witness what I think might be his first full length television appearance.

The next comedian on the bill was somebody I had heard of but again had not seen perform live before. It was the wonderful Suzi Ruffel. She was amazing. Right from the start of her hilarious Fringe Show Keeping It Classy. I felt I was watching a tour de force of a performance. She was so at ease but at the same time alive. It was impossible to keep your eyes off her. Telling jokes is one thing but commanding the whole of the room is a whole other talent. I personally felt that, coming through in her act from the second she walked on stage.

Crucially of course as ever with any form of comedy. Her show was very funny and very clever playing with stereotypes from her world and the world in general. It is almost a voyage of personal discovery. She takes us on. She is very honest and open about her life. It features her doing regular impressions of her parents. Which I guess could not have been that easy for her, as her mum was sat in the audience.

She has supported Alan Carr and Josh Widdicombe on tour. And there is a bit of a buzz around her. Which having seen her do her stuff. I do understand. She is also individual enough in her material and self to carve her own niche in the comedy world. If you get the chance to see either of these two perform live. I would recommend you do so. It was a very funny afternoon spent laughing in an iconic venue.

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

I spent another night out enjoying a show in the West End. This time at The Harold Pinter Theatre to see the Harold Pinter play The Birthday Party. Which surely must be the perfect place to witness such a thing. The cast for this production was amazing. It featured Toby Jones, Stephen Mangan, Zoe Wanamaker, Peter Wight, Tom Vaughan – Taylor and Pearl Mackie.

I had only seen one Pinter play previously. Which was an amateur production that my mate starred in. The night I saw he managed to ad-lib a line from Alan Partridge in to it accidentally. Nothing like that happened during this one. Although of course the man who played the famous Dan in Partridge Stephen Mangan was in it.

The play itself was good. With an all star cast like that, it was performed perfectly. The staging and the effects were brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Although I do have to make a confession. If I am honest I cannot say that I totally understood the plot or indeed the ending of the story. I did not really get it. I wonder if that is Pinter’s intention to leave it up to the individual what to make out of what they have just witnessed. Either that or I really missed something from the story line. The ending did confuse me some what.

However I absolutely loved the play. It had me engrossed from the start to the finish. I really wanted to see it. As I had heard it was good, which it was. Plus how often can you witness that many great actors playing alongside each other. If you would like a wine review for this theatre. I can confirm they serve a very nice Rioja there at normal theatre prices of course.

I met one of my cousin’s in London recently for a few drinks. We ended up in The Porter House just off Covent Garden. I had walked past it a few times over the years but I had never actually been in. I did not realise that it was as big as it was, spread across a couple of floors or that they had live music in there. We arrived at the bar just as the band were sound checking. You should of course never judge a book by its cover. But seeing them set up on what looked like the world’s smallest stage, right behind the bar did not initially fill me with confidence that they would be any good.

I should of course had a lot more faith. I mean I guess it is unlikely you would get a gig in a big pub in Central London, unless you were any good. Not only did they sound great together musically. They did a nice and varied selection of well known songs from all sorts of genres and bands. Vocally they were pretty good to. I was impressed and enjoying watching them play. When they shot up even higher in my estimation by for comedy effect changing some of the words to some well known songs to in my opinion at least, make them even more amusing. A fun night out with good music and good company.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Tottenham Hotspur have made it through to the FA Cup Quarter Finals after beating Rochdale 6-1 in a replay at a cold and snow filled Wembley Stadium. The FA has been trialling the VAR system in a few games in this seasons competition. They did so in this game and it was an absolute farce. There was a goal for Spurs disallowed after it had initially been given and all the players returned to the centre circle after five minutes had past. The home side then got awarded a penalty seemingly from out of nowhere. It was scored but then a minute later disallowed. And the taker booked.

None of the fans at the game had any idea what was going on. It was not obvious what they were reviewing or even what the decisions were made for. They could not even cheer the penalty as nobody knew it was going to be given. It just meant during the first half that the players and the fans for a total amount of nine minutes were just stood around in freezing conditions looking confused and asking each other what was going on.

This cannot be the future of the game. It just disrupts the rhythm of the game and leaves the fans in the ground confused about what they have actually paid to watch. I did not think it actually helped with anything. I think that goal line technology is an improvement. But VAR a big no for me in its current state. It is endanger of destroying the game I love.

That all said I am delighted Tottenham are still in the competition. I would so love us to win that trophy. It was great to see Llorente get a hat-trick and Walker-Peters get his first goal for the club. It very much keeps the season alive. I will be going to the next league game today at home against Huddersfield. It is another must win game as we must keep the pressure on the top four. As we really need to start out first season at the new stadium with Champions League football. And a top four finish will do that just in case we do not win the trophy this year. We have a huge game against Juventus at Wembley on Wednesday. Which I am very excited about going along to. It could be a big month for the club.

Spurs v Real Madrid
Spurs v Real Madrid

Just a quick reminder that I do have a new podcast out for this year. It is basically a radio show on the internet with no music. It features stories from the past, opinions from the current and bits of some of the many interviews I have done during my twenty years working in radio.

In the latest episode, find out which group once opened a bottle of beer for me. Plus what happened when a mate tried to turn the tables on an interview I was doing with the wonderful Sarah Parish by feeding her questions to ask me. Here is a link to the latest episode on I-Tunes. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-neil-quigley-radio-podcast-ep5/id1236437663?i=1000403988707&mt=2

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

I am currently reading the excellent book from comedy Guru Logan Murray “Get Started In Stand Up Comedy”. Which is brilliant and helping me write some new material that I hope to perform later in the year. It is full of great practical advice, as well as lots of fun and creative games to play. To help with ideas, jokes and routines.

I have the added benefit of having already completed one of his courses and having performed under his guidance. Which was such a fun and rewarding experience. And one I would recommend to anyone.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The BBC Radio 4 Extra comedy programme that anybody can write for is currently back for its latest series. It is hosted by the wonderful Angela Barnes. It is a topical news show with plenty of satire. It is recorded every week at the Radio Theatre in front of an audience.

Therefore if you do get a joke on to the show, you know the laughter is real and genuine. I am once again throwing a few one liners their way looking to sneak a few in once again. It is called Newsjack and it is on every Thursday night at 10.30pm.

BBC Radio Theatre
BBC Radio Theatre

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

Country & Western

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been fairly busy with lots of fun stuff going on. A couple of Saturdays ago I went up north to go to a Birthday party. It was for my mate’s son’s eighteenth birthday. This did make me feel quite old. As I remember once walking him to school with his mum when he was about five and that kind of seems like yesterday. The party was taking place in Warrington, so we were all booked in to a lovely hotel on the outskirts. The staff were great and the place was fantastic. It was called The Partridge. And if you ever need somewhere to stay in that area. I would recommend it.

It was a Country and Western themed fancy dress party. When I was younger I never really liked fancy dress but over the last ten years or so I have actually started to really enjoy it a lot. Plus the chance to dress up as a cowboy was simply to good to miss. I got myself some Cowboy boots, some faded denim jeans and a really nice country style shirt. Which I actually intend wearing again at some point, as it is that good. The outfit was topped off by a Cowboy Hat and bandanna. That I got from a fancy dress shop online. I am not going to lie. I really thought I looked the part. And I believe that look quite suited me.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

We had a quick drink in the hotel before we headed to the party venue. I will be honest at this point I left off the hat and bandanna, to blend in a bit and not to scare the other customers. After that one drink we headed to the hall. Fair play to my mate and his wife. They had done it up well and it felt very country. They had a mobile bar there which was outside and housed in a horse box, very much keeping with the theme of the event. They also had a friend of their’s singing and playing the guitar. He was ace and did a few classic country songs. There was also a disco, so I did hit the dance floor and throw out a few shapes later on in the evening.

During the party one of the people who was there, dressed in non-fancy dress clothes. Suddenly disappeared out to his car and came back in wearing a Robin from Batman and Robin outfit. Admittedly this was very much not in the spirit of the actual theme but as the guy was about six foot eight and pretty skinny. Seeing him dance very badly around the room wearing this costume made for great entertainment. I am not saying it was too tight but let’s just say it did not leave too much to the imagination in certain areas.

As with all good parties there was a buffet, which included a cake my mate had made himself. Which for the record looked and tasted amazing. I also rediscovered an item of food from my childhood. Which I had not had for years. They had little packets of Iced Gems available. Do you remember them? They are tiny little bits of shortbread style biscuits with different coloured icing on top. Now I had enjoyed a couple of drinks by this point but they tasted so good. I wondered how I had survived not having them in my life for so long. It was a good fun night and a brilliant party. I had a lovely time celebrating such a happy and special occasion.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

My friend and his family have recently moved to a lovely village on the English/Welsh border between Wrexham and Shrewsbury. The day after the party I went back to their new place with them to spend a nice relaxing Sunday there. After the birthday boy had finished opening all his cards and presents from the previous night. We decided to go out for an afternoon walk. The view of the countryside from their house is breathtaking. There is a river that runs down from the hills near by and just down the road a canal that actually goes across a viaduct.

So we went for a nice relaxing walk along the canal. It was so peaceful and relaxing. Despite being very popular with dog walkers and bike riders. As all good walks should the first part ended with us popping in to a pub on the canal to enjoy a couple of pints and some food in the beer garden. It was pretty busy with lots of other folk clearly all having the same great idea. Once we had refueled we walked back to the house this time along the river and through a field of sheep. Then to round off a great weekend we watched the Blues Brothers film. While having some tea and a chat. It was nice to see them all and an enjoyable couple of days.

Blues Brothers
Blues Brothers

The current series of Newsjack has come to an end on Radio 4 Extra. It was another brilliant and very funny series. Sadly I did not get any of my jokes featured this time but that will not stop me trying again when the programme returns in the new year. One of the weekly writers of the show Jenny Laville is another former attendee of a Logan Murray Comedy course, just like me. Nice to see her involved and doing well.

I do of course produce my own weekly topical five minute comedy podcast. It is on I-tunes please follow the link to subscribe and then you will get it automatically delivered to your phone or tablet every week. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/neil-quigley-podcast-41-2017/id1236437663?i=1000393780498&mt=2

Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy
Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy

Last week I met up with a great bloke, who I used to work at Wembley Stadium with for a couple of drinks. There is always a chance that you could bump in to him pretty much anywhere in London. As he works at so many different places. For example he is sometimes at The Globe Theatre, The London Stadium, The Houses of Parliament and on the River Thames.

He is a professional and brilliant tour guide, who knows his stuff and always puts on a great show. Not only that but he is a drummer in a band. Who at one point nearly ended up going on the road with Status Quo for a bit. A real life actual Londoner and always good fun to be around. I am hoping to enjoy one of the trips around the House of Commons he fronts at some point in the not too distant future.

The London Stadium
The London Stadium

I have been asthmatic since the age of seven. It used to be quite bad as a child specially when I got a cold or a chest infection. But it has never really held me back or stopped me doing anything. As an adult it is very much under control. Although I still do require a couple of squirts of an inhaler every morning. Recently I had my annual check up. Where they simply have a chat about how you have been, check your blood pressure and note your weight. I had put on four kilograms since my last visit and the nurse then warned me that now I am in my forties I need to watch my weight, as it is easier to put it on apparently.

The final thing they do is make you blow in to a tube, so they can see how much puff you have got against their flow chart meter. I have always been rubbish at it. This is one of the reasons why I have never been able to blow up a balloon. I just cannot do it. It is always so annoying and frustrating. As when I do it I always feel like I have managed it brilliantly. Then they read you the score back and it turns out I have done badly. Every time I go I feel I am doing it better and every time the results are slightly worse. But this test does still prove I have asthma, so therefore it means I am eligible for a flu jab. Which I gratefully accepted. Anything that is free and that could stop me getting ill has got to be a good thing. So at the moment I feel invincible.

Star Wars Exhibition
Star Wars Exhibition

I have managed to squeeze in a couple of more trips to Wembley Stadium to see Tottenham Hotspur play. Firstly in the Premier League against Liverpool. Which I have to say was a very enjoyable game. We scored early on added a second soon after. We then conceded a goal and wobbled for a bit before going on to score two more goals and run out as comfortable four-one winners.

It was a game that I never felt we would lose. Which is still a new feeling that I am getting used to with Spurs. A very good mate of mine is a Liverpool fan and he was less than pleased with his team’s performance but I was delighted with mine.

Tottenham V Liverpool
Tottenham V Liverpool

I also managed to meet up with my friend Dez Kay for a beer before the game. Which is always good fun. He had been to the away game at Real Madrid, so I was getting all the details about that from him. I am looking forward to seeing the home game against them this coming Wednesday. At half time during the Liverpool game they brought out Diego Maradona. Who was at the game with our former player and fellow Argentinian Ossie Ardiles.

He actually played for Spurs in Ossie’s testimonial. Our Manger of course Mauricio Pochettino is also Argentine. In fact it was him who gave away that famous penalty David Beckham scored against Argentina in the 2002 World Cup. He had much longer hair then. Maradonna seemed very impressed by the team and also gave Harry Kane a bit of decent advice, while he was there to.

I took my dad to the League Cup game against West Ham United. And just like the previous round I managed to get some tickets to sit in the perfectly positioned and very comfortable Bobby Moore seats. Which seemed even more fitting bearing in mind who the opposition were. The manager juggled the squad around a bit, as I expected him to do. But I was very happy to see some players returning from injury and some others getting a run out.

Well at least I was at half time when we were two nil up and looking very comfortable. Then in the second half we stopped playing and they came back to win three-two. Which did sour what was very much otherwise a good evening. Going out of any cup competition is disappointing. But to lose after being two up and against another London club makes it even more annoying. As I said earlier I will be back at Wembley on Wednesday to cheer on Spurs against Real Madrid in the Champions League. That will be a good night whatever the result. But a win or even a draw would be brilliant.

Tottenham V West Ham
Tottenham V West Ham

It has been another couple of fun weeks working for the BBC in London. I watched the last series of W1A. It is slightly weird watching a comedy programme set in the exact place where you work. You are trying to relax and enjoy the programme but it does just remind me of being at work.

I have the same feeling when I am watching the news and they show shots of the people in the newsroom or the building, you can never really escape. That said it is always a great feeling when I arrive there and walk through those famous doors.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

You Can’t Be Serious

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been very busy with lots of fun stuff going on. I went to see a brand new radio comedy being recorded at the BBC Radio Theatre a few Friday’s ago. It is being produced by the brilliant Ed Morrish. Who has been behind lots of great radio shows over the years. It is called Welcome To Wherever You Are.

It is hosted by the Irish comedian Andrew Maxwell. It looks at the world of stand up comedy literally with guests from all over the world coming on for a chat. Then doing some of their stand up set to the audience via skype. Which all sounds very odd but it did all work brilliantly.

In the episode I saw we had Storm Xu a Japanese comedian who performed from Shanghai, Tats Nkonzo from South Africa who performed from Cape Town and finally we had Ari Eldjarn who is from Iceland and was performing from Reykjavic. All three of them were very funny.

It just proves how comedy is pretty much the same all over the world. They were all addressing the same subjects that you would expect from British comedians. But obviously putting their own country’s slant on things. It was great to see brand new comics for the first time to. I am not sure when the show will go out on the radio but I will let you know when I do, as it is well worth a listen.

BBC Radio Theatre
BBC Radio Theatre

While we are talking about radio comedy Newsjack is back for its latest series currently. It is a weekly topical comedy programme that anybody can write for. So you can submit your own jokes for it and if they make it in they will pay you for them. I have had some of my material used on it in the past.

I am sending in a few one liners this time round hoping that I can sneak something in. It is very funny and well put together. It always features an excellent cast led by the brilliant Angela Barnes. If I do get any of my jokes in the latest series, rest assured, I will let you know. It goes out Thursday’s at 10.30pm on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I also went and witnessed the recording of another brand new comedy series for Radio 4. Once again at the BBC Radio Theatre earlier this week. It featured the excellent comedian Rhys James. Who I have seen perform a few times at the Old Rope Comedy Night’s. The show is called Rhys James is……There will be four episodes each taking a look at his life and his outlook on things. I saw all four of them recorded on the same evening.

It is being produced by the very experienced Carl Hooper. Who also works on such programmes as The Now Show and Just a Minute. It was a fun evening featuring some of Rhys’s stand up mixed in with clips of his parents talking about him and some other elements. It is due to go out some time in January next year. It is definitely worth keeping a ear out for. As he has some great jokes and a clever way at looking at the world, as most comics do. He basically got offered the show on the back of Carl Hooper seeing him performing at the Edinburgh Festival. Which shows the value and status of that place.

Radio 4 Comedy
Radio 4 Comedy

I always like discovering new and different places to have a drink in and around London. I stumbled upon one I really liked the other week. It is called the Phoenix Artists Bar. Which is predictably enough next to the Phoenix Theatre.

It is a downstairs bar with a nice selection of drinks and lots of theatre memorabilia on the walls. Including lots of posters and signed photos of performers. Plus they have a piano in there. I saw a poster advertising their sing-a-long-a-musical night. Which sounds brilliant. It is just a nice relaxing bar with a good vibe to it. I would say it is worth a visit, if you are in the area.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have been to Wembley a lot to watch Tottenham recently. I went to my first Premier League game at the Stadium to see them play Swansea. I met a mate in The Arch pub for a drink before the game. Then headed in to the ground with every intention of having a cup of tea before the match. Until I walked past a pop up Real Ale stand and my plans immediately changed. I really do not have any will power.

The game itself was a bit frustrating but still quite an entertaining goalless draw. I then ended up going to the League Cup game on the Tuesday. They had reduced the tickets to ten pounds. Which is pretty good value for money.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

Now having worked at Wembley I have a pretty good knowledge of the place, so I noticed they were even selling these cheap tickets for the best and comfiest seats in the stadium. They are called the Bobby Moore seats after England’s great World Cup winning captain. They are the ones by the players tunnel, behind the benches. Granted these seats normally come with full hospitality. So say for an FA Cup final they are probably around eight hundred pounds each.

Therefore to sit and watch a game there for a tenner was to good an opportunity to miss. Spurs won the game against Barnsley one nil with Dele Alli getting the goal. So it was a good night all round in the end.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

I had never got round to going to Wimbledon and as tickets for the championships are very hard to get hold of to say the least. I decided to do the tour there. As at least that would mean I would be guaranteed to get inside. It turns out the nearest tube station is Southfields, so that is where I got off.

Despite these claims being totally true, it was still about a fifteen minute walk to get to the All England Club. The entrance to the tour brings you right in by Centre Court. You sign in at the shop, then there is a meeting point outside where the tour starts. They have all the order of play boards left up around the place from the previous event across all of the various competitions.

Wimbledon
Wimbledon

Wimbledon is a big international event and in this modern age digital and internet coverage demand is huge. So we started off in the media area. Before moving on to the TV Studios. Visiting the BBC one where Sue Barker presents from.

One thing that surprised me was how small the outer courts looked, Plus I did not realise how close quite a few of them were to the main show courts. How they get the extra seating in I have no idea. It looks like there is no room for them. The TV studio complex overlooks court eighteen.

Wimbledon
Wimbledon

Then we were taken to see the players entrance as well as the members and players areas. There are five hundred members of the club. You will not be to surprised to hear that there is a long waiting list and that it is incredibly hard to become a member.

In fact the easiest way to become a member is to win the singles title, as you instantly are then an honorary member. We then went to the press conference room, where all players are contracted to go and speak to the media after their matches. And lastly we were shown in to Centre Court. Which is such an iconic sporting arena.

Wimbledon
Wimbledon

The tour was very enjoyable and it was great to have a look around the place. It has definitely made me want to try and get tickets to see a match there. They also do have a museum. So I went and had a look around that. It is very educational about the origins of tennis and of Wimbledon itself. Plus they have a very clever hologram style video of John McEnroe.

As well as lots of great memorabilia from the players. Including many of their rackets and outfits. Judging by the clothing, some of those female tennis players must have been tiny. And finally you get to see the men’s and women’s trophy’s on display. They are probably two of the most recognisable awards in world sport.

Wimbledon
Wimbledon

I had been hearing very good things about Motown The Musical, so I thought I better get along to the Shaftesbury Theatre in London to check it out for myself. Which I did last Wednesday. I have never seen a theatre manage to hide their toilets so well. They were almost impossible to find. The show itself tells the story of the Motown Record Label and its founder Berry Gordy Junior. He had several standard dead end jobs before he started writing songs. In fact he wrote Reet Petite for Jackie Wilson. But when he did not feel that he was getting the money he deserved for his songs. He decided to start his own record label and sort of run it like the car plants he used to work in.

Smokey Robinson was the first artist he signed. He became a life-long friend of Gordy and a Motown stalwart through the years. When many artists jumped ship and left to earn more money with bigger labels. At one time The Supremes were the companies most successful group. Possibly not hindered by the fact that Diana Ross and the boss were an item for quite a while. Let us not forget they also gave us The Temptations, The Four Tops, Marvin Gale, The Marvelettes and of course Stevie Wonder to mention just a few. And Motown gave the Jackson Five their big break, so therefore set Michael on the route to super stardom.

It is a really good show helped by a brilliant soundtrack from the label that the whole thing is about. It does also cover a few big historical moments which happened during the time the story occurred. Which shaped their business and to a degree the world. The cast were great, they all had fantastic voices and they could all really move to. The dancing was sensational. It is very clever how it is constructed. As the starting point, is the end point and the story is told in the middle as a bridge between them. I thought I knew the story of it all pretty well. But I certainly learnt a few things that I didn’t know. It is well worth seeing. As with it containing all those great songs that it does, you can really not go wrong.

Mowtown The Musical
Motown The Musical

It has been quite good for spotting comedians around the BBC recently. I have seen Jack Whitehall with his dad, Angela Barnes and my old mate from the Tringe Festival Arthur Smith about the building over the last few weeks.

BBC Radio
BBC Radio

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

The Present Times

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a good start to the year and a really nice couple of week’s. Mine have been quite busy with some fun things going on. I celebrated my fortieth in December and held a big party. Although I said on the invitations. That I did not want any presents. People were so nice and generous. That they still got me some gift’s anyway. Which was really lovely of them. I did get given quite a bit of money. So I decided to do some much needed clothes shopping. I am not a man who tends to update his wardrobe often. So this task was possibly well overdue.

When it comes to clothes. I am really not a high fashion expert. Or somebody who is particularly bothered about designer names. Although I do own an Armani Suit. That I bought about fifteen years ago now. I tend to buy all my stuff from just one particular store. As in there, I have found the sizes that I am, actually correspond with the sizes of the clothes they sell. And they fit me perfectly, specially their jeans. The shop in question is Next. So if you do see me on a red carpet somewhere. The answer to the question “who are you wearing” will most probably be Next.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Being a man who always likes to get more from his money and loves a “bargain”. I knew from my time working at Wembley Stadium. That there is a Next Outlet store there. So that is where I went fully armed with my Birthday cash. It was a pretty successful trip. I picked up a pair of jeans, two shirts, a jumper, and a pair of shoes. They do not have changing rooms there. So you can’t try anything on. But as I know and trust all the size labels there. All the items fitted me perfectly. The whole thing took less than twenty minutes. Result!

Also many of my family and friends clubbed together and very generously gave me lots of Amazon vouchers as a gift. It all added up to quite a decent amount. There was not one big thing in particular that I actually wanted or needed. So I decided to browse the website and have a think about what I might actually need or like. I ended up making a list of about ten different things. And randomly the overall price of these. Actually came to about the value of my vouchers. Which as ever with my life was more by luck than judgement.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Here is a selection of some of the presents I bought myself. I got a new tripod for my phone. So I can do some more filming with it. Which you should expect to see some of the benefits of in the coming months, I hope. I also got a new razor set. Which the makers claim gives the perfect shave. I am not totally convinced yet. As I am still trying to work out how to fit the blades correctly.

I got a new microphone for my home studio. A set of hair clippers. Just in case I am ever brave enough to have a go at doing my own hair. And lastly despite saying I would never ever get one, let alone ever wear one. I bought myself a Union Jack Onesie. Which was meant to be for a laugh. But when I tried it on. It was actually really comfortable. And I am now just secretly waiting for the chance to wear it.

South Bank London
South Bank London

I was out in London the other week enjoying a meal with a former radio colleague of mine. His name is Robbie Lane. I met him when we were both at Ivel fm in Yeovil. He is now living in Lincolnshire. But he was in the Capital for a few days, so we managed to meet up. He is originally from the Isle of Wight. And as a sideline. He runs a very successful website promoting it. I am working on getting a cheap holiday there. But I have not quite done that yet.

We went to a nice restaurant in the Hays Galleria. Which is not far from London Bridge. It is right by the river and over looks where HMS Belfast is situated. I had a nice three course meal. And a good catch up with an old friend. So I would put that down as a decent evening.

HMS Belfast
HMS Belfast

I am now about half way through the Bruce Springsteen autobiography “Born to Run” that I am currently reading. So far it is brilliant. Firstly it is very well and cleverly written. And secondly it is fascinating. He latched on to the power of music very early in his life. He was inspired by iconic big events on American television.

Like Elvis Presley’s first TV appearance. And the first time the Beatles appeared on screen in the US. It made him want to pick up a guitar and make his own music. Completely self taught through hours and hours of dedication and practice as a teenager. To this day he cannot read music. But he sure knows how to play those notes and cords on his guitar.

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

I can certainly tell you he paid his dues. Before he became a success. He put the work in. He gigged constantly with a few different bands. And lived on the breadline for about eight years. Before he got his first recording deal. It is also brilliant to hear how he kind of almost accidentally, slowly over the space of several year’s bumped in to members of the E-Street band. And ended up working with them.

He does seem to be a man with a clear vision of what he wanted to do. The band members he chose were carefully selected to achieve this goal. He started off as shy guitarist before his confidence grew developing in to the front man and show man that we know today.

Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen

I saw Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band play at Hyde Park around five year’s ago now. For the encore that night Sir Paul McCartney came out and they performed two Beatles classics. “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Twist and Shout”. Now I could tell at the time that Bruce was pleased and excited to have Paul on stage, playing with him and the band.

What I did not realise was that the first song “The Boss” ever learned on the guitar. And the first song he ever sang in public with his first band was “Twist and Shout”. So I can now see why that song. And getting the chance to do it with an actual “Beatle” meant so much to him. It was amazing to be there and witness it. It was totally brilliant!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The topical Radio 4 Extra comedy show Newsjack is back for a new series this coming Thursday night. There has been a change of host once again for this year. Nish Kumar has now left and has been replaced by Angela Barnes.

I find that when they make this switch. Which they tend to do every few years. It does seem to re-invent the programme. As a new comedian brings their own style and puts their own stamp on proceedings. I am once again looking forward to writing some jokes for the show.

BBC Radio Theatre
BBC Radio Theatre

I was invited to a writer’s briefing with the producers and the new presenter. Unfortunately I was unable to make it. But they have sent me all the details for the new series. And it sounds fantastic. I am going along to see the first show being recorded this week.

I am hoping I will be able to see the cast perform some of my material. I will of course let you know, if they do. It will be on Radio 4 Extra for the next six week’s. Every Thursday night at 10.30pm. If you are a fan of satirical comedy. It is definitely worth a listen.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It has been another good couple of weeks to be a Tottenham Hotspur fan. We are now second in Premier League. Harry Kane scored a hat-trick in our last game. And we managed to get past Aston Villa in the FA Cup. So I am very happy with how the football season is going at the moment. Talking of the FA Cup. The fourth round draw has thrown up an interesting game.

With the team I support facing the team that I used to watch as a teenager. In fact my parents are season ticket holders. Who go home and away watching the Buckinghamshire club. Next Saturday Wycombe Wanderers travel to White Hart Lane to play the mighty Spurs.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The first Wycombe Wanderers game I went to was a friendly against a Tottenham Hotspur eleven. At the Chair Boy’s old ground Loakes Park. Spurs brought along a strong side. And Paul Walsh scored a brilliant hat-trick.

Next Saturday I am going to see the return fixture, at last. As they compete for the right to progress in England’s premier club cup competition.

Neil Quigley with FA Cup
Neil Quigley with FA Cup

I am going to the big game with my Mum. She will be cheering on Wycombe and I will of course be supporting my team. So it could be an interesting and quiet journey home for one of us.

I would like the Wycombe players to enjoy the day and play well. But ultimately get beaten. So the Spurs can go marching on to Wembley.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Despite the fact there does seem to be a lot of very angry and ill-informed people on social media. I am still a big fan and user of Twitter. Personally I use it to follow people I know or like. And to interact and have a laugh with them.

This has led in the last fortnight to me being re-tweeted by Lily Allen. As well as having Susanna Reid like one of the tweets that I sent her. It all means nothing but is just a bit of good harmless fun. If you would like to get on board on follow me on twitter. I am simply @NeilQuigley

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

New for 2017 I have launched my own regular weekly Podcast. It is five minutes long. It takes a light-hearted look at some of the big stories and events that have happened during the last seven days. The first two episodes are already available.

To listen to them just head to the “Podcasts” section of my website. If you go to the top of this page you will be able to find it. Alternatively you can hear it on I-tunes or listen via my Youtube Channel which is Neil Quigley TV.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

As I have been busy with other projects recently. I have not had time to visit any television studios and watch any programme’s being made. Well that is about to change spectacularly. As during the next few weeks alone. I am due to be seeing Virtually Famous, Debatable and Go 8-bit all being filmed.

I have seen the last one before. But the other two are new one’s for me to witness in person. I am looking forward to them. I always like being in a TV Studio. I will let you know how I got on next time we speak.

ITV Studios London
ITV Studios London

I am looking forward to spending this afternoon in London. I am seeing one of the longest running musicals with my family. To celebrate my mum and dad’s wedding anniversary. We are going to see Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre.

Although my friend Mike Sterling previously played the lead role in this show, in the capital. I have not actually seen it before. So I am very excited about it. We have some fantastic seats. Plus we are going for a nice meal afterwards. It will be a very pleasant way to spend a Saturday afternoon. You can’t beat a trip to the theatre.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Back To The Future

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of week’s. Mine have been busy with lots of fun things going on. Two weeks ago now I headed up to Northwich to see one of my oldest friend’s for the weekend. We first met when we started first school together. When we were five.

Now as far as he was concerned I was just randomly coming up to see him. To have a fun night out at a local comedy club with him and his wife. It was good timing as it was his birthday the Wednesday after. But what was actually happening was I was visiting him to go to his surprise 40th Birthday Party on the Saturday night.

I travelled up on the Friday afternoon. I had a bit of a nightmare journey. As it was the day after all those big storms. There were lots of problems on various rail routes. Meaning all my trains were delayed. So a three hour journey took me over five hours. My mate picked me up from the station. We went back to his. Where his wife had my dinner waiting for me.

After popping down to the local off licence and getting some wine. We settled in for a few drinks and a chat. So far so good. He had no idea what was happening the next day. As we discussed plans for our “comedy club” visit and general timings for the day.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

On the actual day of the party. His wife’s parents were collecting their two children to look after them. While we all went out later. His wife needed to secretly join them all at the hall for a bit in the afternoon. To set everything up for the party. So she needed someone to take him down the pub for an hour or so. Of course I was the perfect man for this job.

I even made it look like the trip to the local pub’s beer garden was all his idea. Although I did overplay my role slightly. In that as it was so lovely and sunny in the garden. We actually spent around three hours there and had four pints in the end. It was great chatting about the past and the present with him. And he still had no idea about the plans for that night, so job done.

While we were sitting in the pub beer garden. I did something that I had probably not done for more than thirty years, I reckon. The borders were a bit overgrown and we were at a table right near the edge. So when I learned back slightly I caught my elbow on some nettles and stung myself, which I am pretty sure I have not done since I was a child.

Straight away I was trying to look for a dock leaf. But to be totally honest having not had to do this for some time. I could not remember what they looked like. I did pick up some random leaf and rub it on it. Which seemed to help. And on the plus side it didn’t hurt as much as it used to. Or may be I have got a little bit tougher over the years.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

When we eventually returned from the pub with a takeaway as a peace offering. His wife had just started watching Back To The Future. I had not seen it for years. But as I was watching it. It all started coming back to me. Though I did realise there were bits of it that I had forgotten or had remembered differently.

For example I used to have a classic pair of white Nike trainers with a blue tick. That I called my Back To The Future trainers. I now know I was wrong. Marty’s trainers are white with a red tick. Still a very watchable and decent film. And in many ways it was pretty apt for the celebrations ahead for that evening.

Steve's 40th Party
Steve’s 40th Party

So we had nearly pulled this off. We just had to get him to the venue now. Luckily the hall where the “comedy club” was being held was within walking distance of their house. We got him outside it. His wife had gone to the trouble of having some flyers made for the “comedy club”, so these were on the doors and windows as we walked in.

Just before we walked in. He decided he wanted to go to the toilet. So I went there with him. Making some jokes about not wanting to go when the comedians were on in case they picked on me. Then finally we walked through the doors to the room. And with the big cheer and the chorus of happy birthday. He realised what the night was really all about.

It was a great night. The look on his face when he realised what was going on was a picture. His dad lives in Spain but had secretly flown in specially so he was there to welcome him with all the other guests.  Towards the end of the evening I even graced the dance floor with the birthday boy. Good news I can still remember all the big party dance moves from my disco days in my early twenty’s. Well done to his wife and family for organising such an ace surprise party for him. Happy 40th Birthday mate!

Steve's 40th Party
Steve’s 40th Party

I went out for a few leaving drinks for somebody who was moving departments within the BBC the other week. Although unfortunately by the time I arrived the person in question had already left due to a family emergency. But I still stayed for a drink with the rest of the group.

It actually took place in the BBC Club. Which is a bar for BBC Staff. That serves drinks and food. It is a pretty cool and relaxed place to unwind in after a hard day’s work. It was only the second time I had been in there. That said now I am working so near it. I could possibly find myself venturing in there a bit more often.

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

Finally managed to get round to having a cup of tea and a catch up with Nathan Cooper recently. I used to work with him at Mix 96. Well I have been there in several different spells over the years. I kept going away and then coming back.

Nathan is a very busy man. As well as presenting the Morning Show on Mix 96. He also commentates on Oxford Utd for BBC Radio Oxford. And is actually the stadium announcer at the Kassam Stadium to. It was a good laugh, having a natter about all things radio, football and personal with a good mate. He was as ever on top form.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Strictly Come Dancing is well and truly back for the new series. I watched the first two show’s last week. As we got to see all the contestants and their dance partner’s perform for the first time. They gave them a free pass, in that no one could get voted off the show on the first weekend. I must admit I did feel the judges were a bit harsh with their comments. Let them just enjoy the relief of getting the first one out the way. I mean do score them low if you need to. Though that said there were some high marks for week one. But there is no need to be so picky yet. Sure when the public are voting then criticise away.

Generally the standard this year seems to be so high. They all looked quite good on the floor. Obviously as the competition goes on we will need to see improvement from everybody. I really like Laura Whitmore. She looks the part and has the charisma. Even though I am not convinced she is that good a dancer yet. But she is very entertaining. As is Judge Rinder to be fair. He is certainly throwing himself in to it. I have a sneaky feeling Will Young and Louise Redknapp could be the one’s to watch this year for me. Danny Mac started brilliantly but the public like to see improvement. He might just be too good already.

Elstree Studios
Elstree Studios

Doing Strictly Come Dancing is such an amazing opportunity, I think. I mean you get to be taught how to do several different styles of dance’s by some of the best dancers in the country and beyond. You get to wear marvellous outfits. You perform in front of an euphoric audience every week.

Not least because over five million people applied for audience tickets this year. So if you do get hold of one, you really do want to make the most of it. Also if you do really well in the show. It may open up new career avenues or you could get to go on their UK wide tour. Which all sounds like a great laugh.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

I went out for a few drinks with my cousin’s husband to celebrate their new arrival to the family last Saturday night. We went out in Thame. As usual I was early. So I got to the pub first before everyone else. So I went straight up to the bar to get myself a drink. I am a fan of real ale nowadays and this pub had quite a selection. So I was standing next to these two gentleman at the bar. While I was deciding which one to have.

Now I have no idea who they thought I was. But there had been a food and drink festival in Thame that day. So they started talking to me about that. Which I had not been to. At that point the bar man comes to serve me. So I order a pint of XT which is brewed by a local brewery. As I do this one of the blokes says well that is quite the endorsement. So I am not sure if he thought I was a professional Chef or a beer expert. But I am pretty sure I was not who he thought I was.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am very happy with how the football season has started so far for my team Tottenham Hotspur. We are second in the Premier League. We are still yet to lose a game in the league. And we have made our best start to a campaign for fifty-one years.

Not only that but we are getting all our young and very talented players signed up on long term contracts. I honestly cannot remember a time when being a Spurs fan has been this good. All this and we are still playing entertaining and attacking football. Long may it continue, is what I say.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The current series of Newsjack is still running on Radio 4 Extra. I am still writing jokes for it. It is recorded every week at the BBC Radio Theatre at Broadcasting House. I have had material performed on it in the past. Which is really a thrill.

Some of the stuff has actually made it on to the show and other bits have been performed in front of the audience but not quite made the final edit of the programme. It is a very competitive business. And the jokes have to be satirical, topical and funny. Plus it depends on which main stories they concentrate on. So there are a lot of different variables that can effect if you are successful or not every week.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am going to Ascot to enjoy the horse racing this afternoon with a good friend of mine. As part of his fortieth birthday present. I do really enjoy an afternoon at the races. I am hoping for a few winners.

But it is also their annual beer festival. So as I see it everyone will come out a winner from this situation. I will let you know how I got on next time we speak.

Grand National Weekend
Grand National Weekend

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