Tag Archives: podcast

Copy That

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been pretty busy as ever and lots of fun. I managed to get myself along to a television recording at the newly re-opened studios at Television Centre recently.

The building was sold by the BBC. A lot of the old building has been turned in to really expensive flats, as well as shops and restaurants. However two of the original studios have now been brought back in to operation. Therefore once again some shows are starting to be made there.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Which personally I think is fantastic. It is a shame that it is no longer how it originally was. As so many great and very popular shows were produced there over the years. Not least the iconic children’s show Blue Peter. Which was probably the first, what you might call real TV programme, that I watched. The front of the place has been changed a bit. However it does still have a ring of familiarity about it. But it  does not look as iconic, as it once did.

It was a brand new ITV show that I was there to see being filmed. It is the idea of Jon Naismith. The man behind such radio comedy shows as The Unbelievable Truth and Sorry I Haven’t A Clue. He claimed he came up with the idea. When he worked with Rory Bremner on the radio several years ago. He was just waiting for the right opportunity and ITV have given him it. To produce it and make it for them.

It is called the Imitation Game. I watched the last one of the six episodes that are being made. It is hosted by the brilliant Alexander Armstrong. It also features, as the team captains the truly amazing impressionists Rory Bremner and Debra Stephenson. Each week they are joined by some other top mimics. At the show I was at, they were the top quality Jon Culshaw and the brilliant young American Christina Bianco.

During the show they play a whole host of fun and sometimes silly games. Which of course all involve impressions of lots of different famous folk. Therefore giving the impressionists the chance to prove just how good they are. All four of them on the night were amazing. Some of the voices were indistinguishable from the actual people. For example Jon Culshaw’s Ricky Gervias and Christina Bianco’s Jennifer Aniston were both perfect.

It was a very funny evening, Everyone was on top form. Rory was magnificent. Not just when the cameras were rolling. But he was wonderful during breaks with extra impressions and stories to keep the audience entertained and amused. While certain things were set up. They also have a live house band to because there are a couple of music based rounds.

It will be on ITV later on in the year. If you fancy some silly fun with top quality impressions. I would urge you to keep an eye out for it. It is definitely worth a watch in my opinion. Even Alexander throws in a few of the voices he can do in one of the rounds. It is astonishing how many different voices four people can actually do. And how diverse and different they are.

Television Centre
Television Centre

The year before last I took my Mum on a sight seeing tour of London. She was really taken with St Paul’s Cathedral. Which we just looked at from the outside. She decided that she really wanted to see inside it and have a good look round it. Last Christmas I said I would take her on a tour of the place. As one of her presents.

It took us a while to find a suitable day that we were both free on. But finally last week we managed to achieve that. I had purchased tickets in advance. Once you have got them for entry, they do also allow you to book yourself on one of the tours, when you get there for no charge.

St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral

We arrived there about half past eleven. Mainly so I could enjoy an off peak and relatively quiet train journey for a change. The fact that we had pre-paid tickets meant that we could go straight in via the fast track queue. We managed to book on to a tour starting at one. Which gave us an hour to investigate what was up the stairs, as the tour does not go up there.

There are three galleries that go up into the Dome of the building. The first of which is the Whispering Gallery. Which is around a two hundred and twenty step climb. From there you do get a stunning view of the painted dome roof. And a great birds eye view of the ground floor of the iconic church. It is called the Whispering Gallery, as you can stage whisper into the wall and somebody listening to the wall across the room from you, should be able to clearly hear it.

There are two more galleries that we did not visit on this occasion. They are both outside and involve quite small staircases. They do apparently give you great views of London. I will take a look at them when I go back in the Summer. As once you buy one ticket to visit St Paul’s it becomes an annual pass. That you can use to visit as many times as you like.

We then just had time for a cup of tea and some cake before our tour. There were about twenty of us in the group. We were all given headsets and the tour guide Fiona was wearing a mic, so we could clearly hear what she was saying. Above the basic noise of the place. Which worked very nicely and meant that she did not have to shout.

I found the tour fascinating, from what happened to the original, how long it took for the replacement to be built, to how much restoration has been required over the years. You forget how much history the place is steeped in. I mean just for starters, the actual architect behind the amazing place is buried there with his own shrine. As are both the Duke of Wellington and Lord Nelson. Three huge historical figures all laid to rest in the same place.

You can really feel the association with the military in the place. And some regiments even have their own dedicated areas. I had no idea the poet John Donne was the first Dean of the original St Paul’s. The man behind “No man is an Island” and “For whom the bell tolls. He was also buried there and has a memorial there.

The building is beautiful on the outside and the inside. It does have a really British feel to it. The paintings, sculptures and the statues are spectacular. I spent so long just staring up into the dome to admire the paintings and artwork. It is a Church and there is a prayer on the hour. Which means that every sixty minutes there are a couple of minutes of quiet contemplation to be enjoyed. We were there for nearly four hours and probably needed another two or so at least to properly see and read everything that was on show.

Going to St Paul’s and doing the tour reminded me of so much UK history that I had kind of forgotten. It triggered memories of the things I learnt when I was doing my History GCSE. There really have been some fascinating and amazing people who have lived before us. It turns out that Wellington was relatively low key and reserved in his outlook, while Nelson was flamboyant and loved the attention. I will let you decide which of them I am more like.

London
London

Afterwards we went for a nice meal to top off the day properly. An excellent steak with a glass of red wine and cheesecake for desert. We ate in Bills on Baker Street. It was my first time in there. I would certainly not rule out a return visit at some stage. We had a lovely  day. It was nice to be able to take my mum to do something she really wanted to do.

Neil Quigley in London
Neil Quigley in London

As a Tottenham Hotspur fan I am still smiling from us finally beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge for the first time in twenty eight years. I am not saying it had been a long time coming. But before Dele Alli it was Gary Lineker who scored our last winner there.

The other great thing about it was that it really put us in a strong position to finish in the  top four and clinch Champions League football for next season. Which is so important to keep players and to start off at that level in the new stadium.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Well done to Declan Donnelly for presenting Saturday Night Take Away solo. He is a total professional and great at his job. As he has proved countless times over the years. But it must have been a bit tough not having his mate there for the first time ever. He just about held it together during the first link. Then after that he was flying. He did a fantastic job.

Although in music this is a pretty common occurrence. Somebody leaves a group or a duo and goes it alone. And often they have an equally. if not more successful career. It does feel odd when you first see them but you quickly get used to. If they are good enough. I do know this was an enforced move. Hopefully Ant will recover from his issues and return soon. But if not I am pretty confident Dec will still find plenty of work on his own.

BGT London
BGT London

In case you were wondering. Here is an update on the Nike Trainers that I ordered from Amazon. They have now sent me two of them in the same size. Which is a huge improvement on their first effort. I am now wearing them with the dark red body warmer and travelling around on a skateboard while hanging on to the back of cars. (If you do not get this reference, I suggest you read the previous entry).

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Just a quick reminder that I do a weekly podcast. Which is basically a radio show on the internet with no music featuring stories and old interviews from my twenty years working in radio. It is available on I-tunes, so why not subscribe to it? Then you will get every new episode automatically downloaded to your device. I would also like to point out that it is free. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/neil-quigley-podcasts/id1236437663?mt=2

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

I am up in Liverpool this weekend for my annual pilgrimage to the Aintree Grand National Weekend. Which is always a lot of fun. I will tell you all about it of course the next time we speak.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Racing Ahead

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been pretty busy and lots of fun. I went out for a few drinks in Camden recently. I do not go out there very often but when I do I always enjoy it. It has such a different and interesting vibe to it. Plus there are lots of great pubs to visit. It is an area where you really do see all sorts of people in every outfit you can imagine and yet nobody there looks out of place.

I ended the night in a pub that I always visit, when I am there. Which is the Hawley Arms. It simply is just a cool place to hang out with a great energy and atmosphere to it. It was famously Amy Winehouse’s local. There are lots of memories of her dotted around. It is also the place where Pete Doherty once held a press conference in the beer garden. They both used to drink there regularly. But it was a popular haunt with celebrities and music stars long before them. Liam Gallagher, David Bowie and Boy George were once fairly frequent visitors to the place. Having a drink there does make you feel a little bit like a pop star.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I made another one of my fairly regular visits to the excellent Old Rope comedy night in London last Monday. It is a new material night for top comedians at the Phoenix Pub just off Regent Street. The night is hosted by the wonderful Tiff Stevenson. She is helped by her dad and mum. Who work on the door and look after all the other acts. It was another great line up. The place was sold out with an audience of comedy lovers. Which does make for a lovely atmosphere for the comedians.

On the bill performing their new stuff were Eleanor Tiernan, Andy Zaltzman, Phil Wang, Tony Law, Tania Edwards and Simon Brodkin. They were all brilliant. It is all very honest. In that they will sometimes make reference to if a new bit has worked or not or even admit if something needs more work. As an audience member it does make you feel that you are part of the process of shaping their new shows. I also find that owing to the fact I have attended a comedy course with Logan Murray and because I am in the process of reading his book. I can spot some of the writing exercises, that they have been doing to create the new material. There is a process and science to comedy.

The headliner was the brilliant James Acaster. He did forty minutes of his latest show. Which is already hilarious and will probably be even better by the time he tours it. He really is on fire at the moment. It was another fun night. If you are free in London on a Monday night. Then go to the Old Rope. You really cannot go wrong.

Old Rope Comedy
Old Rope Comedy

While we are talking about comedy. Very sad news this week with the death of the great Ken Dodd. He died at the age of ninety in the same house he was born in and lived in all his life. And what a life it was. One of the best comedians this country has ever produced. Sharp, clever, funny, silly with a love of comedy and making people laugh. I do regret the fact that I never got to see him perform live. I bought my parents tickets to see him as a present once. His live shows were famed for over running. If he and the audience were having a good time (as they always were). He would just keep on going. It always got to the stage where people were in danger of missing last trains or trying to re-book taxi’s for later.

It was a running joke at every venue that the theatre staff would leave him the keys and he would lock up when he was finished. This was the case when my parents saw him. The show started at 7.30pm and the interval did not happen until 10pm. He eventually and probably reluctantly finished just after midnight. You could never say that you did not get value for money at a Ken Dodd gig. He rightly has a statue at Liverpool Lime Street Station. With him depicted holding one of his famous tickling sticks. It is a very welcoming sight when you arrive in to the city. RIP Doddy. Thanks for the laughs.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

My team Tottenham Hotspur have been knocked out of the Champions League. After a two all draw away at Juventus in the first leg. We were beating them one-nil at home in the second leg at Wembley Stadium. I was at the game. The atmosphere, as you would expect for such a big game was fantastic. We played brilliantly in the first half and were deservedly one up. All was looking good with the world. Then as soon as the Italian team got their first goal. It really seemed to jolt our players. They looked a bit shell shocked. Which seemed to lead to a lack of concentration. Which in turn lead to the second goal.

We gave it a good go and were unlucky when Harry Kane’s header hit the post in the dying minutes. If that had gone in it would have at least taken us to extra time. But alas it was not to be. The whole competition was fun. But as a team you can’t buy experience. Going out like this after doing so well, will hopefully help us to progress further next season.

Finishing in the top four has now become even more important for Spurs with the European adventure coming to an end. It would be disappointing to not be playing in the Champions League in the first season at our great new stadium. I was at Wembley to see us beat Huddersfield. Which was another important three points at home. It was also pleasing to see us bounce back from the European failure with a good away win on the south coast against Bournemouth.

The downside of that was Harry Kane going off with an ankle injury. Obviously any team would miss his goals and a player of his quality. But oddly our record when he has not played is not that bad. And personally I feel the team as a whole misses Christian Eriksen more. When he is out. That said I hope Harry is back and playing soon. And that we have a great end to the season.

Spurs v Juventus
Spurs v Juventus

Congratulations to Ant & Dec who recently celebrated the one hundredth episode of Saturday Night Takeaway. Which is still the best Saturday night entertainment show in my opinion. The centenary show featured lots of old clips from the show. It was fascinating how young the two Geordie presenters looked when it first started. They work so well together. It still regularly delivers new fun items and classic old favourites.

When a programme has been going for such a long time. It is so hard to keep the quality up. It is tough finding new ideas because they have basically done everything that can possibly be done. Which is always a problem for long running shows. However when you have those two fronting it. They can make anything entertaining. I am looking forward to the rest of the series.

BGT London
BGT London

Just a quick reminder that I do a weekly podcast. Which is basically a radio show on the internet with no music featuring stories and old interviews from my twenty years working in radio. It is available on I-tunes, so why not subscribe to it? Then you will get every new episode automatically downloaded to your device. I would also like to point out that it is free. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-neil-quigley-radio-podcast-ep7/id1236437663?i=1000406202689&mt=2

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

Thanks to my mate Dan Smith for giving me my first experience of the Cheltenham Festival last Wednesday. I am a big horse racing fan and have previously been to Royal Ascot and The Grand National meeting at Aintree. But never before had I been to the considered home of National Hunt racing. It had been on my to do list for a few years now. Therefore I was very happy to put that right on Ladies Day this year. As it is set in such a beautiful part of the country. The train journey itself gives you the chance to enjoy the wonderful countryside, as you head there with tens of thousands of fellow race goers.

It is as you would expect for an event that has been running for so long very well organised. They run shuttle buses from the station to the course for five pounds return. They pick you up outside the station and drop you right by the entrance. We were in the Club Enclosure. Which gives you a great view of the finishing line from the stands. It also offers you the chance to enjoy some nice bars. The whole course is so well designed that you can see the entire course sprawling out in front of you. All framed with the Cotswold Hills behind it. It really is a perfect setting.

Cheltenham Festival
Cheltenham Festival

As it is a race meeting that does pit the best British Trainers against their Irish counterparts .While taking place during St Patrick’s Day, week. I thought it would be rude not to have a few pints of Guinness, while I was there. The day’s racing itself was top quality. With some brilliant high class contests. You really cannot beat seeing the end of the races as the horses jump the last and fly up that big hill to the finish line. Especially if your horse is in contention still or ideally winning. It is perfectly acceptable to scream and shout at the top of your voice to cheer you selection home.

I bought a brand new suit for the occasion. And if I do say so myself, I was looking fairly Dapper. I had a brilliant day battling the on course bookies. I had a winner in the second race. Another winner in the fourth race. Then came the final race of the day. I was looking for an outsider to put an each way bet on. I recognised a horse that was called Relegate. I remember seeing it win somewhere before. I liked the fact it was being ridden by Katie Walsh. She is a great jockey. Who has had a lot of success over the jumps in Ireland. It had odds of 33-1 for it to win. I just fancied it, so I put a ten pounds each way bet on it.

I then returned to the grandstand to watch the race. With two fences to go my horse was right at the back of the field. Then after it had jumped the last it suddenly flew in to action and caught the horse that was leading right in front of me on the home straight. I had to double check it was my horse. As it had just come from nowhere. You can imagine my joy and excitement as it won. I netted three hundred and eighty pounds. Which was a great way to round off my first Cheltenham Festival. I also got to see the force of nature that is Altior storm to victory. I will definitely be returning there next year. I cannot wait. It really is a fantastic day out. If you are a fan of horse racing, it is something you must go and experience.

Cheltenham Festival
Cheltenham Festival

Today is St Patrick’s Day. My Granddad was born in Ireland and I do have an Irish surname. Which I think gives me the right to go out today and enjoy a couple of pints of Guinness. I will be heading as always to my favourite pub in London Waxy O’Connor’s. Which I also believe serves the best pint of Guinness in the capital.

It is always a great place to celebrate. They have live Irish music. The day will be improved further this year by the fact that Ireland play England in the Rugby Six Nations. Which will ramp up the atmosphere even further. I will let you know how it was next time we speak.

St Patrick's Day
St Patrick’s Day

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

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

Upstart Go

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. I once again managed to do something I had not done before. I went along to this year’s National Television Awards at the O2 Arena. It is something that I have watched on television from home for many years. It was great to actually get the opportunity to be sitting there in person to watch it all unfold.

The place was looking very glittery and sparkly. When I arrived it was getting fairly close to show time. I just had chance to grab a quick drink before I had to take my seat ready for the ceremony. There was definitely a buzz and an air of excitement in the place.

With around five minutes to go before we went live to the nation our Arena MC the brilliant Andy Collins came on to get the audience hyped and ready for action. And also to tell us what was going to happen right at the start of the programme. While he is doing this all the celebrities are filtering in to their seats, so that they are all sat down ready for when the proceedings begin.

The opening sequence was pre-recorded, so the first thing we actually witness live is the pay off to the opening gag. Which is Piers Morgan being lowered from the roof. Before Dermot O’Leary re-appears to save the day and remove the Good Morning Britain presenter from view. Then we get live music from last year’s X Factor winners Rak Su.

NTA's
NTA’s

Once their song is over and after Dermot’s opening monologue. It is down to business. The night follows a pretty standard pattern. The people presenting the awards come on, give us the nominations. Then they announce the winners. And they come up to give their speech. In the arena like the people at home, we see the clips and the faces of all the nominees in turn on the big screens.

It was nice to see Ant & Dec pick up another three awards. I was also pleased to see This Morning get one as well to. I have seen the Geordie duo, Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby present various different studio based shows. They are all brilliant and at the top of their profession. It is one of those disciplines that looks a lot easier than it is. Especially when the aforementioned foursome are the ones doing it.

It was a really good night and fantastic to see so many talented performers and writers all in the same giant room. It just reminded me of the high standard of television from all the different genres. That we have access to on our screens. Everyone was actually very well behaved. And the night went pretty smoothly. I thought Dermot did a great job of hosting it. In the main the guests reading out the nominees did what they had to do. Plus most of the thank you speeches were short and to the point. Which is what you want.

I thought it was nice to see Toff coming up for the I’m A Celebrity Award and doing a bit of back stage presenting. I do like her, she is upbeat, happy and positive. Plus I can tell she is keen to learn more about the trade of presenting. She did a great job handling Stanley Johnson, when they presented an award together.

NTA's
NTA’s

It was nice to see Andy Collins on stage doing his thing during the ad breaks. While you at home got sold holidays and hoovers. He entertained us. Another one of his jobs seemed also to be wrangling the celebrities, keeping them in order and in their seats ready for when they were going to be in the next segment. I have met him a couple times.  He is a top man. As well as being very funny.

It was good also to see another familiar face as the Stage Manager for the evening was Alan Conley. Who does pretty much all the big shows. He is on Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent and Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Take Away to mention but a few. He is a man at the top of his particular game and very well respected within the industry.

After the awards were over. I stayed for a couple of drinks before heading home and calling it a night. It was a brilliant experience. I really enjoyed myself. It was a fun event to be at. I got chatting to some younger people just before I left. We were talking about our stand out moments. Most of them said it was Blue Planet 2 getting its award for highlighting the issue of plastic in our oceans. If that is the thing that struck the biggest cord. Despite what some people might think about the youth of today. I do think the future looks like it is in very good hands.

NTA's
NTA’s

As I always turn up for everything very early because I hate being late for anything. I arrived at the O2 before the NTA’s with more than enough time to have a look around the latest Elvis Presley Exhibition they have there. I went to a huge one all about his entire life, that was there a few years ago, which was amazing. This new one is quite a bit smaller and focuses solely on his touring days.

They have lots of his old stage and tour costumes on display, a few precious personal items and lots of footage of him on stage in various locations. They also have a recording of a press conference he did to promote one of his tours. Which is an interesting watch. If you are a fan of the man and have the time, it is worth a quick look round, I think. I certainly enjoyed it.

Elvis Exhibition
Elvis Exhibition

I was lucky enough to be able to go and watch an episode of the new series of Upstart Crow being filmed at the London Studios on the South Bank. It is a show I really like a lot. The subject matter is great. Ben Elton is an amazing writer. I really like how even in his history based comedies. He still manages to get social comment and a bit of politics in to them. He does it brilliantly with this programme, specially with Shakespeare’s always long and awful commutes between London and Stratford Upon Avon. It is also so clever how each episode is basically all about the writing of a different Shakespeare play. That in itself is genius.

Not only is the writing brilliant but the cast are all fantastic. It is a star studded line up to say the least, with a lot of comedy experience between them. Everyone is so good in it and play their parts so perfectly. But a special mention does have to go to David Mitchell, who is the only one who has to appear in pretty much every scene. So he by far has the most dialogue to learn. And thanks to the writing of Mr Elton. Some of his speeches are not only long and complicated but often tongue twisting challenges. He has to be one of the best comedy actors, we have at the moment. In fact he is just a very funny man. As he proved during short breaks between some of the scenes.

It was the first time I had been to a filming of a classic studio based sitcom with four different sets to move between and the actors playing out the whole scenes with about six cameras pointing at them to record all the dialogue and reaction in real time. It was such a funny night. This series I think could be even funnier that the previous two and I thought they were great.

I watched what will be the first episode. When this latest series is shown on the BBC in the Autumn. I had such a quality time laughing out loud with a group of very happy people. They record each scene all the way through twice. Then do any pick ups before they move on. There was a guest star on this one to. I do not want to give anything away but let us just say this person has previously worked with the writer.

Talking of which it was great to see Ben Elton there. He was on hand and on mic to introduce each of the cast to us, give us some background details about the characters and the plot. He did also point out the main idea is based on historical facts. Well from the six or so facts only, that we know to be true about the exceptional play write. He also told some jokes and brilliant stories in true Ben Elton style. He still has the same energy, he had when he appeared hosting Saturday Night Live.

When he introduced his old mate Harry Enfield, he did a Stavros impression. The cast seem to have a lot of fun making it. They were focused, professional and wanted to get the job done. But when the time allowed it, they were happy to mess about and add even more value to the recording. It was a fantastic evening. I cannot wait to see the whole series later this year.

The Globe Theatre
The Globe Theatre

I have mentioned Logan Murray a few times before. I attended one of his brilliant Comedy Courses a few years ago. Which means I have something in common with Josh Widdicome, Greg Davies and Rhod Gilbert to mention but a few. The latter mentioned Logan during an interview with Simon Mayo on Radio 2. Which led to the comedy guru himself Mr Murray being on the next day talking a bit about his course and the basic set up of it.

It was nice to hear him on and it brought back lots of great memories from my time in his company. I did my course as part of the Roving Comedy Night at the Tringe Festival. Which is just a fantastic experience. They are looking for people who would like to do it this year. I would urge anyone to give it a go. Follow this link for all the details. http://www.get-stuffed.biz/tringe/2018/06/roving-comedy-night/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I spent another hilarious night in the Phoenix Pub in London at The Old Rope Comedy Night. Which is a new material evening for the cream of comic talent to come along and try out new jokes. It is the run by Tiff Stevenson along with her parents, who manage the door. Which instantly gives the place such a friendly and inclusive feel to it. Tiff was away in New York this week. So the night was hosted by the brilliant Lou Sanders. I have seen her a few times before. She is very funny. She did a wonderful job of moving the fun along while keeping us entertained between the acts. It is fair to say we learnt a lot about her during the evening, some of which I can never unlearn.

It was another amazing line up. As it always is at this place. You get a rough list of comedians advertised before the gig but normally you get a few special guests just popping in unannounced. This time I saw Tom Ward who was ace. Jasper Cromwell- Jones, who I had not seen before but who is a character act based around a very posh adventurer. Which I feel we may see a lot more of.

Geoff Norcott was on next, who you might know from the excellent Mash Report. He has got a pretty definite style and was brilliant to. Then the last act in the first half was Lloyd Langford, who I really like. He had been out for lunch with fellow comedian Matt Forde. Which was meant to be just food but turned in to a bit of a session. So by the time he got on stage. He was around eight pints to the good. Mind you he held it together fine and was still very funny. Although I think he might have been slightly relieved when it was all over. Top work all round during part one.

Old Rope
Old Rope

Part two kicked off with the always great Tony Law. The man who headlined my first ever Stand Up gig. I got to spend the whole evening with him as we performed. He was once again great. He is another who has his own very distinctive style. Then it was Marlon Davis. It was great to see him back on stage after recovering from a very nasty car accident.

Then there was a surprise appearance from Simon Brodkin. Possibly better known as his alto ego Lee Nelson. I actually had met Simon before because I played a Press Officer at a football club in the pilot of The Lee Nelson Well Good Show. But I was cut from the show, when it was eventually shown. That is show business kids! He was doing some new material as himself and was also very funny.

Next up was the always fantastic Eleanor Tiernan. She was as ever brilliant. It is such and fun and funny night. Which is even more astounding when you remember that a lot of the gags are all brand new. The headline act for this visit was the excellent Hal Cruttenden. Who was on fantastic form. He was so good and assured. As you would expect from a man of his standing and experience. He rounded off the evening perfectly. If you are ever in London on a Monday night and not sure what to do. I would always say go to the Old Rope. You really cannot go wrong.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

My team Tottenham Hotspur are very lucky to still be in the FA Cup after nearly getting knocked out by a valiant effort from Newport County. We could really do without another game with the Champions League about to restart. But I will happily take that replay all day long to still be in the competition.

I went to see the Manchester United match Wednesday. Which was a very pleasing night. I think scoring in the first eleven seconds did help us out a lot. But it was a great performance and a crucial win. Bring on the rest of the season!

Spurs V Man Utd
Spurs V Man Utd

This week I have launched my brand new podcast. This will be available weekly. It contains lots of stories from my past, thoughts on everyday situations that I and everyone else find themselves in. Plus a selection of interviews that I have done in the past with various interesting people.

If you sign up and register with i-tunes then you will get it delivered to your phone or tablet automatically when the latest episode is released. Why not get involved and give yourself a nice new treat for 2018. It will basically be like a radio show but without the music. Sign up here. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-neil-quigley-radio-podcast/id1236437663?i=1000401179310&mt=2

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

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.