Tag Archives: Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio

Fantasy Comedy

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been busy and fun. I do spend a lot of time in London. Therefore I am very often on the train to and from the Capital. As I was about to get off one at Marylebone Station a few weeks ago. I randomly bumped in to somebody, who I had not seen for a ages.

On the second ever series of Big Brother. There was a gentlemen from Oxfordshire in the house. He was only in there for a couple of weeks and was voted out fairly early on. But he did still make a bit of an impression with his regular work outs and his tendency to wink at people quite a bit. His name was Stuart Hosking.

I was at the time working at Mix 96. When he came out of the house and the series was over. He ended up getting a Sunday morning show at the radio station. I produced the programme for the first two or three weeks. Which was great fun and a good laugh.

Neil Quigley

I think on show two. We had somebody who had been on Blind Date the night before in for a chat. It was interesting to get the inside track on how it all works from someone who has been through it. We all went for a quick drink afterwards. Which was normal practice for our post programme meeting. Well it was, while I was producing.

I seem to meet up with Stuart at various things over the years. I once went with him to an Industry Magazine Party. And fair play to him he managed to get us in to the VIP section. Which meant we upgraded from free beer to free champagne.

I also went with a mate of mine to a big birthday party. That he threw at a very nice hotel a few years ago. That was a brilliant evening. The entertainment were the Rockoakie Band. Who are amazing. They are a live band. Who then give you the chance to perform songs with them. My friend did a few numbers on the night. As did the Birthday boy himself. Chris Moyles often booked them for his live theatre shows.

Stuart Hosking Sings
Stuart Hosking Sings

It was nice to see him and have a quick chat. As we headed up the platform. He is still keeping nice and busy and up to some fun and interesting things. He is still good friends with a few people in the entertainment business. Personally I think that the first three Big Brothers were the best. Then it started going down hill from there.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Frank Skinner has been one of my favourite comedians, since I can remember. I have read both of his books. I have watched from the studio, as he hosted an episode of Room 101. Plus over the years spent hours watching Fantasy Football. And I even watched his sitcom Blue Heaven. The one thing I had not seen him do was stand up comedy live.

Happily I finally managed to put this right a couple of Saturday’s ago. I found out he was doing some work in progress shows at the Soho Theatre in London. I managed to grab myself a ticket. As I have said before it is a nice venue for comedy. He was playing the down stairs room. Which is set up like a lounge bar with tables and chairs. It is a little bit like a cabaret place similar to the London Hippodrome set up.

Soho Theatre
Soho Theatre

Needless to say the gig was a sell out. As I was in the bar beforehand I saw the unmistakable figure of Mr Skinner arrive and make his way down stairs to prepare for his audience. The title for this appearance was “The Man With No Show” Therefore the idea was he would just come out chat to the audience and hopefully find some stuff. That he can then polish into comedy gold. Probably for a big tour.

He is for me one of the funniest and most quick witted comics around. His brain does just seems to process things much quicker than us mere mortals. Bearing in mind he was on stage with no pre-prepared stuff. He was hilarious. I have not laughed that much at a comedy gig for ages. He has such a calm, warm and relaxed way of talking to people. Even when he is having a bit of a go at people. He does it in the right  way and makes it feel inclusive. Like he is still on their side.

I had a brilliant night. It is always pleasing when your hero’s do not let you down. He is doing some more work in progress gigs at the same place in August. I certainly have not ruled out going again to see him. As it will actually still be a completely different show. Frank Skinner is quality.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I started my radio career at Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio twenty three years ago. I met some wonderful people there. Many of whom I am still friends with all these years later. Two of the first people I met and worked with back then are now both living in Yorkshire. I started working with them producing their shows before I got my own programme on the station.

Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio
Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio

Last weekend I went up to visit them. I was staying with one of them at their house in Castleford. On the Friday night we stayed in to watch the football. Had an Indian take away and a nice bottle of red wine. While of course having a good chat about the old times and our current lives. A really fun and yet relaxing evening.

During the day on the Saturday we went and had a look around an Armed Forces Day event. That was taking place at Pontefract race course. My mate was in the RAF, so has an interest in this venture of course. It was basically like a classic County Show with charity stalls, arena displays and a wide selection of various refreshments.

They had a stall there for the Vulcan plane. As they are trying to build a special hanger for it in Doncaster. Which will include a coffee shop viewing area. So visitors can see the plane sat there in all its glory. While enjoying a drink and a piece of cake. It was nice to visit a race track and leave without losing any money for a change.

We then headed to Sheffield, so we could all catch up with my other friend and his wife. We went to his house and sat in his garden for a bit. Before heading in to town for a really nice meal and a couple of drinks. I have been out in Sheffield a few times over the years. I also went through a spell of spending some time just down the road in Worksop. Therefore I do know the area a little.

My mate had booked us a table at The Botanist. The table they gave us was right in the middle of the restaurant. Kind of in a sort of glass band stand. It was really not a place to be if you prefer keeping a low profile. Luckily none of us there fell in to that category. The selection of drinks there was fantastic. I chose to sample a few of the German beers they had on offer. The food there was really good to.

I had a homemade scotch egg for starters. Their famous hanging chicken garlic kebab with sweet potato fries for my main. Then for dessert I had the sticky toffee pudding. It was a really enjoyable meal. The company was fantastic. It was a wonderful night talking and catching up. While winding each other up and chatting about the glory days. When we regularly used to all go out and do discos together. Fun times!

Yorkshire
Yorkshire

I travelled home on the Sunday after first enjoying a massive brunch with my friend and his wife. The perfect end to a lovely weekend. I decided to treat myself to first class train travel on the way back. It was only about ten pounds more than the standard ticket. It meant that I got a comfier seat. Plus free tea, biscuits and water during the trip. Worth every penny as far as I am concerned. I could get used to it.

World Cup
World Cup

The World Cup in Russia is very much up and running. I am trying to watch as many matches as I can. I did of course make sure that I saw the England against Tunisia game. I was delighted for Captain Harry Kane and the whole team. The first game of any tournament is very tough. We are on the whole a young and inexperienced side. It was not a classic. We left it late but most importantly we got the three points.

Harry Kane will score goals in this tournament, He loves scoring and is very driven. I would not rule him out being there or thereabouts for the Golden Boot. If we can get the win against Panama tomorrow then we will be through to the knock out rounds. At that point really anything can happen. Good and bad. You just never know. Looking forward to getting behind the team and supporting the country. Come on England!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Obviously working at Broadcasting House in London. I do often see some recognisable faces around. Recently I found myself in the lift with new Radio One Presenter Maya Jama. Who as well as being an excellent broadcaster. Just happens to be going out with a certain gentlemen known as Stormzy. I saw the lovely Reverend Richard Coles. Who was dressed in his dog collar. And as you would expect he was just chatting to everyone and being generally lovely.

BBC Studio
BBC Studio

Tomorrow night I am off out in Tring to enjoy The Roving Comedy Night. I have performed at this event myself twice over the years now. But I am looking forward to seeing this year’s trainees do their stuff. And make their stand up debuts. I remember the nerves I felt before I did my first one. And the feeling of pure joy and exhilaration at the end of the night. I was walking on air for the next week or so.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I will be there laughing, clapping and cheering on all the first timers. As well as enjoying all the professional comedians accompanying them. It will be great to catch up with a few people. I know and have met through this wonderful event. Especially the comedy guru and my teacher himself Logan Murray. It will be my annual catch up with them. Although I am hoping that I might see some of them, when I go to Edinburgh for the festival in August.

Logan Murray
Logan Murray

The Roving Comedy Night signals the start of three weeks of gigs during the Tringe Festival. With lots of top comedians coming to Tring to do warm up shows for Edinburgh. I am going to see Marcus Brigstocke a week Sunday at the Court Theatre. If you like your comedy and are local it is well worth a look. Here is a link to their website http://www.get-stuffed.biz/tringe/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am really looking forward to going to Royal Ascot today. I went for the first time last year. And I enjoyed it so much. That I have decided to make it an annual event. I will be in the Queen Ann Enclosure. Which means I will get to have a sing-song at the famous band stand after the day’s racing has finished.

I will tell you all about it next time we speak. I will be wearing my lucky suit, so I am hopeful of picking up a few winners. I may also sip a few glasses of champagne. It is a brilliant event. Plus as a bit of a Royalist I am hoping once again to catch a glimpse of the Queen.

Royal Ascot
Royal Ascot

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

Life Is The Name Of The Game

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been pretty busy with some fun stuff going on. Last week I went and had a long over due cup of tea and catch up with my good friend Dez Kay. We have known each other now for around twenty years, although neither of us look old enough. We first met when I was starting out at Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio. We both used to do shows on a Tuesday night and from their our friendship blossomed. We also along with two other colleagues Merv Davidson and Nick Sievewright used to do a lot of discos together. We used to hire ourselves out to help raise money for the radio station. Which is a registered charity.

We had so many brilliant nights. I have not enjoyed doing gigs so much since. We were doing it for fun and because we wanted to. So it was just some mates having a good laugh. I mean it did help that we were very good and always went down a storm. We did used to put on a bit of a show. What started out as us just leading a few well known dances turned in to us having a routine of about four or five that we would all perform. Which towards the end did happen to involve outfits.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Happily I have never seen the evidence but we were videoed so many times that somewhere out there, I suspect there is some footage of the four of us doing the YMCA in costume. If you did ever happen to see us do it live. I can only apologise. We had a lot of fun together, which I never managed to recreate when I started doing gigs professionally. That is the trouble I guess, no matter how much you love doing something. When it changes from being your hobby to your actual job. It is never quite the same.

Anyway it was great to see Dez and talk about the present, as we both tend to keep ourselves very busy. He was about to go off and host a special Elvis Weekend to mark the 40th Anniversary of his death with another mate of ours Alvin Printwhistle. Then last weekend he was on stage at a big open air music event in Aylesbury working with lots of great bands. He still presents regularly on Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio doing a couple of weekly shows.

It would be nice to do something together again. As I have not worked with him on anything for ages. We do have some pretty good rock and roll style stories from the good old days. Although details of any of these I am afraid will have to wait until I write a book. I could honestly just sit, drink tea and talk to people all day. In fact one weekend when I was visiting Yeovil. I think I did just that for about six hours straight in a coffee shop.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

So sadly the legend that was Sir Bruce Forsyth is no longer with us. He died after a long illness at the age of eighty-nine recently. If you look back at his career and see what he achieved and also how he achieved it, you cannot fail to be impressed. He really was a great all round entertainer, who could do it all. But he was probably at his best when he had members of the public to talk to and an audience to entertain.

I remember watching him host the Generation Game. He would have me in stitches, when gently taking the rise out of the contestants. While they were playing and often failing badly during the games and challenges. Personally I always loved it when the very end game involved a small play. In which they would have to read their lines off props and ad-lib, as they went along. Bruce was great in that, showing off his acting skills. Perfect Saturday night family television.

BBC
BBC

I never got to meet him in person. But a few years ago I went to the launch show for Strictly Come Dancing. Which in the end happened to be the last full series he hosted. It was a recorded show. As normal with television shows they had a warm up, who came out told a few jokes and got the audience clapping and cheering. All ready to be a part of the show. Then before the cameras started rolling Bruce comes out and does about twenty minutes of chatting to the audience, some dancing and then he performed a song with the Strictly Band. Absolutely spell binding entertainment from the master. The audience loved it.

For me that was when he was at his best up on stage in front of a crowd with a band. He received some criticism towards the end about his reading of the auto cue on the show but that was never his thing really. Feeling the audience and responding to their energy was more his bag. He nearly quit show business completely when he was thirty. He had given himself five years to “Make it” and that time was almost up when he got selected to front Sunday Night At The Palladium and the rest as they say is history. RIP Brucie.

London Palladium
London Palladium

It has been a mixed start for my team Tottenham Hostpur in the Premier League. After a win in our first game away at Newcastle it was down to earth with a bump after we were beaten at our new temporary home Wembley by Chelsea. Which was followed by another home draw against Burnley. But it is still early days, so I remain positive. I have for the first time in years bought myself a current Spurs home shirt and because mentally I am still about ten years old. I had to have number ten and my surname on the back.

I am looking forward to wearing it to my first home game of the season against Swansea. I am also going to see them play Everton away next Saturday. Which has now become an annual event, basically so I can spend a weekend in Liverpool catching up with Jeff Nolan. I always have a good time up in that city seeing everyone. I think I have already seen Tottenham win, lose and draw at Goodison in the past, so I am prepared for anything. It will be a fun couple of days whatever happens with the football.

Neil Quigley and Jeff Nolan
Neil Quigley and Jeff Nolan

Staying with Football and Everton related things. Wayne Rooney has announced his retirement from the International set up. I have seen him play for his country several times at Wembley over the years. I could never fault his attitude and commitment. I was behind the goal the night he converted that penalty to become England’s all time record goal scorer, finally over taking Sir Bobby Charlton. Who had held that title for a very long time.

Although Gary Lineker was once close to taking his crown. Wayne also holds the record for the most caps for an outfield player. Which is also a brilliant achievement. Only Peter Shilton has played more games for England than him. Yet still people claim he is overrated.

What more could he do in his career apart from break all the records he has and win all the trophies that he has for his club side? If people are making this judgement on the fact that he never won the European Cup or The World Cup with his country. Then they are basically saying we have not had a decent player since 1966, which is clearly not the case. I still think he had more to offer and could have still played a part in next year’s World Cup.

Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney

I did say right at the start of this year that I would like to do a bit more radio presenting again. So now I am going to be appearing on Red Kite Radio for a bit. It is a new community radio station for Thame, Haddenham and the villages. Which launched around three months ago. It was set up and is run by quite a few people that I have worked with at Mix 96 over the years. Including the man who gave me my first ever on air gig Pete Simester.

So it is great to be working with so many familiar faces and voices again. I am on Monday to Thursday from 4pm – 7pm and Friday 4pm – 8pm looking after the Drive Time Show for a while. You can listen on 107.2 fm or online via the website which is http://www.redkiteradio.com/  It is  lovely to be back on the radio in my home county once again.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I was out for a few drinks in London in the week which included a visit to the BBC Club. This is a bar area that is available only to employees of the Corporation. It is just a nice small room with some tables and chairs and a small stage area. As from time to time every month they put on various types of entertainment. It was only the third or fourth time that I have been in there. Though it seems in theory great to have somewhere cool to grab a quick drink after work so near by. In reality most days by the time I finish I just want to head home.

But somebody was moving departments and location so it was a good excuse to get together and have a few drinks. As well as the club we did visit a few other pubs in the area. Plus I managed to grab dinner with my cousin at an Italian Restaurant. Which was very nice, with friendly staff and good food.

I also treated myself to a glass of red wine with the meal. It was so nice I actually tried to find out which one it was but the waiter claimed you could not buy it anywhere and that they have a special deal with the supplier. Now I guess either he was telling the truth or it was just a cheap bottle of supermarket stuff and he did not want to tell me or I would see how big their mark up was on it. It was an enjoyable night all round.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am really looking forward to going to see the current production of Annie in London, which stars Miranda Hart as Miss Hannigan. I saw a version of it many years ago at the Wycombe Swan with Su Pollard in that very role. As it happens I was there with my now fellow Red Kite Radio presenter Richard Carr.

I remember really enjoying the show. It is a beautiful and inspirational story. So I am curious to see this latest version. Plus I do just really enjoy a good night out at the theatre.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It has been another couple of interesting weeks at work in London. I walked past the unmistakable figure of Richard Osman near Marylebone Station the other day. He is kind of hard to miss because of his height. I was going to say hello, as he seems like a nice bloke but as I was about to speak I noticed he had his headphones in, so probably would not have heard me. Unless that is his cunning ploy to avoid talking to annoying people in the street.

I also saw Robbie Savage jog past me in the office having finished 606. I had to sit opposite Ian Wright for a bit just after Tottenham had been beaten by Chelsea, which was made worse by the fact as an ex Arsenal player. I could just sense he was enjoying that result. I also got to watch the brilliant Peter Allen and Jane Garvey do their Five Live Show, which was a fantastic experience.

BBC Radio
BBC Radio

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