Tag Archives: Strictly Come Dancing

And Relax

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have actually been by my standards fairly quiet. After an extremely busy couple of months. It was probably about time to be honest.

Last weekend I went to visit my oldest school friend on the Welsh border. We were thrown together on the first day of Primary School. And have been mates ever since. It is always brilliant to spend time with him and his family.

Neil Quigley with The Beatles
Neil Quigley

He has a lovely house in a beautiful area. It is surrounded by forest, hills, greenery. And he has a stream that runs down in front of his driveway. Plus there is a canal near by. Which includes a viaduct. That you can walk across. It is a relaxing place to spend some time. And a nice contrast to the hustle and bustle of London.

It was only really a flying visit. I arrived on the Saturday afternoon and had to head home again by Sunday afternoon. I arrived around lunchtime. His wife already had some food ready. We then took a trip out to an Iron Works place.

Which featured several amazing sculptures. Including giant animals. And a huge Angel. Which was made out of knives handed in from the various weapon amnesty’s. That there have been. It is both beautiful and terrifying. When you think that all of those blades used to be on the streets.

It also had a shop. Which sold lots of arts and crafts from various local artists. There were some really quirky and interesting things there. If you were looking for centre piece items for rooms in your house. It would be a brilliant place to go to for them.

They also sell produce by some local food and cosmetic makers. Which is great to see. It gives the place a nice family feel to it. They have a wonderful little cafe there. Which has some very nice looking cakes on offer.

On the way back from there. Predictably I guess. We dropped in to one of the pubs on the canal for a couple of drinks. It was nice to sit outside and chat for a bit.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

They have a young daughter. I ended up trying to entertain her. With a small variation of the game “spoof” using a coin. I am glad I was not playing her for money. She was worryingly good at it. And it would have cost me a fortune.

We spent the evening chilling and relaxing at their house. Then the next morning. We popped along to a huge Car Boot Sale. That was on near by. I had not been to one of them for years.

I must confess, if I happen to be home around midday. I do like to watch Bargain Hunt. I have no idea about antiques. But I like the idea of picking something up and selling it on for ideally lots more money. I am secretly hoping I pick up some knowledge on the subject from the programme.

As there was not anything I really wanted to buy. I spent the time walking around the Boot Sale. Deciding what items I might buy if I was on Bargain Hunt. And was going to have to sell these things at an auction.

What I did notice. Is that there is a lot of good quality and quite impressive items at these things. But there are also quite a few things that left me thinking. Why have they not just thrown that out. It will never sell in a million years!

I think everybody else brought something except me. But nothing jumped out at me. Plus unlike in Bargain Hunt. Nobody had given me three hundred pounds to spend. We then went back to their place for a quick bite to eat. Before I had to get my train home.

I just had time to show off my musical skills. By playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on their daughter’s mini grand piano. It is the only song that I can play. But I do like to think I can play it well. When the concert was over. it was time to head back to Buckinghamshire.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The Premier League is back. Tottenham Hotspur have started the season nicely. Well on the pitch at least. The opening of the new stadium has been delayed. And at this moment we do not actually know when it will be ready.

Thanks to the move to the new stadium that we are not in yet. I have managed to become a season ticket holder at the club. Which I am delighted about. It is something that I have wanted to be for a very long time.

When I will get to enjoy this. And actually get to sit in my seat. At the minute who knows? Until then we are back playing at Wembley. To be fair there are worse places to be based. And having played there all last season. We are kind of used to it now.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

It is going to be an open season, I think. Manchester City are still the best side. But if they do get sidetracked by the Champions League. One of the other sides could sneak it. Should be an entertaining and exciting season.

Can Spurs win the league? Who knows. I am looking forward to supporting them through thick and thin. Seeing as many games as I can. And enjoying the football we play. Anything else is a bonus.

But I am not going to lie. It would be brilliant to win some silverware this year. Although we have not made any new signings. We have two or three players coming back from long term injury. Which is I think possibly better than having any new signings.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am currently reading Mauricio Pochettino’s book “Brave New World”. It is a diary of Tottenham’s 2016/2017 Season. Through the eyes of the Manager. But it is also a biography of his career. It details how he has got to where he is today at Spurs.

I am finding it fascinating. The  culture he is trying to create. The way he manages and treats the players. How he unwinds and relaxes. Plus it demonstrates his obvious sense of humour. It really is an interesting read.

If you want to understand what it is like being a top manager. It is a must read. You get a great insight in to the workings of a Premier League Club. Detailing how much of an impact and influence the boss can have. And how much he has to oversee and be involved in on a daily basis. To make his plans work.

I already was a massive fan of his. But after reading this. I love him even more. And have more respect for what he is trying to achieve and the way that he is trying to do it. He is an fantastic manager.

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur

I went out for some Bank Holiday Sunday drinks with a good friend of mine in Reading last weekend. We went to the Brewdog Bar. That they have there. It was the first time I had been. It has a good vibe to it. With music playing at a level you can still comfortably talk above. Which was handy. As we were having a good old natter and catch up.

It did give us the chance to sample a few different beers. I do enjoy trying new and different beers nowadays. I think when you start off drinking. You do not really enjoy the taste. But you enjoy the feeling. Then as you get older. I think you are more likely to have discovered what you like drinking. And enjoy the taste element more. Well this certainly applies to me anyway.

It was a fun and civilised night.I discovered a few new beers that I like. So I can keep an eye out for them. When I am out in London. I stayed at his house. He has children. Which led to us watching the film Mama Mia .While we were having our breakfast. Which did make for an unusual start to my day. It is very different from Sky Sports News. Plus I have had ABBA songs in my head all week.

Reading
Reading

The celebrities for this year’s Strictly Come Dancing have been announced. In fact last weekend. They were filming the opening Red Carpet sequence outside of work. For the start of the new series.

It is a programme I would love to get the chance to take part in. I mean to have the chance to learn to dance properly and perform with the professional dancers must be amazing.

Strict;y Come Dancing 2018
Strict;y Come Dancing 2018

In this latest line up. There is as ever a few people. I have met in the past. I met Susannah Constatine. When she and her former fashion partner Trinny Woodall came in to the radio station. I was working at in Yeovil. Not sure if they were having a bad day. But a smile that day seemed “What Not To Wear” Hopefully dancing and wearing those sequinned outfits will put that right this Autumn.

I have met Lee Ryan from Blue a couple of times. I did a gig with him once in Somerset. When he was launching his solo career. I was the host. He sang a few songs. When he had finished performing. He hung around drinking with the audience. I then saw him again with the whole of Blue at an Armed Forces event in Buckinghamshire.

Saturday Night Takeaway
Saturday Night Takeaway

Ashley Roberts once squeezed past me. When I was in the audience for Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. I can confirm that she is tiny and stunning. I expect her to do well in the competition.

And I have of course seen Kate Silverton wandering around at the BBC. On her way to and from the news studio. I am looking forward to having the show back on our television screens. It is always a joy.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Another friend of mine Mike Sterling is currently in the UK Touring production of Evita. He is playing Juan Peron. He is an amazing singer and actor. Who sang for me at my fortieth birthday party.

I am really looking forward to seeing him in the show this week. It will be brilliant to watch him and catch up after. I will tell you all about it when we speak next.

Ascot 2018
Ascot 2018

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

Life Begins at 40 Right?

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

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

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

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

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

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

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

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

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

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

Charity Football Match
Charity Football Match

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

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

Charity Football Match
Charity Football Match

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

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

Charity Football Match
Charity Football Match

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

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

Charity Football Match
Charity Football Match

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

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

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

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

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

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

Neil Quigley with Christopher Biggins
Neil Quigley with Christopher Biggins

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

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

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

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

BBC Radio
BBC Radio

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

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

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Sunny for Old Rope

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. A few Friday’s ago I went to the Harold Pinter Theatre in London to see Sunny Afternoon.

It is a musical telling the story of the band The Kinks featuring all of their big hit songs including of course the title of the play. It was a really great show. The cast were excellent. All extremely talented actors, singers and even musician’s. As all of the songs were performed completely live on the stage.I must admit that although I was familiar with the band and their music. I was not completely aware of their story. I knew a few bits and pieces about their history. And I was aware that the relationship between the two brothers in the group was at best awkward.

Basically the group started as a party function band. Just as backing for another singer. But he was being outshone by the lead and rhythm guitarists. So he became their manager and Dave and Ray Davies were sent forward to front the group. At that point becoming The Kinks.

Sunny Afternoon
Sunny Afternoon

Ray Davies was the main songwriter and singer. While Dave Davies was the brilliant lead guitarist. Who ended up playing all those iconic rifts to their huge tunes. Dave was younger and wilder. Ray was older but more introverted.Which led to some moments on stage when they were literally fighting each other to be centre stage. Which is brilliantly portrayed during this performance.

It was a fantastic show, with plenty of real life emotion and pathos to it. A very compelling story with just a constant string of amazing songs coming up one after another. The finale was great and featured a brilliant version of one of the band’s biggest hit’s. The whole cast looked like they were really enjoying themselves. It is always the sign of a good show. When you leave in a great mood with a couple of the songs stuck in your head in my opinion.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I was back in the Criterion Theatre a few days later to watch a show that I had been meaning to see for a while now. The other year I went and saw the hilarious “The Play That Goes Wrong”. Which was written and performed by the brilliant Mischief Theatre Company.Well they have another play on in London at the minute called “The Comedy About A Bank Robbery”. Which is what I went to see.

It was exactly the same cast that I saw perform in their first play. So they had all moved across to take the leading roles in this latest production. And once again they were all fantastic. They are all so talented. The title does sum up the play very nicely. It does exactly what it says on the tin. It is just a good old fashioned fun production. Including great word play, innuendo, farce and slapstick. All within a brilliantly woven and clever plot. Which will make you laugh out loud. Plus there are actually a couple of unexpected twists in the tale to.

The Comedy About A Bank Robbery
The Comedy About A Bank Robbery

It is simply another quality and entertaining show from this very clever and close knit theatre company. They have found a style and niche that seems to work for them. And they are tremendous at executing it. The timing of some of the set pieces just has to be seen to be believed. I would recommend seeing either of their two shows. If you want a good old belly laugh from your night out at the theatre.

They have a third play as well. Which they perform around the festive period called “Peter Pan Goes Wrong” which is on between now and January. It is something I plan to see. A version of it has already been filmed and it will be on the BBC over the Christmas period. I would suggest you keep a look out for it and watch it if you get the chance. If it is half as good as their other two plays I have already seen, it will be excellent. Such a friendly group as well. I did get to speak to one of the cast very briefly after and they love what they do and really enjoy doing it.

Old Rope Comedy
Old Rope Comedy

I have spent the last two Monday evening’s laughing my head off at a brilliant comedy night in London. That I had been meaning to experience for the last year. So I was delighted to finally get the chance to check it out. It is held every Monday night at The Phoenix Pub. Which is just off Regent Street, right in the heart of the West End.It is run by the very funny Tiff Stevenson and the night is called Old Rope Comedy. She hosts it every week and it is a new material night for both upcoming and very established comedians to try out new jokes.

There is actually a rope hanging from the centre of the stage. And if a comedian does a joke that they have done before. They are meant to hold it. As a symbol for money for old rope. Hence where the night gets its name from. This is to encourage them to try out new stuff only. And so the audience will know when they do existing material. It is a very well run, established and respected night. So therefore does attract some well known performers each week.

Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy
Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy

On my first visit I saw Sarah Kendall and Tony Law perform. Both of whom have their own show’s on Radio 4. I actually gigged with Tony Law myself when I made my stand up comedy debut at the Roving Comedy Night of the Tringe Festival. He was the headline act for my show and was excellent on stage and giving advice between gigs.He has once again re-invented himself with a completely new look and image and was hilarious during his set. It was Sarah Kendall who headlined. And did a run through of her soon to be recorded latest radio show. Which was based on her last Edinbrugh Fringe Festival Show.

All the comedians on the night were brilliant including an eighty odd year old female comic, who was quality. The atmosphere in the place was perfect for comedy. A nice, polite expectant audience. Who were just there to have a good time and a few laughs on a Monday Night. On my second visit the comedians performing included the excellent Aisling Bea, Brian Gittins and someone to certainly keep an eye out for called Lou Sanders. Who is also very funny. Do go along if you ever get the chance. It is a great fun night out.

Spurs at Wembley
Spurs at Wembley

I am still happy with the way things are going for Tottenham Hostpur currently. Although we have been drawing a few too many games recently. We do still remain unbeaten in the Premier League. We are in fifth place one point off the top spot. Things have been a lot worse than that this stage of the season in the past.

We are still in with a chance of qualifying for the next stage of the Champions League to. Although we are suffering a bit from a lack of goals currently. So it will be good to have Harry Kane back in the team soon, I hope.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Another team I like to keep an eye on is Wycombe Wanderers. I used to go and watch them play regularly as a child. And for a season or two I was the owner of a season ticket there. I kind of grew up watching the Martin O’Neil era unfold. Mind you the first Wycombe game I saw at their old ground Loakes Park. Was them playing Tottenham Hotspur in a testimonial for their then goal keeper Gary Lester. Which is why I really went along for the first time to see them.

I actually played for the Wycombe Wanderers Lions under sixteen’s for just over half a season. And I did have a trial for their youth team but I did not get in. Instead I played for the Aylesbury United Youth Team. With my first game for them actually being a goalless draw against the Wycombe Youth team at Beaconsfield FC’s pitch. So I do have some kind of an affinity with the club, I guess. So last Saturday I went to Adams Park with my Dad to see the Blues face Barnet. A game that I saw many times as a kid. When both teams were still in the Vauxhall Conference, as it was back then.

Wycombe V Barnet
Wycombe V Barnet

It had been a few years since I had been to see them in action. So I have to admit I was not that familiar with a lot of the players. They have currently got a goalkeeper on loan from Chelsea. He is their fourth choice keeper behind Courtois, Begovic and Eduardo. He looked like a very good player.

You could tell he was a class above this level. He is a long way from the Premier League team’s starting eleven. But he has a contract with them. Which is rumoured to be worth about thirteen thousand pounds a week. Nice work if you can get it.

Wycombe V Barnet
Wycombe V Barnet

The game itself was pretty terrible to be honest. Both teams struggled to play much football. Wycombe had an own goal ruled out after the referee had blown for a foul while a cross was flying in to Barnet’s penalty area. And two defensive lapses led to the away team’s two nil victory.

Plus points from the afternoon included spending quality time with my dad. The sausage and bacon roll that we had from the burger van outside. And seeing the beast that is Adebayo Akinfenwa in action. My dad and mum are season ticket holders and have to endure this experience every week. Joking aside, all the best to Wycombe Wanderers for the rest of the season, They are a nice family friendly football club.

Wycombe V Barnet
Wycombe V Barnet

It has been another dramatic two weeks in Strictly Come Dancing. Naga Munchetty and Lesley Joseph have both left the competition. They both went a bit early I think, as they still had a bit more to give for me. That also meant we lost their partners Pasha and Anton. Which is a shame as Anton does bring a lot of fun and cheekiness to proceedings. Laura Whitmore could not dance the other week as she had injured her ankle. Brendan Cole missed last week’s show with a lung infection. Leaving his partner Anastasia to dance with Tameka’s former partner Gorka.

Rumours about Brendan’s health got totally out of hand. When the Sunday Star actually ran a story claiming that he had died. Which came as quite a shock to the dancer. When he read it while resting at home. I am still loving the show though. It is just great all round entertainment. Tess Daily and Claudia Winkleman are doing a great job on the two main shows. And Zoe Ball is brilliant on the nightly spin off show “It Takes Two”. Such great fun. I would love one of those professional dancers to teach me to dance.

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

The latest Derren Brown live show “Miracle”. Which I saw in The Palace Theatre in London on its opening night was shown on Channel 4 recently. As I have said before I am a massive fan of his work. I thoroughly enjoyed watching it again. I could see him do that show over a thousand times and still not have a clue how he does it.

He is like a real life Jedi. It is all just so clever and mesmerising. His performances are also so well structured with a set start, middle and end. With the final act and trick always just pulling the whole show together and completing the story of the night.

Derren Brown
Derren Brown

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

Racing Away

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really nice couple of week’s. Mine have been quite busy with some fun things going on. A couple of Saturday’s ago. I went to Ascot for an afternoon of racing with one of my best mate’s.

He turned forty earlier in the year and me going to the races with him was part of my present. Always treat people to something you enjoy doing yourself, as a gift. That is my tip. Now we randomly selected a date that we would both be able to make. And would you believe it just so happened to be their Beer Festival meeting. I mean what are the chances of that?

We got to the course around midday and collected our race cards, our beer tokens and our festival pint glasses. They had over two hundred and eighty different beers to try there. So if we were to get round them all. We certainly had our work cut out.

I do have a couple of favourite local brewery’s. And as luck would have it. They all turned out to be there. These are the Rebellion Brewery in Marlow,  XT Brewery in Long Crendon and The Windsor & Eaton Brewery. Which I am sure you can work out for yourself, where they are based.

Ascot Racing
Ascot Racing

So to be honest we stuck to these brands during the afternoon. Just sampling a few of their different ales. I hasten to add. It was a fun afternoon. Ascot is a great course with a fantastic grand stand from which to enjoy the races. But as it is a venue that is often visited by Royalty. I guess that you would not expect anything less. It was nice just enjoying a few drinks and trying to win some of the beer money back on the races.

Although it is fair to say we were not very successful on that front. We both had horses pipped at the post. That would have got us a win each. And the only success we had was my friend got a second place for a horse that he had backed each way. I do enjoy an afternoon at the races but I have still never met a poor bookmaker.

We grabbed some food while we were there. To keep our energy levels up of course. I did like the combinations of some of the food and drink outlets they have there. For example we enjoyed a lovely real Cumberland sausage hot dog from the Champagne and Grill Bar. Where you could buy a bottle of Bollinger with an accompanying hot dog or burger. And to my surprise many people were.

Another great afternoon out. Most people get dressed up to go to the races. So it has the feel of being at a giant wedding. With the added bonus of some horses to shout for. Always a great day out win or lose. Although let us be honest, it is better if you do have a few winners.

Ascot Racing
Ascot Racing

I am really enjoying this series of Strictly Come Dancing. Once again there are some really good and entertaining couples. And I always like seeing the close relationships that develop between the professional dancers and their celebrity partners.

I would still not like to pick a winner yet at this stage of the proceedings. I think there has to be a few of them in contention. Personally I have not got a favourite yet. So I am actually a little bit sad when I see any of them leave. But that is the deal. And the way the show has to work.

I did feel really sorry for the first one’s to go Melvin Odoom and his partner Janette Manrara. I think he is just the sort of character you want around the place. Upbeat smiley, fun and to be fair to him not the worse dancer there by a long way. Also it is a shame to see a fantastic dancer like Janette go so early. But again that is the nature of the beast.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It was unfortunate to, in the way it happened with Anastacia being unable to take part in the dance off due to injury. I really like her and with what she has been through she is truly an amazing person. But it just seems almost wrong that by not dancing she went through. I appreciate they are the rules and they have to be in place for matters like this.

And ultimately it was the public who decided who went. So basically anyone who was not happy with the outcome. Unless they voted for Melvin cannot complain. If they thought he should still be in the competition. They should have voted for him.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Although he has done a bit of television presenting. He is best known for being on the Kiss FM Breakfast Show. Which is a big national station and has some very impressive listening figures. But I think the audience that listens to him on the radio would not necessarily be the kind of people, who may watch the show. And even if they did. I imagine they would probably not vote.

Which possibly led to him going so early on. Even though there are less accomplished dancers than him still in the competition. Or to look at it another way. It is just a fun Saturday night entertainment show. They know what they sign up to and being voted out is all part of it.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The next celebrity to go was Tameka Empson. Who was was sent home by the judges after a dance off with Laura Whitmore. Again to be fair I thought both of them were very unlucky to be in the bottom two. There were worse performances and neither of them really deserved to leave the competition at this point.

But the best dancers are not always the most entertaining. It goes out on a Saturday Night. So why shouldn’t we enjoy some silliness and appreciate the people who are trying their best but just ultimately making us laugh.

Yes it is a dancing competition but part of the reason it has lasted so long. Is that the celebrities involved are not dancers. It was a shame to see Will Young leave the show for personal reasons. I thought he was progressing along very nicely with his partner Karen Clifton.

I wonder who will go this week. Or if indeed anyone does after this shock departure. I have no idea what they will decide to do. But I suspect they will carry on as normal and as ever one couple will be out on Sunday.

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

Last Tuesday evening I managed to get myself a place in the audience for The One Show on BBC One. It is their mid evening magazine style show that is on Monday to Friday at just before seven. It just so happens to be filmed at the same place where I work. But it was the first time that I had been in their studio.

The guests on the show I saw were Jasper Carrott and Alistair McGowan. I have been a massive fan of Jasper Carrott for pretty much as long as I can remember. My dad was a fan and used to watch his shows. So I think he may well have been the first comedian I ever saw.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

We met up in the Media Cafe in New Broadcasting House to check in. Then about fifteen minutes before the show was due to go on air. We were taken in to the studio. Already sitting on the famous green sofas were Matt Baker and Alex Jones. There were just ten of us.

And they were nice and friendly making a point of say hello and welcoming us when we arrived. The floor manager Paul was brilliant as well. Telling us all what we needed to do and having a laugh with us. He also works on Strictly Come Dancing. So is a busy man at the moment.

They then bought the two guests Jasper and Alistair in. The actual show itself goes very quickly and there are screens up so you can watch all the films that they feature. As the studio is small you are actually very close to the action, so get a great view of what is going on.

I for example could see the two presenters auto cue. And I was pretty much looking straight at Jasper Carrott for the whole programme. It was a great experience. And one I may well try to repeat in the future. Then after the show had ended Matt and Alex came over for a quick chat and so the whole audience could have a big group photo with them.

The One Show
The One Show

I am still delighted with the way the Premier League season is going currently. Tottenham Hotspur sitting in second place. Still unbeaten in the league having defeated the leaders Manchester City in the process. Ruining their one hundred percent winning start. As I said previously I cannot remember a better time to be a Spurs fan than now.

And at the moment we are still missing Harry Kane. Imagine what could happen when he is back. I am aware that there is a long way to go. But whatever happens I intend to fully enjoy this season. And hopefully get along to a few games. Specially as this is our last season at White Hart Lane.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Last weekend I was out and about in London. As I often am nowadays. I was enjoying a nice walk around the South Bank. Stopping off for a relaxing cup of tea on my travels. It was getting to around two o’clock. When I realised I had not had any lunch. So after weighting up the pros and cons of a pub lunch or food on the go. I opted for the latter. And went to the nearby Borough Market.

If you have never been. Imagine a market jam packed with every type of food you can think of and lots of people. It is always so busy down there. All the stalls are amazing. After walking around the whole place first.

I settled for a home made Chicken Burger. Which was exquisite. The quality of the meat was exceptional. And way better than you would find in any fast food restaurant. I really must remember to eat there more often. When I am in that area.

London South Bank
London South Bank

In the last couple of week’s I have been working on some new and interesting BBC radio shows. The other week I had the pleasure of working with the extremely talented news reader Tom Sandars. On a World Service News Bulletin.

He is a regular on many of the BBC’s stations including Radio Two. In fact you may have heard people trying to make his toes tap. When Sara Cox is covering the Breakfast Show for Chris Evans. Not only is he brilliant at his job. But he is a really nice person to.

BBC Studio
BBC Studio

I also walked straight past the radio legend that is Simon Mayo in the office the other day. I was desperate to chat to him about Tottenham’s season so far. But as I do not actually know him. I just settled for a knowing nod and a smile, as he went by.

My final recent BBC celebrity spot was the brilliant Huw Edwards in the staff canteen. Enjoying some food before the big evening news show’s.

BBC Radio
BBC Radio

I am looking forward to seeing Sunny Afternoon at the theatre in London. It is another one of those shows. Where you already know the songs are ace before you go. It is based around all the music of The Kinks.

I believe it is kind of the story of how the band were formed as well. A bit like the English version of The Jersey Boys. I will let you know what I thought about it next time we speak.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

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.