Tag Archives: television

Check Mate

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been busy and fun. I have to say I could not believe it, that my mate Ben Langley did not make it through to
at least the Semi-final stages of Britain’s Got Talent. Sadly exactly what I feared occurred. He was not selected in that last show where they have to whittle down all the people that they said yes to. To the actual number of places available in the live shows. That was despite him getting four yes’s and a standing ovation from the judges.

I was a little bit concerned that this might happen to him. The reason for that is that he was shown very early on in his episode. He was not interviewed before. They did not really give us any of his back story. But later in the same programme a few of the acts who also got put through received this treatment. Probably a total coincidence but at least a couple of these did make it through to the semi-finals.

I appreciate I might well be a bit biased with him being a friend. But I have seen him perform a lot over the last ten years. And I would say that he can offer a lot more variety and potential than some of the people who made it through. Mentioning no names Opera Cake eating lady. They always put a few quirky and odd acts through to the finals. It does make the show more interesting. Although it is a little frustrating when this is sometimes done at the expense of the talented individuals.

Ben Langley
Ben Langley

Ben has toured with Joe Pasquale, Cannon and Ball and supported Paul Zerdin on his one man show. He was in the Detectorists, albeit briefly and is on CBeebies. Therefore I concede that he is not exactly unknown. Which is may be what they think the show is about.

But Lost Voice Guy, who I love and who truly deserved to win it. Actually won the BBC New Comedy Award a few years ago,  so he was hardly plucked from obscurity either. That said I think he will be excellent at the Royal Variety Performance. I must also say well done to the ace Dec. Who did brilliant job hosting it. Those opening numbers that he was doing were epic.

It was nice to see Ben getting some encouragement and words of support from the legend that is Bobby Ball on his Facebook page. He is currently performing his Ben Langley show all other country. He will be in Pantomime again. As he has been every year since I have known him. Plus he may well tour the UK with his Ha Ha plays again. What I am saying is keep an eye out for him. If you get the chance go and see him in action. You will have a fun and entertaining time.

Ha Ha Hood
Ha Ha Hood

I have to confess owing to the fact I am genuinely so busy. I like to plan things in advance and normally have very structured weeks. I often know what I am doing months in advance. But occasionally something out of the blue and spontaneous will occur. Which is always great fun.

This happened the other week. I was at work when I noticed via social media. That one of my best friends and his wife were out in London at my favourite pub. I knew they were celebrating their 10th Anniversary. But I had not seen them both for a while, so I messaged them to see if they fancied a drink with me.

I finished work and had not heard anything back. I was walking to Marylebone Train Station. When my phone rang. It was my mate’s wife seeing where I was and if I was still up for a drink. The answer was yes I am and I am on my way to you now. Luckily I know a nice little pub just round the corner. We met up there and had a great catch up over a few drinks.

It was brilliant to see them and we had a lovely time chatting and laughing. I did feel a little bit guilty about gate crashing their day. But I was there the first time they ever met. Therefore I felt that it was perfectly acceptable for me to be with them. We got the train home together. Then said our goodbyes. It was a wonderful impromptu way to end the working day.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Last week I went and saw the latest West End production of Chess. It was only on for a limited run, so I was pleased that I did manage to catch it. It is written by Tim Rice with music and lyrics also supplied by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus of ABBA fame. It was first performed in London in 1986. This latest version was at the London Coliseum.

Chess
Chess

One of the main reasons I wanted to see this show was because of the cast. That they had assembled for it. I have been a long time fan of Michael Ball. But had never had the chance to see him on stage. He was playing one of the lead roles. Alongside a man reprising the role that he had played in the original production Murray Head. Ball plays the Russian and Head the American.

The two female leads were also great. One whom I had seen perform before and the other who I had been trying to see for a while. They were Cassidy Janson and Alexandra Burke. I saw Cassidy when she was playing Carole King in Beautiful and she was sensational in that. Alexandra had been on The One Show when I was there once. But she showed off her dancing not her singing that evening.

I thoroughly enjoyed this version of Chess. The staging was very clever and involved a lot of video images on big screens with live cameras on stage to capture the footage. The music and songs are fantastic. As you would fully expect from the people who are behind them. The whole cast were totally amazing.

Michael Ball was exceptional. His voice is just immense. When he is on that stage belting out those songs. He is a truly terrific performer. Murray Head was brilliant to. In a role he has really made his own. I particularly enjoyed him doing One Night In Bangkok. A song he had a number twelve hit with in the UK.

Cassidy Janson was just ridiculously good. Her voice is like velvet and her acting is faultless. She is just such a good all round star. I love watching her on stage. Alexandra Burke also blew me away from her first song. She proved what a amazing singer and performer she is. It made the whole theatre sit up and pay attention.

I have already mentioned one of the two best known songs from this musical. The other is performed by the two ladies. The two original leading ladies had a number hit with it in the eighties. They were Elaine Page and Barbara Dickson. The song I am talking about is “I Know Him So Well. Which is immaculately performed by Cassidy and Alexandra. Real goose bumps and hairs on the back of your neck standing up stuff.

I enjoyed the show and I was impressed by how good the cast were. But the reason this show has not had the longevity of other musicals, like Phantom of Opera for example. Is possibly due to the story not being quite strong enough. And it not containing enough poignant dramatic moments. I thought it was great and I am sure they will bring it back again in the future. It is I think quite amusing that the main American character’s surname is Trumper. Just as it was in the original.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I went to see James Acaster do a work in progress gig for his latest show at The Museum Of Comedy in London. It is a lovely little place. It only holds about eighty people. They have improved the bar area there recently. Which just makes it a bit easier to sit and have a drink before the entertainment starts.

As the name of the place suggests there are lots of historic comedy items and memorabilia dotted around the including a signed printed copy of the classic Two Ronnies “Four Candles” Sketch and an old Freddie Starr red stage jacket. Not to mention some Spitting Image masks and the back door from the Trotters three wheeler from Only Fools and Horses.

Museum of Comedy
Museum of Comedy

It was slightly odd when we walked into the performance room, as James was already on the stage waiting for us. I know it is a small venue and there is not a dressing room. But this is the first time I had experienced that. I am not sure if that was something new he was testing. Or if he could not be bothered to hide from us for the sake of it. Which I completely understand, to be honest.

He was trying out a lot of new stuff that may or may not make it into the finished and final polished show. He was also telling us about his weekend. To see if he could find any comedy value in it and get some future material from that. He is one of the top gigging comics around at the moment, really good.  His recent appearances on television panel shows have been brilliant to.

Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy
Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy

It was a fun evening seeing some comedy rounded off with a trip to Byron Burger. Which is pretty much my default burger restaurant. When I am in London. You know exactly what you are going to get there and their burgers are tasty.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Tottenham Hotspur have signed a deal with the Beavertown Brewery to be the official craft beer of their new stadium. Therefore I thought I better have a can of their Neck Oil Beer to wash my food down with. As an appreciation of the new connection with my football team.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I like most of the country on Bank Holiday Monday watched the last ever episode of Car Share. Peter Kay and Sian Gibson are both great in it. The story line works and makes total sense. The dialogue is top quality comedy. But as I have said previously. The thing I really love about it is the additional comedy from the radio station and the ace visual jokes. That have been getting better with every programme.

In the last show there were at least three things I spotted in the shot as the car was driving around that made me laugh out loud. Ranging from stickers on cars, to posters and shop signs. I would imagine that I missed lots of other gags. Some of those radio adverts are genius. I think he has ended it at the right time. As great creators and writers always do with these projects.

Neil Quigley in Car
Neil Quigley in Car

Yesterday I had my six monthly hospital appointment for my ears. I have had problems with them for the last three years. I am not sure if it is as a result of years of wearing headphones or of too many loud music gigs. But they do get quite bunged up. Therefore twice a year I have to go and have them basically hoovered out.

They have a special machine that can shall we say remove any debris from the area. It does make a weird noise and give you a slightly odd sensation, when it is happening. There is also a camera attached, so you can see what is going on. But as I am so squeamish. I try not to look. I always feel happier that I can hear much better after having it done. l am already booked in for my next appointment in December.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

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

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

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

Frankly Good Fun

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been fairly busy and lots of fun. I went to the Theatre Royal in Haymarket to see The Rat Pack Live from Las Vegas Show. I had already seen a version of this at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury around six years ago, so I kind of knew what to expect. They have a full orchestra on stage. Led and conducted by the pianist. All to help recreate the famous Las Vegas Show that Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Junior did at the Sands Hotel.

I have seen video footage of the original performances from the actual Rat Pack. And this production does capture all the humour, interaction and chemistry between these three legendary entertainers. Who were all very good friends. The cast are great. They all look and sound exactly like the artists that they are portraying. The outfits are spot on. Plus they all have exceptional voices, so as you would expect they belt out those huge numbers perfectly. The songbook for the night is of course top quality.

This version features a special appearance by Ella Fitzgerald and again the actress playing her was brilliant. It is a very slick re-enactment of a golden time for music and performers. There are quite a few funny moments and the cast look like they are having a good time doing it. It is a nice tribute to these iconic characters. Brilliant though it all is, it just makes you wonder what it would have actually been like being there to see those shows for the first time live, as they were happening. Another good night out at the theatre. If you are a fan of this kind of thing. I would say it is definitely worth going along to see this show.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I got given David Jason’s new book Only Fools and Stories as a present. I have started reading it and as you would expect it is very amusing and interesting. Especially as a big fan of Only Fools And Horses. As the title suggests it features behind the scene stories and anecdotes from the making of the programme. Detailing the secrets behind some of the best known scenes and lines, plus some of the things they used to get up to during breaks in filming. I am really enjoying it and looking forward to finishing it soon. So I will know all the stories behind the making of one of the all time best ever television comedies by then.

I am a big David Jason fan. Although I have never met him. I have been in the same room as him a couple of times. Which was still good. One of these was at a Pantomime Press Night. A radio colleague of mine Adam Morris, (who did the Breakfast Show at the time) was actually talking to the great man. His daughter used to listen to him on her way to school, so I think she wanted to meet him. Which led naturally to a conversation with her dad. You know when you are trying to make eye contact with someone and using your eyes trying to beg to be introduced. Well it didn’t work. But I kept my cool by not gate crashing things. I will get to meet him one day properly, hopefully.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I had a great catch up with a friend and former boss of mine Steve Carpenter. A few Friday’s ago he was the DJ at a big event at The Hilton in Park Lane, London. I did see some of the pictures from the night and it looked amazing. The day after I met him outside the hotel and we made our way to my favourite pub in London for a few drinks.

That pub is Waxy O’Connor’s just off Leicester Square. Where in my opinion they serve the best pint of Guinness in the Capital. While we were chatting about the old times in Somerset and updating each other on our latest projects. We did enjoy a couple of pints of the black stuff. I mean it would have been rude not to right? It was nice to see him and a fun couple of hours in one of my preferred relaxation venues.

Neil Quigley with Steve Carpenter in Yeovil
Neil Quigley with Steve Carpenter in Yeovil

I like sampling new places to eat and trying new dishes and different foods. Last weekend I ended up in the Chinese Restaurant Ping Pong for the first time. If you have not been it is like a Chinese Tapas place. You order a large selection of dishes. Which all come in small portions. I was looking through the menu and I had decided that was the best way to explain what the deal was. When the waiter used that exact same description. It is good to know my observational skills are still spot on. They had quite a wide and varied selection of dishes. The person that I was with and I decided to pick three options each. Then just share everything. That way we could both get to sample more of the food on offer.

I was very impressed with the quality. Between us we managed to pick a very nice combination of the dishes. Which as it turned out complimented each other very nicely. We ordered this duck dish. Which was basically the roast duck, spring onions, cucumber and plum sauce, like what you would get from a take away. But instead of a wrap it came with this very strange sort of bread roll thing. The likes of which I have never seen before but it tasted fine. I enjoyed my first experience of the place. I would happily go back there again to sample some of the other options they have on the menu.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have been to Wembley a couple of more times recently. Firstly to witness the start of Tottenham’s FA Cup Campaign. A third round three – nil win over AFC Wimbledon. The Premier League is all ready out of reach this season.

I would obviously like to see my team win a trophy, so I am really hoping that we have a very good go at trying to win this competition this year. Next up we have a tricky away tie at League Two Newport County. Which is one of those games you should win but strange and weird things can happen in this cup. As has been very well documented in the past.

Spurs v AFC Wimbledon
Spurs v AFC Wimbledon

My next Wembley visit was to see Tottenham play Everton. A fixture I always enjoy. As I have a lot of friends who support the team in blue from Merseyside. Therefore there is always plenty of banter before and after these clashes. My enjoyment is also enhanced by the fact that recently we have done rather well in this match. And have now won the last three meetings in a row. It was a great game from mine and Spurs point of view. As we ran out as four nil winners. And it honestly could have been more. It was yet another enjoyable evening at the home of football for me.

After the game I met up with one of my best friends and his son. Who are both Everton fans and who had both been at the match. I was very controlled and only gloated for a bit about the victory before hardly mentioning it for the rest of the night. We had a walk round waiting for the crowds to die down. While finding somewhere to eat. Which it turns out is not the easiest thing to do after a big match at the Stadium.

We eventually ended up in a chicken place. Where they managed to fulfil our needs. Despite being a fast food place. It was actually not to bad. We had a bite to eat and a chat about the game. Then we got the train home together. It all worked out well. The next two games I am going to see Spurs play are Manchester United and Arsenal. Both of which I am really looking forward to.

Spurs V Everton
Spurs V Everton

I went to see the Dream Girls musical at the Savoy Theatre in London. It was a massive success on Broadway when it was originally launched in the eighties. It was then made in to a film starring Jamie Foxx, Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson in 2006. And now it is on in the West End. It is loosely based on the story of the Rhythm and Blues groups and singers trying to achieve success and fame in the late fifties, early sixties. If you vaguely know the history of that time in music in America. You can very easily work out who some or the main characters are seemingly based on. And you can also see why certain people may not have been overly happy with the comparisons. When the show was first released.

It is a very slick and entertaining show featuring all original Soul and Motown sounding songs. That were written specially for it. The cast are fantastic. The leads have great vocal ability. Which they really get to show during the course of the performance. The story is moved along quickly and cleverly. But it is very easy to follow and to keep up with what is going on.

The big song from the show is probably One Night Only.  Which does actually play quite a pivotal part in the plot, as it happens. Having been on the outskirts of show business, the situations and dilemmas faced are pretty true to life. But ultimately it is a feel good and uplifting show. Which is certainly worth seeing. Had a fun time watching it and there are some pretty powerful performances from the cast to admire.

Dreamgirls
Dreamgirls

The latest Celebrity Big Brother is happening now on Channel 5. I have not seen any of it currently. And I have no plans to change that situation. Although I have noticed that the former Boyzone singer Shane Lynch is in the house. I met him once many years ago now. It was during the time that the Irish Boy Band were taking a break. He was part of another music collaboration. In which he was rapping, so it was a bit of a departure from his previous musical direction. He and his new band were headlining a charity music event. That I was helping to host in Great Missenden.

I got to meet him before the gig and he was great. He was very friendly, chilled and happy to chat to everyone. There were several other musical acts on the bill. But Shane was the big star on display. I cannot recall his name but the man who was the stage manager had recently come from fulfilling the same role for the last Steps tour.

We were also joined on hosting duties by a young female television presenter from the children’s Saturday morning show Diggit. It was a fun event and I remember there being quite a good audience there to see it. If I am honest I cannot recall too much about Shane and his bands performance, so let us just say they were really good. I personally think he must stand a decent chance of  winning this latest series of Celebrity Big Brother.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am looking forward to the year ahead. I am in the process and working on a new Podcast. Which I hope to be able to give you more information about soon. I do plan to do some more Stand Up Comedy at some point in the next six months.

Plus I would like to do a bit more radio. So watch this space and we will see what happens. Whatever happens in the next twelve months it is going to be fun, exciting and an adventure. Which is exactly what life should always be like, I think.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

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

Happy New Year 2018

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you had a really nice festive period. Mine was pretty busy but great fun. I was actually working all through Christmas this year, so my celebrations were a little bit disjointed. The company I am working for currently, the BBC, are very much a twenty four hour, seven days a week operation.

I was working nights from Christmas Eve right through to the day after Boxing Day. Therefore I had to work within that fairly big parameter to fit in my Christmas. On the Friday before Christmas Eve. I managed to pop round to see one of my mates and his family at their house for a cup of tea and to hand out a few presents, which was great. Then later that night I went for some festive drinks in London. My Christmas party in effect.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Christmas Eve morning itself I went and met another good friend at a Coffee Shop in Marlow. To give out some more presents. As well as enjoy a cup of tea and a nice catch up with him. Then I went to work. I finished Christmas Day morning arriving home at about nine o’clock. I went and saw my parents and my sister and we exchanged gifts. I did very nicely once again, getting pretty much everything that I asked for. Including the new book by David Jason, a classy new hat to wear out, nose/ear hair trimmers plus some much needed new slippers. Once the presents were opened. I then went to bed for about an hour or so.

Before getting up, having a shower and then heading up to a local pub at lunchtime to meet a couple of my Uncle’s and Cousin’s. As is the tradition in our family. I had one pint with them. Bearing in mind by this point I had only had barely two hours sleep. I was just about there with them. But it was fun and good to see everyone. I then went back to my parents for the full Turkey Christmas Dinner. Which I enjoyed with a single glass of Red Wine. As always it was up to the normal high standards with all of the trimmings.

When we had finished eating we then retired to the living room to chill and talk for a bit. Before my Dad got the Karaoke out. We then spent the next ninety minutes taking it in turns to do songs either individually or in pairs. I would like to apologise to the neighbours or anybody who just happened to be walking too close to the house. When I was singing, and I use that term loosely. I then left them to it before grabbing a couple more hours of sleep. When I woke up there was just time to see a little bit of the big Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special before it was time for me to head back in to work. Christmas Day was a bit of a blur for me but I am glad I got to see everyone and do everything that I did.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Boxing Day was a lot more low key. I split my sleep up during the day, so that I could get up to see Tottenham beat Southampton on the television. Which was nice. Then I just got on with working through the remaining nights. I did then get a few days off between Christmas and New Year. On my first full day off. I did treat myself to a glass or two of festive fizz. That somebody very kindly gave me. It was good fun working over Christmas. We had a lot of fun and spirits were high. We did a Secret Santa to ease the pain.

I got given the book “Get Started in Stand Up Comedy Make ’em Laugh” by a certain Logan Murray. Which did amuse me. As I know Logan. I did one of his comedy courses and have done a couple of gigs with him. Which obviously the person very generously and thoughtfully buying me it probably did not know. Anyway it will not be to hard for me to get my copy signed. It is actually a book I had been thinking of getting for ages. Since I did the course. Therefore I am really looking forward to reading it. Secret Santa had clearly done his or her research on my interests and what I like. May be he or she really is omnipresent.

Logan Murray
Logan Murray

I am a massive fan of the theatre and in fact any live performance. I am also a big kid and I do love to see a Pantomime every year, if I can. Last week I got the chance to go and see Dick Whittington at the London Palladium. Which itself is such an iconic venue. As you can imagine a performance at a theatre like that in the capital can attract a very impressive cast. Therefore appearing in the show were Julian Clary, Elaine Paige, Ashley Banjo & Diversity, Paul Zerden, Nigel Havers, Gary Wilmot, Charlie Stemp, Emma Williams and Lukus Alexander.

It was absolutely brilliant. With that much talent in one play, you really cannot go wrong. It is a very funny show, which moves along at quite a pace. It also gives everyone the chance to shine and show off their skills. I will be honest I have seen more in-depth versions of it with more details of the story in the script. But that is not a moan, as it does not matter, we get the gist of what is going on. Just with lots of laughs along the way.

Julian Clary is fantastic as the Fairly. I am not being derogatory. That is the part that he plays. He is wickedly funny and risque. With the devil to try to put off and wind up the rest of the cast. Elaine Paige is the evil Queen Rat who plays it perfectly. She does play evil very well. But there is also lots of scope for her to show off her amazing voice. Singing versions of her biggest songs. And with a voice as spectacular as her’s. It is very hard to boo her. The show is produced by The Really Useful Theatre Group, which is owned by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. So this gives them very easy access to a lot of big tunes.

Then there is Ashley Banjo and Diversity. Their dance routines that are thrown in are just unbelievable. I was also pretty impressed with Ashley’s acting to. As he does have a few lines to deliver. A friend of mine Ben Langley was on tour with Paul Zerden a few years ago now. And I remember meeting him before a gig that they were doing in Chesham. That was before Paul went to the States and won America’s Got Talent. Since then I have seen him perform at one of the “At The Palladium Shows”. For me he is easily the best ventriloquist around at the moment. This show gives him chance to show off his considerable talents. His individual bits were very funny.

Nigel Havers is simply Nigel Havers. A British institution, who is just along for the ride and to have a lot of fun. Happy to send himself up, join in and just have a right old laugh. A brilliant performer having some fun on stage. Simply playing and messing around. Gary Wilmot is the dame. And brilliant he is to. I do remember watching him regularly on the television show Copy Cats as a child. I have always been a fan of his work. He played his part perfectly. And he deserves special praise for singing a song containing every single London Underground Station in its lyrics. What a memory that man must have.

I saw Charlie Stemp play the leading role in the most recent production of Half A Sixpence and thought he was brilliant in that. Needless to say he is fantastic as Dick in this. He is clearly going to be a leading man for years to come. He makes everything, acting, singing and dancing look so effortless. Which more than explains why he will soon be heading off to star in Hello Dolly on Broadway. I have seen Emma Williams before in Mrs Henderson Presents. She was fantastic in that, as she was in this. Finally Lukus Alexander who played the cat Eileen. He really does bring it to life and make it a noticeable part of the story. He can really bust some moves.

As with all Pantomimes there were plenty of parts for the kids to enjoy. But in this one there seemed to be lots more aimed at the adults. In fact I do not think I have been to one where there are so many adults and so few children in the audience. But the production, the outfits, the slapstick set pieces, the effects are all there to keep the children entertained. Yet with Julian Clary around it delivers plenty of cheeky fun for the over eighteens to. Simply such a fun, silly and joyous show. Which as far as I am concerned is exactly what a pantomime should be.

Dick Whittington
Dick Whittington

Happy New Year! I really hope you have a fun, positive and happy 2018. I also trust you enjoyed your New Year’s Eve celebrations. I went to a little family gathering at my Auntie’s house. My Mum, Dad and Sister were all there. We reckon that is the first time we have all spent this evening together for well over twenty years. Normally down to me, as I was often Dj’ing in the past on this night. Also attending were a few more Aunties and Uncles and some of my Cousin’s.

It was a lovely evening with people that I had not seen for ages. My Cousin’s Fiancé had set up his Dart board. So we had a few games of that. He is really good and plays regularly. I had not played for about three years. In our first match I beat him with the flukiest double fifteen out shot you will ever see. I then went on to beat my Dad in the next game. Which never stops being fun, by the way. Before then being thrashed for the rest of the evening by pretty much everyone.

Blues Brothers
Blues Brothers

We then went on to play a couple of games using the Twelve Days of Christmas song. We paired up and each had a couple of day’s to sing each. Every time it was your turn you had to jump up and sing your bit. The further you get into the song, the faster and more fun it gets. Then we played a second version inspired by a Pilates class one of my cousin’s had been to. Where they did different moves for each of the days. This time we had to sing our piece while doing the relevant move. I got landed with ten Lords A Leaping. Which was and I was not sure how and argued against this but it was lunges. I had to do ten of those every time my bit came round. Therefore I am now starting the New Year with thighs of steel. It was all a good laugh, though.

Then we saw in the New Year by watching the Fireworks from London’s South Bank on the television. It was another impressive display. Then I headed home to bed. As I was working the next day. Start 2018 as you mean to go on. I hope you have a wonderful twelve months and achieve everything you want to and a lot of things that at this time you probably did not know that you wanted to. As well as being focused on goals and plans. Do remember to laugh, have fun and enjoy the company and support of all your family and friends.

New Years Eve
New Years Eve

I will be continuing my quest to see as many Tottehnam games as possible this year. While they are at Wembley. I was at the West Ham game the other night. And I will be at the FA Cup game against AFC Wimbledon tomorrow.

I am hoping for a quiet January transfer window and a great end to the season. Plus I am also looking forward to catching up with some good friends at the Everton game next weekend to.

Spurs v West Ham United
Spurs v West Ham United

Happy New Year. Have fun, We will catch up in a couple of weeks, Cheers Neil