Tag Archives: television

It’s Been Quite Interesting

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a good couple of weeks. Mine have been brilliant with lots of fun things going on. So since we spoke last there has been the small matter of the General Election. Which actually was a lot more straight forward than any of us anticipated. It has left me dubious about ever trusting another poll again. Next year I will definitely take the FHM Top One Hundred Sexiest Women with a pinch of salt.

In my area there was a very limited selection of who to vote for on the day. My MP is the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow. So all of the major parties have an agreement in place, in which they will not put forward any candidates in the constituency of the Speaker. So therefore it came as little surprise, when our local representative managed to get another five year term in office along with his party.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

In my local councillor elections I was just happy to support the people who actually do live in my town and know the area and the people the best. So therefore I was working on the assumption that they will best represent me appropriately. Or at the very least I know I have not got to travel too far the raise any issues or concerns that I might have.

I was slightly disappointed to see the Yeovil MP David Laws lose his seat and therefore of course his job. When I was working at Ivel fm in Yeovil. He used to come in to the studio quite often for interviews. And was always really pleasant and friendly. Not only that but he always seemed to know what he was talking about and always made a lot of sense when he spoke. Which I think he did get to prove, when he got a Cabinet position in the previous government. He did seem to have his communities best interests at heart and was always available and willing to speak to people from the town. So I do wish him all the best for the future.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It was my sister’s birthday a couple of weeks of go and she wanted to go to Thorpe Park for the day to celebrate. Now I have to admit I am not exactly a big fan of theme parks. But it was after all her big day, plus deep down I am a decent and nice brother. So a few Friday morning’s ago we headed off to the well known Surrey tourist attraction. After of course first enjoying the delights of the M25. Is there ever a time when there is not a queue on that road? As you would have probably realised by now, I had never been there before.

Thorpe Park
Thorpe Park

I think my dislike for Theme Parks may date back to my first visit to Alton Towers with a then girlfriend. So I had never even been on a roller coaster before but as soon as we arrived and entered the place she wanted to go straight on a brand new ride that had just opened called Oblivion. So for some reason, that I still can’t explain, I agreed to go on it with her. The ride itself only lasts around a minute but it took me at least five minutes after it had ended to start breathing properly again. It was terrifying and in hindsight may be I should have built myself up gently rather than going for that as my first ever ride. Mind you later on that day I did also go on Nemesis, which seemed like a walk in the park after my earlier baptism of fire.

So anyway this visit to Thorpe Park was my first trip to a Theme Park since the Alton Towers experience. As we arrived my sister wanted to go on her favourite ride called Swarm. Luckily for me she was perfectly happy for me to hold the team bag and watch from the safety of the ground. Which I was very happy to do. She came off the ride with a big smile on her face, while I was still looking petrified. Next she took me on the teacups ride. It is fair to say that I was easily the oldest person on the ride, but to be honest I really enjoyed it.

On The Tea Cups
On The Tea Cups

Then she convinced me to go on an old style roller coaster called X with her. It was set up like a disco come rave, so it was very dark with lots of bright flashing lights and loud music. I am not proud of this but basically all the way round it. I was screaming loudly in quite a high pitched yet completely involuntary way. Which only served to make my sister laugh. So there I am sounding like a right wimp with my sister laughing very loudly at me. I can only guess what the rest of the people on the ride were thinking.

Once it had finished and my sister had finally stopped laughing enough to be able to speak. She did say she would not make me go on any of the big rides. Which was fine with me. She had got herself a fast track ticket for the afternoon. So I waited patiently at the bottom, while she tried pretty much every ride the park had to offer. Before we left I did go on the Banana Boat and Flying Fish rides which were about my level. My sister had a great time and really enjoyed herself. While I just happily kissed the tarmac like the Pope when I arrived back home.

Thorpe Park
Thorpe Park

I was lucky enough to go and see an episode of the latest series of QI being filmed. It is recorded at the London Studios on the South Bank just up the road from Waterloo. Now most television shows have a warm up man to get the audience going and to entertain them during breaks. But because the format of the show is so simple. It can be made in one section with no breaks or scene changes. So there is no need for a warm up. Stephen Fry comes out first to talk to the audience and to tell some of his wonderful stories. And then he in turn brings out all the guests.

On the afternoon I saw the guests were Sue Perkins, Bill Bailey, Romesh Ranganathan and of course the excellent Alan Davies. Stephen Fry conducts the fun and steers the show so brilliantly and effortlessly. While giving the panel plenty of room to stamp their authority on the event and have a good laugh along the way. He is like a cheeky head teacher, who encourages the pupils and then tells them off when they go a little bit too far. The best thing about the programme is that not only is it very funny but you also learn lots from it. So it is both fun and educational. It was a great way to spend a few hours. And I can tell you that this latest series is going to be another cracker.

Neil Quigley TV Presenter
Neil Quigley TV Presenter

When I was leaving the studios after the QI recording I received an email from a London based comedy promoter I know, tipping me off about a secret gig appearance from a brilliant comic. Who is just about to become globally massive. So therefore I changed my plans for the evening and went along to see David Mills and his special guest at The Museum Of Comedy. The venue is amazing, as its name suggests it contains lots of great and interesting exhibits from the world of comedy including lots of great signed photos and scripts plus the actual Kenneth Williams Spitting Image puppet.

Tommy Cooper
Tommy Cooper

The main act David Mills was previewing his latest show for this year’s Edinburgh Festival. He is American but is based in London, so knows his way around the UK comedy circuit. He was excellent. It is a very original show that he is doing, performed in his own very unique style. The surprise guest spot was from the very funny South African comedian Trevor Noah. He is going to be the next host of The Daily Show, one of the biggest late night talk shows in the United States.

Trevor Noah
Trevor Noah

The great thing about the Museum of Comedy’s performance space is that it is a small room that only holds about fifty people. So therefore I had a front row seat to see a man who is set to become one of the world’s most famous comedians, perform to a small and cosy audience. He was amazing, just so relaxed, so assured and most importantly so funny. He just popped in, possibly on a night off while he was in London. To do twenty minutes. May be just for fun or to try out a few new jokes before his next big tour in South Africa.

It was great to see such a master in action, so close up. He is a very clever and amusing man. He was actually a guest on an episode of the latest series of A League of Their Own, which I saw being filmed at Elstree. The new series of the show hosted by James Corden started on Sky One last weekend.

Museum of Comedy
Museum of Comedy

Talking of comedy full details have now been released for this year’s Tringe Festival. The brilliant three week comedy event that takes place in Tring. It is now three years since I took on the eight week comedy course led by the genius that is Logan Murray culminating in me performing four gigs in four different pubs on the same night. With Tony Law as part of the Roving Comedy Night. I have said it before and I will say it again. It was a perfect way to make my stand up comedy debut in front of such a generous and receptive audience.

The whole experience from start to finish was so memorable and so much fun. Good luck to all this years trainee comedians. Who are now two weeks in to their training. This year’s Roving Comedy Night is on Sunday 28th June. If you can, I would urge you to support the event and go and see a whole host of top comedy talent hone their Edinburgh Shows. For more details of the Tringe Festival follow the link –http://www.get-stuffed.biz/tringe/

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The other Friday I went to the Tower Bridge Studios in London to do some filming for the new series of the Sky One programme Duck Quacks Don’t Echo hosted by Lee Mack. On the show they attack popular myths and scientific rumours. And try to prove or disprove them. While of course having a laugh along the way. I was involved in the shooting of one of the experiments for a future episode. Now as I do not want to spoil it for you and because if I am totally honest I am not sure exactly what they were trying to test.

Tower Bridge Studios
Tower Bridge Studios

I do not want to give too much away about what went on. But let us just say as part of the procedure before we filmed I had to under go an ECG examination and have my blood pressure checked. It was the first time that I have ever had an ECG reading. Good news, all was good and I am quite healthy by all accounts. So I am viewing this, as a bonus free health check provided by the production company. It was a lot of fun doing the filming. A nice day hanging out in television land. The crew were great, very friendly and helpful. The new series is due to start on Sky One sometime around the autumn. So please do keep an eye out for my cameo appearance on it. And see if you can spot me.

Tower Bridge Studios
Tower Bridge Studios

This weekend I am actually back up in Liverpool to celebrate the final day of this year’s Premier League season by watching Everton play Tottenham at Goodison Park. Followed by a few Bank Holiday Weekend drinks with my good friend Jeff Nolan. Also very best of luck today to Wycombe Wanderers who play Southend at Wembley Stadium in the League Two Play Off Final. I used to watch them regularly as a teenager and I did play for their under sixteen team for about half a season. I hope all my Buckinghamshire friends and family have a great day out at the home of football, whatever the final score. If I was not away I more than likely would have gone to the game myself.

Neil Quigley in Liverpool
Neil Quigley in Liverpool

I am very excited currently because this Wednesday evening I am going to the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham to see Paul McCartney. It is as part of his current “Out There” tour. I was lucky enough to see him join Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band on stage for the encore at Hard Rock Calling at Hyde Park in 2012. They performed a couple of Beatles songs together and it was brilliant. But I have always wanted to see a full “McCartney” solo show. I am going with Jeff Nolan and we have a hotel room booked and plan to make an occasion out of this possibly once in a lifetime opportunity. I look forward to telling you all about it the next time we speak.

The Boss in action
The Boss in action

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

Fools and Horses

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a good couple of weeks. Mine have been great with quite a bit going on. I managed a celebrity spot on the train in to London the other day. Now to be fair I already knew that this particular person lived in this certain location, so I was always keeping an eye out for them every time I stopped at their station. So statistically it was bound to happen eventually and it did on that morning. I was just sat in my seat minding my own business when the unmistakable figure of Robert Lindsay walked past and took a seat slightly further down the carriage and facing me.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I was close enough to hear the full conversation he was having with his friend, with that wonderful and very distinctive voice that he has. So I am well up to date on his latest projects and immediate plans. He is a truly great all round performer. He can do it all act, sing, dance the lot. Most recently he has been starring in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in the West End. In the eighties he was starring in the musical Me and My Girl. When it was in London and then he went with it when it transferred to Broadway. In that show he does an amazing version of the Lambeth Walk. He seemed like a really nice friendly and approachable gentleman. So hopefully it will not be long before he is back on our television screens again.

Neil Quigley TV Presenter
Neil Quigley TV Presenter

A few Saturday’s ago I went and saw my mate Andy Holmes perform in the Harold Pinter play Betrayal at the Queens Park Arts Centre in Aylesbury. If you are already familiar with it. You will know that it has three main roles. One of which, he was playing. It is always slightly odd I find seeing a friend performing on stage. You want to enjoy the show but you are also just rooting for it to go well for them at the same time. I have seen him in a couple of things before but this was possibly the most dramatic piece that I have personally witnessed him in. I really enjoyed it. I thought the whole cast were great. And I know from speaking to Andy the time and effort that they had all put in to it, to make it work. Which I think showed in the performance.

Cast of "Betrayal"
Cast of “Betrayal”

He did have a couple of kissing scenes in it. In the fairly busy bar afterwards he made the mistake of asking me what I had thought of his love scenes, to which I replied well that is the most action you have had in ages. He did tell me later that the actress who he had to kiss actually had her husband in watching that night. Now I am no actor but that has to be a little bit awkward surely. It was a lovely fun way to spend the evening and congratulations to everyone involved with the production.

Andy Holmes in action
Andy Holmes in action

After seeing the play I then went to a pub in Aylesbury for a quick fortieth birthday drink with someone I have known for about twenty years now. His name is Colin Morton. We met when I joined Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio. This is how and why I decided to join. It was while I was in my final year of a Leisure and Tourism course at Aylesbury College that I really developed an interest in radio. Mix 96 had recently launched in Aylesbury, so I wrote to them and managed to get a week’s work experience there. It was while I was there during that week that someone suggested that I joined the local Hospital Radio, so I did.

Neil Quigley back at Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio
Neil Quigley back at Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio with Martin Kinch

Colin was already there and had his own show. You start out as a producer gathering requests from the wards. Then you get trained on the equipment and hopefully get your own show. All of which I did. Colin then got a job at Mix 96 hosting the evening show and the Saturday Sports Show. I have to thank him really for getting me involved in the Sports Show. As I think he suggested me, when they needed someone to come in and ring up all the local football clubs to get the scores. And then to read out the half time and full time scores from these games. Which I then did. And the rest as they say is history. That is what really gave me my break in radio, if you like. So it was great to see Colin and Andrew Duthie, who was also there for a nice catch up and to talk about old times.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am still doing quite a bit of work at Wembley Stadium. I was there taking some people around on behalf of the Football Association before the FA Trophy Final between North Ferriby United and Wrexham. I was taking a select group of North Ferriby fans round. It is always great to be there on a match day. Walking through the Mixed Zone, being in the players tunnel and then going pitch side. You can really feel the excitement of the occasion building up. It was a cracking game as well with the underdogs winning five-four on penalties after a three all draw in extra time.

So well done North Ferriby United. I like to think my tour was a lucky charm for them. I think some special praise needs to go to the Wembley ground staff to. On the Friday Night England played Lithuania there. Then on the Saturday a Rugby Union game between Saracens and Harlequins took place. And then the FA Trophy Final was there on the Sunday. The pitch looked perfect and there was not even any trace of the rugby pitch markings from the day before.

Wembley Stadium
Wembley Stadium

It is always good to do new things in life and experience things for the first time. So last week I went for my first ever crown fitting at the Dentists. This was required because I have had a root canal treatment. And apparently to protect the tooth you need a crown on it. So to make sure that the finished crown fits they have to take impressions of your teeth. I have to confess I didn’t find that process much fun and it does not leave a very pleasant taste in your mouth at the end. It seemed like she took an impression of all my teeth not just the one required. So I am now slightly concerned she may be worried that all my teeth may be falling apart, and that she will need to replace them all. I have a temporary one on at the minute with the proper one due to be fitted in a week or so. Wish me luck.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

On Good Friday I went with my mum to see Wycombe Wanderers play Oxford United in League Two. Now as a teenager I was for a couple of years a season ticket holder at Wycombe. I also briefly played for their under sixteen side and I did have a trial game for their youth team. However I did not get selected. I instead went and played for two years in the Aylesbury United Youth Team. Funnily enough my first game for them was in a one-nil win against the Wycombe Wanderers Youth Team in Beaconsfield. The Wycombe/Oxford game was pretty poor for the home side specially in the first half but they did battle back and make a fight of it in the second half. Although ultimately it was in the end a very disappointing result for the team who are currently chasing promotion. Plus let’s face it no one likes losing to their local rivals.

Adam's Park
Adam’s Park

Before the game I managed to catch up with a couple of people I know. Firstly Daniel Freeman, who was there to report on the game for Sky Sports and my good friend Nathan Cooper, who was there covering the match for BBC Radio Oxford. Strangely the three of us have all previously worked on a game together before. When I was working at Ivel Fm in Somerset, Yeovil Town then managed by Russell Slade got to the League One Play Off Final at the then newly built Wembley Stadium in 2007 against Blackpool.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

We managed to get full commentary rights to broadcast the whole game live on the radio. To do that we needed two excellent commentators to help us. I already knew Daniel and Nathan and luckily they were up for getting involved. So the three of us produced a full show from the National Stadium with Daniel and Nathan as the two commentators and me operating as the co-commentator for both of them. While presenting the show before and after the game. It was a busy but fun day out and I thought we did a brilliant job covering the occasion. It was great to see them both at Wycombe and good to see them still doing at excellent job reporting on football matches and bringing them to life on the radio and television.

Wembley Stadium
Wembley Stadium

Last Saturday it was the final show in the current series of the brilliant Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. Once again there was nothing missing from the programme or the series. In my opinion it has taken all the best bits from about twenty different big Saturday night television shows from the past and put them all into one show. In handy bite size sections. But it all works so well and is great family entertainment. This weekend we will still be able to see the Geordie boys on our screens. As the new series of Britain’s Got Talent starts on Saturday. And if the first instalment is anything like the London audition show I went to see. We will be in for a crazy time.

BGT Dominion Theatre
BGT Dominion Theatre

There will be acts that will take your breath away and leave you feeling like that is the best thing you have ever seen. And then on the other side of the scale there will performances that will make you cringe and even cause you to cover your eyes and ears, so you do not have to witness it. I don’t know if it was just the session I was at but Simon Cowell seemed a lot nicer and more compassionate in his critique. So I am not totally sure if he was just in a really good mood that day or if becoming a father has seen him mellow a bit. I reckon we will know for sure if this the case or not by the final at least. The audition shows are always bonkers and give Ant & Dec plenty of comical moments to enjoy. Good luck to all involved with it and let us hope for a worthy winner this year.

Ant & Dec
Ant & Dec

I had a really nice Easter weekend which did involve eating quite a bit of chocolate. But life is all about balance and give and take, so I did actually go for a morning run on Good Friday and Easter Monday. To be fair that was not only to work off the sweets I had consumed. I did manage to have a few drinks with mates to, so these calories had to be dealt with and burned off. I met one of my friends in Marlow. Which is always a place I enjoy going to, specially in the summer. Normally for a nice walk along the river there. It really is a nice and relaxed place to meet people and have a good chat and a catch up. And it does boast The Hand and Flowers Pub, which has two Michelin Stars and is run by top chef Tom Kerridge.

Neil Quigley in Liverpool
Neil Quigley in Liverpool

I am up in Liverpool this weekend enjoying being there for the Grand National Race meeting weekend. I love the city and always really enjoy spending time there. I came up for this festival about five years ago and had a brilliant day out at Aintree for Ladies Day. It is an amazing experience everybody really dresses up and has a top time. This time I am just up there and enjoying the partying after racing rather than being at the track itself. The place is packed out in the evenings, with either people celebrating wins or drowning their sorrows, if they have lost. For sheer atmosphere alone watching the Grand National in a packed pub in the centre of Liverpool is only second to actually being stood there on the course at Aintree itself. I will tell you more about my time in Liverpool next time we speak.

Neil Quigley with The Beatles
Neil Quigley with The Beatles

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

Viva Las London

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a good couple of weeks. Mine have been nice and busy, with quite a few fun things going on. I have made no secret of my total appreciation for Ant & Dec. And the great job they do on our televisions. I was watching Saturday Night Takeaway on ITV player a couple of Sunday’s ago and was surprised to see Wembley Stadium featured on the show.

You know how they always use different locations to display the audiences faces for when they randomly select one to play “Win the Ads”. Well they were using the giant screens at the front of the stadium to do this. Now I was working in the Wembley area on that Saturday evening. I did wonder why the central Arch was fully lit and bright red in colour, as I was waiting at the train station to go home. Then obviously when I caught up with the programme the day after, I realised why. If I had known in advance I would have gone there and tried to get myself in the shot. May be that is why nobody told me.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

Well I can confirm I did use my surname and my minimal Irish roots to justify going to London to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in style this year. I went to my favourite pub in the capital. Which just so happens to be the Irish Bar in Rupert Street off Leicester Square called Waxy O’Connors. I have long maintained that they serve the best Guinness in London.

And I certainly enjoyed having a few pints of the black stuff in there on this special occasion. It was as you would expect packed full of lots of very happy people, who were dressed mostly in green. There was traditional Irish music being played by a live band. The atmosphere was great, everybody was just there to have a good time, a few drinks and a bit of a sing-song. I really enjoyed it. It was a great way to spend the day.

Waxy O'Connors St Patrick's Day
Waxy O’Connors St Patrick’s Day

While I was in London celebrating I managed to also catch up with a couple of friends, who I used to work with. Including one who just happened to have randomly been up in London for a few days from his home in Cornwall. It just shows you the power of social media. I put on Twitter my plan’s for the day ahead. I then saw that he said he was coming to London, so we exchanged messages. Then a few hours later we were meeting up in a pub for a couple of drinks.

His name is Scott Temple. I used to work with him at Ivel Fm in Somerset. So it was great to see him and have a good catch up. Which did of course include a bit of reminiscing, as well as a more general conversation about radio. He is currently working at Pirate Fm in Redruth. So all things considered the day worked out perfectly. I think I might do a very similar thing next year on March 17th.

Neil Quigley and Scott Temple
Neil Quigley and Scott Temple

I went to see the Book Of Mormon last Wednesday. It was a musical I have been wanting to see for a while and I had heard some brilliant things about it. So I was excited to finally get to see it. I have to confess that prior to going along I did not do any further research on it at all. So I had no idea about the plot, the cast or what to expect at all. It is currently showing at The Prince of Wales Theatre. Which is one I do like and one that it easy to find, as it is right in the middle between Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square. I had a decent seat near the front of the balcony. Which I settled in to just before curtain up, with absolutely no idea of what to expect.

Prince Of Wales Theatre
Prince Of Wales Theatre

From the opening number, which was an upbeat real show setting song. That was brilliantly written and cleverly performed, I was transfixed. It does warn on the tickets that it contains explicit language and I would agree it is not for the faint hearted. But you need to remember that it is written by the people behind South Park. So you should already realise that no subject is taboo. And that they will be happy to use the full colourful range of the English language that is available to them. As they confirm beyond no reasonable doubt about ten minutes into the performance.

Neil Quigley Drawing
Neil Quigley Drawing

It is so hard to do a funny musical with songs that are catchy, that contain great lyrics and that make you laugh out loud. But the team behind this production manage that with ease. The cast many of whom have come with the show from Broadway are all brilliant. Aside from the main plot itself. There are so many small sub plots and lots of random and sometimes surreal visual jokes. That you really have to concentrate on what is happening on stage or you might miss something.

It is a totally brilliant show, thoroughly entertaining, extremely funny. And you might find that it can actually start some big serious conversations about life and your views on it. If you are not easily offended, are open minded and fancy a laugh. I would go and see it while you can, as it closes in London fairly soon.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I finally got round to going for a meal at my local Indian Restaurant last week. It has only been open for about ten years. May be I have been somehow subconsciously avoiding the place. As the building it is in used to be a library when I was a young child. So I think the last time I had previously been in there was when I got a book out when I was about five. Anyway the reason I went along really was because my mate Alvin was there doing his Elvis Show.

It was an all in fixed price for a set menu meal with the entertainment included. Firstly I have to say the food was fantastic. A great big selection of starters to share. Followed by a huge selection of main courses to pick from with rice and naan bread included. So for that alone I will be definitely be going back there. The staff were really friendly and helpful to. So it was a nice all round dining experience.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have seen Alvin perform many times in the eighteen odd years I have known him. In anything from small venues to big West End Theatres and he always puts on a great show. With the same energy and enthusiasm. Which is the mark of a great performer. My mum is a big Elvis Presley fan so he once made an appearance at one of her birthday parties for me. He was brilliant and brought the house down. As ever on this night in the Indian he was great to.

He is a massive fan of the man he portrays and has studied every detail of the performances his idol used to give on stage. And brilliantly recreates them. Alvin is also a very good comedian, so he mixes his great vocal portrayal of the King with lots of jokes and lots of humour. If you know anything about Elvis. You will know that he himself had a great sense of humour. He liked to laugh, be a bit cheeky and have some fun while on stage performing with the audience. Which is something Alvin replicates in his shows. So we had a funny night, enjoying classic songs, effortlessly sung by a mate, who was rocking a very stylish Elvis Presley white jump suit.

Alvin Printwhistle
Alvin Printwhistle

My comedy teacher has just released the third version of his book “Get Started In Stand Up Comedy (Make Em Laugh). That man is Logan Murray. As well as being an author on the subject. Logan also runs lots of Stand Up Comedy Courses at various locations throughout the year. I was lucky enough to attend one of his eight week courses in Tring a couple of years ago. When I became part of the brilliant Roving Comedy Night as part of the Tringe Festival.  This was when I finally got my first taste of doing some stand up comedy. After thinking about giving a try for about the previous five years. Logan is a hugely experienced comedian and a brilliant teacher.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It was quite intensive in that the sessions were three hours long. But the time flew by as it felt like we were just messing about and having a laugh the whole time. Doing many improv and joke writing exercises. While trying to release our inner child. Then after seven weeks of basically pratting about each of the group had produced five minutes of original material to perform four times in four pubs in Tring on the Roving Comedy Night. Not only is he a great teacher, funny, interesting and engaging. He is so encouraging and is happy to give up his own time for you to go through your routine and to give you some one to one coaching in the lead up to your first big performance.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

If you have ever wanted to try stand up comedy. My advice would be just go out there and give it a go. You will never know if you are any good or not until you try. I would recommend having a look a the book first or even better if you can why not do one of the courses. Even if you do not become the next big thing and if the gig at the end of it is the only one you ever do. It would still be worth it for the great experience. And you will still learn things that will help you with your everyday life. Doing the course does give you a great insight into comedy and it will certainly give you a good giggle, which I personally think is very important in life. Make jokes not war.

Neil Quigley doing Stand Up
Neil Quigley doing Stand Up

I did manage a celebrity spot, while I was in London recently. Well I did thanks to a little bit of assistance anyway. It was while me and my sister were walking through the ticket barrier at Marylebone Station. As we were going through I saw a women with blond hair heading towards me. I thought I recognised her. I was convinced I knew her or had at least met her before somewhere. So I gave her a very nice polite smile as she walked past. Then moments later my sister turned to me and said did you see Jo Joyner just then?

Now I have to confess I do not really watch Soap Opera’s. So I did not realise it was the actress who played Tanya Branning in Eastenders. Now as I said she did look familiar, but I have never met her previously. So I now just hope she did not think my smiling at her was too weird. I was only being friendly to someone I thought I already knew.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

April is already looking like it is going to be a really fun month. It is of course Easter Weekend next weekend. So that means you can legitimately have chocolate for breakfast right? And who doesn’t enjoy a nice Hot Cross Bun or two? I am going up to Liverpool for the Grand National weekend, which I am looking forward to. It will be absolutely buzzing up there for that event.

Then at the end of the month I have been offered the chance to go along and see an episode of Celebrity Juice being filmed at the Elstree Studios. I am a big fan of the show. It normally gets some very good guests on it. It is crazy enough on television, so I am expecting it to be total carnage in the studio and lots of fun of course.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

My January

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a good couple of weeks. Mine have been pretty busy, with quite a few things going on. A lot of people this month chose to not drink alcohol with quite a few also being sponsored to do so. Therefore enjoying the health benefits themselves of not drinking for thirty-one days and raising money for their chosen charities. I have abstained from alcohol at this time of the year in the past. In fact one year I went two months without having any. And I have to confess I felt great, had loads of energy, was sleeping brilliantly and found I was up earlier in the mornings. So getting more from my days. So it is worth doing if you can. The best I managed this year was two weeks off the booze but there was a big celebration that I was involved in this month, which was part of the reason for that.

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A couple of Saturday’s ago my parents reached the landmark of their fortieth Wedding Anniversary. To mark the occasion my mum and dad along with my sister and I had a very enjoyable weekend in London. We had booked in to a nice central hotel in the capital. So we went there first to get ready for our big night out. Here is a tip for you. If you are in London with a group of four or more people. It is actually cheaper to get a black cab to your destination rather than by buying individual underground tickets for the tube. Plus it is quicker and you arrive exactly where you want to.

The plan for the night was to go out for a meal and then see a West End musical. All of which had been booked in advance. And I have to say all excellently organised by my dad. The restaurant he had selected was literally right across the road from the theatre. Where we had a fantastic pre-show meal. The venue was amazing, the food was perfect, the staff were friendly and very efficient, plus the wine was decent to. It all made for a great all round dining experience. And a very fitting way to start the celebrations.

Family Meal
Family Meal

After we had polished off our puddings we made our way across the street to Her Majesty’s Theatre to see The Phantom Of The Opera. It is one of the few shows that I had not seen before. And it was the first time I had visited that particular theatre. I liked the place. As I do all the old fashioned West End venues. I love the feel of them and the way they look. Although to be fair there was not a massive amount of leg room inside the auditorium at this one. We had really good seats and were only four rows from the front.

The show itself was breathtaking,intriguing and captivating in equal measure. The staging, the props and the scenery is spectacular. The whole cast were excellent, making it so entertaining and the time there watching it just fly by so quickly. The story and the way that it is set up right from the beginning is very clever. Not to mention the extremely catchy tunes in the show courtesy of course of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. I always feel on such a high when leaving the theatre after seeing a great show. We then headed back to the hotel to have a drink and a chat before bed. A truly memorable weekend. Massive congratulations to my mum and dad on their forty years together.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I mentioned previously that I was reading John Bishop’s autobiography “How Did All This Happen”. Well I have now finished it and it was a very interesting read. There are some slightly odd things that happened in his life, many of which had already been revealed in interviews and on television shows that he has appeared on. The funniest thing possibly, ironically is that he only started doing comedy to take his mind off his marriage problems and because he could have nights out on his own without getting his friends out. Who were all married and settled down with children.

Then he almost seemingly accidentally got quite good, pretty quickly. And shot up the rungs of the ladder to getting paid to do big gigs. Which he continued to do alongside his very well paid sales job. Until it reached the point where something had to give. So with no guaranteed work. He left his well paid job to try and make it as a full time comedian. Sometimes in life you have just got to throw caution to the wind, bite the bullet and follow your dreams. It certainly worked out well for him. And speaking as someone who also left a pretty well paid job to move in to radio fourteen years ago. When I had nothing at all lined up to do. It does make life a lot more exciting and I have not regretted it for a second since.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I finally got round to watching the latest Lee Mack stand up comedy DVD, that I was given for Christmas, last weekend. I do like him and think he is brilliant on Would I Lie To You. In the last episode of the current series. They had the wonderful June Brown on. She admitted to once going skinny dipping with Letitia Dean. When they were on holiday together in Spain. That revelation came as no surprise to me as I was lucky enough to meet June backstage at T4 On The Beach in Weston-Super-Mare one year. And then during that conversation see told me that she often sun bathes naked in her friends back garden. Quite how this came up while were talking I have no idea, but I don’t think I have watched EastEnders since.

I am also a fan of Lee Mack’s sitcom Not Going Out. There are some very clever and very stupid jokes in equal measure in that show. And I appreciate them all. Anyway his latest live show “Hit The Road Mack” was very funny, and like all the top comics he very much has his own style on stage. I have also read his autobiography. And it is also quite interesting how he ended up in comedy and how his sitcom actually came to be made.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am still spending time at Wembley Stadium and I narrowly missed bumping in to another comedian there the other week. I was there during the day and then later that evening Chris Ramsey was there doing a corporate gig in one of the function rooms. For a well known chain of restaurants, which he does seem to enjoy using when he is out on tour. I only know all this because I follow him on Twitter. I am not stalking him. Although I did see him live at the Queens Park Arts Centre in Aylesbury a couple of years ago. He was doing a warm up gig for his Edinburgh Festival Show. As part of the excellent Tringe Festival.

It is a nice little venue for comedy and it was a fun night. The show was very funny and I thought he was really good, coming across as being very friendly. Which made for a lovely atmosphere in the room. At that point he was just at the stage where he was starting to do a little bit of television here and there. While now he regularly appears on lots of different panel shows including Celebrity Juice and he was in the sitcom Hebburn, which ran for two series. Now he is just about to start recording a pilot episode of his own brand new television Show. He seems like a top bloke, so I hope that all goes well for him.

Neil Quigley TV Presenter
Neil Quigley TV Presenter

I was in central London the other day for a couple of meetings and to do a few bits and pieces. While I was there I did manage two celebrity spots. I walked past the well respected film critic Mark Kermode by New Broadcasting House. Which would make a lot of sense, as he does do quite a bit of work for the BBC. Then a bit later on just off Drury Lane I saw Duncan James from Blue getting out of a cab in front of me. He has done some musical theatre, so as he was in that area I wonder if he is lining up something else along those lines for himself.

I had a spare hour so I thought I would try and inject a bit of culture in to my day. So I went in to the National Portrait Gallery. Which have to confess after five minutes of looking around, I decided it was not for me and left. The exhibits I saw were good but art and photography have never really been my thing. I mean I still can’t even manage to colour within the lines now. If we all liked the same things in life it would be boring I guess.

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

I am delighted that my football team Tottenham Hotspur have made it to the Capital One Cup Final at Wembley Stadium against Chelsea on Sunday 1st March. I watched both legs of the semi final and as ever we made it difficult for ourselves and at the same time very exciting. I have said it before and I will say it again with the huge range of different emotions you experience as a Spurs fan during a game supporting them is bad for your health. I did have a very slight conflict of interests in the game with the League One team Sheffield United, as I am a shareholder in the club. This is because about twenty years ago a mate convinced me and another friend to invest a little bit of money in the club. He said they would get to the Premiership and we would make some money.

So we each put in one hundred pounds and bought some shares. And to be fair Sheffield United did make it to the Premiership but we did not make any money. In fact the only reason we still have the shares still is because they are worth so much less than we paid for them currently. That there is no point in cashing them in. Therefore I was very much one hundred percent behind Tottenham as I always am in all games. I am now really looking forward to the final and hoping to be there in the crowd cheering them on to victory.

Wembley Stadium
Wembley Stadium

This weekend I am catching up with a mate of mine for a slightly crazy two part plan. He used to work at Mix 96 in Aylesbury, so is coming back to visit the town on Friday. To have a look round and see a few people he knows.Then in the evening we are off to a birthday party in Oxfordshire. Before heading up to Liverpool on Saturday to go out there and celebrate his birthday. I do always have a great time up there, so it is sure to be fun. But it is a whistle stop one night only outing as I have to be back at a reasonable time on the Sunday. I am thinking may be I should hire a tour bus for the weekend.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I’m off to see the first episode of a brand new ITV2 show being filmed next week. It is a new comedy panel show from the producers of Celebrity Juice hosted by Stephen Mulhern with Emma Willis and Joel Dommett as team captains. They will be joined by celebrities and reality stars to discuss and dissect the latest happenings in all things reality TV. Which is why the show is called Reality Bites. It is always interesting to see new ideas and programmes, to see if they work or not. I will of course know if that is the case or not with this one in a few days time.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am looking forward to attending one of the London auditions for this year’s Britain’s Got Talent at the Dominion Theatre. As a long time admirer of Ant & Dec I can’t wait to see them live for the first time, well on stage at least. I did see Ant McPartlin in a nightclub in Oxford many years ago. It will be interesting what I think of seeing the acts do their thing in a random order and it does mean I will see all that is on offer not just the stuff deemed good or in some cases bad enough to make it into the edit and on to our screens. I will tell you what the experience was like next time we speak.

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

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

Stage and On Screen

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a good couple of weeks. Mine have been pretty quiet really, just easing myself in to the year nice and gently. I did head out on the first Friday night of 2015 with a mate of mine. To go along and support a colleague of his who was involved in launching a new pop music night at a pub in High Wycombe. It was at a place that I had not been to for about twenty years. And during that time I think it has changed its name at least three times. The aim was to play as many different types of popular music from the fifties to the current day,and fair play they certainly achieved that goal. I listen to a lot of music and they managed to play a few songs that even I had not heard for years. It was a pretty laid back,cool and fun night out. Although of course it is traditionally one of the quietest weekends of the year for people to be heading out. So it is fair to say the place was not exactly full to the rafters. But hopefully as the year goes on they can build up an audience and make it a slightly different and fun way of spending an evening. Having a few drinks and a bit of a dance. I may have to pop back to it later in the year and check that out for myself.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I usually like to read in January. I am not sure why. Though I think it’s mainly because it is dark and cold and as there is rarely anything on television I like to watch at night. It is a good way of passing the time before I go up to bed. So I have just started reading John Bishop’s autobiography “How Did All This Happen”. Which I got given for my birthday. This may seem like quite an obvious thing to say and bear in mind he has not even thought about comedy yet,at the stage I am at. But his early life on the whole seems as if it is pretty normal and straight forward. While at the same time with the situations he seems to get himself in and out of. You can see he has the gift of the gab as well as the drive and determination to succeed in what he wants to. I am enjoying it so far and at the moment he has only just left college and got his first proper job. So I have not even got to the point yet where he starts telling jokes. I had also forgotten that his brother was actually a professional footballer, and I certainly never knew that he once worked as a bouncer in Guernsey. Once I finish his book I have John Cleese’s autobiography ready and waiting to be read. Which I am really looking forward to.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

FA Cup Third Round Weekend threw up a couple of interesting ties including Yeovil Town against Manchester United. As I spent five years working at the radio station for Yeovil, Ivel fm, Which then became Midwest Radio. I do have a soft spot for the Somerset team. While I was working there we used to cover their matches, so I have been to Huish Park on many occasions and know a lot of people from the club. In fact before I started full time at the station I got invited to play in a media versus staff football match. For a bit of end of season fun at the stadium. This was probably the closest I ever got to feeling like a professional footballer, which is what I wanted to be as a kid. I drove myself down to Yeovil on the day of the game. And met my mate Andy Holmes who was also playing in the match, at Ivel fm. After recording some interviews with the news team ahead of the big game. We headed off to Huish Park. On arrival we got to go through the players entrance to the ground and in the changing room all the kit was hanging up there ready for us. We were wearing the away kit and the staff team were wearing the home kit. Which on reflection seems fair.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I was sub but didn’t care I was just happy to be involved and it was a brilliant feeling running out on to the pitch to warm up. As kick off approached I took my place on the bench wearing my Yeovil Town warm up top, which in itself all felt great. The staff team included the then manager Gary Johnson, his assistant Steve Thompson, and was managed by former Glover and now commercial manager Dave Linney. And on the media team we had ex-Yeovil player’s and all round top men Tony Pounder and Paul Thorpe. During the first half I was pretending I was on the coaching staff, So was just shouting encouragement and some helpful advice to my team. To be fair it was an even game. The staff side were much more skilful but our average age was a bit lower,so that was balancing things up a bit. I got on at half time and got to play the whole of the second half. I absolutely loved it, so much fun and great to be on that wonderful pitch with those former professional, who were just top class. I did have a couple of chances to score. And in fact I did have the ball in the net but it was harshly in my opinion anyway ruled out for offside.

Neil Quigley in Football Action
Neil Quigley in Football Action

The player of the match for me was the Yeovil Town assistant manager Steve Thompson. He would have been in his early forties and me my late twenties but he was the fittest player out there by a mile and he scored a couple of cracking goals. At one point I was through on goal and had I reckon a twenty yard head start on Mr Thompson. Now I have never been the fastest but he had caught me up and tackled me by the time I got to the penalty spot. Great fun, so pleased to have been involved with it. That evening I stayed in Somerset and went out for a meal with Andy. Who took great pleasure in talking me through his goal which stood from the game. I thought Yeovil Town were a bit unlucky against Manchester United. They are a truly great club, with ace fans. I really do hope they can get themselves out of trouble and stay in League One. I wish Garry Johnson, Terry Skiverton and Darren Way the best of luck for the rest of the season.

Neil Quigley TV Presenter
Neil Quigley TV Presenter

The episode of Room 101 which I went to see recorded was shown on television the other Friday. Hosted of course by one of my comedy idols Frank Skinner with guests Fay Ripley, Gary Lineker and Jack Dee suggesting what they would like to see banished from our world. I watched it and it was very entertaining and funny, even though of course I had technically seen it all before. Jack Dee is so clever, witty and good at arguing his points and the show of course very much suits his on stage demeanour. I would urge you to go and see a television show being recorded, if you do ever get the chance to.

The thirty minutes that the programme lasted on screen was of course easy to watch and be entertained by. But on the night we had around three hours of entertainment that was then edited down to make the show. Often in these situations some of the funniest moments will not make it on to the television for very various reasons. But that makes being in the audience more like being at the theatre. As you are seeing a one off show in full. People who watch at home in their living rooms, will only in effect see the highlights. Plus things are always funnier when people are laughing together in a big group, so the atmosphere at these recordings is usually great.

Arriving at Elstree Studios
Arriving at Elstree Studios

I did allow myself one guilty pleasure recently. I am not particularly a big fan of the show and I only ever watch one episode of it a year. But I did treat myself to watching the launch show for this year’s Celebrity Big Brother. It is fair to say it has already had a few issues this time round. None of which I have witnessed I am happy to report. I do always like to watch programme one though. To see which Celebrity’s are on it. Just to see if I have met or interviewed any of them in the past. Now none of them this time round fell into that category but a couple of them came close. Many years ago when I was working at Mix 96 in Aylesbury the first time around. Alexander O’Neal did a one off gig at the Chicago Rock Cafe in town. He came in one Tuesday or Wednesday night and did a thirty minute set featuring all of his big hits. I will be honest I can’t remember to much about the performance, but I do remember that it was a warm night and he spent a lot of time in between singing wiping his brow with a white hankie.

The second member of the current Big Bother House I have a story about is Keith Chegwin. He once appeared in pantomime at the Aylesbury Civic Centre. A few days after Christmas that year me and a few mates went in to Aylesbury for a few drinks and some food. There was about seven or eight of us. Anyway we went to a pub in the town that also did food and got ourselves a table. We were having a drink and about to order our food when Keith Chegwin entered with the entire cast of his show. After a conversation with the manager. We were then asked if we would mind moving tables, so the panto lot could have ours. So basically we had to move so Cheggers and his gang could all sit together. I would like to stress there was no problem, there were more of them and they just all wanted to sit together, but I sometimes like to tell it as the Keith Chegwin got us thrown off our table story. I hold no grudges and we follow each other on Twitter. I would actually like to see him win Celebrity Big Brother. So good luck Keith, stay strong in there, with them nightmare house mates.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Stars in Their Eyes has made another comeback this time with Harry Hill at the helm. I have not seen the new show but from what I have heard the new host puts a very different slant on it. Which some people seem to really like and others really do not. I am not here to judge and to be honest it is very unlikely that I will see any of this series. The reason I mentioned it though is it reminds me of a disco gig, I did around eighteen years ago now. Me and a mate of mine were booked to DJ at a big party in the function room at Kempton Park Racecourse. We were performing alongside two musical acts both who had previously been winners on the television show Stars In Their Eyes.

There was a Shirley Bassey impersonator. Who when she arrived for the sound check in just her normal clothes looked and sounded just like the singer she was going to perform as later that evening. Then this quite pale looking geezer from London with a cockney accent arrived with fairly short hair ready for his sound check. Now I knew the singer he was there to be. So I do have to admit having seen him I was quite amazed when this stunning Tom Jones singing voice came from him as we started the sound check. But nothing prepared me for the shock of when we introduced him to perform at the party. And he steps out looking tanned, with a massive head of hair and speaking with a Welsh accent. It was like the impersonator in that famous episode of Only Fools and Horses, except the guy we had could actually sing brilliantly. It was a really good night and we closed the show to rapturous applause. Which is always a nice way to end a night.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

This weekend I am off to London to see The Phantom of The Opera as part of my parents 40th Wedding Anniversary celebrations. Which I am really looking forward to. We are also having a nice meal before the show and staying up in the capital, so it will be a good laugh. I have never seen it before but I have seen several excepts of it being performed by my mate Mike Sterling, who used to be in it. So I am looking forward to the experience and I always like a night at one of the proper old and traditional West End Theatres. There is something magical about them. I will let you know what it was like next time we speak.

Neil Quigley in London
Neil Quigley in London

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