Tag Archives: television

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.

IMG_0129

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.

So Here It Is Merry Christmas

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a good couple of weeks. Mine have as ever been very busy, with plenty going on. So it was my birthday on the tenth of December. Thanks very much for all the nice messages I received on the day. I have to confess this huge annual event is something I do like to celebrate with at least a couple of different gatherings. On the day itself I just went down my local pub for a couple of drinks with a few mates in the evening. It was great to catch up with everyone and we did have a good old fashioned laugh. Although I did somehow manage to knock over a whole pint. When I managed to catch it with my bottom. I am still not exactly sure how this occurred, as I am not exactly Kim Kardashian in that department. But it did not spoil what was a brilliant night, despite me having to do a bit of mopping.

Neil Quigley Birthday Selfie
Neil Quigley Birthday Selfie

As I have already stated I never knowingly under celebrate the occasion of being born. So on the following Saturday after my birthday I then went out in London with a few friends. It was another top night out. We went to a combination of my favourite bars in the capital, mixed in with a few places that I had always wanted to go to. But had not got round to, including the Radio Rooftop Bar. I have to confess I do like a bar with good views over London. And as the name suggests this one very much falls in to that category. It is the set piece bar of the ME London Hotel on the Strand, just near the Covent Garden theatre district. So it would be a great place to visit for a pre show drink in my opinion. It is a very stylish bar, with friendly staff, a nice selection of drinks and stunning views over London. I was in there just as it was getting dark, so when I went and had a look out on the terrace everything was lit up and you could see a lot of the big tourist attractions very clearly, it looked amazing.

View from Radio Rooftop Bar
View from Radio Rooftop Bar

I was once again back at Elstree Studios the other week to see a recording of the Christmas Day and New Years Eve Top of The Pops specials. I do not think I am giving too much away by saying this. I am pretty sure everybody realises it is not live and that all the bands and people have not chosen to spend the day together in this way. To give you some idea how difficult the logistics of organising all the acts and giving them the relevant recording time is. I can tell you it was filmed in four separate parts over two days. So when you sit down to watch it there will be four different audiences featured on the programme, with it cutting between them as they move from song to song. So bearing this in mind the bit I saw featured performances from three different artists.

Top Of The Pops Fun
Top Of The Pops Fun

The first performance was from the great George Ezra. Now as this was for the New Years Eve Show the production staff handed out New Years Eve hats. They then run through the song twice, so they can record lots of different camera angles, then pick the best ones in the edit.Then we moved on to the Christmas Show, so had to change in to Christmas hats before seeing Professor Green perform his song twice next. Then we had Tom Odell on to do his current song, you know the one. The song from the John Lewis advert featuring the penguins. He ended up doing this three times, with him on the piano while being backed by a full strings section. Lastly George Ezra came back out to record “Budapest” for the Christmas Show. All the acts were great and so consistent. Every performance was a complete replica of one previous.

Top of The Pops
Top of The Pops

In between the live music elements the brilliant Fearne Cotton and Reggie Yates were there recording their links to the camera. They to had to start out in their New Years Eve outfits then change in to the Christmas clothes to correspond with which one of the two shows we were currently filming. Complicated business this TV stuff you know. They were so good, really on it, and virtually one take wonders with no auto cue. They were learning the bits first, just before delivering them. A nice presenting master class from the both of them. It was weird but great being in the famous Top of The Pops studio. A quick mention for Danny the warm up man stroke head of motivation and stage direction. He did a great job keeping the energy up and things moving along nicely. It was a great fun afternoon out. Which now means you can all play the can we spot Neil on television on Christmas Day game. To help you out a bit I will be the one dancing, just out of time with the rest!

Top of The Pops
Top of The Pops

With it being the run up to Christmas I have like everyone else been out quite a bit for food and drinks, with lots of different groups of people. I had a really nice catch up with a former work colleague at Giraffe on the South Bank in London. Decent meal with great company and conversation. I arrived at the restaurant a little early so had a bit of walk around first and discovered a German style log cabin pop up market. Which seem to be everywhere at the moment. It was a chilly night and it felt quite festive so I treated myself to my first glass of mulled wine of the year, from one of the stalls. Which tasted good and certainly left me with a bit of warm glow.

I have also been out for a few seasonal drinks at my favourite pub in London, with some work associates. It is Waxy O’Connor’s just off Leicester Square. A place I have been going for around eighteen years now. In my opinion not only does it serve the best Guinness in England, but there is always a great atmosphere in there. The music is good and I really do feel very at home there. If I am in London and have some spare time, there is always a good chance you might find me in there having a pint.

View from the South Bank through Mulled Wine eyes
View from the South Bank through Mulled Wine eyes

So another series of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here has been and gone. I really enjoyed this year’s show. I liked the fact that most of this year’s camp mates got on with each other and had a good laugh. I would much rather watch people interacting in this way than shouting and screaming at each other. I appreciate that there was a small amount of this that went on. But on the whole it was like an antipodean Hi De Hi. Huge congratulations to Carl Fogarty on winning the competition and being crowned the new king of the jungle. I am very pleased for him. Not only because I have met him and he is a top bloke. What you see it was you get. He his nice, polite, funny, tough and humble.

But I am also very pleased he won because he was the person I tipped right from the start to walk away with the title. I thought he came across as a lot of fun and just very real. He has been busy since he has been back in England handing out awards at the BBC Sports Personality of The Year Awards and The British Comedy Awards. Due to his success in the world of motorbike racing, he always signed his autograph with a number one on the end of it. And after this recent success he can of course continue that tradition. Nice one Foggy, well done mate!

Carl Fogarty
Carl Fogarty

I have always loved the Royal Variety Show and although I have never been to the theatre to see it in person. I have watched nearly all of them when they have been shown on television. I am a massive fan of variety acts in general. Obviously I like comedians and musical acts. But I do also like watching dance groups and some of the more off the wall acts that come from a traditional circus background. I do still think being selected to be involved in the Royal Command performance should be a huge highlight and even a pinnacle of your career. I think it is something that should be earned, as I guess I am quite a traditionalist. And I am aware of the long and great history of it.

I watched this year’s show, which I believe is the first one that Prince William and Princess Katherine have attended. It is nice to see that it is being passed on to the younger generation. There were some great acts on and some fantastic performances. The whole thing was marshalled brilliantly by Michael McIntyre as the host. The only thing that I wasn’t quite sure about was this. For me a few of the performers appeared to talk directly to the two Royals, which I thought was a no no. Sure a quick comment or joke at their expense in the right taste is good and traditional. But is seemed a bit weird when at times some appeared to be playing to the Royals and almost ignoring the audience. My view is you are there to perform for the audience in the presence of the Monarchy not the other way round. That said I did enjoy it and thought it was a good and very well balanced show.

Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy
Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy

Last week I was back at BBC New Broadcasting House in London for another meeting about some potential work opportunities next year, Which is all very exciting and it will be amazing if it does come off. While I was there I did see a tanned and sun glasses wearing Scott Mills walk past me on the way to do his Radio One Show. There are four different lifts there and each one has a different BBC Radio station playing in them. It is a lottery which lift arrives first and therefore what your soundtrack will be. On this most recent visit I got the 1 Extra lift, which made for quite an upbeat journey up to my required floor. It is such a cool and yet such a busy building with lots happening there.

It is also now where the One Show Studios are. And you can actually look into the set through the giant window, you can see behind the presenters on the TV. The day I was there, it would appear that they were having a big musical performance on the show because they were setting up a stage and piano in the outside area. In case you are interested the man who sat at the piano and played on the show was Jools Holland. They also had Cameron Diaz on to. You have no idea how much I now wished I had stayed up there to watch the show and may be try to meet her. I just think she is an amazing person! Who is very attractive.

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

As I have mentioned before I am a big fan of Elvis Presley, both of the man and his music. He truly was an exceptional performer. Now my mum as a teenager had lots of his albums and his posters up on her wall. So it is fair to say that she is also a big admirer of his. So yesterday me and her went along to the brand new Elvis Exhibition at the 02 in London. It features over three hundred different items, which have been loaned from the King’s Graceland Estate. The display charts his life right from his birth all the way through to the Las Vegas years. With lots of very personal items including his actual Birth Certificate, some of his army uniforms, original recordings and even a couple of the cars that he actually owned.

Elvis Presley Car
Elvis Presley Car

It was both brilliant and amazing to see all these stunning things together in one place. I thought I knew a lot about him and his life but I learned plenty of new things about him, including what a well respected soldier his was judging by his discharge letter. And also how good his manager the Colonel was at supplying merchandise and making extra money on the side. Even to the point where as well as making and selling I love Elvis badges they also produced some I hate Elvis badges. Genius, why limit your potential market, when you can just please everyone.

Elvis Presley's American Eagle White Jumpsuit
Elvis Presley’s American Eagle White Jumpsuit

My favourite pieces on show, were the actual American Eagle style white jumpsuit that Elvis wore for the Aloha from Hawaii shows. Some of his other amazing jackets and coats that he had. And finally the massive TCB Ring that his wife Priscilla bought him. It is completely stunning. TCB stands for Taking Care of Business. Which was a kind of motto for his personal and professional life that he adopted. It was something which a select group of musicians and friends were included. Taken in to this kind of inner circle. It made sure people worked hard, got paid and got on with each other. It was his way of making sure everything was going well and everyone was looked after. And there was even a special TCB logo designed. Which was used on lots of different jewellery pieces that he and his friends used to wear. Although the ring he had, has to be the most spectacular item in that collection.

Elvis's Taking Care of Business Ring
Elvis’s Taking Care of Business Ring

The exhibition is on at the O2 in London until next August and if you have any interest at all in Elvis Presley or just the world of music in general it is a must see event. This is the first and possibly only time so many of these actual original items will be here in England. As you walk around you hear lots of the great man’s music and see lots of clips of him in action. Plus you can get yourself some fun photos at the end. Me and my mum had a great time there.

Neil Quigley and Elvis Presley hanging out in the 70's #crazydays
Neil Quigley and Elvis Presley hanging out in the 70’s #crazydays

It is another busy weekend for me, I have a Christmas Party at a hotel in London tonight and then on Sunday it is my families traditional pre Christmas Drinks gathering. With a schedule like that I am very pleased that I have already finished all of my Christmas Shopping. Which I did in my normal way, all in one day and all at one place. It simply involves just writing a list of everything I need to get. And then going to a shopping centre to buy it all in one go, it works every time.

Neil Quigley Happy Christmas
Neil Quigley Happy Christmas

I am planning to have a fairly quiet family Christmas with a traditional dinner, lots of chocolate and cheese. And may be even a couple of drinks. Whatever you are doing over the festive period have a fantastic time. I hope you have been very good this year and that Father Christmas brings you what you want on the big day. Have a very Happy Christmas! I will catch up with you in a couple of weeks, in the New Year. Have fun, Cheers Neil.