Tag Archives: theatre

Irish Times

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a good couple of weeks. Mine have been by my standards fairly quiet really. Which has actually been quite nice. A bit of calm before the storm, as the next month or so is going to be nice and busy for me. Although short listed to be a contestant on a big new ITV show I did not in the end get chance to go on it and play the game.

The first series of it was filmed up in Manchester last week. It is a fun quiz called Alphabetical. Which is hosted by the excellent Jeff Stelling. It is really just an old school style general knowledge quiz with a couple of nice little twists to make it more original. Watch out for it on your television screens later this year. It is definitely worth a watch. It was lots of fun to play at the audition.

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

A while ago now I did some recording sessions for a project a very good friend of mine Andy Holmes was working on. He has written a series of short radio plays. Which have now been produced starring an all star cast, including me. He is starting to release them on a weekly basis.

So far the first two episodes have been made available. I am personally involved in two of them. Playing a futuristic tour guide in one of the stories and then popping up and making a quick cameo guest appearance as a Radio Presenter in another of them.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It was good fun going in to the studio to record my bits for these productions. I have worked with Andy Holmes on several things over the years and we always have a good time working together. It was a little different for me getting to play characters and doing a little bit of acting.

I am of course just more used to being myself on the radio. The great thing about radio plays of course is you do not need to learn the script as you can just read your lines during the recording itself.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The first one featuring me was released last weekend. The series is called The Andy Holmes Angle and the episode I appear in, which is episode two. Is called “The Empty Space”. That is the one where I play the Tour Guide in a galactic fantasy trip set in the future. A snapshot of what holidays could be like in the feature and in many ways a suggestion that the human race learns very little from past experiences.

As I said it was great fun to record and do listen out for an uncanny Ruth Madoc impersonation from me about half way through it. So here is a link to the play, for you to enjoy at your own convenience. Just simply click on it to hear it. The Empty Space

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am still suffering from nose bleeds due to my team Tottenham Hostpur still being up in second place in the English Premier League. This is the first time ever in my life that I have felt that just may be we could actually have a slight chance of winning the league. It is an odd and strange feeling that I am totally not used to at all. But that said long may it continue, please.

It was a bit of a shame going out of the Europa Cup to Borussia Dortmund. But the main prize of winning that is a place in the Champions League. Which hopefully we should achieve from our final league position. It is going to be an exciting run in with lots of twists and turns still to come, I’m sure. I just plan to enjoy every minute of, whatever happens in the end. Come on you Spurs.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am looking forward to going up to Liverpool for the Grand National Meeting next month. However this week it was the other big event in the jump horse racing season the Cheltenham Festival. Unfortunately I did not manage to make it along to the famous race course this time around. Although lots of my mates and even my parents enjoyed a day’s racing there this year.

I watched as many of the races as I could on television. It really is a great spectacle. It is retired former champion jockey AP McCoy’s favourite meeting. This year was the first year he had not had a ride there for twenty years. He was there still though working for Channel 4 and I found his comments and insight into the whole thing fascinating personally.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It was an exciting week’s racing and you really get to see how close nit the racing community are. They are very competitive but at the same time very supportive of each other and do seem genuinely happy when others are successful. They really do love and take great care of those horses. There were also bumper record crowds there to witness lots of great races.

I thought the television coverage was brilliant and because they are all known people within horse racing, presenting it. They get access to and so get to speak to everybody. And because they know them all personally you get some really nice and intimate interviews with the jockey’s, trainers and owners alike.

Windsor Races Winning
Windsor Races Winning

The festival this year also saw a debut appearance from the Olympic Gold Medal cyclist Victoria Pendleton. She has retired from professional cycling and has dedicated the last twelve months to horse riding. With the big aim of being certified to ride in one of the biggest racing occasions in the world. She has been taught by the best and worked with some great trainers and top jockeys along the way.

She rode a Paul Nichols trained horse “Pacha Du Polder” in the prestigious Foxhunter Chase on the famous Gold Cup Day of the championships. Over the Gold Cup course itself. So from having never ridden a horse before to going over the jumps at one of the most testing race courses in the whole world inside twelve months is quite an achievement.

Neil Quigley & Jeff Nolan
Neil Quigley & Jeff Nolan

I was lucky enough to meet and interview Victoria Pendleton a few years ago at a cycle event she was an ambassador for at Whipsnade Zoo. She was I have to say absolutely lovely and clearly very passionate about her sport and keen that as many people as possible should get involved with it. To enjoy the obvious health benefits and at least some of the satisfaction that she got from training and competing at the high level that she did.

She clearly had great drive and dedication. So I was not surprised that she managed to fulfil her horse racing dreams. She is a great person and I wish her all the best with her next project, whatever that may be. This lady can probably just do anything she sets her mind to, to be honest.

Neil Quigley with Olympic Gold Medal Cyclist Victoria Pendleton
Neil Quigley with Olympic Gold Medal Cyclist Victoria Pendleton

Last Thursday it was of course St Patrick’s Day. Now as someone with some Irish roots (my Granddad was born in Southern Ireland) and a name like Quigley. I always like to celebrate this special occasion. In my opinion the best place to do this is at my favourite pub in London Waxy O’Connors. So I was in there during the afternoon enjoying a few pints of Guinness and listening to some brilliant live music. The atmosphere inside the place was as ever brilliant and perfect for the day.

St Patrick's Day
St Patrick’s Day

I got in there just after midday and they had a band called Walking on Cars booked to play a short thirty minute set from around one thirty. They were brilliant and are definitely a name worth looking out for in the future. I spotted Chris Moyles’s producer the very lovely Pippa Taylor in there enjoying the music to. And the friend that I was meeting there Kayleigh Gill had an even better celebrity spot. As she saw Suggs from Madness having dinner in a restaurant on her way to the pub.

St Patrick's Day
St Patrick’s Day

The staff and customers in there are always so nice and friendly. It really is a wonderful place to spend the afternoon. The decoration and styling of the place is also amazing.  Some parts have a church feel to it, some parts are like an old fashioned country pub. And who does not like a pub that is right in the middle of Central London and has a tree running right down the middle of it. You are in the heart of the city but once you head down the stairs and in to the lower bar. You feel like you are miles away from anywhere.

St Patrick's Day
St Patrick’s Day

The music was great and perfect for the occasion all afternoon. Then from six they had yet more live music for the evening with a traditional Irish Trio featuring of course a fiddle player. They played a host of classic Irish Songs. Which had the whole place singing along to them. It was quite a sight with the bar full of people wearing Guinness hats and waving Irish flags. It was another brilliant St Patrick’s Day celebrated in my favourite pub in London.

St Patrick's Day
St Patrick’s Day

The latest series of Newsjack has come to an end. The topical news comedy show will return to BBC Radio 4 Extra for another run later in the year. It was as ever brilliant fun writing jokes for the show once again. It is produced and performed by a very talented team. Plus it is a great stepping stone for new comedy writers to cut their teeth and progress their careers. A lot of people credited on the show have gone on to write and produce on a more regular basis for the broadcaster. So to be just a small part of that is a lovely feeling.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Newsjack is recorded in the Radio Theatre, which is part of the BBC Broadcasting House building in Central London. They record lots of top comedy radio shows there and that is where Radio 2 also do a lot of their music specials from. So if you hear that a band or singer is playing a small gig for the radio station. That would normally be coming from the theatre.

BBC Radio Theatre
BBC Radio Theatre

I was there though at the end of last year to watch a television show being filmed. It was called Live at the BBC. It is a new comedy show showcasing new and upcoming acts many of whom were spotted at the latest Edinburgh Festival. They are on line on BBC Three plus they have started showing some of them on BBC Two as well. They are well worth a look. I saw both James Acaster and Felicity Ward do their full latest stand up shows during the recording and they were both very funny. So do keep an eye out for it.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

I do have a few exciting things coming up over the next month of so. I am going to see a recording of the television show Safe Word in London in the next couple of weeks. I will also be at one of the new Tonight Live at The Palladium shows. That is always a great theatre to visit and I do really like a bit of variety, so that will be fun. And next month I will be attending the Gadget Show Live at the NEC in Birmingham. Which I am sure will be very interesting and a good laugh.

London Palladium
London Palladium

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

Play Away

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been very busy with lots of fun things going on. Although I did not make it up to Manchester as planned a few weekend’s ago, sadly. I was meant to be heading north to see an old school friend and his family for a few days. As part of the visit we were going to a party to celebrate his in-laws fortieth Wedding Anniversary.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

About an hour before I was due to catch the train I got a phone call from my mate saying his wife and children had been struck down by a sickness bug which appeared to be working its way through the family. So we had a chat and we decided I would not go and see them. Which was a shame but made sense as you do not want a house guest when you feel rough and I will be totally honest I did not fancy getting it.

So instead I stayed at home and had a quiet night in breaking my self imposed month long ban from alcohol with a few glasses of a very nice red wine, while listening to some ace music. The plan now is to go and see my friend and family in a few weeks time instead when they are all back to full fitness. Unfortunately none of them were even well enough to attend the party themselves but the good news is they are all better now.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

A couple of weeks ago now I went to an audition to be on another brand new fun general knowledge television quiz show. Which will be on one of the major networks. It will be hosted by an excellent presenter, who has presented big classic television contests in the past and is also known as a sports broadcaster to.

As ever this experience involved going to the production companies office, playing a few light hearted games and talking to them about my favourite subject, me. Then we actually got to play a quick trial version of the show’s end game. Which was brilliant fun. All of this is filmed, so the casting team can watch it back and then decide from the footage who they want to appear on the show.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

There were some interesting people there including the actor who used to play the postman in Rainbow. He also appeared regularly in Super Gran for a bit as well. I also met the women who was surprised live on national TV last year by This Morning when Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby took over her house and presented the whole of the show from there. Everyone was great fun, all fascinating people with some great stories to tell.

I am still currently in contention to appear on the show. Which if that comes off will be brilliant. It is due to be filmed around the middle of March. So fingers crossed I get selected to do it. I cannot say any more about it at the moment but when I can I will. I will let you know if anything develops with it and ultimately and also hopefully when I will be on your television screens playing it. It is a simple, fun and new concept for a game. Which I really do like.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Last Friday I went along to the Press Night for the latest West End production of Nell Gywnn at the lovely Apollo Theatre in London. It is written by Jessica Swale and stars Gemma Arterton in the title role. It has most recently enjoyed a highly successful run in Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Before getting a new cast and then moving to its new home until the end of April. Which is the Apollo.

Nell Gwynn
Nell Gwynn

I had no real idea what to expect if I am totally honest but I really enjoyed it. And I had a fantastic evening. I thought Gemma Arterton was absolutely sensational in the lead role. She played it brilliantly even to the point where as her status in life improved by association, so did her accent. As it got a little bit posher. Nell Gywnn is a quite amazing historical character. With her confidence, humour and straightforwardness you could argue that she was well ahead of her time in many ways.

The whole cast were brilliant and it really was a slick performance. There is lots of clever and in parts slightly risque comedy with plenty of innuendo thrown in for good measure. Plus some singing and dancing to. So it is the total all round entertainment package. I would recommend seeing it, if you at all can. It is an intriguing story told perfectly by a talented bunch of performers and will leave you feeling upbeat and possibly humming to yourself as you leave the theatre. And finally watch out for the cutest little dog almost stealing the whole show.

Nell Gwynn
Nell Gwynn

I actually enjoyed a theatre double bill last weekend. On the Saturday night I went to see the new Matthew Perry play. That he stars in and has written called “The End of Longing” I was a massive fan of the American sitcom Friends, to be fair I mean who wasn’t? And I will confess that although I did really fancy Jennifer Aniston. Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing was always my favourite Friend.

I think I liked the fact he was constantly trying to make a joke out of every single comment he heard and every situation he was in. I think he may have reminded me of somebody! When I found out this production was on in London. I decided I had to see it. The play in itself is a very modern piece and supposedly slightly autobiographical about some of the demons and problems he faced during his own alcohol addiction issues.

The End Of Longing
The End Of Longing

It is quite a dark play dealing with some very tough and serious subject matter. But it is funny with lots of laughs. The dialogue is quite fast paced. The plot and the story unfold very nicely and cleverly in front of your eyes. It has a lot of pathos to it and personally I liked the way it showed a lot of us are all fighting our own addictions and issues whatever they may be. But that with the support and love of the right person it can make these manageable.

If you are expecting to see a version of Chandler from Friends on stage you will be disappointed. But if you want to see a gritty hard hitting current yet humorous play then make sure you go and see it. The whole cast led of course by the writer and star Matthew Perry are all excellent. Especially in my opinion Jennifer Mudge, who plays her role of the stars love interest brilliantly. It was another lovely night out at the theatre. Which I really did enjoy. You cannot beat any live entertainment in my opinion.

The End Of Longing
The End Of Longing

So I am currently reading Chris Evans’ latest book. I have read his previous two, which were both autobiography’s about different stages of his life and career. This third one though appears to be a more overall look at life in general. And from his own individual perspective what considerations should he be making as he approaches his fiftieth birthday this year.

It is interesting and he has looked at health and marriage speaking to experts in each of those fields. But I just want to know a bit more about his life and what happens at Radio Two. I will be sticking with it as there is a good chance I may well learn something from it. Plus I think the later chapters describe how one of my favourite television shows TFI Friday ended up making a big comeback.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am still in a little bit of shock at the moment. I have been a Tottenham Hotspur fan all my life. They are very much my team. I support them in every game they play in. I remember crying in the garden after Coventry beat them in the FA Cup Final in 1987 and I remember the huge celebrations at the old Wembley Stadium when we beat Leicester in the Worthington Cup Final in 1999.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

But never in all my years of supporting Spurs can I remember them in mid February being second in the Premier League. Just two points behind the leaders. This has never before happened in my lifetime. And I can’t believe I am saying this but there is actually a chance my team Tottenham could win the league. Whatever happens between now and the end of the season I am going to be proud of my team and support them in every game. As the club motto says To Dare is to do. Come on you Spurs!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The excellent Radio 4 Extra topical comedy show Newsjack is back for a new series currently. It is on every Thursday night at 10.30pm for the next five weeks. I will once again be writing some short one liner jokes for this series. I really enjoy trying to write up to the minute topical comedy, that is of course perfectly suitable for the type of listeners that the show attracts.

It is being hosted for the third series running by Nish Kumar. And I have to say he is sounding brilliant on it. He has made it very much his own. I will keep you updated about the programme as the series continues and do rest assured I will let you know which of my jokes make it in.

BBC Radio Theatre
BBC Radio Theatre

I did pop along to the wonderful Hospital Club in London the other week to see a recording of Alan Davies As Yet Untitled. The show he makes for the digital television station Dave. It is such a great and iconic renowned showbiz gathering place. The studios there are cosy but well laid out. If you have not seen it the programme involves the comedian talking and drinking around a little table with a selection of guests. The one I saw had a nice mix of personalities and people, all with some great if not occasionally slightly harrowing stories to tell.

You know what its like when you and your mates are sitting around having a few drinks and just chatting, random things come up in the conversation. Which in turn reminds different people of different stories from the past. Well that is exactly what the show was like. I think as it is quite an intimate setting some of the guests might even forget they are being filmed momentarily judging by some of the things they admitted to. The new series comes out later this year, so do keep a look out for it.

Neil Quigley and Scott Temple
Neil Quigley and Scott Temple

Tonight sees the return of another one of my favourite shows Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Take Away is back. The total entertainment show. Where a member of the audience can win a huge prize, celebrities get tricked, members of the public get surprised and then there is always the great end of the show, show as a finale. It is a cross between Noel’s House Party, Game for a Laugh and The Generation Game on acid and then all rolled in to one. But I do absolutely love it, it is top weekend fun.

BGT London
BGT London

The two Geordie’s are for me the masters of live television, so natural and funny. I am really hoping that I can manage to get along to watch one of the episodes from in the studio this series. I am working on trying to make that happen, so fingers crossed hopefully it will soon. This series will feature a weekly whodunit comedy drama written by the creator of Broad Church no less and featuring an all star cast.

If you remember from a few years ago when Michael Buble ended up doing Karaoke from a pub at the end of one of the shows. I have been in there for food and drink a couple of times. I have to say it is a lovely place and also it is so handily close to the studios. I am really looking forward to watching the chaos unfold on our screens later.

Neil Quigley in London
Neil Quigley in London

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

Celebrate Good Times

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been busy with some fun things going on. For starters last Saturday we had an early pre-Christmas family get together at my Uncle’s. He has hosted this event in the run up to the festive season for at least the previous five years. So we now employ a tried and tested formula. That we all know works perfectly well. We arrive, have a few drinks while chatting to and catching up with everyone.

Then the food is served. This year it was a tasty chilli with rice or pizza. Just for quality control reasons I sampled both. And I can confirm they were both excellent. Then after the food the Christmas Songs come on. And it turns in to one big family sing-a-long with everyone joining in and getting involved.

It is always filmed but thankfully so far none of this footage has ever leaked outside of the family circle. And on to You Tube. It was another fun afternoon/evening. Which kick started this year’s Christmas Celebrations very nicely. It is always great seeing the family at this time of year. And finding out what everyone has been up to.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

I was lucky enough to be invited along to the recording of Michael McIntyre’s Big Christmas Show. Which will be shown on BBC One before the main evening news on Christmas Day. It was filmed at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, right in the heart of London’s Theatre land.

I obviously made a day out of it. So after stopping by the venue to pick up my ticket for the evening. I treated myself to a leisurely three course meal at an Italian restaurant in Covent Garden. The food was great and the staff were lovely and helpful, so it made for a relaxing and enjoyable afternoon.

Covent Garden
Covent Garden

After dinner I still had a bit of time before I had to be at the theatre. So I went and enjoyed a drink in one of my favourite bars in that area. I went and spent an hour or so in the ace Radio Rooftop Bar at the ME Hotel on The Strand. It is such a cool and trendy bar with a great chilled vibe to it. The two things I like best about it are the views over London and if I am honest also the fact that it has radio in its name.

View from Radio Rooftop Bar
View from Radio Rooftop Bar

I then left there and headed to the Theatre Royal in time for the TV recording to start. They looked after me very well and actually gave me a cracking seat right in the second row. So keep your eyes open on Christmas Day, when you are watching it go out. As you never know, you might just spot my smiling face staring back at you. The show itself as you would expect was brilliant.

Michael McIntyre was on top form from start to finish. He was very funny in the actual show and also between takes. When there were any breaks in proceedings. The whole affair felt very “Christmassy” and the start of the programme sets the tone for that very nicely, as you will see when you watch it.

Neil Quigley Happy Christmas
Neil Quigley Happy Christmas

The guests included comedian’s Dara O’Briain and Russell Kane. The latest winner of America’s Got Talent. Who is English and is the truly amazing
ventriloquist Paul Zerdin. He was excellent. The musical guests were the wonderful Ellie Goulding and the legend that is Sir Tom Jones. There were a few other surprise appearances on the night to but I will let you discover them for yourself when you watch it. Needless to say it was a extremely funny and enjoyable night out at the theatre.

Theatre Royal
Theatre Royal

It was also good to see Holly Willoughby there on a night out with some of her mates having some fun. The recording did go on quite late and led to me having to dash across London to make my last train home. Which I did with about a minute to spare. It was like how “the King” Elvis Presley used to disappear at the end of his gigs. As by the time the curtain was down I was already half way to the station. If you are in when it is on, it is definitely worth a watch. It will really add to the Christmas Day celebrations.

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

Recently one of the Car Parks at Wembley played host to a fairly unusual event. It was an Anti-Drink Drive Campaign Race Car Demonstration Day. It was organised by Johnnie Walker as part of their “Join The Pact” promotion. Here is what happened. They turned the Car Park in to a mini race track. They got some high powered McLaren Sports Cars and had amongst others Mika Hakkinen, Fernando Alonso and Jensen Button there to take people on laps of the circuit.

Wembley Racing Event
Wembley Racing Event

It was hosted by Chris Moyles, who interviewed all the drivers on stage before they took it in turns to jump in the cars and show off. I was lucky enough to be able to watch a little bit of the action from the VIP paddock. I saw Fernando Alsonso take several members of the public for a spin in a McLaren S650. Now I have to be honest I am not a massive fan of Formula One Motor Racing but seeing the control, speed and skill of the Spaniard in that vehicle put a big smile on my face. He was really going for it and was leaving a lot of rubber from the tyres on the tarmac.

Chris Moyles
Chris Moyles

At one point he was doing doughnuts with one hand on the steering wheel and the other out of the window waving at the crowd. Truly brilliant. While I was there both Mika Hakkinen and Jenson Button walked past me both looking very cool and relaxed. It was certainly a fun event to see and also one that does of course promote a very safety conscious and important message.

Jenson Button
Jenson Button

I have once again really enjoyed the latest series of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Ant & Dec were on fire and so funny. The gags, the links and the set pieces they do, all so good. Plus it is such an interactive show now with Twitter. As not only can fans of the show swap views and jokes in real time, while watching. But the two Geordie’s get involved and tweet along during the show, when they can to. Which really adds to it all for me.

Ant & Dec
Ant & Dec

If I am totally honest the one camp mate I did not really enjoy all the time was Lady C. Although I will admit some of the things she did and said did make for great TV. She constantly annoyed me and I thought killed a lot of the fun and spirit in there too often. Which is a shame because at the start and in her first Bush Tucker Trial I quite liked her and thought she would be amusing and quirky.

Neil Quigley with The Beatles
Neil Quigley with The Beatles

Despite the shall we say issues he had with her I thought Tony Hadley was great in there. I have met him a couple of times. He is such a nice, generous and friendly person. Who is happy to talk to anyone and who just loves singing. As I said previously I would have liked him to win it but I thought he did very well in there. I also got the impression he was ready to go when he did and hang out in the hotel with his family.

I have no complaints about this year’s winner though. I thought Vicky Pattison deserved to win. From the second she entered she attacked everything full on, with good grace and a wicked sense of humour. She was probably the camp mate who made me laugh out loud the most this year.

I had never heard of her or Ferne McCann before but I thought both of them came across well and seem like really nice genuine people. Which I think deep down is what the public like and are looking for in their jungle King and Queen’s. Another great series and I am already looking forward to next year’s. Well done again to Vicky. I have a feeling we are going to be seeing a lot more of her over the next twelve months.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I did watch this year’s Royal Variety Performance when it was shown on television recently. I thought it was actually the best one I had seen for a long time. Jack Whitehall did a great job hosting it. The comedians were all good with Romesh Ranganathan just shading it for me as the best on the night. The music guests were very strong to. Any show in which Kylie Minogue appears only improves it in my opinion.

There was a nice contrast of variety acts and the whole show flowed really well. They also had some great exerts from some West End shows including a snippet of the fantastic “The Play That Goes Wrong” I saw it earlier in the year and it is arguably one of the funniest things you will ever see. I would certainly recommend it. Well done everybody who was part of it I thought you all did an excellent job.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

So we are heading to the business end of the series for Strictly Come Dancing. The standard of the celebrity’s on this year have been amazing. Their performances have been so entertaining. It is hard to try and predict a winner. Tonight it is the semi-finals with the glitter ball trophy being presented next week. So far in the programme’s history none of the professional dancers have ever won the show more than once.

The only dancer this currently applies to is Aliona Vilani. So if this fact stands that would mean Jay McGuinness would miss out. It is really nice to see that Anton Du BeKe actually has a partner who can dance this year. And although possibly technically not the best dancer I think it would be great to see Katie get there for him. I do like Kellie Bright and Kevin Clifton as a pairing. They have been in the bottom two a few times along the way but I think they have been unlucky to end up there based on their dances.

Elstree Studios
Elstree Studios

I think if it goes to the best dancer Georgia May Foote and Giovanni Pernice will win but if it goes to the most improved it should go to Anita Rani and Gleb Savchenko. Whatever happens I am sure they will all put on a good display. And it will be a fitting end to the series. If I could be on one television show I think Strictly is the one I would like to do most.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It was my birthday last Thursday. I had the day off. So I just spent it relaxing at home drinking cups of tea. Someone gave me the new Steve Coogan autobiography “Easily Pleased” which I am really looking forward to reading. I did treat myself to a nice rib eye steak for dinner. Which I have to say I cooked perfectly. I then watched my Peter Kay “The Show That Doesn’t Tour, tour” DVD before heading out to my local pub for a few birthday drinks with some mates. All in all a very enjoyable birthday.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am off to my cousin’s 40th Birthday party tonight. Me and his twin sister all share the same birthday but they are exactly one year older than me. So I have my next big landmark birthday next year. I can tell you now there will definitely be a party. The do later is slightly awkward because although they are twins. His sister did not want to have a joint party.

So it has been solely organised by him as his do, but his sister is coming along as well. So do we still sing them both happy birthday or not. I guess that I will find this out later. Whatever happens it will be a fun night and I am looking forward to it. I am not going to tell him I am just using it as a warm up for mine next year though.

Neil Quigley having a go at conducting the Orchestra
Neil Quigley having a go at conducting the Orchestra

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

TV Times

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a good couple of weeks. Mine have been great with lots of fun things going on. I spent quite a bit of time in various television studios and in a well known West End theatre watching several TV programmes being made. I did have one mini personal disaster the other day though.

On the way back from London I managed to somehow leave my wallet on the train. Which led to a few slight issues with getting in to my house. As my key was in it. And with paying for any items that I needed for the next few days. Happily I did get it and all the contents that it contained back. So thank you very much to Chiltern Railway’s for finding it and returning it to me. That was very much appreciated and saved me a lot of hassle. I will be more careful in the future, to make sure my wallet always leaves the service when I do.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The excellent “The Last Leg” has been doing a very short run of election special shows for Channel 4. I went and saw the first one of these programmes broadcast live from the Fountain Studios in Wembley. It was in a smaller studio than the one they normally use. So the audience were much nearer to the action and right on top of the team. Which I think actually created a better atmosphere for it. The host Adam Hills and the regulars Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe were on top form. They were all very funny.

The show was live on Channel 4 from ten that night but fair play all three of them came out on to the set about twenty minutes before it was due to start, to have some fun and a laugh with the crowd. And to film the opening titles sequence. Adam Hills did admit that he was a little bit jet lagged when he walked out. As he had only just recently arrived back in to the country from Australia. I have to say though you could not tell and it did not affect his performance. He was still as razor sharp as ever. It featured possibly the oddest two guests I had personally seen on the show. Bearing in mind it was an election special of course. So this did kind of limit their options as the guests had to be relevant.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The first one was the then deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. Who to be fair came across quite well and showed that he could take a joke. He also did pretty well considering that it is not really the ideal show to get into big political discussions and opinions. As they are basically just waiting for the opportunity to try and get the next joke in. Or to bring in some embarrassing footage of politics going wrong. They did have a clip of Nick trying to tell a joke at a press conference. It was that bad he should probably stick to his day job, and that is saying something.

The second guest was Piers Morgan. Who actually got booed when he walked on to the set. I can’t think of many other guests who have ever received that treatment when appearing on any programme. He took it well. But with the things he often says and does for effect. He is clever enough to know he always risks this reaction. I can’t say I particularly like him, but I admire and respect what he has achieved. And annoying I do sometimes have to agree with some of things he says. It was a fun night out and you left the studio in a good mood, even after all the election talk. Which I think is the sign of a good show.

Neil Quigley TV Presenter
Neil Quigley TV Presenter

Next up it was a trip in to the heart of London’s theatre land to go and see the final episode in the latest instalment of Sunday Night at The Palladium being filmed. On the way to the show my friend and I stopped off for a lovely Italian meal in a well known and popular chain of themed restaurants. I had the steak washed down with a nice glass of red wine. The perfect pre-theatre meal in my opinion. We had collected our tickets earlier in the day so had some free time before we had to return to see the show.

So after we had eaten we then went for a quick look round Carnaby Street to walk off the food. We accidentally stumbled across this shop just off the main street. Which the very stylish looking manager informed us was the oldest shop in the Street. It certainly had a great selection of original sixties style clothes, classic band t-shirts, and handmade leather boots, which all looked very cool. The manger was also a tailor who designs and makes many of the items on sale. It is a really eccentric and authentic place and well worth a look at if you are in the area.

London Palladium
London Palladium

Then it was time to take our seats in the Upper Circle of the iconic London Palladium to enjoy the return of the ITV weekend variety programme. The host for the night was Jack Whitehall. I really like him and I do think he is extremely funny. He did a brilliant job anchoring the night. I have seen him out in social situations. His stage persona can, I guess seem a little brash sometimes, but in “real life” he is a very nice, friendly bloke. Who is happy to just have a quiet drink with mates with no fuss whatsoever.

The acts on the bill included a Japanese Dance Troop, who were amazing. A knife throwing act, who I had to watch through my fingers as it was scary stuff. Jack Carroll the young comedian from Britain’s Got Talent. Top comedian Sara Pascoe, who was on great form. The music for the evening was supplied by Jess Glynne, Leona Lewis and the fantastic Simply Red. Who had the whole place totally rocking.

It was a great night out at a tremendous venue. I love variety shows and think that there should be more of them on television. As it was the very last one in the current series, it will not be on our screens until the end of May. But do look out for it and give it a watch if you get chance. It’s fantastic Sunday night entertainment.

London Palladium
London Palladium

Then the next night I was back at the Fountain Studios in Wembley to see an episode of the new Saturday Night show “Play To The Whistle” being filmed. It is hosted by the excellent Holly Willoughby, who for me is one of the best presenters around. Switched on, very slick and funny when she needs to be, perfect in many ways. The executive producer on the show is Dan Baldwin, who is also Holly’s husband. He is involved with a lot of high profile panel and game shows.

Wembley
Wembley

Also on the show is Bradley Walsh, who is great, a true professional and very nice man. And footballer Frank Lampard, who plays his role brilliantly. He knows why he is there and what he needs to do. The other regulars are comedian’s Romesh Ranganathan and Sean Walsh (Both of whom I have seen perform live) They are both very funny men. And finally ex-footballer Jimmy Bullard pops up when required to bring a bit of madness and his own brand of fun. From what I have seen I think he may be a little bit crazy.

The guests on the panel at this particular recording were the legend that is Bob Mortimer, Pat Cash and Natalie Anderson from Emmerdale. They were all great fun, but for me Bob stole the show. He has a unique sense of humour. I think it is the way that he delivers his stuff in that kind of matter of a fact way, that makes it so amusing.

Without giving too much away. There is one bit in the show where it goes a little bit off piste. And everyone involved suddenly has a go at a fun little game. Which just started off as a challenge between Bradley Walsh and Pat Cash. This ultimately leads to seeing an airborne Holly Willoughby. Which is something I thought I may never get to see but I was glad to be there to witness it. This may or may not make it in to the show but if it does the way she lands goes some way to demonstrating Newton’s Laws of gravity.

Neil Quigley in London
Neil Quigley in London

It was great entertainment and the whole gang were up for it and really throwing themselves in to it. Again this episode was recorded well in advance and will not be on our screens until at least next Saturday night. If you are in and fancy a laugh keep an eye out for it. It will make you smile. As ever with these things the funniest moments probably will not make the edit. Which is why I really enjoy being in the studio on filming days.  You never know exactly what will happen.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

And finally from the world of television I went to a Celebrity Juice recording at Elstree Studios. They normally record the show on a Wednesday and then it goes out the following night. The one I was at was Keith Lemon’s special birthday show. Which was great because they all wore fancy dress and they played all the host’s favourite games from the past. It was good to see Holly Willoughby for the second time in three nights, without her accusing me of stalking her. This show is also produced by her husband Dan Baldwin.

Elstree Studios
Elstree Studios

As well as the other regulars Ferne Cotton and Gino D’acampo, on the show were Professor Green, Charlotte Crosby and Gok Wan. I once interviewed Gok when he was filming one of his television shows in Bristol. He told me right at the end of it that he had to dash off as he had a lady waiting for him in her underwear. For those of you who know him or his shows. You will know that this is perfectly wholesome and all above board. The alcohol was flowing through out, it was a pretty wild and fun recording. Celebrity Juice that is, not my interview with Gok. I think you could certainly see that if you did watch the show on ITV2 the other Thursday.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

On Bank Holiday Monday I went and tried out a new sport for the very first time. Having never set foot on a proper golf course before because I have never really had the desire to try that particular game. I was much keener to try a new form of this sport featuring my favourite sport football. So after being invited by a former football team mate to play Foot Golf with him and a few of his mates. I jumped at the chance. Ritchings Park Golf Club in Iver has built a specially adapted course for football’s. It has only just recently opened, so we were one of the first people to try it out. It costs sixteen pounds per person for a round. Which does include a football and a scorecard for your group, detailing the par for each hole. Plus a map of the course.

Foot Golf
Foot Golf

It was a good laugh and if I am honest a little bit harder than I had thought it would be. It took us about two hours to get round the eighteen holes. When we had finished we had a pint in the club house, so we could just double check the scorecards. I came in last place out of four but it was a close game. And I was only four shots or if you like kicks off the leader. If you are a football fan and fancy a good giggle with your mates I would definitely suggest giving it a go. It is really well set out. The holes are set in to the greens like proper golf, only they are football sized. And they all have flags in them to. I do plan on having another game or two before the summer is over. It was certainly a very pleasant way to spend a May morning.

Foot Golf
Foot Golf

I have mentioned before that I am a big fan of twitter. And one of the reasons I like it, is for moments like this. Listening to Chris Evans on the Radio One Breakfast Show is what made me decide that I wanted to work in radio. So imagine my delight when one of my broadcasting hero’s re-tweeted something I had posted over the weekend. It is fair to say it did lead to an increase in my personal traffic on the site. Well at least for a couple of hours anyway.

It was simply an observation about how his description of what he was experiencing at the airport. Would have made for a very different start to the film Love Actually. I still enjoy listening to Chris Evans on Radio Two now. He is such an exceptional communicator and a very interesting man. So cheers for the on-line mention Sir, it was very decent of you.

Twitter Fun
Twitter Fun

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.