Tag Archives: theatre

Golden Times

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of week’s. Mine have been pretty busy with a lots of fun things going on. I have mentioned previously that there is actually another Neil Quigley. And that he is a well known and respected Dance Music DJ and producer. Who often does remixes of some really big songs.

I am a regular user of Twitter. On the social networking site I am simply @NeilQuigley. While my namesake is @djneilquigley.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

So from time to time people will get us confused. I will get a tweet saying what a brilliant new track I have released. Or even better sometimes I get a review of my latest remix promoted on line. Normally when I get the chance to. I try to point out that they have got the wrong man. And also I suggest the man they want.

The other day this led to me having a very brief conversation with the other Neil Quigley. We are not at all related. Although we do both have similar hair styles. It was nice to finally speak to him and acknowledge each other. I wonder if he ever gets any tweets that were meant for me?

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I had another great night out at the theatre recently watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s at the Theatre Royal in London. It is the musical stage version of the 1961 film starring Audrey Hepburn. That movie gave us quite a few iconic moments and images. Most of which featured the lead actress.

In this adaptation the singer Pixie Lott plays the mysterious Holly Golightly. Although best known as a pop star. She went to a very well known stage school. So is no stranger to the world of acting. And of course after her appearance on Strictly Come Dancing. The same applies to dancing.

Theatre Royal London
Theatre Royal London

I thought she was fantastic in the role. We all know that she has a sensational singing voice. Which she showed us with the two great versions of Moon River she did during the show. Her accent, timing and over all performance was excellent. She played it brilliantly in my opinion.

The rest of the cast were also great. It was brilliant to see the hugely talented Victor McGuire. Who I remember from the television comedy Bread, perform. The lead male Matt Barber was also fabulous.

I have to confess I have never watched the whole film previously. So I found the story interesting and engaging, seeing it for the first time. As ever with timeless classics that are brilliantly written. A lot of it is as applicable now to our lives as it was back then.

Another show that is worth a look if you get the chance. It is only on in London for a limited time and then it is going on a nationwide tour. I can see Pixie Lott doing more work in musicals after this has finished. She is perfectly suited to it.

Breakfast At Tiffany's
Breakfast At Tiffany’s

I must admit that I have not watched that much of the Olympic games this time round. A lot of the main events have just been on a little to late for me to stay up and watch. During London 2012 I just about managed to catch all of the big moments.

And I was delighted to go along with my mum to see one of the events. I went to watch the Beach Volley Ball. Which was at Horse Guard’s Parade in London. Great though that was for me. I am guessing that the teams possibly prefer playing at the Copacabana Beach at this championship.

The view from my seat at the Beach Volleyball
The view from my seat at the Beach Volleyball

Well done to Mo Farah for his amazing achievements on the track. The brilliant Max Whitlock for winning two gold medals in the Gymnastics. The great Justin Rose for getting gold in the golf. Andy Murray for regaining the title he won in London four years ago. Katherine Grainger for being great in the rowing. And Laura Trott for becoming our most decorated female Olympian.

Not forgetting her fiance Jason Kenny who now tops the over all men’s medals table along side Sir Chris Hoy. Adam Peaty for his gold in the pool. And the whole of Team GB. Who did the country proud and provided us with so many great sporting moments. There have been so many great individual and team performances. It has been a good games overall for us. Building and improving impressively on the last one. Which is all you can do in life.

Victoria Pendleton and Neil Quigley
Victoria Pendleton and Neil Quigley

I think the Sports Personality of the Year show is going to be intriguing this year. There are already so many contenders for the main award. They may as well just make this year an Olympics Special and forget about all the other sporting achievements this year.

One thing we can be sure about after the recent European Championships is that the winner will not be a footballer.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

While the sportsmen and women have been out in Brazil. The comedians have been up in Scotland taking part in their own sort of Olympics. I am of course talking about the Edinburgh Festival. I have been keeping an eye on some of the shows and performers up there.

Mainly to see if I can find any new acts that I have not seen before. To watch in London later on in the year. As a massive comedy fan. I am always on the look out for new people to go and check out. And new shows to see.

There are quite a few comics up there performing who I have seen before. There are quite a few I have interviewed or spoken to in the past. And there are a few that I have actually had the pleasure of gigging with. These include the wonderful Tony Law. Who headlined my first four stand up gigs. The hilarious Silky, who was on the same bill as me for my debut. And is brilliant.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

And the unbelievable Olaf Falafel, who I have performed with a couple of times. He also did the same comedy course I did the year before I did it. He is doing his first one hour show at the Fringe this year.

He also is a huge producer of very funny comedy vines. Which have currently had over seventy-five million views. So keep an eye out for him.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Last weekend I went up to Liverpool to see my good friend Jeff Nolan. And to enjoy the start of the new Premier League season. By watching my team Tottenham in action against his team Everton at Goodison Park. I got up there on the Friday evening. We went straight to the Pub for a few drinks and a good old chat.

Then we went back to his for some food. And then as can sometimes happen. When you have two people who are massive music fans. We ended up staying up and talking until the early hours listening to songs. Great fun at the time but it did leave us a little light on sleep for the match day.

Neil Quigley and Jeff Nolan
Neil Quigley and Jeff Nolan

We were up bright and early on the Saturday ready for the start of the season. And after a hearty protein inspired egg and cheese breakfast. We set off in to the centre of Liverpool to meet the others who we were going to the game with. I really like being there. I know the place pretty well, as I go there so often. So I enjoy visiting the usual pubs while I am there.

When we arrived at the ground ready for kick off. We found Everton had slightly changed their season ticket system. Which meant there were massive queues outside. Which actually led to us missing about the first ten minutes.

Neil Quigley and Jeff Nolan
Neil Quigley and Jeff Nolan

We were standing outside when we heard a cheer. Initially I thought it was coming from the Tottenham fans and that we had taken the lead. But I was wrong and it was the home side that had gone in front. So when I got to my seat my team were already losing. That was still the case at half time, when we met up inside for the traditional half time pint of Chang Lager. They are Everton’s sponsor. And it is the only place and time I ever drink the stuff.

Then it was back in for the second half. Tottenham equalised and had a few chances to win the game. But one all it finished. I was a little disappointed that we did not win it, to be honest. Although I was happy with a point. I think Everton under Ronald Koeman will be difficult to beat at home.

Half Time Refreshments
Half Time Refreshments

After the game we visited a few more of Liverpool’s drinking establishments finishing up in one that was called the Old Ballroom. It was like a real old fashioned social club. It had a Wedding going on in the function room. While we and a few other locals were in the main bar.

This room had a jukebox that seemed to play nothing but eighties music. With that soundtrack, the venue and the other people there. It did feel a bit like we were in an episode of Only Fools and Horses. I did think that at any moment somebody could fall through the bar hatch.

Everton V Spurs 2016
Everton V Spurs 2016

So the football season is now under way and I had another brilliant weekend in Liverpool. We finished the evening with a Pizza. From a well known chain that used to use ex England footballers in its adverts. Classic lads day out. On the Sunday before I got the train home.

I had a quick walk down Mathew Street. Which is where the original Cavern Club used to be. It is fair to say that pretty much all the venues there have some sort of nod to the Beatles. I have had some good fun around that area over the years. It is a lively place to visit.

Neil Quigley in Liverpool
Neil Quigley in Liverpool

One of the television quiz shows that I went to an audition for earlier this year began this week on ITV 1. It is called Alphabetical and is hosted by the great Jeff Stelling. I had a good time meeting the production staff and playing a version of the game at their offices.

I did well I thought. And won my head to head on the day. So if I was playing for real I would have walked away with some money. It is a fairly straight forward general knowledge quiz. Where they will tell you either what letter the answer starts or ends with depending on the round.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I did get short listed for the show but I was never invited along to the studios to play it for real unfortunately. Which is a shame for two reasons. It was great fun to play in the audition and secondly the prize money on it is really good. It would have also been nice to meet Jeff Stelling.

I am a big fan of his work on the Sky Sports Show Soccer Saturday. He is brilliant on there. He did walk past me once when I was working at Wembley Stadium. But I never got the chance to speak to him.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

So as well as releasing a new David Brent film. Ricky Gervais is also making a return to stand up comedy and working on a new show. Like most of the comedians do when they are honing a new show. He is doing some warm up shows for it in London. Thanks to a friend of mine I am actually going to see one of these performances in London this week.

I am really looking forward to it. I have enjoyed his previous tours. And I am fascinated to see the early stages of this new one. I will of course tell you about it next time we speak.

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

Music Be The Food of Life

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of week’s. Mine have been busy with lots of fun things going on. I had dinner at a very good mate of mine’s house recently. This guy was actually my very first landlord. As I moved in as his lodger. In the very first house he bought. I was good friends with him before this arrangement. That was not how we met, by the way.

As it happened, he actually received the keys for the place. Just before he went away on holiday with his then girlfriend. So I moved in and started living there. Two weeks before he finally got to move into his own place. He had already selected which bedroom was his, mind you. I decision which I respected.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Anyway I had not seen him for a while. So he invited me round to see him, his wife and their children. For a general catch up and some food. It was a lovely evening. Just having a few drinks. Enjoying the sunny weather in his garden. Chatting and laughing like friends who have known each other for a long time do. Then after they had put the children to bed, we ate. I thought it was genius what they did for the meal. It was certainly something that I had never done before.

They had one of these special cooking stones. Which you heat up in the oven at a very high temperature for an hour. So it absorbs the heat. Then when it is at the correct temperature. You carefully bring it out and put it on its own special stand. Which has two little gas burners under it. So it maintains some of its heat. Laid out on the table were small bits of steak, escalopes, chorizo slices, halloumi and some tuna.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Which you then just cook up yourself using the aforementioned stone. Which is placed right in the middle of the table. So everybody can reach it. You can then cook everything to your own taste. Exactly how you like it. Have the combination of food that you fancy. It is so sociable as well.  As there are natural pauses when you are cooking on the stone. There is lots of time for good quality conversations. During what is a leisurely and enjoyable dining experience.

It was the first time I had tried it. And I would definitely do it again. It was a fantastic evening. I must say that I was very impressed with my own stone cooking skills. As the food tasted great. Compliments to the chef.

A few Sunday’s ago now I headed over to a pub in Surrey. To help celebrate the 10th Anniversary of one of my Dad’s cousin’s and his partner. They are a very musical couple. And they are really in to the folk music scene. So as part of the afternoon. They organised for some friends of theirs to come and play live in the beer garden. They set up a little acoustic stage in one corner. And the acts took turns to get up there and play a few songs.

Live Music
Live Music

They were all great. Martin and Sara, the hosts of the party also play guitars and perform to. So they got up on the stage and did a few numbers. That was the first time I had seen them play.

Now I appreciate I am family. So I might be slightly biased. But I thought they were absolutely incredible. The guitar playing and the vocals were spot on. So it was an afternoon of great music performed by really friendly and nice people. Who could want more?

Live Music
Live Music

I was not driving. So I thought I would treat myself to a couple of drinks. I was delighted to find that the pub did a particular lager. That you rarely see nowadays. The German beer Lowenbrau was on tap. It has been years since I have seen it any where. But I love the taste of it and it brings back lots of great memories for me. I have been lucky enough to go to Oktoberfest in Munich twice. It is a fantastic event. Bigger than you can imagine. With over fifteen Bierkellers. Each of which can hold around four thousand people.

The camp site I stayed at both times I went actually had Lowenbrau available in their on site drink dispensers. Plus my favourite Bierkeller was the Lowenbrau tent. I had a great time in there. Having a few steins and dancing on the tables. While singing along at the top of my voice to the Oompah band. If you ever get the chance I would recommend you go along and experience it for yourself. The atmosphere there is just brilliant. Great fun!

So I think what I am saying is. Basically I enjoyed finding the drink in the pub. And I enjoyed drinking it sitting out in the sun. While watching some great live music. A lovely Sunday afternoon, whichever way you look at it. Thanks to Martin and Sara for the invitation. I look forward to seeing you perform again in the future.

Live Music
Live Music

I had a great evening at the Savoy Theatre in London seeing Funny Girl. Unfortunately I did not see Sheridan Smith perform in the lead role. As I was hoping to previously. So I saw the show but not her.

Not her fault, mine completely. I did not realise that she does not do the Monday performance. So she was never actually due to be there. That was a bit of a shame. Only because I really wanted to see her perform live. As I am a big fan.

Funny Girl
Funny Girl

The show though was fantastic. Natasha J Barnes was sensational in the lead role of Fanny Brice. The part played by Barbara Streisand, no less. In the film version from the sixties. She was excellent, the accent, the comedy and her singing voice were all exceptional. She was really good and thoroughly deserved the ovation that she received at the end.

Also in the cast and playing the leading man Nick Arnstein brilliantly is the charismatic Darius Campbell. Now we all remember the first time we saw him on television on Pop Stars doing his own unique version of Britney Spears’s “Baby One More Time”. Since then he has gone through several style changes. Had a few big hits as a solo singer And now has reinvented himself as a decent West End performer.

He was great in this role, totally assured and in command of everything. Top marks to the whole cast. It was another really enjoyable musical outing. And you never know. I still might go and see it again. To see if I can catch Sheridan Smith in it before the run ends.

Funny Girl
Funny Girl

For a very long time my mum has wanted to go on a river boat cruise down the Thames in London. The other Thursday I finally managed to make this wish a reality for her. I organised for us to go on an Afternoon Tea Cruise with Bateaux London.

They are a tour company who operate from the pier at the Embankment. We had to arrive fifteen minutes before our designated boarding time and wait in a lounge area. For the Captain of the ship to give us the green light to go on board.

London River Cruise
London River Cruise

Once on the boat we were then shown to our table by one of the staff members. I had booked us a window seat. So we could make sure that we got to take in all the sights as we sailed past. Then next an extra little surprise arrived. I had ordered us both a glass of champagne on arrival.

Well I figured if it is worth doing, it is worth doing properly. It set the afternoon off lovely. It felt great sipping on the champers as the boat set off on its journey. It is the closest I will ever get to feeling like Richard Branson.

London River Cruise
London River Cruise

There was also an on board pianist. Who played all through out the cruise. That gave the whole thing a little bit of class. And made for a very enjoyable atmosphere for the journey and the sight seeing. We were on a boat called the Harmony.

We set off down the Thames to take a look at Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament first of all. We then turned round there and headed back up the river. Heading past the South Bank and a few places I know well like the ITV Studios.

London River Cruise
London River Cruise

We then passed by HMS Belfast. Which is a very impressive sight. Got a great view of the Shard and the London skyline in general. Then we caught a glimpse of the wonderful Globe Theatre. Which by the way is well worth a visit if you get the chance. I have been on the tour there. But I really want to go and see a Shakespeare play performed there at some point.

Now as a massive Tea fan. An Afternoon Tea cruise is of course perfect for me. So I have already enjoyed a few cups of the best drink in the world. When they bring the food part of the experience out.

London River Cruise
London River Cruise

Firstly the sandwiches. Which were a selection of Ham & Mustard, Cheese & Cucumber and Salmon & Cream Cheese. They all tasted great. And were cut perfectly with no crusts. Then we got a huge Scone each. With plenty of clotted cream and jam to go with it.

I had not had one for such a long time. I had forgotten just how amazing they taste. Then to top it all off we had a great selection of mini cakes. All of which were then washed down with yet more cups of tea.

London River Cruise
London River Cruise

All this is happening while we are heading up to Canary Wharf. And then turning around again there to head back past land marks such as the Tower of London and the Gherkin. Plus we passed underneath Tower Bridge and London Bridge for the second time. As we made our way back to the pier. That was our starting point.

It was a really enjoyable hour and an half. All the staff were lovely and helpful. The food and beverages were fantastic. It all just worked so well. With the piano music as a nice back drop the our great capital city. It was a brilliantly relaxing afternoon. Just a nice way to see London.

London River Cruise
London River Cruise

So Celebrity Big Brother has returned to Channel 5 for the second time this year. I have to confess I did watch the launch show. To see who was going in to the house. And to see if I had actually heard of any of them. Most of them I had no idea who they were. But I can’t say I warmed to any of them. From what they were saying about themselves. The only ones that I recognised were Ricky Norwood, James Whale, Samantha Fox and Christopher Biggins.

I met Christopher Biggins when he came in for an interview on my radio show. When I was working at Ivel Fm in Yeovil. He was on a tour promoting his autobiography. It was not long after that he had been crowned king of the jungle and won his series of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. He was a nice bloke.  Easy to chat to and happy to answer any question on any subject you liked. With plenty of humour thrown in for good measure.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

He gave me a signed copy of his book. Which is a fascinating read. He has had a very wide and interesting career. He has been in so many huge shows and pretty much worked with everyone in the business at some point or another.

So I have to confess I am very surprised at what happened to him in the house. Which led to his early departure from the show.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I am very much looking forward to going up to Liverpoool next weekend. To see my mate Jeff Nolan. And also to see Tottenham Hotspur’s first game of this season at Goodison Park against Everton. We had a great go at it last time.

So I am full of hope of optimism for the the year ahead. Be good to see the team in action. And it is always a great stadium and great place to visit.

Neil Quigley & Jeff Nolan
Neil Quigley & Jeff Nolan

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

Razzle Dazzle

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of week’s. Mine have been busy with a lots of fun things going on. The excellent Tringe Comedy Festival has now just finished for another year. This annual event see’s many of the best comedian’s in the country head down to Tring to perform. Normally work in progress Edinburgh Festival shows.

Among the acts appearing this year were Sean Walsh, Mark Watson, Nish Kumar and James Acaster. All of whom I have seen live. It does always attract a great line up of comics. And it is brilliantly organised and put together by the lovely impresario that is Ben Moorhouse.

Neil Quigley doing Stand Up
Neil Quigley doing Stand Up

Unfortunately I did not manage to get along and see any gigs there this time round. But the festival does hold a special place in my memory. As it was there where I made my stand up comedy debut. Every year they have a Roving Comedy Night. For people who want to try the dark art of comedy for themselves.

You go on an eight week course with the legend that is Logan Murray. Then you are let loose on the good people of Tring. Performing your newly written five minute set in four of the town’s pubs. With a headline professional comedian with you. To close each of your mini shows. That night I got to work with the genius that is Tony Law. Who was totally brilliant!

Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy
Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy

If you have ever wanted to try stand up comedy. I would recommend this course and the Roving Comedy Night. It is an amazing experience. The buzz I got from that night lasted for about two weeks after. Plus I got to meet some great and very funny people. In fact the night of my very first gigs. I got to give the wonderful Silky a lift back to his hotel.

He was a finalist in the first ever BBC New Comedy Awards. He runs his own very successful comedy clubs. And is a top bloke. So night one and I was already giving fellow comics lifts. I still do plan to return to stand up at some point in the future. It is really good fun.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Like a large majority of the country. I only really seem to get excited about Tennis during Wimbledon. Whenever that comes on the television. I find it always makes me want to dig out my Andre Agassi racket from the loft. And find a free court to play on. It is a sport I do enjoy playing but do not think about for most of the year. I did go through a stage of playing quite regularly with a mate. But I kept beating him and then strangely the offers to play games suddenly seemed to stop.

I did manage to watch a fair bit of this year’s Wimbledon. Including the Men’s Single’s Final. I was delighted to see Andy Murray win his second All England Club title. He is such a dedicated and hard working sportsman. And therefore deserves all the success that comes his way. He has earned it. And that win easily makes him the greatest British Tennis Player in my life time, certainly.

Wimbledon
Wimbledon

I was very jealous of my Uncle and Auntie who managed to get Centre Court tickets. For Ladies Semi Final day. So they got to see the powerhouse that is Serena Williams in action. What an athlete she is.

That is very much on my to do list. To go and witness the tennis live at Wimbledon. Ideally on Centre Court. May be I can be there when Andy Murray wins his third title there next year.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I had a brilliant night the other week watching the stunning Chicago. At one of my favourite venues. The wonderful Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury. This was a show that I had been wanting to see for sometime. So I was really looking forward to it. And I have to say it did not disappoint.

After seeing her at one of the Celebrity Juice recordings I was at. I also really wanted to see Hayley Tammaddon playing Roxie Hart. She was hilarious on the show that night and brilliant on stage in that role to. She really did make it her own. And put her own stamp on it. She has a fantastic singing voice. Which I guess, always helps in a musical.

Aylesbuy Waterside Theatre
Aylesbuy Waterside Theatre

The whole cast were excellent. It was very well put together, the staging, sound and choreography were all fantastic. The character I think I can relate most to, is of course Billy Flynn. Who was perfectly portrayed by John Partridge. He was so good from start to finish. And he can hold a note for such a long time. I reckon he would seriously give Bill Withers a run for his money.

The orchestra are actually on stage and fully in view. They really do get involved and add to the fun and enjoyment. In fact I think a few of them may be a little bit crazy. There are some nice surprises in it. A very enjoyable show. Performed by a great company. I am very pleased I went along to see it. Great fun night.

Beautiful The Carole King Musical
Beautiful The Carole King Musical

It has been a theatre packed fortnight for me. As I also went and saw Beautiful The Carole King Musical at the Aldwych Theatre in London. This was another show that I had heard great things about. And had been wanting to see for a while. It was brilliant. It is really fast paced and very slick. And it tells the amazing story of her life and career. In a very clever and direct way. But the best thing is the amount of excellent songs in the show. Most of which of course were written by the subject of the story herself.

These songs by the way are all brilliantly performed by the fantastic cast. It is just huge hit song after huge hit song. Mixed in with the different stages of the great singer and songwriter’s life. Cassidy Janson is sensational in the lead role. And totally nails all of the amazing songs. That she gets to sing. It was again another lovely night out at the theatre.

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

I love live performances. So much more engaging and fun than just watching stuff at home on the television. I like to think that I know quite a lot about music. But even I had moments a couple of times during the night when I was thinking “I had forgotten this one was a Carole King song”. She does have such an amazing back catalogue of classic songs.

And bearing in mind a lot of these came out of. In effect a music factory style environment. In many ways makes that more astonishing, I think. Some bands go away for years to write their albums. She and her writing colleague’s had to deliver songs. Like they were working at a car plant. Virtually on a daily basis. Her debut solo album Tapesty was huge. And packed full of timeless classics. She was in a way the 60′ s and 70’s answer to Adele. Great night out. Seeing yet another excellent West End show.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Staying with musicals. I am very excited that I am going to see Sheridan Smith star in Funny Girl at the Savoy Theatre in London on Monday. I have been a big fan of hers for years. I have always wanted to see her perform live on stage.

So I can’t wait. I have been following her career from the start. All the way from the Royale Family, Two Pints of Lager, through to Gavin & Stacey and her excellent portrayal of Cilla in the ITV biopic of the singer’s rise to fame. I will report back on the show next time we speak.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

One of my former radio stations Mix 96. Just happened to be in the town where I live. As part of their Summer Tour last week. So I thought it would be rude not to pop along and say hello. Over the years I have spent several spells working there.

And it was actually where I had my very first taste of a radio studio. When I did a week’s work experience there. When I was at Aylesbury college. Funnily enough one of the presenters who I met that week Max Hailey is now the Managing Director.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

A few years after that initial visit. I was back helping out on the Saturday Sport Show. Phoning up the local football teams to get the scores. And then reading out the results on air. From here I progressed to doing the Sports Show myself.

Before that though my first ever show on the station was a one hour show on a Sunday morning. Which I covered for just one week. Which was equally exhilarating and terrifying but great fun. That was really my big break in radio.

Victoria Pendleton and Neil Quigley
Victoria Pendleton and Neil Quigley

The next step was to cover a few weeks worth of the Evening Show. Then this eventually led on to me doing six months on the Drive Show. Before then doing three months on the Morning Show. I then just dropped back to doing Saturday Sport at the station for a while.

Before a year later returning to do the Morning Show for another six months. Then after five years in Somerset. I returned initially for a Saturday Afternoon Show. Which then led to me doing the Evening Show. For a couple of years before leaving the station.

Neil Quigley in a still from the Mix 96 behind the Scenes Video
Neil Quigley in a still from the Mix 96 behind the Scenes Video

Anyway it was really nice to catch up with someone I have known for many years. As he has been at Mix 96 for quite some time himself now, Nathan Cooper. Good to have a chat and see him in action. We have done a few outside broadcasts together over the years.

And it was also nice to see Darren Scott. Who I worked with during my last spell there. Mix 96 is a excellent radio station. So it was nice to see them out and about doing their stuff. It was a good giggle to see everyone.

Neil Quigley at Mix 96 Tour De Vale Bike Ride
Neil Quigley at Mix 96 Tour De Vale Bike Ride

I am really enjoying working with the BBC in London. Being around such talented and dedicated people is fantastic. It is fun and very fulfilling being involved in the production of some excellent programmes. There is also the added bonus of you never know who you will bump in to. Everyday while you are there.

Plus thanks to The One Show studios being there to. You also never know. Who might just be performing live outside the building. For example last week as I was on my way home. Bryan Adams was performing his latest single with his band. And for the record he sounded sensational. Previously James Bay was serenading me as I was leaving.

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

I recently tried my first ever gluten, wheat and dairy free health bar. Which although I appreciate that it was probably very good for me. I must admit I personally thought it tasted horrible. If you are unable to eat these food groups. You have my sympathies.

It confirmed what I already know. Despite the fact I do try to keep fit and healthy. And also eat quite well. I do really love bad food and the things we shouldn’t eat. They taste so good.

Health Bar
Health Bar

Tomorrow afternoon I am going to a family party. Which is taking place in a pub beer garden with a BBQ and some live music performances. That is basically my perfect Sunday. Hopefully the weather will be nice.  You will never find me complaining that the weather is too hot. I do like it nice and warm.

During the year we have enough cloudy and wet days. So anytime the sun is out and the temperature is high. I am very happy. Plus I am a great sleeper, so no matter how cold or hot it is. I still sleep fine. I have two settings in life. I am either on (awake) or off (asleep).

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Sport and Leisure

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been very busy as ever, with lots of fun things going on. So firstly congratulations to Richard Jones on winning this year’s Britain’s Got Talent. In doing so, he became the first magician ever to win it. I think he might have been the only magical act this year. Who basically did not look like he would injure or kill himself in some way during his act.

It was kind of fitting that in this, the Queen’s 90th Birthday year. A member of the Military Services was successful. And will now therefore perform at this year’s Royal Variety Show. Providing his boss, who is technically Her Majesty of course. Will give him the time off.

So once again well done to him on this massive achievement. I will now look forward to seeing him performing alongside the other famous soldier turned entertainer James Blunt at the Queen’s 95th Birthday Party.

BGT London
BGT London

It was another fun series hosted brilliantly by the masters that are Ant & Dec. The judges were great again. And all do bring something different to the party. Annoyingly Simon Cowell is still the one judge I find myself agreeing with most. When he is commenting on the act’s performances. Although sometimes I might personally have phrased this criticism in a slightly different way.

I really enjoyed my night at the Dominion seeing one of the heats. I will most likely try to get to another one next series. Being there live does give you a good chance to get an idea of the overall standard of that year’s contestants.

BGT London
BGT London

I am a huge football fan. I have always played the sport. I really enjoy watching it. I have been lucky enough to visit many of the great stadiums in the country. And I have even managed to play a match at the biggest and best one of all, Wembley Stadium. Rugby however is something I hated playing as a kid at school. I was never really any good at it. I was quite tall and fairly skinny as a child.

But my games teacher still put me in the second row. Which meant I had to go in the scrum. Which I really disliked. Mind you that said with my lack of pace. I could never have been a winger or full back. Since leaving education I have watched the odd game on the television and kind of enjoyed that. Even though I have little idea of what is actually going on.

England V Wales Rugby
England V Wales Rugby

However when a mate of mine offered me the chance to go and see England play Wales at Twickenham. I jumped at the chance. Even though I used to live in Iseworth for a couple of years, when I was growing up. And therefore drove past it quite a few times. I had never actually been to the stadium to see a match. And despite not being a massive fan of the sport.

I am very patriotic and always happy to support an England team at whatever they are competing in. I had heard what a great experience it was suppose to be. Plus how the feel and atmosphere differed from that of a football match. And I am pleased to say this information was perfectly accurate. It did feel different.

England V Wales Rugby
England V Wales Rugby

I met my friend in Wembley and we got the tube to Hounslow East. A station I last used around thirty-two years ago I reckon. When my mum took me for my first ever day trip in to central London. So it was nice and at the same time quite weird to be back there. We then decided to walk to the ground. Stopping to enjoy a drink at a lovely little pub, we found on the way.

Once we were refreshed we continued our walk to the ground. I have to say as you approach it. It is a very impressive sight. We got in to the fans area outside the stadium. Which was impressive in itself, with live music and television screens to watch. Not to mention a nice selection of places to get pretty much every type of food you could think of.

England V Wales Rugby
England V Wales Rugby

We then made our way towards where our seats were. We were up in the top part of the South Stand. Which meant that we had to make our way up a concrete style ramp. Like in a multi-storey car park. To get to where we needed to. I actually preferred that idea to having lots of steps to climb up.

To blend in with the rest of the crowd only, of course. We found the nearest bar and got some drinks. With the two main choices being Lager or Guinness. When you buy your first drink they charge you an extra pound for the plastic glass it comes in. Then as long as you bring this back to the bar they will refill at the normal price.

England V Wales Rugby
England V Wales Rugby

I am guessing this is to encourage people to bring glasses back to the bar and not leave them lying around the place. At the end you can either take the glass home as a souvenir or take it to the bar and get your original pound back. Fair play to some kids at the end. Who I saw collecting up any glasses that had been left. To take them back to the bar and get the cash for them. One child I saw must have had about ten pounds worth in their hands.

The atmosphere was really friendly and relaxed. And one thing I found very strange coming from a football watching background. Was that the fans were not segregated. It did not matter who you were supporting. You could just sit anywhere, it would seem.

England V Wales Rugby
England V Wales Rugby

I really enjoyed the game. Even though I did not understand the finer points of it. We had some good seats. So we got a decent view of all the action. I think by following the rest of the fans I shouted and cheered at the right times. It was great to see England win.

It was just simply a fun and relaxing afternoon. Watching an England team play in the correct national stadium for that sport. I would definitely go and see a game of rugby there again. If I got offered the chance to.

England V Wales Rugby
England V Wales Rugby

Last Tuesday I went to the fabulous Up The Creek Comedy Club in Greenwich. To see the first London heat of this year’s BBC New Comedy Award. It was the first time that I had been there. I have to say it is a lovely little room for comedy. With a nice bar that has a nice selection of drinks. Which is pretty unusual for these kind of places.

I would say it was the perfect place to hold this event in. Very comfortable for the audience. Which means it is a nice arena for the acts to perform their comedy in. In front of a very supportive and enthusiastic crowd.

Silky at Roving Comedy Night
Silky at Roving Comedy Night

Previous finalists in the competition include amongst others Silky, Lee Mack, Marcus Brigstocke, Peter Kay, Shappi Korsandi, Russell Howard, Rhod Gilbert, Alan Carr, Sarah Millican and Joe Lycett. So as you can see over the years since the first one in 1995. The standard has been pretty high.

It has also been a great stepping stone for many new and up coming comics. There were ten comedians taking part. All performing their own original stuff. I can’t say any more at this stage. As it was all recorded for Radio 4 Extra. Who will be playing out all the heats and acts in a special radio series later in the summer.

BBC New Comedy Awards
BBC New Comedy Awards

What I can say is. The heat was hosted by the excellent Jessica Fostekew. Who was very funny and did a brilliant job. I was sat right on the front row.   Which did lead to a very awkward conversation between me and her.

When she asked me if I could be any food at all. What food would that be? To be honest this is something I had never previously considered. So after a lengthy pause I panicked and said a burger. Funnily enough she did come back to me at all after this incident.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Then later on one of the acts used me. So they could tell a sort of knock knock joke. So do listen out for it when it is on the radio. As you may get to briefly hear my dulcet tones. I thought all the comedians were great. I know from experience. That it is not easy getting up there and making people laugh.

And on reflection I do think the judging panel of three. Which included the brilliant Holly Walsh. Got the decision about right on which three acts to send to the semi finals. Another great night enjoying some live comedy. Go and see some yourself. When you can. Laughter is always good for you.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Also last week I went to see a former colleague and friend of mine Jack Harding in his latest stage production. He was starring in the brilliant Sea Life at The Hope Theatre in Islington.

It was the first time I had been there. It is a lovely venue above the Hope and Anchor pub. Which of course acts as a theatre bar for the performances.The play was totally amazing. It was a very dark comedy written by Lucy Catherine and directed by Matthew Parker.

Sea Life
Sea Life

The set was fantastic. Being sat in the audience you really felt you were there. The sound, lighting and staging were also spot on. Even to the point that as the play is set in a coastal town. When you walk in to the auditorium. There is a strong smell of Fish and Chips that greets you.

The whole cast were excellent but I have to say Jack Harding was sensational as Eddie. A really strong and powerful performance. Showing exactly why he has been Offie nominated for Best Male actor for this role. It was a full two hour show. Which flew by so quickly. As it was so gripping and entertaining.

It was also lovely to catch up with him after the show. And it gave me the chance to buy him a well deserved drink. For the role he has had to grow a big bushy beard. Which to be fair is an absolute triumph in itself.

It seemed to me like it was a quite an emotionally draining role. So I imagine he has been sleeping very well during its run. The final performance is actually tonight. So I am glad I managed to catch it when I did. Also keep an eye out for Jack Harding. When the next series of People Just Do Nothing is released.

Jack Harding and Neil Quigley
Jack Harding and Neil Quigley

I was away for a couple of weeks for work related reasons recently. I stayed in a great hotel in Worcestershire. That had some great photographs of old BBC Television shows on many of the walls. The room that I was staying in had some pictures from the original Generation Game with Bruce Forsyth.

And two from Allo Allo featuring the great Gordon Kaye. When I was a child my parents ran a newsagents in Iseworth. And he used to come in to the shop regularly to buy his papers.

Gordon Kaye
Gordon Kaye

In the hall way just outside my room was a picture of Smashie and Nicey. The DJ creations of Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse. Harry actually lives near to me nowadays. I actually saw him at my local train station the other month.

Small world isn’t it? I think the person who came up with that sixth degrees of separation thing, could really have been on to something.

Smashie & Nicey
Smashie & Nicey

So the Euro 2016 Football Tournament is underway and England play their opening game against Russia tonight. I have to confess I have not got too excited about this yet.

But a good England victory tonight could change all that. Good luck to Roy Hodgson and the squad. Somebody has got to win it. So why can’t it be us?

England
England

I remember I was very excited before Euro 1996. Which was held in England. There was a really good documentary about it with Alan Shearer on the BBC the other week. He caught up with the manager Terry Venables and lots of the players from the squad. To talk through their memories of it.

That made me remember how great it was. The feel good factor in the country. And how close we came to winning it. If only Paul Gascoigne was two inches taller. We would have made the final at the very least. So near and yet so far. A win for England this time would make for an amazing summer. Come on England!

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Sporting Theatre

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. So the last time we spoke. If you remember I was going off to see The Gadget Show Live at the Birmingham NEC. It had been quite a while since I had been there. I think the previous time I was there. It was to see a Best Disco In Town concert featuring The Real Thing, George McCrae, KC and The Sunshine Band and a few other random acts from the seventies and eighties perform. For the record it was a good gig.

This visit was however a little bit different. For starters I got the train there this time. I was pretty impressed how quick and easy it was to get from the station to the entrance of the exhibition. I am sure my last visit by car meant a long walk from the car park to get in. Although I am not really hugely in to the latest tools and gadgets. I have to confess it was a pretty impressive site with the amount of pop up stalls and demonstration areas in front of us. When we strolled in to the place.

The Gadget Show Live
The Gadget Show Live

One of the first things we did was queue up to experience the latest in home entertainment sound and vision innovations. A few of the best technology companies in the world had teamed up to create a special mini theatre. In which to show case a brand new home surround sound system called Dolby Atmos. This new set up works with more speakers than any other previous Dolby system, including two that you fit to the ceiling.

So the over all sound can be both subtle and clear. While seemingly coming from all corners of the room. And of course above us to. They showed us some clips on the giant screen to highlight this point. The best one in my opinion was the opening title sequence from the last Mission Impossible film. Featuring Tom Cruise clinging to a plane as it takes off. Fair play that did look and sound absolutely brilliant.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

From looking around the rest of The Gadget Show. I can tell you that any mobile phone technology is still huge business. There were lots of suppliers offering that type of thing. Mostly extra battery packs. Which as an I-Phone user I was slightly tempted by. The other two main most popular items on display were Segway’s of varying kinds and about fifty different types, sizes and styles of drones. And 3D virtual gaming seems like the future in that genre.

The bit I enjoyed the most was their own version of Robot Wars. They had a ring just like the old television show. Work benches in view, so you could see the teams building and repairing them. Plus they did have battles taking place between them with full commentary. Seeing that up close you get to see how brutal those battles are. I mean they compete in a completely covered in perspex box. With the Robots controlled by the teams from the safety of the outside. The fights were surprisingly exciting to watch.

The Gadget Show Live
The Gadget Show Live

I had a fantastic day in London the other week. Which involved seeing a recording of the new series of Tonight at The London Palladium. The first one was shown on television last Wednesday. And the one I was at will be shown this coming Wednesday 20th April. I was again brilliantly looked after by the team there. They gave me some great seats to watch the action from. So feel free to play the game of “can you spot me in the audience?”. While you are watching it.

The whole series is hosted by Bradley Walsh. Who is brilliant at it and did a fantastic job. The warm up man, as he is at so many of the shows that I am at was the excellent Andy Collins. He always does a top job getting the crowd involved and entertaining us all between breaks in the action. When they are setting up things on the stage. Also making an appearance on the night was the lovely Joe Pasquale.

Tonight at the London Palladium
Tonight at the London Palladium

The last time I saw him was when I made a cameo appearance in my friend Ben Langley’s Ha Ha Holmes at The Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury. I was dressed in a Beaver costume. And basically my antics caused him to crack up laughing on stage. Which was a very nice moment for me. He did tell me later that when I did a particular thing while on stage. That he was chuckling so much. He thought he might wet himself. It was really good to see him again. He was very funny as always in his little bit of the show.

The episode I was at also featured performances from Diversity. Who just seem to get better and better every time I see them. Their bit was absolutely stunning. The cast of the Kinky Boots musical. Who gave us a glimpse as to why the show had just won at the recent Olivier Awards. The force behind the music and songs for that show Cyndi Lauper not only introduced them on stage but also sang for us later on to. There was a thrilling children’s toy inspired variety act from China on the bill. Plus there were a couple of other special guests and surprises. That I will not spoil for you. I will just let you discover them for yourself.

Tonight at the London Palladium
Tonight at the London Palladium

It was another great evening spent at a brilliant venue in the heart of central London. I did also manage to squeeze in a lovely two course meal before the show. I have a very sweet tooth. So I always like to finish my dinner with a dessert. I couldn’t decide what I fancied. So I noticed that on the menu. They offered a five mini shot glass option. Where you could have five different types of puddings.

The person I was with was happy to give this option a try with me. So that is what we ordered. It was brilliant. There was much more of each dish than I expected. It was also great value for money and less than two of the normal desserts. If you get the opportunity I would say go on and give this option a try, at least once. If you see it on the menu of where you are eating. I was in an Italian themed chain restaurant. If that helps at all.

Grand National Weekend
Grand National Weekend

Last weekend saw one of the annual highlights of my year. As I made the trip up to Liverpool to enjoy the Grand National racing festival. I travelled up on the train on the Thursday afternoon. Before meeting my friend Jeff Nolan. Who lives near to the famous Aintree course. In a local pub for a couple of welcome drinks.

It was full of well dressed race goers. Who had been enjoying the first day’s racing. I do spend a lot of my time in London nowadays and I must admit the second I arrived in to Liverpool city centre. People generally did seem friendlier and much more talkative. Which I did like.

Neil Quigley in Liverpool
Neil Quigley in Liverpool

That evening bizarrely we ended up watching a documentary about Evil Knievel. He is someone I was obviously aware of. And I did have a toy version of him on a motorbike when I was a child. Which I do remember making ramps for. So it could jump over my matchbox car collection. However I have to confess I did not really recall his full back story and many of the world record and stunt attempts that he made.

It was interesting to see how he seemed to change as a person as he became more well known. Also it reminded me how many times he failed and hurt himself. It was nice in the end though to see him when he retired. Still putting on the famous jump suit and acting as more of an ambassador for good and safety. Sort of the American version of the English Green Cross Code man.

Neil Quigley in Car
Neil Quigley in Car

Friday was Ladies Day. The actual day we were going to the famous sporting venue. We started the day properly, as you should with some sausage and bacon sandwiches. Then it was time to get the suits on and head back to the local to meet everyone else. The place was already a hive of activity. Full of smart people. Also out to enjoy all the day had to offer.

After a few drinks. We then walked down towards Aintree itself to enjoy a drink in a pub that is at the entrance of the course. Which has recently changed its name to the Coral Arms. It then suddenly empties out very quickly. As everyone makes their way inside. Ready for the first race of the day.

Grand National Weekend
Grand National Weekend

The place is packed out with people. All just having a good time everywhere you look. They have several massive temporary tents installed specially for the meeting. In them there are bars, giant television screens to keep an eye on all the action and also live music.

After the racing has ended bands such as The Feeling perform on stage there. We of course made sure we headed outside to watch the races. It is an amazing sight seeing that many top class horses thunder by you. On the way to the winning post.

Grand National Weekend
Grand National Weekend

I had a couple of small winners on the day. I do like going down to the course side bookies to try and get the best odds on the horses. I want to back. It is all good fun and never feel guilty when you win. As I am yet to meet a poor book keeper. They always win in the end. After the races had finished we headed back in to the centre of Liverpool to continue the party.

Grand National Weekend
Grand National Weekend

The first place we went to was a lovely little pub hidden away down a side street called the Crack. Which is where John Lennon regularly used to drink when he still lived there. It has an area called the War Room. Which just has one big table in it and is surrounded completely by glass panels. So that was quite a cool place to have a pint. Specially as Lennon would have sat there at some point.

The Crack
The Crack

We visited a few other places including The Jacaranda. Which is another famous pub in the city. Where George Harrison used to drink. And it is also somewhere The Beatles played a lot when they were starting out. It is a pretty cool and chilled place with a jukebox in the corner.

It has been decked out like it was back in the 1960’s. I thought I had been to most of the bars on offer. But the two I have highlighted were places I was enjoying for the first time. And I have been going there for years. That is the great thing about the place. There are always new places to discover.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

On Grand National Day itself. I watched the iconic race from a sports pub on the outskirts of Liverpool. It is always a great occasion and an intriguing race to enjoy. It was great to see two talented exceptional female jockeys Katie Walsh and Nina Carberry riding in it. It is always nice to when all of the horses and jockeys are safe at the end of it. I did not manage to pick the winner this year though.

Grand National Weekend
Grand National Weekend

But I did have the fourth place horse “Gilgamboa” as an each way bet at 66-1. So I did at least get some money back from the race. Jeff had the winner and was celebrating his victory like he was the trainer or the owner of it. I like the way the jockey David Mullins younger brother seemed to be crying for joy for about the next hour or so after the race.

Grand National Weekend
Grand National Weekend

The day after the National before I came home. We took a walk up to Aintree. To have a look at the areas of the course that we could see from outside. Famously the race crosses the Melling Road. On race day it is lined with sand. So the horses can go over it without damaging themselves and so it is a similar feel to the grass on the rest of the course.

The day after the sand had been cleared away and the road re-opened. So Jeff and I were standing on the Melling Road and looking down to the first fence. Which from our vantage point looked massive and terrifying. With that final look at one of the most iconic sporting venues in the world. It was time to head home. Another successful weekend. I am already looking forward to going back there for next year’s event.

Grand National Weekend
Grand National Weekend

In other news the mighty Tottenham Hotspur are still battling hard to the end and trying to win as many points as possible. To stay in touch with the outright Premier League leaders Leicester. Who I really still can’t see slipping up. Mind you. if you had asked me at the start of the season. If I would have settled for second place and Champions League qualification. It would have been a resounding yes from me. Still enjoying it and proud of them.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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