Tag Archives: Wembley

Entertainment Connoisseur

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been predictably very busy but lots of fun. Two weeks ago today. My dad and I attended a Wine Tasting in London. It was a gift that I had bought him for Fathers Day. That just happened to be an experience for two. So therefore I joined him for it. Solely to aid his fun and enjoyment, of course.

It was run by the company Wine Cottage. Who supply a lot of the big London hotels and restaurants with all their exclusive wines. It was held at the luxurious Number 8 Northumberland Avenue. Which is a pretty classy venue, to say the least. We got there a little early, so we treated ourselves to a little drink in the bar. To get us warmed up for the main event. Like the total professionals that we are.

When it is time to get things underway. You are shown in to a stylish function room. Where you are welcomed at the door by the person hosting things. Who then shows you to your seat’s. There are several round tables of eight laid out. Already set at each place is a selection of glasses, cheeses and chocolates. Ready for the tasting. We were sat with two lovely married couples and two friends. We all had a nice chat before and after the event and also during any gaps in the proceedings.

Red Red Wine
Red Red Wine

It is all presented by Kam Zadeh. Who is the Managing Director and Wine Adviser of Wine Cottage. He was fantastic.  And gave basically a beginners guide to all the things you need to know about wine. And the wine making process in general. I found it really interesting. Plus I actually learnt quite a lot. His assistant then goes around and pours the drinks. While he is talking to the group. You get to try six drinks. A champagne, two white wines and three red wines. Each one has either an accompanying cheese or a chocolate to enjoy with it.

My dad and I both thoroughly enjoyed the couple of hours. That it lasted. All the wines and food were great. We met some top people. And I know a lot more about wine, than I did when I walked into that room. They even present you with a little certificate. To prove that you have attended. Sadly I am not quite a wine  connoisseur but I can assure you I only drink the right amount of red wine for a gentlemen.

Wine Certificate
Wine Certificate

I went along to see The Simon and Garfunkel Story at the Vaudeville Theatre in London. I am like pretty much the rest of the planet. A big fan of their music. The red wine there was perfectly acceptable by the way. And I did have to have two glasses of it. Just to make sure. The show was exactly as you would expect from the title. There was a full band on stage. Then the  two main performers. Sam O’ Hanlon who is Paul Simon and Charles Blyth who is Art Garfunkel then take centre stage.

It is more of a music tribute show than anything else. The cast take you through all of the duos classic back catalogue of songs. While using the video screens on stage and narration in between to tell their musical story. So unlike for example Buddy (The Buddy Holly Musical) it is not a play about their lives. It is just a fitting tribute to their music with a nod to both their personal and their professional relationship.

The cast are great. The two leads look and when they are singing sound like who they are supposed to be. It is all nicely presented. In a chronological order. Which leads you through all the aspects of their career.  Therefore if you are a fan of Simon and Garfunkel and their music. Then this show is definitely worth seeing.

The Simon & Garfunkel Story
The Simon & Garfunkel Story

I recently paid my first visit to the Waterloo East Theatre in London. To see a former colleague of mine from Wembley Stadium appear in the play called The Greater Game.

It is a true story about a group of footballers from Leyton Orient. Who all went and fought in the First World War together. And all ended up being involved in the Battle of the Somme.

Waterloo East Theatre
Waterloo East Theatre

It focuses on the then League club’s first team. Who all signed up together to help the country’s war effort. As you can imagine the whole thing is an emotional roller coaster. We follow them from the dressing room banter at home to their experiences on the front line at one of the bloodiest battles on record.

It really does bring home to you the helplessness and huge cost of wars. Both to the people who were doing the fighting and those who were left at home. It is I suppose quite laddish in many ways due to the football element. But so poignant and thought provoking at the same time. Especially when you remember all the characters in this piece are real people.

The cast are all excellent. As well as my mate Jack Harding, who I thought was fantastic. It also features Michael Greco, probably still best known for playing Beppe Di Marco in Eastenders. And James Phelps, who was in the Harry Potter films. The entire recent run of this play sold out, so I was very lucky to get a ticket. If it does return to the stage. I would certainly recommend that you do go and see it.

Jack Harding and Neil Quigley
Jack Harding and Neil Quigley

I am hoping this does not shatter too many illusions. But sometimes even during live television shows. Some sections will be recorded in advance. This can be for a number of different reasons. If you were watching Children In Need this year. You might have seen Sheridan Smith singing her latest single on it.

That performance was actually recorded the day before the event. In the Children In Need studio at Elstree. And I was lucky enough to be there, when it was. I have been a fan of her work for quite a while. In fact I did try to see her when she was starring in the musical Funny Girl in the West End. But she was not performing on the night. That I managed to get a ticket.

Funny Girl
Funny Girl

Seeing her live has been on my to do list for a while. It was great to finally see her in person. A group of us filled the front of the studio by the stage. She came on with her band. And then performed the song twice. Accompanied by the audience clapping and dancing around each time. When the director and producer were happy with what they had. She then left the studio, as did we.

Then on the night that was inserted in to the programme. If you did not know, you would not realise that she was not there on the night. Well unless you spotted me on camera dancing. As I was no where near the place on the actual night. It was lovely to see her looking and sounding so good. After her recent and well documented issues. But she is back with a new album. In a good place in her personal life now. And I suspect ready to come back and win more awards.

Children in Need itself was another huge success this year. Since it started it has now raised over one billion pounds for charity. Which is an amazing achievement. As ever there were some excellent and unusual collaborations. The team behind it have done another top job once again. Yet they still do not appear to have raised enough to get Pudsey’s eye fixed.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I managed to get myself along to a small and exclusive gig recently. Russell Brand this week has been performing a three show run of a new theatre show at The Old Vic in Bristol called “Russell Brand My Life by William Shakespeare”. The Friday before that very first show. The comedian decided to do a full rehearsal of the “play” at a secret venue in High Wycombe.

The day before this was due to happen I got hold of a ticket for it. There were about forty of us in this relatively small room. When the unmistakable figure of the actor and presenter walked in. It was a pretty informal affair. He had a chat to us all. Before explaining what he was doing. And a little bit about the show we were going to see.

He is naturally very funny, extremely cheeky and to be honest very self deprecating. The show is simply him telling his life story. Then linking each major part to a speech from a Shakespeare play. It is all very honest and upfront about the problems he has faced. And how he has dealt with them. The explanations he gives are of course very funny. Then he pauses to perform each one of these classic pieces of English literature, perfectly, with such poise and meaning.

It is worth seeing just for the way he performs these segments. He totally immerses himself in them and that really shows. He is such a good orator. And When he speaks he is mesmerising and some what hypnotic. You just cannot take your eyes off him. He does have a real presence about him. The whole show just works perfectly. And for me because he is such a great wordsmith the Shakespeare parts do fit in so naturally.

It went down a storm with forty odd people on a Friday afternoon in High Wycombe, so I suspect when he performed this in that theatre in Bristol. He probably took the roof off the place. At the end I did manage to grab a quick chat and a picture with him. He was great, such a nice friendly and welcoming person. I suspect this show may be back for more performances at some point in the not to distant future.

Neil Quigley & Russell Brand
Neil Quigley & Russell Brand

I was at Wembley for the last two England games. Therefore I got to say farewell and thank you to our record goal scorer Wayne Rooney during the game against USA. I was also at the game when he passed Bobby Charlton’s goals tally.

I was sitting behind the goal in to which he scored the penalty. To claim the title. He came on as sub against America and did not look out of place at all. That said it was good on the night to see a few new young England players making their debuts. We scored three good goals. It was a decent win.

Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney

This was actually my first time sampling an International game in the Club Wembley area. I really liked it. Before and after the game there are a couple of nice bars. Where you can get some drinks and food. While also enjoying some live music. Plus you do get a padded seat to sit on while watching the match. The bars are open for an hour after the final whistle. Which means you can relax in comfort as the crowds and queues to get home disappear.

I was back at the National Stadium again in Club Wembley, just a few days later. To watch England progress to the semi-finals of the UEFA  Nations League. After an exciting two-one victory over Croatia with a certain Harry Kane getting the winner with five minutes to go. It was a good afternoon. The atmosphere at the end of the match with Three Lions blasting out was brilliant.

England V Croatia
England V Croatia

I had a nice day out and catch up with my good friend Andy Holmes in London last weekend. In almost a very elaborate remake of the West Wing. We went on a sight seeing walk. While having a good old chat about everything and anything. We walked from Westminster to Marylebone via Buckingham Palace, Downing Street, The Globe theatre, Fleet Street and Leicester Square.

On our travels we managed to clock up a rather impressive fourteen kilometres. Powered only by a Subway and a cuppa. Until just before catching the train home. We had a nice meal in Zizzi’s, just off Baker Street. It was a relaxing afternoon. I like strolling around the capital because there is so much to look at. You do not realise how far it is that you are actually travelling.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

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

Real Good Night

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been very busy with loads of fun stuff going on. I have mentioned before that I did an eight week comedy course led by the brilliant Logan Murray, prior to making my stand up comedy debut at the Tringe Festival five years ago now.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It was an excellent course and so much fun. He still runs them regularly all over the world, but mostly in London. I would recommend it to anyone whether you are interested in doing comedy or just want to try to improve your public speaking skills. While having a right old laugh at the same time. His course’s are quite a breeding ground for comics Rhod Gilbert, Greg Davies and Andi Osho have been on them in the past.

I know lots of people who did the course like I did as part of the Tringe Festival and have gone on to do very well for themselves. One such person is Olaf Falafel. He did the course in Tring the year before me. Then the year that I did it, he was the host in one of the pubs that I performed in. After that I ended up gigging with him a few times at various events over the years. Fast forward a few more years and he is regularly headlining comedy nights up and down the country. He also has now got two solo one hour shows at the Edinburgh Festival under his belt.

Logan Murray
Logan Murray

A couple of Friday’s ago I went along to the fantastic Museum of Comedy to see him perform his current full length show. It is a brilliant venue with lots of classic comedy memorabilia on display, including a Milton Jones shirt, a stuffed bear from Steptoe and Son and a Freddie Star jacket to mention but a few items. I have previously seen Michael McIntyre, Josh Widdicombe, Trevor Noah, James Acaster and Stewart Lee there. Olaf Falafel was performing his Marmosets of My Mind show. Which he did for a whole month in August at the Fringe in Edinburgh.

It was very funny, with some clever and very different bits in there. Mostly just silly fun, but very well done. It included one of the ten best jokes from this year’s festival, as selected by the TV channel Dave. Which he did reference himself, mainly to share his disbelief but it is a good joke and deserves to be there. The show does involve quite a lot of audience participation. But I sat at the back and managed to stay well away from all of that. I really enjoyed seeing him do a full show for the first time.

I did manage to have a quick chat with him afterwards. He is already booked in with the same venue in Edinburgh for next year’s festival, so will be taking a brand new show up there for that. He has two children’s books out, as he is a very talented artist and writer to. Plus he is well worth a follow on Twitter as he posts lots of very funny jokes and produces a lot of comedy videos. Great to see him and have a nice catch up. Keep an eye out for him and go and see his comedy show if you can.

Olaf Falafel
Olaf Falafel

I do like the Camden part of London and have been out in that area quite a few times over the years. But up until last Monday I had never been to the Roundhouse there. It does host a lot of great gigs with big artists. It is a place I was always keen to check out. Finally the opportunity arose when a friend of mine invited me to go there to see an American artist called Jason Isbell play with his current band The 400 Unit. He is from Alabama, he has won a Grammy and he plays a mixture of Country, Blues and Rock music.

I will be honest I knew very little about him before I went to the gig. I was aware of a few of his songs, though. I am a big fan of any guitar based music. Which is what he  plays. I was impressed with the Roundhouse in general. It is a pretty cool and friendly venue. We did have some great seats with a decent view of the stage.

The concert itself was brilliant. Jason and the group were fantastic. The atmosphere inside was excellent. I would certainly go and see him again and happily go back to see some other gigs at the Roundhouse based on this experience. An ace night listening to a quality performer play some great tunes.

Jason Isbell
Jason Isbell

As you know I have been taking full advantage of the fact that Tottenham Hotspur are playing at Wembley Stadium this season. I am trying to get to as many of the games as I possibly can. I was delighted to be able to make the Champions League game against Real Madrid. That is the sort of big high profile match you really want to see your team involved in. The whole night was brilliant.

I met some friends in The Arch pub before for game for a couple of drinks. Then I headed in to the Stadium to grab a bite to eat and get myself in position for the game. I had my heart set on some Pizza but there were no Pizza places near me in the ground, so I had to settle for a Chicken Balti pie. Which I have to confess rather surprisingly was really tasty and enjoyable.

Spurs v Real Madrid
Spurs v Real Madrid

I took my seat ready for the game feeling excited and optimistic that we could get a result. It was a boost to see Harry Kane fit to play. Then it was disappointing to see Toby Alderweireld limp off injured early on. When Dele Alli touched in Kieran Trippier’s cross for the first goal the noise nearly took the roof off. At that point I felt we could win it. We got through to half time one up. Then early in the second half Dele Alli’s shot was deflected in for our second. At this point me and the rest of the Spurs fans were in dreamland. Then just when we thought it could not get any better Christian Eriksen added a third and Madrid looked beaten.

I really could not believe when in the sixty-second minute we started knocking the ball around them to shouts of “Ole” from the crowd for every pass. That was a brilliant moment. Predictably Ronaldo scored to pull one back for them. But we held on for what was a memorable victory. One which means we have already qualified for the knock out stages of the competition. We could top our group to and go through as champions, well sort of.

It was a great night to be part of and so good to always be able to say I was there the night we beat and outclassed Real Madrid. There were so many great performances. The whole team played brilliantly. I think my favourite thing to have come out of these two encounters with the Spanish side is this new song we now have “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, Who needs Bale? When We’ve Got Sissoko”. I mean that is genius and amusing at the same time. It really is an interesting time to be a Tottenham fan at the moment and long may it continue.

Spurs v Real Madrid
Spurs v Real Madrid

I was back at Wembley a few days later to see Spurs play Crystal Palace in the Premier League. After the euphoria of the previous game and due to this being a midday kick off. The atmosphere was a bit more subdued and the team themselves failed to reach the same heights as in the previous game. Mind you it is fair to say Palace did not try to really get at us as much as Madrid had. Their manager Roy Hodgson of course has lots of experience of managing at the Stadium. It must of felt a bit odd for him to be in the away dressing room.

We gave a league debut to our third choice Goal Keeper Paulo Gazzaniga. Who terrified us all. When in the first minute he completely missed a simple cross and then in the process crashed in to one of their players. Thankfully he recovered from that well, kept a clean sheet and was our man of the match pulling off a couple of great saves. It was a very tight and close game. Which we managed to win one nil in the end.

But with the other top teams playing each other later on in the day, the win and three points was all that mattered. It was job done as I headed off to the pub to watch the next two games on television. When I got home I treated myself to my favourite Indian takeaway meal from my local Indian Restaurant The Radhuni. It was a fitting end to the day and very tasty.

Spurs v Palace
Spurs v Palace

I went to the Garrick Theatre in London’s West End recently to see the new stage version of Mel Brooks Young Frankenstein. I always enjoy a night at the theatre. This is another one of those shows that I had been wanting to see pretty much since it was announced. The brilliant cast included Ross Noble, who plays Igor, Lesley Joseph, who plays the house keeper Frau Blucher and Summer Strallen as Inga.

It is a slight reworking of the classic Brooks film. As ever he is very hands on with all of his work, so he also directed and produced this version. It is very funny, off the wall and very clever. Basically everything you would expect it to be.

I have to say I thought Ross Noble was really good in it and if I am honest I was surprised how good his singing voice was. All these comedians nowadays who seem to be great all round performers. I am not sure if I should be very impressed or jealous. Anyway he was great. As were the whole cast. It is a very slick production from start to finish. They got a well deserved standing ovation at the end. There is talk of Mel Brooks producing a stage version of Blazing Saddles.Which if he does, that will be a must see. I really wish that I had got around to seeing The Producers when that was on tour now.

Young Frankenstein
Young Frankenstein

As ever with working for the BBC at Broadcasting House you never know who you might bump in to. I passed Sanjeev Bhaskar the other day as he was leaving a studio and I was entering it. I still see Ian Wright around when he is doing 606. I am looking for the right opportunity to discuss Arsenal and Tottenham’s season’s with him. I have a feeling that could be a lively conversation.

BBC Radio
BBC Radio

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

Use The Force

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. The other week I found myself back in a very fancy bar in London. That I had not been in for a while. I popped in to Sushi Samba to have a few cocktails and enjoy the amazing views.

It is a pretty cool venue not far from Liverpool Street Underground Station in the Heron Tower. It is on the thirty-eighth floor and you get up to it by using these glass elevators. That reminded me of the ones’ at the end of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. They are so quick, it seems that you travel from the ground floor to the bar level in under twenty seconds.

Sushi Samba
Sushi Samba

So once you have arrived at the correct floor. Obviously the first thing you need is a nice tasty cocktail to settle your stomach. The selection is excellent and the staff are all fully trained in the art of flaring. I tried a mango one and also a strawberry one, while I was there. They both tasted sensational but very dangerous. As you could not tell that they contained any alcohol, at all. You could only really taste the fruits. But I can confirm that when I got up to leave. I did notice it then.

The views from there are spectacular. They have an outside roof bar. Plus huge windows that look out of every side. You can pretty much pick out any London landmark that you wish to. You get an instant feel how high up you are, when you realise you are towering right above The Gherkin.

Sushi Samba London
Sushi Samba London

It is a really good place to visit every now and again. I always really enjoy it in there. Afterwards me and the people I was with headed off just down the road to find somewhere to grab a bit of food. I had never been to a Turkish Restaurant before. And to be clear we are not counting Kebab Shops we are talking serious proper eateries only. So we thought we would try the Turkish place called Haz.

We had the selection share platter option. The food was very nice but heavily bread and hummus based. Which was perfectly fine with me, as I like both of them a lot. It was all washed down with a couple of glasses of red wine. Which possibly helped my enjoyment of it even further.

Neil Quigley Presenter
Neil Quigley Presenter

I am a massive Star Wars fan. So I was very excited when I found out that there was going to be a massive Star Wars Exhibition taking place at the O2 in London. I was even more excited when I manged to get a ticket to go along to the preview day a few Monday’s ago. So I could have a look around it before it officially opened to the general public. When I arrived there on the day. I could not work out why there were so many people already there.

It then dawned on me that the ATP Tennis Finals were taking place there. And that Andy Murray was due on court in the next hour. The whole place was absolutely heaving. Well done to him on becoming the number one tennis player in the world. That is a fantastic achievement. It is great that he is of course British to. Well at least until he slips down to number two anyway.

Andy Murray
Andy Murray

Right so back to Star Wars then. I have to confess that on the way there I was way to excited for a man of my age going to such an event. The actual full name of the attraction is “Star Wars Identities”. So as well as lots of amazing items, memorabilia and costumes from the actual films.

It also looks in to the individual make up of each of the character’s. And gives you chance to discover your own Star Wars Identity. This part of it is really tailored to the children. And is actually very cleverly done, I think. But everybody who goes round gets the chance to do it.

Star Wars Exhibition
Star Wars Exhibition

When you arrive you get issued with an earpiece. So you can hear the audio from all the screens you see and also for extra audio information about the items on display. You also get an interactive wristband. Which is what you use, as you go round to create your own personalised Star Wars Identity.

You are then shown to the starting point. Which is a cool welcome video to watch. When that has finished you can just take yourself round the place at your own pace.

Star Wars Exhibition
Star Wars Exhibition

The first actual items you see from the films are several different Storm Trouper costumes. Followed by the actual C3PO and R2-D2 used by Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker respectively. Which nearly blew my mind. Then you get to see the carbon cask that held Hans Solo and Princess Leia’s gold bikini from Return Of The Jedi. Before Yoda, Jabba The Huts actual eyes and one of Peter Mayhew’s actual Chewbacca outfits.

Not to mention other costumes worn by Hans Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Queen Amidala. Plus some of the members of the Dark side of the force including The Emperor, Darth Maul and of course the man played by the Green Cross Code man Darth Vader.

Star Wars Exhibition
Star Wars Exhibition

As well as taking lots of pictures as I went round. I was also using my wristband at the various sections to build and find out my own personal identity. It was a nice fun added thing to do. The way it was explained and linked back to the development of human beings. I think would be very educational and interesting for children. At the end they show you a picture of what the Star Wars you, looks like.

And you can sign up to have them email you the whole back story of your character. Just in case there was any doubt. I can confirm that I was a high ranking Jedi. As a massive fan of the whole thing. I really enjoyed the exhibition. And I would recommend checking it out if you are a Star Wars fan.

Star Wars Exhibition
Star Wars Exhibition

I went with my dad to Wembley Stadium to see England play Spain the other week. It had been planned for a while. In fact when we got our tickets for it. Sam Allardyce was still the manager. It was a classic Quigley visit to the home of football. We got there early had a drink before we went in. Then we had a bit of Pizza pre-match inside the ground and settled down in our seats in time to watch the players warm up. We did get a free commemorative t-shirt each as well, which was nice. A freebie is a freebie. I am not proud.

The game itself was alright. If I am honest we had hoped to see more of Spain’s star players on show and being Spurs fans it may have been nice to see more of our players out there. The game started well with England getting an early penalty. Which was won by Vardy and then confidently put away by Lallana.

Then early in the second half Vardy scored with a diving header. Then completely confused me with his Mannequin Challenge. As I could not work out why he stopped mid celebration. I thought the goal had been ruled out at first. Before I finally realised what they were doing.

England V Spain
England V Spain

It was all going so well. Until the last five minutes when England suddenly decided to throw away. What would have been a nice morale boosting two nil win albeit against an under strength Spanish team. To finish with, let us say a respectable draw. The more changes they made the better they got and the more substitutes we made the worse we seemed to get.

After the game we went and had a beer. While we waited for the queues at Wembley Stadium Station to go. It was an enjoyable night. And only a friendly, so the result did not really matter. But how the game ended however was a little bit frustrating.

England V Spain
England V Spain

Now I do not want to shatter any illusions here and ruin the magic of television. But sometimes even for charity shows people may not be available on the night due to other commitments but still want to be involved. This means that occasionally they will pre-record bits in the studio to be inserted in to the live show.

So the day before Children in Need this year I was at the BBC Elstree Studios to see some performances being filmed in advance. It is always fun being there. It is where they film Eastenders. And it is also the studio complex where the original Muppet Show was made to.

Arriving at Elstree Studios
Arriving at Elstree Studios

The first thing I got to see was a comedy sketch featuring the comedian Russell Kane and the sitcom character Mr Khan with their “families”. For a fun dance off to settle a quiz at a church hall. It was very cleverly done and well choreographed.

Plus if you saw it, you will know that it featured some very fancy moves from the Grannies of the families’. Thanks to some clever camera work and two amazing stand in body double dancers. Who were totally brilliant and came in and did their bit in only one take.

Children in Need 2016
Children in Need 2016

I was so pleased and surprised by what came next. I got to witness three numbers by the cast of the new big West End production of Aladdin. It was a massive hit on Broadway in America and has recently transferred to England. It is something that has been on my radar to go to. But I have not quite got round to it yet. Anyway they were all totally brilliant specially the Genie Trevor Dion Nicholas. Who so looks and sounds the part.

It was also good to see the beautiful Jade Ewen performing. She is playing Princess Jasmine. And did a fantastic version of A Whole New World with Aladdin himself Dean John -Wilson. I was so pleased to see this. Now I really cannot wait to go and see the full show.

The final insert that was recorded the day before, while I was there. Was a performance from real life great mates Shane Richie and Tony Hadley. The Spandau Ballet front man was the first radio interview I ever did. He is a top bloke and good fun. He told me back then that he does sometimes have a few problems remembering lyrics. So it was not a surprise to me when he pulled out a piece of paper with the words on to check them again before the song started. He lives near me nowadays, so I do occasionally see him out and about at various places. They performed “Do It For Love” which is off of Shane’s latest album.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

They both have great voices and it sounded brilliant. Plus they were both a lot of fun before and after the song. With Shane offering to take us all for a quick pint in the Queen Vic. It was another fun day at Elstree seeing some great stuff. It was all very well done.

I bet if you watched Children in Need on the Friday night. You would have had no idea that any of those things that I have mentioned had been recorded the day before. And were not being performed live on the night. Congratulations to everyone involved in the show. Which this year raised a record breaking £46 Million pounds. Just on the night alone itself.

Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy
Neil Quigley Stand Up Comedy

So in my working life recently. I got to watch a radio interview with the brilliant Laura Mvula taking place. I shared a lift with Gabby Logan. Each of the lifts at the BBC have different radio stations playing in them. We were both in the Radio 1xtra lift.

And I have also have seen Ian Wright around quite a bit recently. He is just one huge bundle of energy that fella.

BBC Radio
BBC Radio

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

Watch and Listen

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. In the way things work in the world of television.

Programmes are often recorded quite a while before they actually appear on screen. So in the last fortnight some of the show’s I watched being filmed in the studio ages ago have finally been shown on TV.

Neil Quigley with The Beatles
Neil Quigley

The first of these was the first episode of the new series of Mr & Mrs hosted by Phillip Schofield. He is one of my presenting hero’s. He is just so good. He is like a machine. During the whole recording he did not stumble over any words or make any mistakes. He was word perfect all the way through.

I am a big Strictly Come Dancing fan. So I was very happy that I got to see Kevin and Karen Clifton there. And of course pleased that they won the show.It is really clever how in the edit they fit the programme together. As on the night the conversations between the questions and answers go on an awful lot longer. In fact we got to find out way more about Kevin and Karen’s relationship in the studio than was shown on television.

The other thing that I find amusing as a difference between what you see in the studio and then on screen at home. Is what the sets look like. In the studio they can look like cardboard and very basic but on the television with the right lighting. They usually look very professional and showbizzy.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The second show that I was at and that was on recently was a new programme on the TV Channel Dave called Go 8 Bit. Which is presented by the ace Dara O’Briain. It is a computer gaming comedy panel show. I am not a massive fan of computer games but I was invited along. And they did give me a bottle of beer on arrival. So it was more than worth going.

It was actually good fun. They played some really old and retro games including one that I used to play on my very first computer. Which was a ZX Spectrum 128.

The show is an extension of an Edinburgh Festival Comedy Show that Steve McNeil and Sam Pamphilon did. They are the team captains on this show. The guests on the one I saw were the comedian Susan Calman and former England Goal Keeper David James. They were both very competitive, which made for a very amusing evening. Dara O’Briain was brilliant and very funny, as always as the host.

The audience get to vote on which team they think will win each game. So they show the audience while this process is happening. Therefore the more eagle-eyed viewers who saw the show. Might well have seen me briefly appear a couple of times.

Saturday Night Takeaway
Saturday Night Takeaway

Staying with television. I mentioned last time that a friend of mine was in the latest series of People Just Do Nothing. Well the second episode that he appeared in has been released online and shown on BBC 2. If you saw it he played Darren the new short lived mate of one of the comedy shows main characters.

I might be a little bit biased but I thought he was brilliant in it. Still find it fun and entertaining seeing people I know on the television. And I have to be honest it is probably not something I would have watched had he not been in it.

Jack Harding and Neil Quigley
Jack Harding and Neil Quigley

Last week I was in London for one of the hottest days of the year. So I took advantage firstly by having a few drinks in the sunshine on the South Bank by the river. Which was lovely.

I then managed to catch up with someone I know who works at the Globe Theatre. It was really good to see him. And it reminded me that I really do need to get round to seeing a Shakespeare play performed there at some point.

The Globe Theatre
The Globe Theatre

The main reason for my visit to the capital was to see the musical American Idiot at the Arts Theatre. It is a musical featuring the music of Green Day. It was a big success on Broadway in America and won two Tony Awards and in 2010 it won a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album. If you are a fan of the American Band. You can’t go wrong as you will obviously love and recognise all the songs in it.

It is a very fast moving and snappy production. It does not feature much additional dialogue outside of the song lyrics. But it is very clever as from just what you see the actors doing. You can follow the story without the requirement for a spoken narrative.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Singer Newton Faulkner stars in it. And his voice can more than handle the rock stuff and sounds amazing during the slightly softer ballads. I am not sure if it is because he does have to spend a part of the show just in his pants. But he has certainly got himself in to pretty good shape for the role.

The whole cast are great. It is a real high energy show. They also have a band on stage with the guitarists in view. So you can see them rocking out, during the songs. Which adds to the spectacle and the atmosphere. It is quite a dark show, tackling several difficult issues. But it is all very well done. They received a well deserved standing ovation at the end of it.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Last week my team Tottenham Hotspur began their first Champions League campaign for six years at Wembley Stadium. The club are in the process of building a new ground next door to their current home White Hart Lane. A stand has already been knocked down to help with that work.

Which is why the European matches have been moved to the national stadium. Which holds ninety thousand people. Spurs’ home currently holds around thirty six thousand. Therefore the chance to get together with so many of our fans to see the team in action was to good to turn down, I thought.

Spurs at Wembley
Spurs at Wembley

So I managed to get hold of a ticket on the morning of the game. I met up with some good friends of mine on the train to travel in with. We had a good chat and few drinks before the game. And then we made our way in to the Stadium.

I have been there many times to see games and I worked there for around three years. So it is a place I know well. But the atmosphere before kick off with around eighty-five thousand Tottenham fans chanting at the top of their voices was brilliant. And like nothing I had experienced there before.

Spurs at Wembley
Spurs at Wembley

Unfortunately the game itself did not turn out exactly how I hoped. We conceded two bad goals in the first half. And although we pulled one back right at the end of the first half. Despite having a good go at Monaco in the second half. We never really created any clear cut chances. And we were unable to get the breakthrough we needed.

I could not fault the effort from the team, though. They were working hard and trying their best. The support from the fans was top class from start to finish. They really got behind the team. It was a brilliant experience to be a part of it.

Spurs at Wembley
Spurs at Wembley

Overall it was an enjoyable night out with the exception of the result. I guess a potential problem of playing home games at Wembley Stadium is that the team that you are playing may raise their game. As it is such an impressive and legendary venue to perform at.

But that is something Spurs are I think going to have to overcome. Specially, as it looks like they could be playing there for a whole season. While the new stadium is completed. If I can I do certainly plan to attend more of the Champions League games this season. If nothing else I would quite like to see them win there for a change. As the last two times I have seen them lose 2-1.

Spurs at Wembley
Spurs at Wembley

The Beatles are still arguably the best band there has ever been. They really put English bands on the map all over the world. They wrote their own top songs and wrote songs for many other artists in the sixties. They were all such accomplished musicians to.

And although they took the music seriously. They did not seem to take themselves to seriously. Which made it seem like they were great fun and just having a brilliant time. Plus particularly John it would seem had a great sense of humour. For example his famous off the cuff line about Ringo being “not even the best drummer in The Beatles.”

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

They worked so hard to get where they did. You have to admire their work ethic and determination. When they were working in Hamburg. They were working seven days a week for five hours a night.

During that time you could argue they possibly turned themselves in to the best and tightest covers band in the world. I mean you can’t say they did not earn their stripes.

Neil Quigley in Liverpool
Neil Quigley in Liverpool

This week a brand new film about the band has been released. The documentary Eight Days a Week has been directed and produced by Ron Howard and does have the full backing of The Beatles. With Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr involved in its promotion and attending the premiere in the West End of London.

It uses a lot of old and famous footage that has been digitally remastered so it looks and sounds great apparently. It also features some behind the scenes stuff the group and fans shot during the period of their career the film covers. I am really looking forward to seeing it.

Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney

The topical comedy radio news show Newsjack is back again on Radio 4 Extra. It was very nice to be contacted by the producers of it before it started asking me to keep sending in jokes for it. Which I have been doing. The standard on this current series has been very high. It is hosted by Nish Kumar. Along with some new up and coming comedy talents.

If you have never heard it. It is well worth a listen. If you like satirical comedy about current events. As and when I get any of my material featured on it. Rest assured I will let you know. And more than likely give you a chance to listen to it on here.

BBC Radio Theatre
BBC Radio Theatre

Whilst working with the BBC recently I have been involved in the production of some of the World Service news programmes. Which are brilliant to be involved with. They are informative, current and fun. As things during the live show can be constantly changing.

I was also lucky enough to be part of an interview with Lemn Sissay. Who is a writer and a broadcaster and a MBE no less. He writes the most fantastic poetry. He is also Chancellor of the University Of Manchester. He is an inspiring and fascinating person to talk and listen to. So that was an interesting hour I spent in his company.

BBC Studio
BBC Studio

It is also a great place to just spot interesting or recognisable people. For example in the last few months Mark Kermode has let me in to a lift ahead of him. I have seen the One Show’s Alex Jones in the canteen a couple of times.

I bumped in to Chris Eubank in a corridor. Not literally obviously or I would of not came out of that favourably. And I have also spotted the legend that is John Humphrey around and spied Simon Mayo through a studio window. You really never know who you might see next.

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

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

That’s Entertainment

Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a good couple of weeks. Mine have been busy and very entertaining. A fortnight ago I went along to the last ever Laughing Badger Comedy Night at the Rose and Crown in Hemel Hempstead. It was the final event run by Lee Bryant after three years of putting on shows in the Hertfordshire area.

As I said previously I actually performed at the very first one. Which was headlined by James Redmond at the Hemel Stags Rugby Club. So basically I was the third ever act to appear as part of the brand. It was a fun night and a lot of the audience had stayed loyal with them from the start right to the end. So it was a nice celebration of lots of good fun times.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

The final Laughing Badger Comedy Night was hosted by Matt Hake. Who has been performing that role for the last couple of years. Like me he is also from the Tringe Festival Roving Comedy Night production line. Having been taught by the comedy guru that is Logan Murray as well. The line up for the evening included the pretty unique President Obonjo, local comedian Tom Mayhew, the Rev Henry King, the brilliantly funny Filthy Phil and the man of the moment Lee Bryant.

It was then headlined by Stu Turner, who combines comedy with some brilliant magic to very good effect. All the acts I have to say were totally brilliant. The place was packed with happy people up for a good time. It was a fun night. And a very fitting send off to an old friend, I thought.

Lee Bryant in Action
Lee Bryant in Action

In the bar next door afterwards there was some Karaoke going on. Now Filthy Phil sings his own very rude parody versions of some pretty well known songs. Which are both hilarious and in parts disgusting. One of the best bits of the night for me was after the gig when Filthy Phil took over the main pub karaoke. To sing one of his versions of a song. The looks on people’s faces were priceless. As you could see them thinking I am sure these are not the right words for this but not properly registering what he was actually singing. Making it a very very different song. Congratulations to Lee Bryant for putting on such a good night. And all the best with your future projects.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

A few Sunday’s ago I was at the wonderful BBC Radio Theatre at New Broadcasting House in London to see two episodes of a brand new comedy show called Live at the BBC being filmed for BBC Three. It focuses on mainly upcoming acts who have done well and been spotted at the Edinburgh Festival mixed in with a few more well known comedians. On the afternoon I was there.

I got to see a cracking five minute set from Adam Hess. The whole of Felicity Ward’s last Edinburgh Show. A totally madcap five minutes from Spencer Jones. And finally the whole of James Acaster’s current show. It was a lovely way to spend a weekend afternoon. Inside a great venue and having a good old fashioned laugh at some great new comedy. It will be shown on TV, some time early next year. So do keep an eye out for it.

BBC Radio Theatre
BBC Radio Theatre

I attended the England versus France Friendly Football International match at Wembley Stadium. I had my ticket before the tragic events that took place in Paris on the Friday before the game. Once the game was given the go head. I was always going to be there to show my support and respect.

It was I have to admit quite a surreal and at times eerie atmosphere outside the ground and even inside before kick off. But after the two teams walked out of the tunnel. And once the important, poignant reflection and unity was shown. The game kicked off and everything felt right and more normal again.

England v France
England v France

It was a decent game I thought with England playing some very good football at times. You could of course forgive the visitors, if their minds were not completely on it. But they did well and it made for an entertaining spectacle. The occasion and reflections were of course much more important than the sport being played.

It was nice however as a Spurs fan to see Deli Alli score his first goal for his country. Although it was a bit weird seeing it fly past Hugo Lloris. Good to see Wayne Rooney add to his tally to. A nice night spent watching the game with my Dad. Thinking about family and friends and how important they are in our lives.

England v France
England v France

I had an excellent afternoon last Friday at the Elgiva Theatre in Chesham seeing Neil Sand’s Christmas Memories. It is a brilliant two and an half hour show. That features so many classic Christmas Songs and carols. That if you do not leave at the end of it feeling very festive you have no soul or festive spirit at all.

It features a very talented cast including the sensational singers Gemma Turner and Chelsea Turnbull plus of course the man himself the great singer and all round entertainer that is Neil Sands. It is a really fast moving show. With something for everyone including a fair bit of comedy as Christmas Memories are shared with an audience very happy to reminisce about this most wonderful time of the year.

Neil enjoying a Mince Pie
Neil enjoying a Mince Pie

It was great to catch up with the legend that is Neil Sands after the performance. He is one of the nicest people you could meet in show business. And he really does put his heart and soul in to his productions. They always do have great singers, great songs and great costumes to. He does tour several different shows around the country every year. So do keep a look out for them at your local theatre. If one is on trust me go and see it. You will have a great time.

It was also lovely to see Gemma Turner again. I met her previously several years ago when she was on tour with Neil in Yeovil. She has an absolutely beautiful voice and is such a top performer. And it was nice to meet Chelsea Turnbull, albeit very very briefly. She is another class vocalist. Who can certainly belt out a tune. I left the venue with a nice warm glow after seeing the show and chatting to the cast.

Neil Sands
Neil Sands

So this is quite big. Last Wednesday I got to fulfil one of my childhood dreams and play football on the pitch at Wembley Stadium. I was invited to be part of a Football Association Charity Day raising money for Breast Cancer Care. There were several matches running through out the day. Each game lasted twenty-two minutes. I was lucky enough to play in game eight. So wearing my Tottenham Hotspur 1991 FA Cup Final replica shirt. I got to play at the biggest and best sporting ground in the country, if not the world.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It was such an amazing feeling to run out there and then get to perform or at least play a bit at the home of the England National Football Team. I was secretly hoping Roy Hodgson might be there on a scouting mission looking for new players for next summers European Championships but he wasn’t. To think of all the truly great footballers, who have appeared there over the years. And to have now done so myself it is mind blowing. It was a brilliant day and an unforgettable experience.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I do not think I have stopped smiling since. We raised over two-thousand pounds for the the charity. Which is of course the important thing. Although the team I was playing in won three-nil. Which does mean I have an one hundred percent win rate at Wembley Stadium. Which is better than a lot of professional footballers. It was a fantastic honour to do it and I am so thankful for the opportunity to take part. I still have not cleaned my boots yet so they still have some Wembley turf on them.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

I have of course still been watching and enjoying the excellent Strictly Come Dancing. It is such a good entertainment programme with a generally positive feel to it. Filled with people trying hard to learn a brand new skill with varying degrees of success. And with extremely close relationships and bonds being formed between the dancers and their celebrity partners. Then there is the genius of those professional dancers. In the way they teach the contestants each different dance so well. And create the choreography and overall spectacle for each performance.

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

Last weekend the couple I was supporting Jamelia and Tristan left the competition. I have always really liked her and think she is very interesting and entertaining. If I am honest I chose her before the series started. And being a pop star I thought she might already be quite a natural mover. However this did not necessarily prove to be the case. But you can’t fault her for effort and commitment to the whole thing. I do not want this to sound like sour grapes because my girl has gone. But personally in the dance off last Sunday. I thought her and Tristan’s one off dance was better than Peter Andre’s and Janette’s.

Don’t get me wrong. I really like him. He is a top bloke. A better all round dancer than Jamelia and the two of them do make a great couple. But just looking solely at both dance off performances only. I really did think Jamelia and Tristan should have stayed. The only slight consolation was that the head judge Len Goodman did at least agree with me. I will still be watching the show. It is brilliant fun and all the celebrity’s still in, are fantastic. The competition is so tough this year. I am not going to pick a new favourite pairing. I am just going to support them all equally, that way I can’t lose. Keep Dancing.

Elstree Studios
Elstree Studios

I am again loving I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of here. It is my favourite television show. Ant and Dec are as ever on top form conducting the madness and having a good laugh at everyone’s expense including their own. I have met two of this year’s camp mates. Firstly Susannah Constantine who I met at a radio station in Somerset. While she and her fashion colleague Trinny Woodall were being interviewed by a colleague of mine.

The other person is the brilliant Tony Hadley. I first met him when he was promoting his autobiography and he came on my radio show in Yeovil. I have since bumped in to him at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury and at my local fish and chip shop. The last two meetings occurred because he now lives near to where I do. He is such a nice fun, friendly and positive man.Which I personally think is coming across in the jungle in quite trying circumstances on occasions.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

It is a really good and interesting cast this year. Full of very interesting characters. I am still very much supporting Tony Hadley and I hope that he can win it. I have to confess that I have never watched Geordie Shore. So I had no idea who Vicky Pattison was when she went in with the other reality TV stars. But I have to confess I really like her. She is smart, funny and a little bit feisty. Plus I can’t explain it but I have always found the accent in a lady shall we say intriguing . So I wouldn’t mind her staying till right at the end. She is not a drama queen and seems to have a great sense of humour.

So I guess what I am saying is that I want Tony and Vicky to be the final two left in there. The other thing I really love about this show is being on Twitter, while it is on. So I get to interact with people all over the country about the show. Which really adds to my enjoyment of it. Specially as hardly any of my friends seem to see it.

Neil Quigley
Neil Quigley

Next Sunday I am heading along to the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane to see Michael McIntyre’s Big Christmas Show being filmed. I am pretty sure the guest list for this will be good. So I am looking forward to a great evening spent in the West End in the company of a top comedian. I will let you know what it was like, next time we speak.

Michael McIntyre
Michael McIntyre

My Birthday is approaching so I am making plans and looking forward to celebrating that. It is on Thursday 10th December this year. Just in case you want to send me any cards or presents. I am not sure what I am doing just yet but I will say now that next year’s plans will definitely be much bigger as it is a landmark age then.

I have had some wonderful birthdays over the years. I try not to work on them but occasionally this can not be helped. One year I found myself working with the Drifters on the night of my special day. They were singing as the cabaret and I was djing at a Christmas Dinner and Dance. Which was absolutely the right way round of doing things. Happily I love them and their songs. So it was a great evening.

Neil Quigley Birthday Selfie
Neil Quigley Birthday Selfie

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