Radio 1 DJ Matt Edmondson on his love affair with Greenwich and why Hugh Jackman is his favourite guest…
Words: Nikki Spencer
It’s not everyday that an interviewee arrives on a scooter – and we are talking a larger version of a kid’s scooter rather than the retro Vespa kind – but it suits 29-year-old Radio 1 DJ Matt Edmondson.
‘It’s the only way to travel,’ he declares as he folds his micro-scooter away, adding that he got the idea from the documentary filmmaker Louis Theroux. ‘I saw him in the street on a scooter and thought if he can get away with it, so can I. I spent ages annoying my wife Bryony with the suggestion – as a joke – but then last Christmas she bought me one and I love it. I take it on the train from Greenwich and zip around Soho on it, it’s fun.’
Matt clearly doesn’t take himself too seriously and he’s made a career out of getting celebrities to do the same. After a stint as a CBBC presenter he did irreverent red carpet interviews for website Holy Moly! and worked on C4’s entertainment strand T4.
Hugh Jackman turned up on a Brompton folding bike he had borrowed from the hotel porter. He was so funny and great
He got his Radio 1 break covering for Sara Cox when she went on maternity leave and for the past two years he has had his own show every Saturday and Sunday morning where he encourages guests from film, TV and music to join him in mad-cap games and challenges, such as being interviewed while doing ‘the plank’ and taking part in his popular Surprise Karaoke slot, where they have to perform a rewritten version of a well-known song.
‘It’s a great way of getting them to lighten up and means that they can’t trot out the same pre-scripted stuff,’ he explains.
Recently he’s interviewed everyone from Jude Law and Melissa McCarthy to Peter Andre and Ella Eyre, but he cites X-Men and Les Misérables actor Hugh Jackman as his favourite guest.
‘I’ve actually interviewed him twice. Once for T4 and then again for Radio 1. T4 was shot at the Whiteleys shopping centre and most big A-listers came with an entourage, but Hugh Jackman turned up on a Brompton folding bike he had borrowed from the hotel porter. He made his way up the escalators and through the shopping centre on his own. He was so funny and great.
When I interviewed him for Radio 1 I thought it would never live up to that but he was brilliant.’ Jackman ended up singing Wolverine – The Musical, to the tune of Who Am I from Les Misérables.
Matt may spend a lot of his time with stars but he says that he’s ‘the least showbizzy man in showbiz’ and that you’re more likely to find him playing board games at his friends’ houses than at celebrity parties.
‘I get a lot of invites but it’s not really me,’ he says, although he did make an exception when he was invited to meet Taylor Swift at her Hyde Park gig this summer. ‘I couldn’t say no to that and she was lovely.’
Matt grew up in Portsmouth and moved to London with a group of friends when he was 18 years old. They rented a house in Millennium Quay in Greenwich and have all stayed in the area.
‘It’s my favourite place in the world,’ Matt declares enthusiastically. ‘It’s a bit like a love affair. When I go on holiday I miss Greenwich. I love Royal Teas Cafe and the Richard the First pub and the view from Point Hill is the best,’ he says, adding that this is where he proposed to his now wife, Bryony.
They got married two years ago at the Queen’s House and had their reception at The Trafalgar Tavern. Bryony trained as a ballet dancer but qualified as a personal trainer five years ago (‘It’s great as there are so many nice spaces like Point Hill, Greenwich Park and Hilly Fields, where she can go train if the weather is good,’ says Matt).
Years ago, when he was between TV jobs, Matt had a magic stall in Greenwich Market: ‘I used to be a magician when I was a kid and had a job demonstrating and selling magic tricks in a joke shop in Portsmouth, so I decided to do the same thing in Greenwich. For about nine months I was there every Saturday and Sunday and had a great time.’
When he’s not working, Matt likes to spend time walking their West Highland Terrier, Oscar, and playing tennis in the park. He also reveals that his home has become a bit of shrine to Greenwich: ‘Name any picture of Greenwich and I have probably got it somewhere in the house.’
He has even designed his own print, titled Your Round, which is on sale in the Warwick Leadlay Gallery in Greenwich Market: ‘About three years ago I came up with the idea of a beer glass with all the names of the pubs in Greenwich and they made it up and now they sell it,’ he explains.
Alongside his presenting work, Matt says he’s ‘always got a project on the go’. He is writing a children’s magic book for Macmillan which he says ‘will be like The Jolly Postman with tricks that can be pulled out and performed as part of the story’. He’s also created a rhyming based celebrity board game called Obama Llama which will be available this Christmas.
‘My wife can’t bear it’, Matt confides, ‘I can’t stop having ideas’, he says as he gets back on his scooter and speeds away…