British television presenter Martyn Andrews is the host for multiple television programs including "Moscow Out," "A Prime Recipe" and "Wayfarer." His job has taken him to popular and off-beat locations all over the world. He sheds light on the profession, gives advice for budding jet-setters, and shares his favorite up-and-coming destinations.
What shows are you hosting currently?
I'm currently doing Moscow Out, a weekly cultural show, highlighting different views of Russian culture. I am also hosting a show called Prime Recipe highlighting that 20 years ago in Moscow, everybody was queuing up for bread (and borscht, if you were lucky). And now, Moscow has one of the best restaurant scenes in the world. The restaurants are better than in London, and from what I think, from New York.
How did you become a presenter?
Well, I was born in Liverpool, home
of the Beatles, a working class industrial town in North England. I've always
had too much to say, probably... though as I've grown I've tried to make it
more diplomatic. I was either destined for stage or screen, so I did both. I
trained in theater; I'm a singer part-time and did musicals, various Andrew
Lloyd Weber shows. Being in the same show after two or three months,
creatively, became very unrewarding. As an actor I liked the creative
process much more than the performing. My passion for writing/acting naturally
formed into a TV presenter position.
What you call hosting, we call presenting in the UK. Making the jump to presenting was a little bit of luck, a little bit of fate. I retrained as a journalist and went to journalism school for 6 months. It can happen without schooling, but I thought, if I actually train, then at least I will be a journalist wannabe, as opposed to an actor wannabe.
I'm quite a believer of cosmic ordering. If you want something enough and pretend that's what you are, people will begin to see that, and it will come to you. I wanted to be this amazing jet-setting TV-host that lived across the world, and I met friends, hung out at the right places - I certainly wasn't eating at McDonald's, that's for sure. I wanted to evolve my whole life.
My biggest break was when I lived in New York in my late 20's. I met a Russian oligarch's wife, who was a TV executive. She was Anna Winter meets Cruella Deville. She purred every time she talked about her husband's TV channels. I instantly loved her zaniness and her manicness. I kept in touch with her until she sent me an email inviting me to host a program in Israel. I had a first-class ticket to Tel Aviv. My friends, family and agent told me "You're mad anyway, just go."
I was paid too much money for it. There was no screen test, no nothing. It was a TV job that I landed by meeting somebody at a dinner party in New York.
It seems that Russia is central to your travels. How did Russia become your specialty?
The Russian oligarch, I went on to do shows with her. We flew all over to do a diving series, produced by her production company, and shown on Russian channels. Even though I was making English-speaking programs, most of the camera crew was Russian; I made a lot of Russian friends in the media in 2004 and 2005.
I learned there was a new channel,
Russia Today, and was invited to do RT in Moscow. It now transmits to 100
countries around the world.