Imagine if your strangest thoughts were broadcast on a national radio show. It sounds like the bizarre premise of a sci-fi flick or cult comedy sketch show, but it is really happening to one 25-year-old from Southsea.
From next week Matt Edmondson is taking over Huw Stephens’ slot on Radio 1, from 9pm to 10pm on Wednesday nights, while Huw replaces Jo Whiley at the weekend.
Matt says of his new show: ‘It’s a strange one really. The best way to describe it is strange ideas from my brain. It’s not really about anything. It’s sort of pop culture and it’s got silly bits and funny bits and music. But basically, it’s the weird thoughts I have escaping from my brain on to the radio.’
Matt was given the slot after a year as ‘a supply teacher for radio’.
He covered for Sara Cox while she was off on six months’ maternity leave last year and he stood in for Edith Bowman last weekend. The weekend before that, he took the place of Reggie Yates.
He also has regular slots at the station, including a guest appearance on Fearne Cotton’s show on Friday afternoons, talking about entertainment news and showbiz gossip.
Matt was head-hunted by Radio 1 after they saw his work on TV and the internet.
‘I’d never done radio before and they invited me in and asked me to make a taster tape of what I’d sound like on the radio,’ he explains.
Since then Matt has been planning what he would do if he was ever given his own show. ‘The executive producer and I have been plotting, writing ideas down, for about a year,’ he reveals. ‘I’ve always wanted a show that’s quite heavily produced and, in an hour, you can create something quite special,’ continues Matt, whose CV is so crammed that it is hard to believe he is only 25.
He’s actually been working in broadcasting for 10 years.
‘I was obsessed with telly as a kid and I decided really early on what I wanted to do,’ he says.
‘At 14 and 15, I would write letters asking for work experience. I was actually a runner for one of Derren Brown’s early Channel 4 shows when I was 15.’
As a youngster, Matt did some writing for SMTV Live and he got his first presenting role on Children’s BBC.
‘I left after two years,’ says Matt.
‘As anyone who’s seen any of the stuff I’ve done since will know, I wasn’t best placed on kids’ TV. My tone wasn’t quite right.’
After leaving CBBC, Matt set-up a stall selling magic tricks at Greenwich Market, having had his first job demonstrating magic tricks for U Need Us in Portsmouth when he was 14.
Matt says his ‘second break’ in broadcasting came via the internet gossip site Holy Moly.
‘I phoned them up and said “I’ve got some ideas for how you can do what you do on your website in video form”,’ he remembers, playing down his pivotal role in creating Holy Moly TV.
‘It’s a cult website and people in telly saw me on it and it sort of snowballed from there.’
Matt has been involved in major festival and awards show coverage for Channel 4 and ITV2, as well as presenting Pocket TV for T4 and Freshly Squeezed on Channel 4.
But, after Matt made some cheeky blogs about The X Factor and put them on YouTube, he became the official favourite of The F Factor, The X Factor’s online weekly fan show, and is now being tipped to take over from Konnie Huq on The Xtra Factor.
It was revealed last week that Konnie has been axed from The X Factor’s companion show on ITV2, but Matt says he’s heard nothing to substantiate rumours he’ll be taking her place.
‘If I am doing it, they haven’t told me,’ he says.
‘Who knows what’s going to happen? I’ve got a good association with The X Factor. I did The F Factor and Mr Cowell was a big fan of that.
‘But I think The Xtra Factor is the least of their concerns. Right now they are busy sorting out the line-up for The X Factor over in the States and here.
‘They can safely assume that whoever they ask will do it, so they can afford to ask them a week beforehand and schedules will be moved around for it.
‘I hope my association with The X Factor continues this year,’ adds Matt, who also says he’ll have more exciting news to announce next month.
‘I’m doing something quite big for Channel 4. It’s quite exciting. It’s a prominent presenting role that starts at the end of April, but I’m not allowed to tell you about it yet.’
For now, Matt is busy with his new Radio 1 show.
‘I’m excited to get some ideas that I’ve been keeping to myself for a while on to the air,’ he beams.
‘It’s not a stressful job, being a radio presenter. It’s a very enjoyable and creatively fulfilling thing to do and I’m looking forward to getting going.’
n You can hear Matt Edmondson’s new Wednesday show from April 6, from 9pm to 10pm, on 97 to 99 FM BBC Radio 1 or download the podcast at bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio1
Growing up in Portsmouth
Matt lived in Portsmouth until he was 18, when he left to get into broadcasting.
He went to St Jude’s Primary School, St Edmund’s Secondary School and Havant College.
‘Mum lives in Portsmouth and I still pop down to see her sometimes,’ he says.
‘I try to get back whenever I can and whenever I do go back, within about 10 minutes of getting off the train, I see someone I know.’
Matt adds: ‘I loved growing up in Portsmouth. I spent an awful lot of time mucking around on the seafront with my friends and all those friends now live two minutes away from me in London, so it’s great.
‘What I remember about Portsmouth is that it has got more crazy golf establishments than any other city. And it always looks nice on a sunny day.’
A Family Affair
Matt’s older sister Kate is also a television presenter. After taking part in The News modelling competition, The Look, in 2004, she got a job at MTV.
Despite being the younger of the two, it was Matt who got into broadcasting first.
‘I’d done kids’ TV for a year and a half before she got the gig on MTV,’ he explains.
Matt also says it’s purely coincidental that he and his sister have followed similar career paths.
‘We don’t have showbiz parents or anything like that and it wasn’t a competitive thing.
‘Neither of us even told anyone that presenting was what we wanted to do,’ he laughs.
‘We see each other quite a lot and speak to each other almost every day. We’re very close.
‘I live in the south east of London and she lives in the south west.’
Kate appears in CBBC’s Hider in the House and on the Facebook show, Facebook Unlimited.
Matt reveals there are some exciting developments in store for Kate’s career too.
‘She’s doing a big primetime Saturday night BBC One thing soon, but it’s top secret at the moment,’ he says.