British Expat Martyn Andrews has been writing and presenting TV shows on Russia for almost seven years. With programmes broadcast on RT (Russia Today), Euronews, onboard Aeroflot and the Sapsan train network his various TV shows are broadcast in over 100 countries and watched by millions.
Throw in a show on dangerous diving (filming in dozens of different exotic marine locations) and his recent cultural series on Russians around the world and Martyn has spent the last decade being paid to fly all over the world. The journalist and showman is also known for his popular TV programme “Wayfarer” that from minus 40 to plus forty, took him to over 75 cities and towns across the whole of Russia and for the past three years he’s been writing and presenting the TV show “Moscow Out”. Visiting the best the city has to offer; sumptuous spas, delicious cocktail bars, five star restaurants, fascinating museums and secret locations - some people have the best jobs.
Martyn got his first presenting job when he was 18 years old with the BBC and instantly fell in love with it “get paid for talking? Brilliant!” he says. After years of performing in professional musicals it was a chance meeting with a TV exec in New York in 2003 that changed his life. Two weeks later he was working with a Tel Aviv based production company on a series about undiscovered Egypt – “It was Amazing! Sleeping in Pyramids, opening ancient tombs...” Throughout all of this he often came in contact with the Russia media which after a spell of TV work and a chat show in London, led to his big break as the travel and entertainment presenter of the new English speaking Moscow based new channel, Russia Today in 2005. “It was a one way ticket to the unknown. I came to Russia with a clean slate considering the city doesn’t have the best reputation. However even with its faults, cold winters and often annoying red tape, I have found that living in Moscow is uber exciting, ever changing and well... simply addictive!”.
When it comes to eating out and entertainment in Moscow, from one to five star cultural experiences Martyn has tried it all - from dancing till dawn in the late Diaghilev club to eating at Novikov’s good old Galleria, Beef Bar to popping open champagne at Soho Rooms. “The chef Laura Bridge there is excellent”, Martyn smiles - “her food is so homely and she always comes out to say hello.” Martyn adds that he is always pestered by friends regarding what are the best new places to hit the scene. He explains that his favourite restaurant in Moscow is a small venue called “RONI” located at Petrovka, 20. “The food there is better than sex! Can I say that?” He laughs with his eyes wide open. “It opened last year and still in my opinion its serves the best food in Moscow - cheaper than some of the crazy high end scale eateries here too. The wasabi prawns there are the best in the world and the tuna rolls, with crispy onion flakes and ponzu dressing is to die for. The Australian head chef Glen Ballis there is a genius. They’ve just opened a Chinese takeaway next door. Called “Lucky noodle” - the 1970’s shanghai themed parlour screams Bruce Lee kitsch meets a fun fading takeaway but it’s all a theatrical facade! All show to offer customer that “authentic” experience. What fun. That aside it’s what’s at the back of the takeaway that’s more interesting – a new sensational hidden trendy underground club called Mendeleev”. Martyn sits up straight, this is inside information now.
“Revealing itself through a thick black curtain, a glamorous staircase takes you to what will be one of the new hottest spots in town. Glittering chandeliers hang under bare brick work, aged to give it that haunted house meets VIP disco boudoir feel. Love it! Neat mixologists create mouth watering cocktails as the soothing tunes of the DJ play out. The concept from cheap to chic is thrilling and delicately planned. Get there before the crowds do. I love the place and it screams new Moscow through and through!
Martyn continues to add that other favourite places are Strelka, Swan Lake in Gorky Park and Kyrsha Mira. “If only the weather was better here and they got rid of the crazy visa process, it would be one of the most visited destinations in the world, really! Western media and Hollywood are so damning towards Russia. Negative this, ganster that. I go back home and people feel sorry for me living here. It's so frustrating when I love it so much! I hope my TV shows have given the public some reality into the divere and thriving life here. Of course nothing is perfect but in Moscow the public transport is cheap, bars and clubs don't close, and the recent rennovations on areas like Gorky Park have been oustanding! It's the most misunderstood city in the world."
Martyn currently lives between his homes in London, Cyprus and Moscow. As well as describing Moscow as “the new, New York”, Cyprus is the place he can unwind. “A crisp cool glass of Cypriot wine on my lovely terrace under the warm Mediterranean sun. Ahhh, Heaven. As for London he visits the UK every month and says it has the best shopping in the world. “From Selfridges to the shops in Covent Garden – London does have the best choices and it’s not expensive there. Moscow’s higher price tags are simply irritating.
Martyn has many passions and interests, including collecting air miles, extreme holidays and skyscraper bars. “Moscow doesn’t disappoint when it comes to high rise hangouts either!” - he spits out with a large smile on his face. “Sky Lounge, The Golden Ring hotel, the O2 terrace at the Ritz Carlton, City Space on top of the Swiss Hotel, White Rabbit, Kalina Bar, Bono on top of Raddisson Royal Ukraine, the Conservatory bar and terrace at the Ararat Park Hyatt, Karlsson and the new venue Maxim on top of Tsvetnoi Central Market. (I won’t mention Sixty in Moscow City – too many bad experiences with service there!) Moscow rivals any big city now such as Bangkok and New York when it comes to venues with birds eye views. Cheers!”
He finishes off to say that the city doesn’t always work for everyone. “Moscow is like a food in England called Marmite. You either love it or hate it. I’ve grown to adore this city, and even when it’s minus 26 or someone has the “net” face as I call it, I just laugh at it and cherish the Russian adventures. In comparison to the politically correct compensation culture of the UK a little disorder and lack of order is sometimes refreshing. What would I do without Gypsy cabs!?"
With his plans for a future series on Sochi and the Trans Siberian Express Martyn shows no signs of slowing down or cutting ties with Russia. “of course I’d love to TV projects back in America or the UK again, but even after several years, Russia and its gigantic undiscovered space offers more stories, more places and more fascinating culture... waiting to be discovered. In two words..... Russia Rocks.”
For more information please go to www.martynandrews.co.uk