Made it in China: Matt Horn

Away from the spotlight: Matt Horn on a break back home in Ashton
Away from the spotlight: Matt Horn on a break back home in Ashton
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In our series about people who are household names abroad but could walk the streets of Lancashire unrecognised, Laura Wild speaks to one of China’s top TV and radio presenters.

If Matt Horn walked down the street in Preston it is unlikely that anybody would know who he is - but in China, where he is a TV and radio presenter, he is a famous face.

TV star: Matt Horn on Chinese TV

TV star: Matt Horn on Chinese TV

Matt, 47, a sports journalist, from Ashton, Preston, made the move to China, alongside his wife Alison in 2005.

He has been living and working in Guangzhou, China, for the past eight years.

By day, the UCLan academic leads a course International Journalism at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, but when he isn’t teaching he is a presenter on GDTV, whose reports feature on CNN’s World View and he hosts My Guangdong on Radio Guandong which is listened to around on the world.

The role has seen Matt interview high ranking diplomats and celebrities – including snooker player Jimmy White and American boxer Evander Holyfield.

Matt says: “I had never done any TV before - but I always think if given the chance don’t say no.

“It went pretty well and I have been doing it ever since.

“It goes out a couple of times a week.

“It is part chat show and part informative.”

Matt said the TV show is about 20 minutes long and is often studio based.

Some of his shows are filmed in Canton Tower a popular attraction in Guangzhou.

Matt says: “I have to fit it around my UCLan schedule. It is very exciting. I could film three TV shows in a week and none the next.

“The best thing about the shows is hearing other people’s Guangzhou stories and learning from their experiences.

“One of my favourite shows was interviewing Jimmy White, my snooker hero.

“And I did love working at the Olympics this year doing both radio and TV for China. Matt said bosses behind the show say the audience response is good.

He adds: “In certain places, yes (I get recognised).

“People I don’t know in campus stop me and my Canton Tower show is used on a permanent loop by the tower and I get a lot of comments from visitors.

“The highlights have been meeting a huge range of people from different countries jobs and backgrounds.

“The radio show has had at least 35 different countries.

Matt studied at UCLan himself and spent 13 years working for the regional press in the UK.

He had never been to China before he moved but took the leap with his wife got a job out there with UCLan.

But does he miss home? “(We are) certainly out there for another year until July 2014 but it will be home time sometime soon.

“Three things I miss most are the three Fs - family friends and football.”

So what’s next? “There’s plans to develop the TV show in the future with the possibility of flying to Beijing for an ambassador series.”

Matt’s achievements have been so widely recognised in the country that in 2005 he was named Friend of Guangdong by the provincial Chinese Government for services to the development of the region.

And in December he was recognised with the prestigious Guangdong International Friendship Award at a special ceremony in Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall in Guangzhou, south China.

He was the only British person among the 14 award winners.

In 2009 Matt was one of three ex-pats flown to Beijing for the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic.