Matt Brash is the latest television celebrity to turn author. This handsome vet is the star of the ITV Yorkshire television series, "Zoo Vet at Large". Matt's first book is mixture of tales and autobiographical memories of his work, both at Flamingo Land Zoo and in general practice. Matt describes how he got into filming for ITV, and the relationships he has forged with both the camera and the people behind the camera."Good day in the office, dear?" is a particularly loaded question when asked of Matt Brash. A typical 'day in the office' could include escaping from angry, disorientated bears, dodging poo hurled by obstinate, grumpy chimpanzees and avoiding massive loss of blood at the hands (well, teeth) of vindictive hamsters. Lives and limbs, animals' and Matt's, are always at risk. This is an enlightening and colourful journey through Matt's life and work with weird and wonderful exotic wild animals, from tarantulas to tapirs, birds to bears, and madams to motorbikers.
Matthew Brash was born in Bonn, Germany, in 1963. He was the youngest of four, with two elder brothers and an elder sister. They were all considerably older than Matt and already attended boarding school in England when he was young.Matt's parents were diplomats, so he spent an exciting time following them around the world. When he was six, they were posted to Canada, where he went to school for a year. Living in such an amazing country, and spending all his spare time out doors, kick-started his love of wild animals. One of his early memories of living there is trying to play with a baby brown bear. The brown bear didn't want to play, and scampered up a lamp post to wait for mum's return. Matt was oblivious to the consequences of mum's return, but fortunately his parents were around to scoop him up and drag him off to the safety of their car.After Canada, the Brashes were posted to Vietnam during the war. Living in Saigon during the war was quite an experience and, as his parents were very busy and his brothers and sister too old to want to play with him, this left the young potential vet a lot of time to torture lizards and small insects.Matt then went to boarding school in Kent. As he couldn't always return to his parents for school holidays, he often spent them with family friends on farms. One of these families had a son who wanted to be a vet, and Matt fell in love with the idea too. At this stage his father was strongly set against the idea of Matt becoming a vet, believing the job would just involve putting his hand up the backsides of animals and dogs to sleep. But Matt was determined, and started to spend time working with vets. As one vet drove a white Porsche, this helped cement Matt's ambition.After retaking his A-levels, Matt gained a place at the Royal Veterinary College in 1982. There he met his future wife Clare, who was also training to be a vet. He qualified in 1987, and quickly found a job in Hampshire.In 1991 he moved north to Yorkshire to join Clare, who had been working there for two years. It was whilst he was working at Malton that he was asked to take on the work of the local zoo, Flamingo Land. He has been their vet ever since.Matt and Clare married in 1992. They have four sons: Jack, Charlie, Alfie and Tiger. They also have a large menagerie of other animals.Matt has a busy small animal, horse and exotic animal practice based at three sites just outside York, at Stamford Bridge, Strensall and Pocklington. He works with six veterinary colleagues, which allows him the time to work with the exotic species, which are his greatest interest. His clients comprise a diverse range, from giraffes, zebras and monkeys to parrots, lizards and even spiders.Zoo Vet At Large - on ITVMatt's television career kicked off in 1998, when he was filmed for a series of short stories about his work at Flamingo Land Zoo. He was then spotted by the BBC, and co-starred alongside Trude Mostue for two longer series on BBC2. The first was called Vets To The Rescue and was based at Chester Zoo. The second, Vets In The Country, filmed a year later, was based at Matt's practice outside York. These went on air in 2000 and 2001.Meanwhile Matt continued to film Zoo Vet. The short stories were expanded to longer half-hour programmes, and later evolved to move out of the Zoo and cover his exciting work at his practice as well. The fifth series of Zoo Vet at Large is screening on ITV this summer, and was filmed whilst Matt was writing his first book.