Q&A with presenter Des Clarke on BBC Scotland's Hogmanay

Des Clarke on his message of inspiration for 2020: "Be more like Lewis Capaldi"

Des will be getting out among the street revellers in Edinburgh waiting to bring in the New Year for Hogmanay 2019.

Is Hogmanay 2019 your biggest gig of the year?

It’s the biggest gig of my life! It’s a huge honour to see in the New Year on BBC Scotland - it’s iconic.

It’s the biggest TV of the year that we do in Scotland and I have the honour of counting down that moment till midnight. There’s only very few people who’ve done that and I feel really privileged. You feel for those few seconds you’re in charge of the nation. It’s all on my shoulders, I can’t get this count wrong. Without a doubt this will be the most important 10 seconds of my life.

And will all the family be watching at home?

Definitely, but there’s someone else who I hope will be watching - my old maths teacher. He always told me told me I was never any good at mental arithmetic, but I’d love to say, ‘Well look at me now!’ as I count down the nation into 2020. ‘Who’s no good at counting now, Big Man?’ I mean, obviously I’ll be trying to hide my phone and my calculator just off camera, but nonetheless, I’ll be the guy up there who’s in charge of those numbers.

How are you feeling about going live from Edinburgh?

I’m used to working live and thinking on my feet, and it’ll be great to be broadcasting from Edinburgh, with all the crowds and the fireworks and the celebrations. But there’s always that pressure of making sure you get it right because everyone’s watching. The excitement will take over though, I’m sure. I’m buzzing about it. It’s a show that’s unique, in a way. We all binge on boxsets these days but this is one show that you have to watch live and you have to watch together.

Was Hogmanay always a big occasion when you were growing up?

It was massive. I was only ever allowed to stay up two nights of the year and that was on Hogmanay and for the World Snooker Finals. So the two highlights of my year were bringing in the Bells and watching Steve Davis and Dennis Taylor - these were big moments.

It was always just the four of us at home - my mum Ann, dad Dermot and my big sister Ann, and it was a really happy time. We lived in the high flats in the Gorbals in Glasgow and we’d look out at the flats opposite and see all the lights going on when the parties were starting. As a little kid you’d almost eavesdrop by looking in. It was like watching a real-life advent calendar. That night it was special, there was a real buzz. Scotland does Hogmanay better than anyone else in the world and I’m so looking forward to bringing that into everyone’s living room with Hogmanay 2019.

What are you looking forward to most about 2020?

Well, I’m certainly getting the year off to a great start. I just think that being part of this show will be a really nice way to make my mum and dad proud because it’s such an iconic programme. It’s surreal to have come from being a kid watching that show on telly to now being one of the people on that show, inside the telly. Mum and Dad will be watching at home in Glasgow and so will my sister. She has a wee five-year-old called Callum and this might well be the first year he’s allowed to stay up late, to watch Uncle Des on the telly. It’s such a special show, it brings the generations together.

You’re working on Hogmanay, so what are your plans for New Year’s Day?

When I did Des Doesn’t Do earlier this year, one of the things I tackled was learning to cook because I’m an absolute disaster in the kitchen. I promised then that I’d cook my mum a meal as a thank you for all the meals she’s cooked me over the years, so maybe this would be the perfect time to put my money where my mouth is. I could cook the steak pie for the family on January 1st. It’ll go one of two ways - it could be a great start to 2020 or I could give them food poisoning.

Any new first footing traditions you’d bring in? Aside from the usuals of a dram, some shortbread or some coal, what 21st century first-foot gift would you bring?

Well these days we’re very climate change conscious and it’s all about recycling, so when you’re first footing, I think the main thing should be to recycle. That means re-gifting your party host the absolute worst Christmas present that you received this year. Whether it’s a terrible jumper from your old auntie, a screwdriver, a car sticker, an air freshener, wrap it up and pass it on. It’s a win-win – you’re being kind to the planet and getting rid of some tatt out your house at the same time.

What’s your message of inspiration for 2020?

Be more Lewis Capaldi.

He’s an absolute legend. This time last year hardly anyone knew who he was and look at him now – he’s arguably one of the biggest stars in the world at the moment. What I love about him is that he’s never changed – he’s still a proper cheeky Scottish guy. I had to introduce him on stage about a year ago and when I asked him what he wanted me to say, he smiled: ‘Tell them I’ve got the face of a potato but I’ve got a lovely voice’. He’s an inspiration for everyone in Scotland. Try to have a year like Lewis Capaldi and you’ll be all right.

December 30, 2019 4:10am ET by BBC One  


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