What’s On Scotland is back! We are delighted to be back on STV every Friday at 7pm bringing the very best from the world of entertainment.
For our new season, there was one person I was really keen to feature. He stole our hearts during last year’s Strictly Come Dancing, so when the opportunity came up to meet Hamza Yassin, I jumped at the chance.
2023 is set to be a big year for Hamza, who lifted the glitterball trophy with his professional partner Jowita Przystal.
Hamza is a wildlife cameraman and better known as CBBC’s Ranger Hamza, and a self-proclaimed dance novice. He told me the whole experience still feels very surreal.
“I thought I was going in week two, when the first celebrity could be voted out, and I thought that every week onwards,” he said.
“Never in a million years did I think I would win. Every week I would hold on to Jowita’s thumb waiting for our names to be called, and I would lean in and say, ‘thank you for everything’ and would squeeze her thumb harder and harder. And each week Jowita would say, ‘have faith’.”
Jowita says Hamza came into the show with “pigeon toes” and was honoured to help him win.
After a break from the dancefloor for just a few weeks, Hamza is back in his sparkly outfits for the Strictly Live tour and delighted to be back.
“We will be performing some of our old favourites,” said Jowita. “We will be doing our American Smooth from Blackpool and our salsa. But this time, everything is bigger – it’s going to be amazing.”
Hamza also wants to pay homage to his home of Scotland.
“We do the Charleston in my kilt,” he said. “It’s a bit of a nod to the Gay Gordons, a tribute to my Scottish family.
“It will be my massive ‘thank you’ to my beloved home.”
Ranger Hamza now has a couple of extra additions to his CV – Strictly Come Dancing’s 20th winner, as well as becoming Scotland’s newest national treasure.
What is it about Scotland that he loves so much?
“From a nature point of view, you can cover one side of the country, all the way to the other side in under five hours. You’ll see on the west coast, beautiful white sandy beaches with blue water that looks like Jamaica.
“Then you come inland and get to the Cairngorms and see the most amazing Alpine forest. And then you go all the way to the east coast and see some grey seals.
“It’s a fantastic country and just so beautiful.”
Residing in the small village of Kilchoan on the Ardnamurchan peninsula, Hamza has no plans to leave.
“That village is my home. And it’s such a lovely place. I’ll definitely be travelling more as I do with my job, but Kilchoan will always have a place in my heart.
“The people there knew me before I was in showbusiness, and when I come home, they bring me straight back down to earth. ‘Right, you’ve got logs to chop, off you go!’.”
But is he going to keep dancing?
“I don’t know if I can dance with anyone else but Jowita. This experience is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
Strictly Come Dancing: The Live Tour is on at Glasgow’s Hydro from February 10-12. What’s on Scotland is on STV at 7pm, or catch up later on the STV Player.
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