Going ‘bananas’ for Scotland

Press release   •   Mar 28, 2019 10:48 GMT

US television viewers are going ‘bananas’ for Scotland in the latest episode of a hit lifestyle programme as it shines a spotlight on a replica medieval fort, Scotland’s oldest tailor and V&A Dundee.

VisitScotland teamed up with NBC’s 1st Look to show the US audience some of the best of Scotland’s food and drink, culture and attractions – reaching millions viewers over the weekend of its broadcast.

It is the third time the national tourism organisation has worked with WNBC, the flagship station for network NBC, following programmes featuring Scottish actor Alan Cumming.

1st Look is a popular lifestyle magazine show, fronted by Johnny ‘Bananas’ Devenanzio, which broadcasts across America immediately after late-night television variety show, Saturday Night Live.

Last month, Devenanzio toured the country from the Scottish Borders to Dundee, meeting innovative Scots who have helped shape the visitor experience, for the episode entitled Scotland is Now, named after the global campaign launched in 2018.

Scotland is Now builds on the nation’s acknowledged strengths as a land of unrivalled history, breath-taking scenery and warm welcomes, but shines a light on lesser-known qualities: a pioneering, dynamic and progressive nation taking the lead on key global challenges.

Devenanzio spoke to Vixy Rae, Creative Director of Scotland’s oldest bespoke tailor, Stewart Christie & Co; took lessons in medieval combat with Charlie Allan, Chief Executive of the Clanranald Trust for Scotland at DunCarron Medieval Village; learned about Scotland’s national drink at The Borders Distillery; and toured V&A Dundee.

Other highlights include learning about Scotland’s produce with The Brand Family at East Fortune Farm and Michelin-starred chef Tom Kitchin and taking golfing lessons with Scottish professional golfer Rachael McQueen on the Old Course at St Andrews Links.

Filming for the episode was the first-time host Devenanzio had been to Scotland – and he was immediately impressed.

Johnny ‘Bananas’ Devenanzio, host of 1st Look, said: “I think when people envision Scotland, their first thoughts are about the lush landscapes, the highlands, the beautiful lochs, the coastline, as well as the whiskey, the tweed, the medieval castles. And then you get here you realise that not only have all your fantasies come true, but all of your expectations are exceeded.

“Scotland is a progressively modern country and it’s reflected in its world-class cuisine, its devotion to clean and sustainable living, technology, and design. Where else can you have your golf swing technologically analysed on the oldest course on the planet, be on the beautiful beaches catching the wind while land-yachting for lunch, and in modern museum housed within an architectural masterpiece all within the span of a day, literally.

“There’s a proud past in Scotland and you can feel it in every conversation, but even more so the warm and welcoming Scots are ever-progressing forward, it’s incredible to see.”

Gwen Raez, Senior Marketing Manager at VisitScotland, said: “At VisitScotland, we’re passionate about sharing our love of Scotland and inspiring people to discover all that Scotland has to offer. This is the third time we have partnered with WNBC to showcase a new aspect of Scotland to our American friends, and we enjoyed selecting experiences that would surprise and delight presenter Johnny Bananas.

“Johnny immediately connected with all of our contributors to learn their individual stories, and as always, the skilled crew filmed Scotland beautifully. Johnny will be coming back to holiday in Scotland, and we hope this programme inspires many more visitors from the US follow his lead and visit Scotland now.”

For more on 1st Look go to:


Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by five overarching strategies: Marketing, Events, Quality and Sustainability, Inclusive Tourism, International Engagement.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • For information about business tourism in Scotland go to

Scotland’s Themed Years

  • Following an industry consultation, the Themed Years will now take place every second year to enable more time for planning and opportunities for collaboration.
  • 2020 has been designated as a year in which Scotland’s Coasts and Waters will be showcased and celebrated with a programme of activity designed to support the nation’s tourism and events sectors.
  • The year, led by VisitScotland will sustain and build upon the momentum of Scotland’s preceding Themed Years to spotlight, celebrate and promote opportunities to experience and enjoy Scotland’s unrivalled Coasts and Waters, encouraging responsible engagement and participation from the people of Scotland and our visitors.
  • A year-long programme of events, activities and ideas will shine a spotlight on the impact our waters have had on Scotland, from the formation of beautiful natural features to the creation of our national drink – whisky.
  • Join the conversation using #YCW2020
  • 2022 will be the Year of Scotland’s Stories - a celebration of our rich literature, film, oral traditions and myths and legends.