Strictly’s Hamza is back behind the lens – but he’s still dancing

Hamza Yassin on his joy at filming for Attenborough’s Wild Isles – and why he’s still dancing…

Strictly Come Dancing winner Hamza Yassin is back on our screens – but this time he’s behind the camera.

The presenter and cameraman spent two-and-a half years filming golden eagles, wild horses and geese for the David Attenborough BBC series Wild Isles.

He told us it’s been a whirlwind since his Strictly win and although he hasn’t hung up his dancing shoes completely, his passion remains the outdoors.

A cameraman filming in the countryside, holding a pair of binocularsCredit: BBC/Silverback Films/Nicholas Gates
Yassin is never happier than when he’s behind the lens in our countryside

“Life is a bit hectic at the moment,” says Yassin. “But it’s a nice kind of hectic and it’s good to see people are enjoying the British wildlife and giving it the support needed. It means we are having conversations about what we can do here by showing people that the nature we have is amazing and what we can do to protect it.”

We caught up with Yassin when he was speaking at the National Outdoor Expo, in Birmingham. He is just as humble in the flesh as he was when he appeared on Strictly and at the weekend he thrilled the huge crowd. He spoke about how he lived in his car for nine months so he could follow his passion of becoming a wildlife photographer and camera operator.

Now he films polar bears, golden eagles and even has a family of pine martens in his attic – though he warned that his chosen path requires patience. The longest he has spent sitting in a hide to get the images he wanted has been two weeks.

A white-tailed eagle flying over the sea - often filmed by Hamza YassinCredit: BBC/Silverback Films
Hamza filmed the white-tailed eagles stalking barnacle geese

Yassin worked on the Wild Isles series around his home on the west coast of Scotland and said it was a dream to have the footage he filmed narrated by Attenborough.

Yassin’s true loves are the eagles, both the white-tailed and golden, that were featured in episodes one and two, but you can also see his footage of hen harriers and drone shots of wild horses in forthcoming episodes.

He took a break from filming the series in order take part in Strictly Come Dancing and, following his glitterball win, we are about to see a lot more of him on our screens.

“There’s more Countryfile, Animal Park and The One Show and I’ve got CBeebies’ Ranger Hamza’s Eco Quest programmes coming up too,” he says.

Being so busy, there’s one question we had to ask him.

At the time of the Strictly final his knees were suffering from all the training. So, is he still dancing?

“Absolutely,” he smiles.  “But not as much as I was and I am still looking after my knees.”

Hamza Yasmin holding the glitterball after winning Strictly Come DancingCredit: BBC
Yassin and his partnerJowita Przystal when they won Strictly Come Dancing

The Expo weekend is the biggest outdoor activities exhibition in the UK. It was hosted by television presenter Lucy Mills and former GB triathlete and podcaster Danny Bent.

Bent says: “Just being outside is my therapy; it’s my meditation and it’s so good for the mind.

“The outdoors is open to all of us and, as the saying goes, if you don’t use it, you could lose it.

“My inspiration is my mum Angela Bent. She’s in her 70s now and she’s the first person to have run the London Marathon in her 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and then last year in her 70s. She runs it in under four hours – so she beats all my friends.

“To see my mum just going out into the peaks, running, jumping off things, diving into the water; that’s what I want to be doing because that’s what I love doing. So, I’m in my 40s now and I want to be doing that in 40 years’ time, perhaps even longer.

The two hosts of the National Outdoor Expo in front of a stageCredit:
Lucy Mills and Danny Bent hosted the National Outdoor Expo, in Birmingham

Speaking about the many older people who take part in the London Marathon, Bent adds: “They might not be doing it as fast as some of the younger guys, but the speed doesn’t matter.

“It’s about being there and being part of the joy of the outdoors, exploring, adventuring. An adventure can be on your own doorstep, just in a kilometre square of your home, but that’s still an adventure.”

Phillipa Cherryson

Written by Phillipa Cherryson she/her


Phillipa Cherryson is a senior digital editor for Saga Exceptional. Phillipa has been a journalist for 30 years, writing for local and national newspapers, UK magazines and reporting onscreen for ITV. In her spare time she loves the outdoors and is a trainee mountain leader and Ordnance Survey Champion.

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