15 September 2023

Hamza Yassin: Strictly has catapulted my career forward by 20 years

15 September 2023

BBC presenter Hamza Yassin has revealed that appearing in Strictly Come Dancing has changed his life for the better, catapulting his career forward “by 20 years”.

The Countryfile presenter and wildlife cameraman, 33, also known for his role as Ranger Hamza on the Cbeebies show Let’s Go For A Walk, won last year’s glitterball trophy with his professional partner Jowita Przystał.

“I used to be known by Countryfile viewers, The One Show and kids’ documentaries. I make my own documentaries for Channel 4 and I’ll be making a few more for the BBC. Strictly has just catapulted me 20 years into my career, now to the extent that the BBC have a direct line to my phone.

“When the head of the BBC says ‘Hello’ you go, ‘Oh, hi!’, that’s beautiful. You get to speak to these people and tell them your dreams and ideas and ambitions, and hopefully will make documentaries out of them.”

He told the PA News Agency, while promoting his new book, Be A Birder: “No-one would have predicted in week one that I was the one who was going to win Strictly.”

He added that his higher profile has resulted in the public understanding who he is and his ethos in life.

“I’ve got my mission which is to connect people with the natural world which is my biggest therapy, my biggest love, my driving force in life and to use my dyslexia to my advantage.

“I have a photographic memory and I can explain things to people in a way that might may be jargon in a scientific paper but I will make it digestible for people to sit and enjoy.”

The presenter, who beat singer-songwriter Fleur East and Vito Coppola, Nova Jones actress Molly Rainford and Carlos Gu, and TV presenter Helen Skelton and Gorka Márquez to the top slot, said that despite his Strictly win, he wouldn’t be the first one on the floor at social gatherings.

“I still wouldn’t be the one getting up and starting a party or dancing at a party. I’ll dance with the people who I know and I love.”

Since taking part in the 2022 series and the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour this year, he’s dancing less frequently.

“I’m dancing a little bit, not much, but mainly by myself. My dance partner is not there to tell me to point my toes and shake my hips. We keep in touch, we are constantly chatting to each other. She’s amazing.”

He’s already recorded the launch show for this year’s Strictly. “I danced with Jowita for one last time. It was absolutely emotional but beautiful. It was basically a big thank you to everyone who voted for us.”

When asked if he’d consider taking part in other reality shows, he said: “Why? I’ve done the best one there is. There isn’t anything better than Strictly on telly.”

He also dismissed suggestions of doing I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!

“What’s the point? I’m not scared of any of the animals and I’m just going to be miserable because I’ve probably not been fed and through lack of sleep. My life is a jungle, my life is not ‘Get me out of here’, it’s ‘Take me to it and give me a camera’.”

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