Revealed: BBC arranged place on Strictly Come Dancing for Hamza Yassin to make him a household name ahead of him becoming the next David Attenborough
He’s the little known Sudanese wildlife cameraman who arrived in the UK at the age of eight in the late 90s, unable to speak a word of English.
The Daily Mail can reveal executives at the Beeb arranged this after learning how popular he was with children on his CBeebies rambling show, Let’s Go For A Walk.
‘It was key to their end game’: Strictly’s Hamza Yassin is set to become the next David Attenborough after the BBC arranged a place on the dance show to make him a household name (pictured in November 2022)
And they are now delighted that Yassin, 32, has become so popular with Strictly fans that he goes into tonight’s Strictly finale as the favourite to lift the glitter ball – and they have already began planning a wildlife documentary series for him to present.
A source close to the star said: ‘Some of the bosses at the BBC knew that when Hamza was revealed in the Strictly line up, few of the show’s loyal viewers would know who he was but they just knew he would end the series the most loved of all of the contestants.
‘Getting him on the show was key to their end game, which is making him into another David Attenborough. Strictly has recently turned into a machine which elevates talent the BBC want to make into stars.
Irreplaceable: A source said: ‘Getting him on the show was key to their end game, which is making him into another David Attenborough (pictured in 2022). Strictly has recently turned into a machine which elevates talent the BBC want to make into stars’
‘And they are absolutely thrilled that this has paid off. There are already works in the pipeline for various programmes.’
Yassin also revealed his dream to be like legendary wildlife broadcaster Attenborough, 96, after his dyslexia stopped him from going into the medical profession.
He said: ‘I was following in the family footsteps being in the medical profession but then declined it for zoology when I had a heart to heart with my parents.
‘I said to them look, I’m severely dyslexic this is going to be an absolute nightmare. As much as I’ve love to please everybody by becoming a medic I’ve got to follow my dreams of becoming a wildlife cameraman and zoologist.
Role model: Yassin (pictured with Jowita Przystal last Sunday) also revealed his dream to be like legendary wildlife broadcaster Attenborough, 96, after his dyslexia stopped him from going into the medical profession
‘I am someone who has fallen deeply in love with mother nature and want to look after it thanks to the people like Sir David Attenborough and Steve Irwin, God rest his soul. They gave me the love of mother nature and I want to pass that onto the next generation.’
Tonight, he will go up against Countryfile host Helen Skelton, CBeebies actress Molly Rainford and singer Fleur East.
Win or lose, Yassin hopes that starring on Strictly will help him with another dream he has – to find a girlfriend. He spends months working in remote areas of the world, alone with no mobile phone reception.
He said: ‘I am single. My work takes me away for eight months at a time, and I’m working in places where it’s not conducive in having a partner, I wish I could find someone to settle down with so it’s great to have Strictly.’
Yassin arrived in the UK in 1998 along with is mother Ilham, father Ahmed, brother Karrar and sister Anhar after his parents were invited to work here by the Royal College of Medicine.
They settled in Newcastle where the photographer says he could only say ‘hi’ and ‘thank you,’ though he has admitted that he soon learned to say the Geordie phrase like ‘Wyeeee man.’
The family later moved to Northampton where Yassin attended the £20,000-per-year Wellingborough school. It was there that he was identified as dyslexic.
He studied Zoology with Conservation at Bangor University before doing a masters in Biological Photography and Imaging at the University of Nottingham.
Ooh la la: Win or lose, Yassin hopes that starring on Strictly will help him with another dream he has – to find a girlfriend