BBC axes Nadiya Hussain's Mecca pilgrimage series

Ben Arnold
Nadiya Hussain (Credit: PA)

The BBC has reportedly axed a two-part series in which Great British Bake Off star Nadiya Hussain was to make a pilgrimage to Mecca.

Called The Hajj, it was set to the TV presenter as she left her home in Buckinghamshire to join the millions of muslims who make the annual journey to the holy city in Saudi Arabia.

The BBC announced she would be fronting the documentary show last May, adding that Hussain was ‘the perfect person to share with viewers her experience of one of the world’s truly great human spectacles’.

But according to the Daily Mail, the broadcaster got ‘cold feet’.

A source claimed: “The word here is that senior executives got cold feet about promoting Islam.

“They felt that if we were going to broadcast a programme about a Muslim pilgrimage, we would have to make one about other religious pilgrimages as well.”


Top Hat Productions, the company which was tasked with making the show, confirmed that it had been pulled.

“Unfortunately, it’s not happening,” said executive producer Marisa Verazzo.

“It’s all very sensitive. We were told at the beginning of last week.”

The show-makers had reportedly made extensive arrangements for the shoot, including spending ‘months’ securing permission to film in the Arab state, and assembling an all-muslim crew.

The BBC has denied that it axed the show over religious concerns.

“While the series is not going ahead in the announced form at present, there is absolutely no truth to the false suggestion that this is due to concerns about promoting Islam,” it said in a statement.

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