Hamza Yassin: Strictly requires as much effort as extreme wildlife filming

Hamza Yassin has said the amount of effort required for Strictly Come Dancing is similar to his extreme wildlife filming in remote locations.

In his day-to-day, the 32-year-old cameraman and presenter has captured nature and animals around the world from the Scottish Highlands to the Antarctic Ocean.

Reflecting on swapping the solo days of filming to dancing every Saturday with his partner, Jowita Przystal, on the BBC’s flagship show, he admitted they both bring their challenges.

He said: “The similarities are the amount of effort that we’re putting in, we’re putting more time and effort in the dances.

“And it’s exactly the same when it comes to wildlife. Most of the time when it comes to wildlife it’s sunrise to sunset and if you’re up near the poles at the right time of the year, it can be a long day for you at that particular time.

“Whereas here, it’s probably exactly the same. We’re in for nine hours a day, soon as you come back – sleep, eat, ice bath and back at it again the next day.

“So it’s very similar but obviously, it’s completely different. Most of the wildlife I’m by myself and I can just focus on the shots that I need.

“Whereas here I’m sharing the dancefloor with Jowita but we’re also trying to choreograph a routine that makes sense or coherent or tells a story.

Strictly Come Dancing 2022
Jowita Przystal and Hamza Yassin performing during Strictly Come Dancing (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

“So it’s really lovely. And then you get to come into the studio and meet this amazing Strictly family.”

Asked which was the greater challenge, he admitted they both can be stressful.

“If I go to Antarctica, some production companies are paying well over half a million to send the crew out there to get one particular shot and I’m talking about a three second shot, and if you mess that up, you’re in trouble”, he explained.

“Whereas here, it’s more you’ve got a minute and a half and make sure you don’t make a step wrong.

“Like for me, I’m a perfectionist, I don’t want to make the mistake. So each one has its own challenges.”

However, he noted that when he fumbles a dance routine, he hopefully has the opportunity to come back and improve the week after but, with filming, you sometimes have to wait a year before the conditions are right to shoot the moment again.

He also added that although some judges can be critical, they are not on the same level of threat as the wild animals he comes close to.

“Craig (Revel Horwood) doesn’t want to eat me, the polar bear does”, he noted.

During his routine to mark the BBC’s centenary last month, Yassin paid homage to his BBC nature programming background as he and Przystal danced the quickstep to On Top Of The World by Imagine Dragons, with fake polar bears in the background.

The cameraman and presenter said he hopes to continue to use his platform to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the environment.

“I hope that people see my love of the natural world and mother nature, and how important it is, not just for me, because I love it, but for every single Homo sapien that’s in the world and why we need to look after it”, he said.

“My whole ethos of becoming a wildlife cameraman is to make these documentaries to put them into people’s living rooms and for them to kind of sit and say, ‘hang on, we need to do something about this’.

“That’s my aim in life is to make this world a better place for us and for the next generation. At the end of the day, my parents’ generation gave me the love of the natural world and I hope I can just inspire the next generation and other people that are sharing this planet with us.”

Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC One.