Hamza: Strictly Birds of Prey from the Cairngorms to urban London

Hamza Yassin stunned the nation with his incredible dance moves winning Strictly in 2022. Off the dance-floor, Hamza is an accomplished wildlife cameraman and has filmed all over the world as well as capturing memorable footage for our recent Wild Isles series for BBC One.

He is passionate about wildlife and especially birds of prey. In our new film together Hamza: Strictly Birds of Prey, we travelled around the UK tracking down and filming some of his favourite species and meeting passionate people along the way.

Hamza Yassin Credit: BBC / Silverback Films / Ellie Jo Hilton

For Hamza, there’s no place like home and it was birds of prey that first attracted him to Scotland’s west coast. He’s been filming eagles here for 14 years, including this family of white-tailed eagles – nesting high above the sea in an old larch tree. Reintroduced to the British Isles in the 70’s, these enormous predators are now learning to hunt in new ways.

Hamza and John Aitchison behind-the-scenes Credit: Silverback Films

Hamza reminisces with fellow wildlife cameraman and mentor John Aitchison about how they filmed the epic Wild Isles sequence of these eagles hunting barnacle geese.  

Peregrine falcon Credit: Robin Chittenden / Nature Picture Library

The Borough of Ealing may seem like an unlikely place to have captured an action-packed raptor sequence… but it turns out that peregrine falcons, the world’s fastest animals, are rapidly making themselves at home in almost all of our major cities. Hamza spends a day at Ealing Hospital, filming a busy pair with two growing chicks as they defend their airspace, and hunt down surprisingly colourful prey above the big smoke.  

Hen harrier Credit: Jesse Wilkinson / Silverback Films

Hen Harriers are one Britain’s most beautiful and rarest birds of prey. Hamza learns why these champions of the ‘sky dance’ are in peril and how pioneering initiatives happening in the highlands are giving them a fighting chance. 

Deep in the heart of Abernethy Forest, Hamza meets some of the folk volunteering their time to protect ospreys at RSBP Loch Garten. These birds, which migrate huge distances from Africa each summer to fish in our waterways, have an intriguing history that sparked a change in British conservation history. 

Hobby (Wild Isles) Credit: Jack Barnes / Silverback Films

On the Avalon Marshes in sunny Somerset, naturalist and cameraman Simon King shows Hamza everything this ‘super reserve’ has to offer. From bustling communal roosts of four-spotted chaser dragonflies, preyed upon by the unbelievably agile hobby – to great gliding marsh harriers above the reedbeds. Once a degraded industrial peatbog, this is now one of Britain and Irelands largest and most impressive wetland habitats offering hope for the future of wildlife. 

The dream team behind the tawny owl shots in Wild Isles – David Plummer and Katie Mayhew, invite Hamza to a rewilded suburban garden to experience an unforgettable encounter with our most prolific night-time predator.

Golden eagle (Wild Isles) Credit: Jesse Wilkinson / Silverback Films

Fulfilling a lifelong dream, Hamza accompanies experts to ring his absolute favourite bird of prey; the golden eagle. Collecting data that will form a part of an 80-year long study, Hamza gets to make a hands-on contribution to the ongoing protection of this majestic bird.  

Watch Hamza: Strictly Birds of Prey tomorrow (Sunday 24 Sept) at 7pm on BBC One & iPlayer.