GBBOs Nadiya Hussain lands an “emotional” new TV show

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Amy Swales

So beloved was the 2015 winner of The Great British Bake Off that even Mary Berry broke ranks to declare Nadiya Hussain her favourite contestant.

Now an author, columnist and TV star, Hussain has another exciting project lined up – one described by the BBC as “an intensely personal and emotional journey”.

The two-part series will follow Hussain, 32, as she undertakes the Hajj, one of the world’s biggest annual pilgrimages.

mary berry nadiya gbbo

GBBO judge Mary Berry with Hussain in 2016

Millions of Muslims make the deeply spiritual journey to the holy city of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, each year, and Hussain completed it herself for the first time in 2013 with her husband. This time round she’ll be filmed preparing for the trip, meeting fellow pilgrims, and visiting sites of religious significance afterwards.

Hussain said of the programme: “The Hajj is one of the most intense and emotional experiences you can undertake and I’m delighted to be sharing my journey with BBC One viewers.

“I’m really looking forward to showing first-hand exactly what it is like to be there and meeting some of the other pilgrims and hearing their stories, as well as finding out more about the cultural and historical significance of this incredible event.”

Meanwhile, Tom McDonald, head of commissioning, natural history and specialist factual, said: “I'm delighted that Nadiya has agreed to be BBC One's guide to this amazing spectacle. She'll be right in the heart of the Hajj in what promises to be an emotional and uplifting journey.”

Hussain has another BBC show in the works, a baking programme set to air this autumn – around the time The Great British Bake Off would usually air (GBBO having, of course, moved to Channel 4).


Pilgrims circle the Kaaba at the end of the Hajj in 2016

The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, and every adult Muslim who is physically able and has the means to is expected to complete it once in their lifetime.

Numbers have swelled in recent years – around three million people made the journey in 2012 – and the BBC says Hussain will “witness all that comes with the Hajj – the heat, the crush, the food, the need for constant water, the humour that comes from mass discomfort, the uplifting joy of those taking part as well as meeting some of the British pilgrims, many of whom have deeply personal reasons for travelling.”

The show is set to air later this year.

Images: BBC / Rex



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Amy Swales

Amy Swales is a freelance writer who likes to eat, drink and talk about her dog. She will continue to plunder her own life and the lives of her loved ones for material in the name of comedy, catharsis and getting pictures of her dog on the internet.

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