Aspiring young presenter wins Bafta competition after sign language interview

An aspiring young TV presenter has won a Bafta competition after using sign language to interview her deaf sister.

Samaira Iqbal, 15, from Hemel Hempstead, won the Bafta young presenter competition 2021 after impressing the judging panel with her entry.

The competition was open to children who were aged between seven and 14 at the time and they were invited to create and submit a short video on how they express themselves.

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She will now get the opportunity to present with Bafta Kids for the next year and feature on the Sky Kids’ news show, FYI, and has already completed her first presenting gig, interviewing the creator and cast of CBBC’s new comedy Lagging, which focuses on a group of close friends and their gaming community.

The show premieres on CBBC and BBC iPlayer on July 20 and the interview will be available to watch on Bafta’s Kids and Teens YouTube channel soon.

Samaira was also surprised with the opportunity to interview her football hero, Manchester United forward Jesse Lingard, during which they recreated his viral meme with Marcus Rashford, in which they talk about the weather.

The youngster, whose sister, mother, father, aunt and uncle are all deaf, also taught Lingard how to sign his name in British sign language.

She said: “Coming from a British-Asian deaf family, I never in a million years thought I would ever get an opportunity to work with a company as big as Bafta.

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“Being a kid myself, I was told that I was too young to start thinking about my career at such an early age but I’ve always been so passionate for TV presenting.

“It still hasn’t sunken in and I am constantly in shock when I remind myself that it has actually happened and I’m not dreaming. I am getting closer and closer to my dream of becoming a TV presenter and just the thought of it is getting me way too excited!”

Tim Hunter, executive director of learning and new talent at Bafta, added: “We’re very proud of the amazing talent we’ve found through our young presenter competition and are so happy that Samaira has joined the ranks of our previous winners.

“For us, the young presenter competition is important because trying your hand at speaking to camera is a chance to boost important life skills like confidence, speaking persuasively and team work.

“Samaira has these skills in bucket loads and we can’t wait to see what she does next.”