Bassett was born and grew up in Newport, Shropshire in the West Midlands of the United Kingdom where he was educated at Adams Grammar School. Here he enjoyed a life which he has described as a "safe, unremarkable childhood". Here he developed an obsession with wildlife and nature, Bassett's fascination with films would not arise until much later. Bassett's childhood aspirations were of being a wildlife veterinarian in Africa. With less than ideal grades in school, a veterinary career slowly became out of the question and at the age of 16, Bassett left school and became a wildlife film maker's assistant, where he would spend 18 months learning photography and film making.
After his time as an assistant, Bassett decided to go back to school to do A-Levels in the hopes of getting a Zoology degree. Once back in school, Bassett wrote to a variety of TV producers, looking for work as a nature presenter. Eventually, Bassett was contacted by Janet Street Porter, shortly after which he began working as a presenter on the children's show Get Fresh where he presented the science and nature segments. He left to work on other programs but as work stopped coming in he was losing interest. At this point Bassett realized that he wanted to make films. Since moving into film-making would entail substantial risk, Bassett worked for a year animating and voicing the puppet Scally the Dog on Children's ITV, while he thought things over.
After putting Scally the Dog to rest, Bassett produced several short films, as well as a 16 mm piece for broadcast television. All the while, Bassett worked on feature scripts which he used to try to catch producers' attention. After a period of years, Bassett finally got some notice with a screenplay titled No Man's Land. Many studios offered to purchase the script, but Bassett was determined to direct the film of his screenplay. Eventually, one production company consented to this and the film was retitled Deathwatch. Bassett works currently on the $10 million project The Unblinking Eye, a serial killer film with Jeffrey Dean Morgan in the lead as detective John Calisto.