Rose Ayling-Ellis

Rose Ayling-Ellis, British actress, 1994-present

Deaf since birth, Rose Ayling-Ellis is known for her role as Frankie Lewis in Eastenders, where she made history as the show’s first deaf character. In 2021, she was the first deaf contestant as well as winner of the BBC’s “Strictly Come Dancing.” She and her dance partner Giovanni Pernice won a BAFTA for their performance on the show. She felt like it was important to be on the show to break down the stereotype that deaf people can’t enjoy music and dance, she told the BBC. In fact, she is a fan of Dolly Parton and Stevie Wonder. She is outspoken about creating opportunities and preventing misunderstanding around deaf actors and is a British Sign Language campaigner.  

Ayling-Ellis was born and raised in Kent, England, and had a regular upbringing. At the National Deaf Children’s Society she met film director Ted Evan, who cast her in his award-winning short film, The End, launching her acting career.  When not acting, she is an adventurous traveller, visiting far-flung destinations like Columbia, Peru and the Amazon river. 

Ayling-Ellis will give the much anticipated Alternative Mactaggart speech at the Edinburgh TV Festival in August 2022, where she is expected to discuss her personal experiences in the industry. She has also revealed that Prince Charles and Camilla voted for her on “Strictly.”


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