Rose Ayling-Ellis is best known for her role in EastEnders (Picture: BBC/Kieron McCarron/Jack Barnes)
EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis has been confirmed as the latest star to join this year’s Strictly Come Dancing.
Her casting has made history as Rose will become the BBC One series’ first ever deaf contestant.
Confirming herself for the line-up, the actress said in a statement: ‘To be the first deaf contestant on Strictly Come Dancing is sooooo exciting… and a little bit scary.
‘It is the hardest secret I have ever had to keep so it feels amazing to finally have this out in the open!’
She continued: ‘I hope I will do the deaf community proud and break down more barriers. But I am also very excited to learn an incredible new skill and even better I get to learn whilst wearing beautiful dresses made especially for me!’
The news was welcomed by EastEnders and Strictly fans alike with many noting how inclusive the upcoming series will be, as Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite was previously confirmed to be in the show’s first all-male couple.
Who is Rose Ayling-Ellis?
Rose, 30, is best known for playing Frankie Lewis in BBC One soap and became the show’s first deaf actor to play a deaf character.
So far, she’s been a part of some hard-hitting storylines after Frankie initially showed up in the Square as a friend of Ben Mitchell’s (Max Bowden), before it was later confirmed that she is Mick Carter’s (Danny Dyer) daughter.
Mick was abused by paedophile Katy Lewis (Simone Lahbib), and the former landlord of the Queen Vic reported the abuser to the police during an episode earlier this year.
Rose recently praised the long-running soap for exploring her character’s deaf identity further.
Frankie was revealed to be Mick Carter’s (top) daughter (Picture: BBC/Kieron McCarron/Jack Barnes)
The actress told Inside Soap in January: ‘For too long, TV hasn’t portrayed the deaf experience of deaf culture.
‘I think for people who don’t know anyone who is deaf, it’s important to show what life is like for a deaf person. Even things such as using my voice and having the audience hear my “deaf accent” is a big step forward.’
She added: ‘I truly hope that hearing voices such as mine on TV will become the norm. Plus, it’s exciting to have two deaf characters on a major prime-time show.’
Rose is the first ever deaf actor to play a deaf character on the soap. She has previously appeared in various stage productions, and her other TV credits include Summer of Rockets and Casualty.
The actress uses British Sign Language (BSL).