Strictly producers learning sign language for contestant Rose Ayling-Ellis

·2-min read
Strictly producers learning sign language for contestant Rose Ayling-Ellis

Strictly Come Dancing producers are learning sign language to make the series more accessible for actress Rose Ayling-Ellis, who will be the show's first ever deaf contestant.

The EastEnders star - who plays Frankie Lewis in the BBC One soap - will make her debut on the dance-floor this weekend with fellow celebrities including John Whaite, AJ Odudu, Greg Wise and Robert Webb.

Strictly executive producer Sarah James has revealed that an interpreter will be brought on to the show and that staff will be learning sign language and undergoing deaf awareness training.

Photo credit: BBC One
Photo credit: BBC One

"I think already myself and the team have learned a lot from Rose," James told press including Sky News. "She's an amazing person, she is also very honest about what she needs and what we need to adapt, so it's been an ongoing conversation.

"All of the team are doing deaf awareness training, which has been brilliant, and we're learning some sign language, and that's been brilliant as well. Obviously, Rose will need an interpreter with her at all times so she will always have an interpreter with her in training."

James continued: "And then on the show, you may see an interpreter occasionally on camera - obviously she'll need somebody to interpret the judge's comments and her chats with Claudia (Winkleman, one of the show's presenters).

"But other than that, I know that Rose is looking forward to the show just like everybody else and I can't wait to see what she does."

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

James previously commented on Bake Off star Whaite's all-male partnership, which she said was something the team had always wanted to do.

"It's definitely something that we've always wanted to do and I'm really excited about John doing it," she affirmed. "I think he's already proven that he's an amazing spokesperson for it and obviously, he's a household name and he is just a brilliant guy so I'm really looking forward to it being John."

We'll have to wait until this weekend to find out the celebrity and professional dancer pairings.

Strictly Come Dancing begins on Saturday, 18th December on BBC One.

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