Strictly's Rose Ayling-Ellis lands first major TV role since EastEnders exit

Rose Ayling-Ellis is returning to TV for her latest acting project
Rose Ayling-Ellis is returning to TV for her latest acting project -Credit:Alan Chapman/Dave Benett/Getty I

Strictly Come Dancing winner Rose Ayling-Ellis is set to star in a new BBC drama - two years after she left EastEnders. The 29-year-old actress rose to fame as Frankie Lewis on the soap back in 2020.

Rose, who was born deaf, will return to acting in Reunion - a thriller about a recently released deaf prisoner who was shunned by his community after committing a heinous crime. Matthew Gurney stars as ex-convict Daniel, who attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter Carly, played by How to Have Sex's Lara Peake.

Rose plays the role of Miri - the stepdaughter of Christine (played by Bad Sisters star Anne-Marie Duff), who is determined to find out the truth of what Daniel did. Meanwhile, Back to Black's Eddie Marsan plays Rose's on-screen dad Stephen, Christine's protective boyfriend.

Rose Ayling-Ellis with her Strictly partner Giovanni Pernice
Rose Ayling-Ellis with her Strictly partner Giovanni Pernice -Credit:Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

The stellar cast also includes Dune star Stephen Collins, Small World's Ace Mahbaz, The Chelsea Detective's Sophie Stone, Halo's Olive Gray and Broadchurch's Joe Sims. However, the series marks a milestone in TV, with the majority of the cast and many members of the crew being deaf or using British Sign Language.

Speaking about Reunion - which was written by deaf writer William Mager - Director of BBC Drama Lindsay Salt said: "It’s no surprise that William Mager’s layered, intelligent and utterly compelling scripts have attracted a cast and crew of such exceptional calibre to bring this story to the BBC. A thriller like no other, this is a reunion you won’t want to miss."

While Rose's longest-running role was on EastEnders, she is best known for winning Strictly Come Dancing alongside professional dancer Giovanni Pernice in 2021. Their silent dance on the show took home the BAFTA TV Award for Must-See Moment the following year.

Since her Strictly win, Rose has been a judge on Sing for the King: The Search for the Coronation Choir and hosted her own documentary Rose Ayling-Ellis: Signs for Change. She's also been busy on the stage, taking part in the Strictly Come Dancing Live tour and starring in As You Like It as Celia, for which she was nominated for an Oliver Award.

The soap star wowed fans last year with a brand new hair style, showing off a new long bob. Posting pictures on Instagram, Rose wrote: "Wow! Last night, I won the Best West End Debut Performer award at The Stage Debut. Thank you sooooo much to everyone who has voted for me. It is a very cool category to be in."