Rose Ayling-Ellis

Rose Ayling-Ellis
Born (1994-11-17) 17 November 1994 (age 27)
Shepway, Kent, England
Years active2011–present

Rose Lucinda Ayling-Ellis (born 17 November 1994) is a British actress. Deaf since birth, she is a British Sign Language user. She is known for playing Frankie Lewis in the BBC soap opera EastEnders (2020–present). In 2021, she became the first deaf contestant on Strictly Come Dancing, and with professional Giovanni Pernice, won the nineteenth series.

Early life

Ayling-Ellis was born on 17 November 1994,[1] in Shepway and grew up in Hythe.[2] She was born deaf.[3] As a child, she took part in a filming weekend run by the National Deaf Children's Society.[4] During the weekend, she met deaf film director Ted Evans, who later cast her in his award-winning short film The End.[5] She then applied to Deafinitely Youth Theatre.[6]


Ayling-Ellis's first role was in a short film called The End directed by deaf filmmaker Ted Evans. The 25-minute short is summarised as: "Starting in the 1980's, The End follows four deaf children over 60 years."[7]

She has taken part in a number of stage productions, including Mother Courage (Royal Exchange);[8] Faith, Hope And Charity R&D (National Theatre) and Herons Workshop (Lyric Hammersmith). Her television credits include Summer of Rockets and Casualty.[9] She appeared in The Vamps music video for "Middle of the Night", and in the short film Almost with Vilma Jackson.[10] Since 2020, Ayling-Ellis has been playing Frankie Lewis in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. Her character was originally written by the deaf journalist and scriptwriter Charlie Swinbourne.[11]

In 2021, Ayling-Ellis became the first deaf contestant on BBC's Strictly Come Dancing.[7] She participated in and won the show's nineteenth series, with professional Giovanni Pernice.[12][8] In an interview before the start of the series she said:

I have a hearing aid, so I pick up some of the music and I can hear the beat. I can hear someone singing, but I can't identify exact words. I also feel the vibrations.[13]

Ayling-Ellis and Pernice scored 40 (full marks) for their tango in week six, which was the earliest "perfect score" in the show's history.[14] In week eight, their Couple's Choice dance featured a period of silence, included as a tribute to the deaf community. Described by judge Anton Du Beke as "the greatest thing I've ever seen on the show",[15][16] it earned them the 2021 Heat Unmissables Award for TV Moment of the Year.[17] On 18 December they won the series.[18][19]

Personal life

In an interview with the National Deaf Children's Society, Ayling-Ellis explained that she often has to perform using Sign-supported English (SSE) to reflect her own communication style and make it clear for audiences. Her deafness has not stopped her from enjoying music, and she told The Guardian that her favourite artists are Dolly Parton and Stevie Wonder, and that she is a big fan of soul music.[7]


Year Title Role Notes
2011 The End Sophia Short film
2015 The Quiet Ones Charlotte Short film
2017 Casualty Bianca Sinclair 1 episode
2018 Reverbations Josephine Short film
2019 Summer of Rockets Esther Main role
2020 Almost Sarah Short film
2020–present EastEnders Frankie Lewis Series regular
2021 Strictly Come Dancing Herself Winner

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominee/work Result Ref.
2021 Digital Spy Reader Awards Best Soap Newcomer EastEnders Third [20]
2021 National Television Awards Newcomer Nominated [21]
2021 Heat Unmissables Awards TV Moment of the Year (shared with Giovanni Pernice) Silent Dance on Strictly Come Dancing Won [17]


  1. ^ "Strictly's Giovanni Pernice pictured with Rose Ayling-Ellis' boyfriend out for dinner". Entertainment Daily. 19 November 2021. Retrieved 16 December 2021.
  2. ^ Castle, Liane (19 November 2021). "EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis from Hythe tipped to win the Strictly Come Dancing glitterball". KentOnline. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
  3. ^ Wilkins, Bridie (6 November 2021). "Strictly made a big change for Rose Ayling-Ellis that we never knew about". Hello!. Archived from the original on 19 December 2021. Retrieved 19 December 2021.
  4. ^ "Starring in EastEnders | My deafness didn't stop me".
  5. ^ "The End (Zoom Focus 2011)". BSL Zone.
  6. ^ "Strictly exclusive! Winner Rose Ayling-Ellis on the glitterball, Giovanni and the joy of being deaf". The Guardian. 19 December 2021. Retrieved 19 December 2021.
  7. ^ a b c Buglass, Lucy (22 September 2021). "Rose Ayling-Ellis — things you didn't know about the 'EastEnders' actress". Retrieved 16 December 2021.
  8. ^ a b "Mother Courage and Her Children review – canny power from Julie Hesmondhalgh". the Guardian. 17 February 2019.
  9. ^ "Meet: Rose Ayling-Ellis, star of BBC's Summer of Rockets". The Limping Chicken. 28 August 2019.
  10. ^ "Almost". BSL Zone.
  11. ^ Patterson, Stephen (1 February 2021). "EastEnders star confirms Frankie's deaf identity will be explored further". Metro.
  12. ^ O'Connor, Roisin (10 October 2021). "Rose Ayling-Ellis on becoming Strictly Come Dancing's first deaf contestant". The Independent. Retrieved 23 November 2021.
  13. ^ McIntosh, Steven (15 September 2021). "Strictly Come Dancing: How Rose Ayling-Ellis will hear the music". BBC News. Retrieved 19 December 2021.
  14. ^ Bagwell, Matt (31 October 2021). "Strictly Come Dancing: Rose Ayling-Ellis And Giovanni Pernice Secure Earliest 40 In Show's History With 'Perfect' Tango". HuffPost. Archived from the original on 11 December 2021. Retrieved 11 December 2021.
  15. ^ Duke, Simon (13 November 2021). "Strictly's Anton cracks with emotion giving verdict on Rose dance". ChronicleLive. Retrieved 14 November 2021.
  16. ^ "Rose Ayling-Ellis Moves Strictly Viewers To Tears With Emotional Performance Dedicated To The Deaf Community". HuffPost UK. 14 November 2021. Retrieved 14 November 2021.
  17. ^ a b Hilton, Boyd (7 December 2021). "heat Unmissables Awards 2021: see the full list of winners". Heat. Archived from the original on 11 December 2021. Retrieved 11 December 2021.
  18. ^ "Strictly Come Dancing 2021: Rose Ayling-Ellis becomes first deaf winner". BBC News. 19 December 2021. Retrieved 19 December 2021.
  19. ^ "Strictly exclusive! Winner Rose Ayling-Ellis on the glitterball, Giovanni and the joy of being deaf". The Guardian. 19 December 2021.
  20. ^ Robinson, Abby (25 December 2020). "EastEnders triumphs at Digital Spy Reader Awards 2020". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 6 November 2021. Retrieved 6 November 2021.
  21. ^ Wehrstedt, Lisa (9 September 2021). "NTAs 2021 winners revealed, as Line of Duty and Coronation Street win major awards". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 12 December 2021. Retrieved 12 December 2021.

External links


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