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'Strictly Come Dancing' winner Rose Ayling-Ellis — things you didn't know

Rose Ayling-Ellis with Giovanni Pernice on Strictly Come Dancing 2021.
Rose Ayling-Ellis with Giovanni Pernice on Strictly Come Dancing 2021. (Image credit: BBC/Guy Levy)

Rose Ayling-Ellis has not only made history as the first deaf contestant to compete on and now win BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, but she also became a household favorite after taking on the role of Frankie Lewis in EastEnders in May 2020.

But EastEnders isn't Rose's first role, and there are plenty of things you might not know about the soap star. From her time on Casualty to an instrument her mum has forbidden her to play in the house, here's everything you need to know about Rose Ayling-Ellis ...

Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni with the Glitterball trophy.

Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni with the Glitterball trophy before claiming it on Saturday night. (Image credit: BBC/Kieron McCarron)

1. Rose Ayling-Ellis once tried practising the recorder - but her mum banned her!

Rose's deafness hasn't stopped her from enjoying music, telling The Guardian that her favourite artists are Dolly Parton and Stevie Wonder and that she's a big fan of soul music. She also admitted she once practised the recorder, but was soon stopped by her mum. Rose confessed: "I played so badly my mum banned me from practising at home".

2. She enjoys travelling

Based on Rose's Instagram she's a keen traveller, and has visited places such as Columbia, Peru, Scotland, Italy, Iceland as well as taking a trip on the Amazon river. She frequently shares photos from her travels to her followers.

3. She communicates in a mixture of oral English and British Sign Language (BSL)

In an interview with National Deaf Children's Society, Rose explains that she often has to perform using Sign Supported English (SSE) to reflect her own communication style and make it clear for audiences.

She said: "When I use SSE, it’s like thinking of two languages at the same time while performing, so a BSL monitor checks my BSL is clear on-screen. I also have a BSL interpreter on set at all times, paid for by my Access to Work.

"My ambition is to amplify deaf voices and to stop people assuming deaf people can’t achieve. The challenges of dealing with people’s lack of understanding made me more determined and want to work harder."

Frankie Lewis is scared in EastEnders

Rose has played 'EastEnders' character Frankie since May 2020.  (Image credit: BBC)

4. She's close to her 'EastEnders' co-star Danny Dyer

Rose has an unlikely bond with EastEnders co-star Danny Dyer, who plays Mick Carter. MyLondon reports that Rose said: "He even walks backwards with me to set, just so I can see his face, which says a lot about him... I was so nervous about meeting him, and was worried if I would be able to lip-read him."

Danny and Rose have also taken part in interviews to support deaf talent, via the UK Deaf Talent Collective. 

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5. Her first role was in a short film

Rose's first role was in a short film called The End which was directed by deaf filmmaker Ted Evans. The 25 minute short's synopsis is as follows: 'Starting in the 1980's, The End follows four Deaf children over 60 years. After the introduction of a treatment aimed at eradicating deafness, the very survival of Deaf language and culture is at stake.'

The End isn't the only short Rose has been in, as she's also starred in The Quiet Ones and Reverbations. Outside of short films, she had a role on BBC's Casualty where she played the role of Bianca Sinclair in 2017.

Rose Ayling-Ellis's fact file

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about Rose Ayling-Ellis...

How old is Rose Ayling-Ellis?

Rose Ayling-Ellis is 27 years old. She was born on 17 November 1994.

Is Rose Ayling-Ellis married?

Rose is not married, but she does have a long-term boyfriend, Sam. However not much is known about him as they keep their relationship private.

Does Rose Ayling-Ellis have children?

No, Rose does not have any children.

Where was Rose Ayling-Ellis born?

Rose was born in Manchester, England.

How tall is Rose Ayling-Ellis?

Rose Ayling-Ellis is 5ft 5in.

Twitter: @RoseAylingEllis

Instagram: @rose.a.e

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.

Lucy joined the WhatToWatch.com team in 2021, where she writes series guides for must-watch programmes and the latest TV news. Originally from Northumberland, she graduated from Oxford Brookes University in 2016 with a degree in Film Studies and moved to London to begin a career writing about entertainment.


She is a Rotten Tomatoes approved film critic and has a huge passion for cinema. She especially loves horror, thriller and anything crime-related. Her favourite TV programmes include Inside No 9, American Horror Story and Black Mirror, but recently she's loving everything about Apple TV's Severance