Strictly’s first deaf star Rose Ayling-Ellis will learn to dance by ‘feeling the vibrations’

Strictly Come Dancing’s first deaf star Rose Ayling-Ellis will learn the show’s routines by ‘feeling the vibrations’ and ‘reading her partner’s body language’ – after admitting she can barely hear music.

The EastEnders actor, 26, who plays Danny Dyer’s on-screen daughter Frankie Lewis in the BBC soap, told MailOnline while she enjoys listening to music, she can’t identify lyrics so, will rely on the beat and counting in her head to master timings.

Rose explained it’s a ‘common misconception’ that people who are deaf can’t have a relationship with music, and she hopes to break down the stereotype during her time on the popular dance competition.


Focussed: Strictly Come Dancing’s first deaf star Rose Ayling-Ellis will learn the show’s routines by ‘feeling the vibrations’ and ‘reading her partner’s body language’

Ahead of the show’s launch on September 18, Rose said: ‘To be the first deaf person on Strictly, I feel it will be a good chance to break the stereotype of what deaf people can and can’t do. 

‘A lot of people think being deaf means you can’t hear the music and enjoy dancing. I thought it would be a good platform for me to break that stereotype.


‘It is a common misconception that deaf people can’t enjoy music. 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.

‘I will be focusing on reading my partner’s body language plus counting in my head, which will help me with timing.

‘I can’t identify exact words’: The EastEnders actor explained while she enjoys listening to music, she can’t identify lyrics so, will rely on the beat and counting to master timings

‘So, for me it’s a combination of everything however, not all deaf people are the same, every deaf person will have their own unique experience with music. I do love music and I can’t wait to be taught how to dance at a professional level for Strictly.’

Rose, who also broke new ground last year when she became the first deaf actor to play a deaf character on EastEnders, hopes her successful TV career proves more people from the community should be hired in entertainment. 

She said: ‘The deaf community are really excited and they just hope a lot of good will come out of that will improve the experiences of deaf people. 

‘They hope a lot of positives and people’s attitudes will change so then deaf people will have better experiences, get more jobs and hire more deaf people and get them involved in the industry, and for them to become more included.’

‘So excited’: The soap star, who plays Danny Dyer’s on-screen daughter, said he was the first person she told on set of EastEnders and he’s ‘incredibly proud’ of her achievements 

Rose has a close working relationship with the Carter family, which includes actor Danny Dyer, 44, and former Strictly contestant Kellie Bright, 45, who play Mick and Linda, and their on-screen daughter Nancy, portrayed by Maddy Hill, 31.

She said: ‘I told Danny first, and he was really, really incredibly proud. Then I told Maddy and Kelly, they’re all so, so excited for me. I hope they will come and support me.

‘I’ve had advice from Natalie Cassidy who plays Sonia, she said always be comfortable in what you wear, Emma Barton, who plays Honey, she told me to be myself and who I am and if I’m shy or being awkward, just be myself.

‘Kellie was really, really good on the show, she was incredible, and I bet a lot of people didn’t expect that from her.’

  • Strictly Come Dancing returns on Saturday 18th September on BBC One 



Age: 36

Profession: McFly musician

Tom says: ‘I’m so pleased the news is out it’s been so hard keeping it secret. Equal parts excited and terrified.’

Fun fact: Tom’s McFly bandmate Harry Judd won Strictly Come Dancing in 2011. Tom’s wife Giovanna Fletcher is the reigning champion of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!


 Age: 48

Profession: Actor and comedian

Robert says: ‘It’s very exciting but with a slight undertone of quivering terror.’

Fun Fact: Robert squeezed into a shiny leotard to take the title of Let’s Dance For Comic Relief in 2009, performing What A Feeling from ’80s film Flashdance, beating the likes of Keith Lemon and Paddy McGuinness to the title. 


Age: 27

Profession: CBBC presenter  

Rhys says: ‘I have dreamt about being on this show, and I know for a fact that it is going to exceed every expectation’

Fun fact: Rhys has been an actor since the age of ten, performing alongside Matt Smith and Hugh Bonneville. 


 Age: 28

Profession: Actress

Katie says: ‘I’m really not a dancer, but I’m so excited to learn a new skill on this crazy journey and cannot wait to slip into some sequins along the way.’

Fun fact: Katie, who played Sinead Tinker in Corrie, won a NTA for Best Serial Drama Performance in 2020. 


Age: 19

Profession: CBBC presenter

Tilly says: ’I’m going to put my heart and soul into this and can’t wait to get my dancing shoes on!’

Fun fact: Tilly’s father is celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and the pair often star in dancing TikTok videos.


Age: 52

Profession: Actress

Nina says: ‘I think I should do this before I’m too old and can’t walk anymore. I just want to grab life by the horns and just enjoy it.’

Fun fact: Nina is a JDRF Ambassador and was awarded an OBE in the 2021 New Year’s Honours List. 


Age: 26

Profession: Athlete 

Adam says: ‘I’m really looking forward to doing something totally different and challenging myself away from the pool.’

Fun fact: Adam becoming the first British swimmer to defend an Olympic title at Tokyo 2020.



Age: 38

Profession: Rugby player and sports pundit

Ugo says: ‘What a dream come true! Strictly is the biggest entertainment show on TV and I can’t wait to show everyone I’ve got more than just dad dancing moves.

Fun fact: Beginning his rugby career at Harlequins in 2002, Ugo went on to make 241 appearances for the club where he scored 89 tries, won a Premiership and made his England debut in 2008.



Age: 33

Profession: TV presenter

 AJ says: ‘I think it’s going to be really challenging. I can’t wait for the sequins, the wigs, the glitz and the glamour.’

Fun Fact: Apocalypse Wow hosts AJ has featured on a whopping 14 TV shows this year, competing in the likes oF Cooking With The Stars and Celebrity Karaoke Club. She has appeared as a panelist on Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two in the past, too.


Age: 33

Profession: Great British Bake Off Winner and TV chef

 John says: ‘I’m so grateful, excited, and nervous to be joining the Strictly 2021 family… I’ve been wearing sequins and jazzy attire since I was three years old and can’t wait to hurl myself, full throttle, around the most glamorous dance floor on earth’

Fun Fact: John is set tp be part of the first ever all-male partnering – the first in 17 years of the show.


Age: 37  

Profession:  Businesswoman

Sara says: ‘I’m really nervous because so far the producers keep asking me if I can dance… Truth be told – I haven’t got a clue! I’ve not danced since I did ballet lessons when I was little.’

Fun fact: Sara was the youngest ever dragon on BBC show Dragons’ Den.


Age: 44 

Profession: Journalist

Dan says: ‘I’m enjoying the experience when it starts of learning to dance. I’ll be honest I’m not making room on any shelves in my house for the glitterball.’

Fun fact: Dan recently quit Football Focus after 12 years at the helm and has been covering Tokyo Olympics.


Age: 55

Profession: Actor

Greg says: ‘It’s about being out there and exposing yourself as someone who can’t dance, and learning.’

Fun fact: Greg is married to the actress Emma Thompson who he met while filming Sense and Sensibility.  


Age: 30

Profession: Actress

Rose says: ‘I hope I will do the deaf community proud and break down more barriers. I am also very excited to learn an incredible new skill.’

 Fun fact: Rose will make history as Strictly’s first deaf contestant. 


Age: 41

Profession: Comedienne 

Judi says: ‘I’m truly looking forward to pushing myself in something that I could have only dreamed of doing and now it’s actually coming true!’

Fun fact: Judi began comedy when she performed a set in front of her class for a degree module.