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Strictly Come Dancing – celebrating deaf awareness

RNID staff and our supporters have loved watching Rose Ayling-Ellis every week on Strictly Come Dancing. We’re rooting for her to go all the way and win the Strictly glitterball.

Rose Ayling-Ellis pictured in front of a glittering background
Photo: BBC

Rose is Strictly’s first deaf contestant and she has become a role model for thousands of deaf people in the UK. She’s also raising awareness amongst the general public watching the show and through all the commentary in the media.

We are thrilled that, because of Rose, more people in the UK are interested in learning British Sign Language. And, every week, viewers are learning about the communication support that can so easily be put in place to ensure every deaf person can achieve their potential. We hope this awareness will continue to grow long after Strictly has ended.

Annie Harris, our Advocacy Officer who is profoundly deaf, said:

“Watching Rose on Strictly has just blown me away. It’s amazing watching somebody who’s exactly like me dancing on national TV and making such a big impact on the deaf community.

“There are so many times as a deaf person where people say, ‘You can’t do that because you’re deaf’ and it’s fantastic for the hearing community to watch Rose and see that deaf people can do anything – whether that’s dancing, acting, or anything else.

“It’s amazing to see the surge of interest in people wanting to learn BSL, as even learning a little bit of sign language can make so much difference to the deaf community. I hope the awareness Rose has brought doesn’t stop at Strictly, but that we’ll continue to see deaf representation in the media, and that deaf issues will remain at the forefront of people’s minds.”

Mark Atkinson, our Chief Executive, said:

“Deaf representation on TV is so important, especially on a major show like Strictly. Rose has shown us two things: firstly, that she’s an outstanding dancer. And secondly, that deaf people can do anything, but society must adapt and make sure it meets their communication needs.

“It’s fantastic to see such an increase in people wanting to learn sign language and find out how they can communicate more inclusively with people who are deaf or have hearing loss. Everyone at RNID is fully behind Rose. She’s a brilliant role model and we hope she goes all the way to win the competition.”

If you would like to interview Annie, Mark or another spokesperson or request a comment from RNID, please contact prteam@rnid.org.uk or call 07990 441402.