EastEnders and Strictly star Rose Ayling-Ellis has revealed she is creating a new TV comedy-drama that will be "totally bilingual".


Ayling-Ellis, who is deaf and a British Sign Language user, announced the project during her Alternative MacTaggart lecture at this year's Edinburgh International TV Festival.

She added that the project would be "female focused", saying: "My journey so far hasn’t been easy, and the future will certainly have its challenges, but it is a huge privilege to be able tell deaf stories and for them to have the potential to reach an expanding audience. I have created and am currently developing a new comedy-drama series that will be totally bilingual and female focused."

Ayling-Ellis added that she is "done with being the token deaf character" in acting projects. "I believe that diverse, rich, and fascinating deaf stories are ready to go mainstream and that we can do this, together," she said.

During her speech, Ayling-Ellis also criticised the portrayal of her EastEnders character Frankie Lewis, suggesting that the part was often written as a "deaf stereotype".

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She also revealed that she had initially been "wary" about signing up to appear on the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, but that the production team implemented a number of changes to make the show more accessible.

Ayling-Ellis, who went on to win the 19th season of Strictly alongside her dance partner Giovanni Pernice, announced earlier this month that she would be departing EastEnders and had already filmed her final scenes.

Rose Ayling-Ellis attends the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards at The Royal Festival Hall
Rose Ayling-Ellis. Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

She is also working on a new documentary that will see her disclose the daily challenges, discrimination and barriers which are faced by deaf individuals.

The BBC has said the documentary will allow Ayling-Ellis "to explore positive movement for societal change and inclusion for deaf individuals" while also questioning "if society is adapting fast enough to allow for equality amongst the deaf and hearing worlds".

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