Strictly champion Rose Ayling-Ellis leaves EastEnders after two years

Strictly Come Dancing winner Rose Ayling-Ellis is leaving EastEnders later this year, the BBC has announced.

The actress, 27, won Strictly’s glitterball trophy last year alongside professional partner Giovanni Pernice, marking a historic win on the BBC One show as she became the first deaf contestant to take part.

She joined EastEnders in 2020 playing Frankie Lewis.

Ayling-Ellis said of her departure: “It’s been incredibly special to be EastEnders’ first regular deaf actor. I have loved my time on the show and Frankie has been such an awesome character to play, however now feels like the right time for me to move on and I am excited and ready for new challenges.

“I will always treasure my time on the show and all the incredible people I have worked with who have supported my growth as an actor these last two years and given me so many amazing memories.

“I am excited for viewers to see Frankie’s exit storyline; I think it’s a really important one that will hit home for lots of people.”

Rose posted a series of photos on Instagram of her time on Albert Square behind the scenes following her exit announcement.

The pictures showed the actress on her first and last day on set, as well others of her hanging out with the cast and crew.

Eastenders executive producer Chris Clenshaw said: “I have only had the pleasure to work with Rose for a short time but she has always been an incredible asset to EastEnders; not just as a phenomenal actor, but as an amazing company member too.

"As part of the Carter family, Rose has shone in important narratives such as discovering she’s Mick Carter’s daughter as a result of child abuse; and she will soon tackle the important issue highlighting women’s safety on the streets.

"We at EastEnders are incredibly proud of everything Rose has achieved – she’s a real trailblazer, and we wish her every success."

Last year, Rose appeared as the first deaf contestant on Strictly as she was partnered up with professional dancer Giovanni, 31, and the pair went on to win the series.

Rose was admired particularly during her time in the competition for her Couple’s Choice performance with Giovanni, as the pair danced in silence in a touching tribute to the deaf community, leaving the judges and viewers in tears.

The dancing duo went on to win a TV Bafta Award for that special must-see moment in May.


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