Strictly Come Dancing team learn sign language to help first deaf star Rose Ayling-Ellis

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The EastEnders star, 31, who has played Frankie Lewis since 2020, has made history as part of the line-up of the new series. Sarah James, who has been executive producer of the show since 2019, said: “Already myself and the team have learned a lot from Rose.

“She’s an amazing person, she is also very honest about what she needs and what we need to adapt.

“All of the team are doing deaf awareness training, which has been brilliant, and we’re learning some sign language.

“Obviously, Rose will need an interpreter with her at all times so she will always have one with her during the training.”

Viewers may occasionally see an interpreter on camera, said Sarah. She added: “She’ll need somebody to convey the judge’s comments and her chats with Claudia Winkleman. Rose is looking forward to the show.”

Great British Bake Off star John Whaite, 32, will also make history on the show as part of the first male same-sex pairing.

It follows from the first all-female pair of Olympic boxer Nicola Adams and Katya Jones last year. 

Sarah said: “It’s something we’ve always wanted to do. He’s already proven he’s a fantastic spokesperson and he’s a household name and he is just a brilliant guy. 

 “Nicola and Katya were amazing. They’ve 100 percent paved the way. Research we’ve done has proven everybody really, really appreciated that partnership.”

Most of the professional group routines will be filmed in advance, as they were last year, to help avoid Covid disruption.

Last year, the isolation period for a positive test was 14 days, but this year it is down to ten days.

Sarah said: “So if a celebrity has a positive test, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are out. They could miss a week and still get enough training in to return. Keeping everybody safe is our priority.” 

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One on Saturday at 7.45pm

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