Who is Rose Ayling-Ellis? Eastenders introduce first deaf character Frankie

EASTENDERS is set to introduce the soap’s first ever mainstream deaf character to console Ben Mitchell as he struggles to cope with his additional loss of hearing.

Actress Rose Ayling-Ellis will make her debut as Frankie on the soap as the Square's residents reel from the boat crash – which killed off Dennis Mitchell and saw Ben sustain a nasty head injury.

What do we know about Frankie’s upcoming storylines in EastEnders?

EastEnders have confirmed that Frankie’s upcoming storylines will centre around Ben’s loss of hearing following the boat tragedy.

Fans will know that Ben has been partially deaf since childhood after he caught meningitis.

Viewers were left fearing that his deafness had worsened after he resurfaced from the Thames disorientated and only able to hear ringing.

And it seems they were right – viewers will soon learn that Ben has lost his hearing for good after sustaining a head injury during the crash.

Ben’s boyfriend Callum Highway will come to the rescue and search for ways to help Ben cope with being deaf.

Callum will eventually put Ben in touch with Frankie.

A soap insider said: “Ben’s life is going to be turned upside down but, thanks to Frankie, he gets some unexpected help.

“The storyline will highlight some of the challenges deaf people go through.”

In a first for the soap, Frankie and Ben are going to communicate using sign language.

EastEnders have announced that they have worked closely with the National Deaf Children’s Society to make sure the storyline is accurate.

Soap writer Charlie Swinbourne pitched the idea for the storyline to EastEnders.

He said: “Being deaf myself I’ve always looked out for Ben Mitchell’s character because he was the one who wore hearing aids.

“I wanted to explore how losing more of his hearing affects Ben, as well as how it makes him see the world — and his deaf identity.”

What do fans think about the new storyline?

Fans have flocked to Twitter to express their excitement about the new storyline.

One fan tweeted: "I get some people might not like the deaf SL but I applaud #Eastenders for wanting to tell this story because it’s clearly important to them and trusting Max to tell it."

Another fan added: "Annoys me that people think Ben can’t be funny, or a smart ass or a bad boy character anymore if he’s hearing impaired. Having a disability or impairment doesn’t mean u change ur personality. He’s still the same person. Shows how important it is to bring awareness to it. #Ballum."


What do we know about Rose Ayling-Ellis?

EastEnders' newcomer Frankie will be played by deaf actress Rose Ayling-Ellis.

Rose has previously starred as Bianca Sinclair in Casualty and as Esther in Stephen Poliakoff’s drama Summer of Rockets.

The young star has also appeared in The Vamps music video Middle of the Night and played Kattrin in a modern adaptation of Mother Courage at the Royal exchange Theatre in Manchester.

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