Rose Ayling-Ellis celebrated Strictly win with prosecco – and dancing

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Rose Ayling-Ellis celebrated by drinking prosecco and dancing after making history as the first deaf winner of Strictly Come Dancing.

The actress triumphed in the BBC One show alongside partner Giovanni Pernice, defeating Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite and his partner Johannes Radebe, the first all-male pairing on the show.

An average of 11 million people watched the final, giving BBC One a 57.8% share in the overnight ratings.

In an interview with The Guardian, Ayling-Ellis said she had an out of body experience when she found out that she had won.

“I was so shocked”, she said. “It was really weird – it felt like I was out of my body for a moment.

“We celebrated last night. There was a bit of prosecco, and dancing.”

As a deaf dancer, Ayling-Ellis felt that she had something to prove when she entered the show.

“On the first week, I was really shy, but now I can be myself, and I definitely feel more comfortable in my own skin”, she said.

“The first week, I was like, ‘Everyone’s going to be expecting a deaf person to dance really badly’.

“But I definitely proved a lot of people wrong.”

Equality charity Scope has described Ayling-Ellis’s participation in the show as a “massive step forward” for disability representation.

During the live final – which went ahead without contestant AJ Odudu, who pulled out on Friday due to an ankle injury – both couples performed three dances.

Ayling-Ellis, who is the show’s first deaf contestant, and Pernice dazzled by performing a quickstep, their couple’s choice routine and a showdance.

After their Romeo and Juliet-inspired showdance to The Rose by Bette Middler, Ayling-Ellis said: “I’ve become more me than I’ve ever been because of Strictly.”

Both pairs had matching scores during the final, with both receiving a perfect 40 for their revisited favourite dances and their showdances. However, the judges’ marks did not count towards the final result, which was solely down to the public vote.

The final peaked with 12.3 million watching.

Ratings have increased over the series and the numbers for the final mark a significant increase on the launch show in September, which was watched by an average of seven million viewers.

Strictly Come Dancing will return on Christmas Day for a festive special on BBC One.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting