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EastEnders actor Ayling-Ellis has made history as the BBC show’s first-ever deaf contestant.
She made her debut in Saturday night’s launch show (18 September), where it was revealed she had been paired with professional dancer Giovanni Pernice.
Viewers spotted hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkelman both signing certain words while speaking to Ayling-Ellis, who will have an interpreter on the show at all times.
At one stage, dancing pro Gorka Márquez could be seen signing applause.
During Ayling-Ellis’ first sit-down interview with Pernice, it was revealed the dancer had learnt the sign language for certain words in preparation for their rehearsals.
“I got so emotional watching Giovanni sign to Rose, like he learnt some sign language for her,” one viewer wrote. Another called it “brilliant inclusivity” while one viewer was left “teared up”.
“Seeing everyone sign is making me so happy I’m actually tearing up!” they wrote.
Find the biggest talking points from the launch show here.