Strictly winner Rose Ayling-Ellis to be first celebrity to read CBeebies Bedtime Story using sign language

·2-min read
Strictly winner Rose Ayling-Ellis has been announced as the first ever celebrity to read CBeebies Bedtime Story using sign language (PA)
Strictly winner Rose Ayling-Ellis has been announced as the first ever celebrity to read CBeebies Bedtime Story using sign language (PA)

Strictly Come Dancing winner Rose Ayling-Ellis has been confirmed as the first ever celebrity to read CBeebies Bedtime Story using sign language.

The 27-year-old EastEnders actress, who has been deaf since birth, will tell the tale Can Bears Ski? in British Sign Language (BSL) to mark Deaf Awareness Week which this year runs from May 2 until May 8.

Can Bears Ski? was first released in 2020 and was written by Raymond Antrobus with illustrations by Polly Dunbar.

The book follows the journey of a son and father as they discover and manage deafness and draw’s on the author’s own experiences of being deaf.

It will be the first ever BSL-signed story on CBeebies and will see Ayling-Ellis speak only twice throughout the entire programme.

She will speak once at the beginning to introduce the story and at the end to wish the audience goodnight.

Also, the story will have subtitles.

The episode will air on the children’s channel at 6:50pm on Sunday May 8 before being made available to stream on-demand via BBC iPlayer.

Ayling-Ellis originally found fame playing Frankie Lewis in the long-running BBC soap before becoming the first deaf person to win Strictly in 2021.

Strictly Come Dancing winners Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice with the glitterball trophy in December 2021 (Guy Levy/BBC/PA) (PA Media)
Strictly Come Dancing winners Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice with the glitterball trophy in December 2021 (Guy Levy/BBC/PA) (PA Media)

The actress has actively campaigned for BSL to be recognised as an official language and to be given legal status in the UK.

Speaking about her involvement in a statement, Ayling-Ellis said: “I am super excited to read my first CBeebies bedtime story in British Sign Language and it’s even more wonderful to share a story written by a deaf writer.

“I hope deaf children enjoy the story and it inspires hearing children to want to learn BSL more.”

Dolly Parton, Kate Middleton and Ed Sheeran are among the celebrity names who have previously narrated stories for the show.