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Rose Ayling-Ellis praises Eastenders exit

Rose Ayling Ellis

Rose Ayling-Ellis has expressed how proud she is of the team behind Eastenders on how they represented people with hearing loss.

The actress, who played Frankie Lewis for two years in the long-running BBC soap, spoke to RadioTimes.com in an exclusive interview about her time on the show and what the future has in store.

She told the publication:  "EastEnders needs to have good credit for [deaf representation], because they actually hired me onto the show to become a regular, full-time. Not many other programmes have done that, so thank you so much to EastEnders for that.

"But because it was so fast-paced – we had directors every four weeks, we had new writers coming in so quickly – it’s not EastEnders’ fault, it’s the whole TV system. It’s not designed with disabled people in mind.

"So really we have to go back to the root of the problem, not just blaming one programme, because there’s no blame on them."

Frankie was seen leaving Albert Square earlier this year, heading off to Scotland after she was harassed walking home from a night out.

Ayling-Ellis continued: "I'm really happy with my exit, but it's not going to be perfect overnight. It's a lot of work."

She added: "Just keep the conversation going and keep talking about it. I think it’s better that people are trying and I feel like EastEnders did try, it wasn’t perfect, but it’s better trying than not trying."

Elaborating on her character’s exit Ayling-Ellis said:  "It wasn't just about a deaf storyline, it was also really good to show a deaf character who also experienced how all other women experience sexual harassment – but in her unique way. For example, some women can hear guys following them but for a deaf person, you see a shadow on the floor…

"I feel like now that I've finished EastEnders, I want to do more TV programmes and explore more about deaf people’s experiences. It's not just about deaf story, but it's also a storyline that just happened to be deaf."

Rose Ayling-Ellis has been chosen for this year’s BAFTA Breakthrough scheme.

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