Strictly Come Dancing winner Rose Ayling-Ellis has announced that she is to leave EastEnders after two years. The actress has been playing Frankie Lewis in the BBC One soap. She was the first deaf actor to play a regular character on the soap.
Since joining in 2020, Rose had been involved in a number of big storylines, including Frankie discovering she is the daughter of Danny Dyer’s character Mick Carter, who was abused as a child. The 27-year-old has said she'll "treasure" her time in Walford as her exit was confirmed.
Speaking of her departure, she said: "It’s been incredibly special to be EastEnders’ first regular deaf actor. I have loved my time on the show and Frankie has been such an awesome character to play, however now feels like the right time for me to move on and I am excited and ready for new challenges.
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She added: "I will always treasure my time on the show and all the incredible people I have worked with, who have supported my growth as an actor these last two years and given me so many amazing memories. I am excited for viewers to see Frankie’s exit storyline; I think it’s a really important one that will hit home for lots of people."
Rose also took to Instagram to share a series of images of herself posing on the set from her first to her last day. One image showed her gripping onto a signed 'Albert Square' sign and a bouquet of flowers. Anorher saw her posing with the Carter family. "Start from my very last day on the square," she penned.
"To my first successful pint in The Vic and end with the first photo of Frankie. It’s been incredibly special to be @bbceastenders first regular deaf actor. I have loved my time on the show and Frankie has been such an awesome character to play, however now feels like the right time for me to move on and I am excited and ready for new challenges. I will always treasure my time on the show and all the incredible people I have worked with, who have supported my growth as an actor these last two years and given me so many amazing memories."
And fans are absolutely gutted but were full of support for Rose. @kev_andrew said: "Gutted but onwards and upwards!" @sarah_louise92x commented: "Aw Frankie is one of my favourites- gonna miss you Rose. Good luck for your next project." @kerrywright2120 wrote: "It's been lovely seeing you on the show, your such an inspiration! Good luck in your next adventure."
Executive producer Chris Clenshaw said the EastEnders team are "incredibly proud” of everything Rose, 27, has achieved, describing her as a “trailblazer.” He added: "I have only had the pleasure to work with Rose for a short time but she has always been an incredible asset to EastEnders; not just as a phenomenal actor, but as an amazing company member too.
"As part of the Carter family, Rose has shone in important narratives such as discovering she’s Mick Carter’s daughter as a result of child abuse; and she will soon tackle the important issue highlighting women’s safety on the streets."
Rose's exit comes after on-screen dad Danny Dyer, who plays Mick, also confirmed he would be leaving the soap. He has become a staple of EastEnders as Queen Vic landlord Mick Carter, but after nine years he'll say his goodbyes with the BBC soap confirming his exit back in January.
Rose won Strictly’s glitterball trophy last year alongside professional partner Giovanni Pernice, marking a historic win on the hit BBC One dance contest as she became the first deaf contestant to take part. The pair later won the must-see moment award at the Baftas for their showstopping silent dance on the programme which left the judges and viewers in tears.
And earlier this week, it was revealed that Rose had teamed up with Barbie to release the first of its kind doll. Rose has joined Mattel to unveil their first doll with behind-the-ear hearing aids. She features in the Rose, Barbie & Friends campaign and is photographed alongside a cast of diverse models who reflect the new line of dolls, which includes the first Ken doll with vitiligo, one with a prosthetic limb and another with a wheelchair.
Rose, who has been deaf since birth, said of the new Barbie doll: "It’s so important for children to be able to see themselves represented in the toys they play with. When I was little, I would draw hearing aids on to my Barbie dolls to make them look like me, so I am thrilled that Mattel is releasing more dolls that encourage kids to celebrate and embrace their differences."
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