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Rose Ayling-Ellis: Signs For Change | Preview (BBC One)

Rose Ayling-Ellis fronts an exciting and groundbreaking film, challenging perceptions of the deaf community and putting audiences at the heart of the deaf experience.

Following the news that as of April 2022, British Sign Language has been officially recognised in law, this documentary follows Rose Ayling-Ellis on a personal journey as she speaks to those closest to her, as well as the people pushing boundaries within the deaf community.

Exploring whether society is adapting fast enough to allow equality amongst the deaf and hearing worlds, Rose challenges the perception of deafness as something that needs to be cured and highlights the beauty of sign language and the deaf experience.

Filmed over a period of time that sees her performing in Shakespeare’s As You Like It and reflecting on her time as the first regular deaf character in EastEnders and deaf contestant and winner of Strictly Come Dancing, Rose explores whether attitudes towards the deaf community are capable of changing.

Prior to joining Strictly, MP Rosie Cooper, whose parents were both deaf, had introduced a bill into Parliament, asking for BSL to be legally recognised. Rose meets with her to discuss the misconceptions and attitudes that many faced then and now.

Rose reflects on what it meant for her to grow up deaf, in discussion with her parents, the advice given to them from diagnosis, and questioning if anything has changed for those growing up deaf now. Rose meets deaf language expert Dr Kate Rowley and tests her own language abilities, raising questions about the role of sign language in her formative years.

She is introduced to Katie and her son Alvie, who were advised not to learn sign language and who has since started a petition to encourage the UK government to make it more accessible.

She also meets a charity that teaches deaf children to speak. Rose explores how technology plays a role in the lives of deaf people and asks whether the hearing world focuses too much on technological fixes and too little on encouraging sign language.

Throughout the film, Rose explores her deaf identity, peering into her personal world and who she is when surrounded by friends and family, as well as the Rose we see on screen and stage.

Rose Ayling-Ellis: Signs For Change airs Monday 26th June on 9pm.


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