Rose Ayling-Ellis, a pioneer for the deaf community and BSL campaigner, will be delivering the Alternative MacTaggart lecture. In an uncompromising speech about her experiences as a deaf actress and, in a timely follow up to Jack Thorne’s blistering 2021 MacTaggart lecture, she will be addressing the stark realities of life as a young person with disability in this industry.

Deaf since birth, Ayling-Ellis is best known for her acting work on stage and screen including her ground-breaking role as Frankie Lewis in EastEnders and as the first deaf contestant to take part in Strictly Come Dancing, which she won with professional partner, Giovanni Pernice, and received a TV BAFTA for her now iconic Couples Choice performance. She is also the first person to sign a Bedtime Story on CBeebies and has successfully campaigned for BSL to be recognised as an official language in the UK.

“I am so excited to be delivering this year’s Alternative MacTaggart lecture. It is a privilege to be able to use my platform to raise awareness and understanding of the deaf community. It is vital that we keep talking about the realities faced by those with disabilities in the industry, and I am so thrilled to be given the opportunity to address these important issues at this year’s lecture”

Rose Ayling-Ellis

The announcement of the Alternative MacTaggart speaker comes as the TV Festival reveals the first wave of speakers for the jam-packed 2022 schedule. See all our announcements here.