Strictly live tour to have BSL interpreters after campaign by Rose Ayling-Ellis
The Strictly Come Dancing live tour shows will all have British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters, following a campaign by show champion Rose Ayling-Ellis.
Professional dancer Janette Manrara, who stars in the show and will host the tour, said the changes will ensure that “everyone feels included” and is able to enjoy the performances.
Ayling-Ellis, who was the popular dancing contest’s first deaf contestant, has called for BSL to be given legal status, describing the current situation as “a big problem” for the deaf community.
Speaking to the BBC’s The One Show, Manrara said the awareness raised by the Eastenders actress, 27, was a “wonderful thing”.
“Rose really created such an awareness for the deaf community,” she said.
“Not just on the main show on Strictly but also on the live tour. Myself I’m trying to make sure I put captions on as much as possible with anything that I post.
“That’s the beauty of the show.
“You take someone like Rose who comes in, does such a fantastic job and now on the live tour we’re going to have an interpreter at every single show to make sure everyone feels included.
“So they can really enjoy the show as well.”
Although BSL was recognised as a language in its own right by the Government in 2003, it has no legal protection.
Ayling-Ellis said she had spoken to Labour MP Rosie Cooper about her Bill in Parliament, which aims to declare BSL as an official language of the UK.
She and her professional dance partner Giovanni Pernice defeated Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite and his partner Johannes Radebe, the first all-male pairing on the show, in Strictly’s closely fought final before Christmas.
Pernice said he had since decided to have an interpreter on his upcoming solo tour.
The Strictly live tour is due to kick off on January 20 at the Utilita Arena, in Birmingham.