Rose Ayling-Ellis and Catherine Tate lead new BBC commissions

The BBC also announced Cardiff as its new City of Comedy for 2023
Rose Ayling-Ellis and Catherine Tate lead new BBC commissions

Ellie Iorizzo, PA Senior Entertainment Reporter

Rose Ayling-Ellis is to front a “hard-hitting” BBC documentary on the challenges, discriminations and barriers faced by the deaf community.

The 27-year-old actress, who recently revealed she was leaving EastEnders, will explore positive movement for societal change and inclusion for deaf individuals.

The programme, entitled Signs For Change, is part of a number of BBC commissions announced at the Edinburgh TV festival on Thursday.

Strictly Come Dancing 2021
Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice with the glitterball trophy during the final of Strictly Come Dancing 2021 (Guy Levy/PA)

Ayling-Ellis, who won Strictly Come Dancing last year as the show’s first deaf contestant, said: “This documentary will be real, emotional and hard-hitting, and it is high time that the realities of deaf people in the UK were shared with a wider audience.

“My hope is to encourage people to look at our attitude as a society and to reflect on how we can improve the lives of deaf people.

“It will not paint me as an inspiration, but will instead lift the lid on the gritty stuff that we desperately need to confront.

“I have always admired the incredible, ground-breaking work of Rogan Productions, and I am thrilled to be working with James and the team to document my life, and to share what matters most to me.”

Emma Loach, BBC Commissioning Editor, said: “The impact Rose has had over the last few years is nothing short of remarkable.

Blue Planet to return for new series
Surfing of Bottlenose dolphins in South Africa from Blue Planet II (Steve Benjamin/BBC/PA)

“We are honoured to be working with Rose on this new BBC documentary which, by examining her own life and the experiences of others, will shed important light on the challenges still faced by deaf people in the UK.”

Other announcements made at the Edinburgh TV festival include a third instalment of Blue Planet, as well as Spy Wars: The Eighties which will tell the hidden story of real-life spies and traitors during the Cold War.

The BBC also re-emphasised a focus on comedy commissions as it announced that Cardiff will be its new City of Comedy for 2023.

Graham Norton Show – London
Catherine Tate (Isabel Infantes/PA)

The new comedies will be led by the six-part series Queen Of Oz, starring Catherine Tate as the black sheep of a fictional British royal family.

Bafta-award winning writers Paul Coleman and Sian Gibson have also been commissioned by the corporation for their new series Undoing Martin Parker.

The six-part series will star Gibson alongside Game Of Thrones actor Conleth Hill, George Costigan from Happy Valley and Worzel Gummidge’s Rosie Cavaliero.

Gibson said: “Luckily my fashion sense hasn’t changed since 1990 so it’s a dream to be reliving my youth and dusting off my crimpers with this amazing cast and wonderful team.”

Virgin Media BAFTA TV Awards 2019 – Arrivals – London
Sian Gibson (Matt Crossick/PA)

The BBC has also commissioned a fourth series of Guz Khan’s Bafta-nominated Man Like Mobeen, with Khan returning to the title role.

Khan said: “I’ve been away in Hollywood for a couple of years, but the entire time I was there I felt like I needed to come home and give my people the show they love.

“It’s still crazy to me that despite having not made Man Like Mobeen for three years, it still means so much to the people. So we’re making more, for you.

“As always, I promise authenticity both on and off screen. That’s how real change is made. I’m going to eat roti now, bye.”

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