Soap EastEnders is introducing a new character to help Ben Mitchell come to terms with losing his hearing.
Following the boat accident, viewers will discover Ben has suffered a head injury, which has caused additional loss of hearing, and he will find it hard to communicate.
Newcomer Frankie, who is deaf, will help him deal with his new challenges.
Frankie is set to be played by deaf actress Rose Ayling-Ellis.
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Speaking about joining the show, Rose said: “I am so excited to be joining the cast of EastEnders and I am equally proud to be one of the first deaf actresses to be part of this iconic soap.
“I can’t wait for everyone to meet Frankie.”
The storyline will explore what it means to be deaf in the UK today and show some of the challenges and experiences that deaf people can go through.
The soap has worked closely with National Deaf Children’s Society as well as experts to ensure the storyline is played out as accurately as possible.
Rosie Eggleston who leads the Charity’s work with deaf young people said: “From my work with so many deaf young people up and down the country, I’ve heard time and time again how demoralising it is for them to never see themselves, their stories or their life experiences reflected in the TV programmes they love.
“This major new storyline on EastEnders could turn that on its head and it’s an important step towards making deaf people’s lives more visible and better understood.
“It’s been brilliant to put the team at EastEnders in touch with deaf young people because they’ve been able to hear first hand what it’s like to grow up deaf in the UK today.
“For the UK’s 50,000 deaf children and young people, representation like this is just so important.”
I am equally proud to be one of the first deaf actresses to be part of this iconic soap.
Speaking about the decision to explore this storyline, executive producer Jon Sen said: “It has been a long-time ambition of EastEnders to reflect the experience of the deaf community and Ben’s new story was the perfect opportunity to do that.
“We are thrilled to be working with Rose who will play the part of Frankie.”
Are you looking forward to this new storyline?
EastEnders airs Monday and Friday at 8pm and Tuesday and Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One.
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