Strictly Come Dancing champion Rose Ayling-Ellis was tearful as she and Giovanni Pernice won Virgin Media’s Must-See Moment at the 2022 BAFTA TV Awards. EastEnders star Rose, who was the first deaf contestant to take part in Strictly, and her pro partner Giovanni scooped the award for their powerful silent dance in the 2021 series of the long-running annual contest.
The duo reduced the nation to tears when they performed a stunning routine to Clean Bandit’s Symphony. They included a spell binding 10 seconds of silent dance to celebrate the deaf community on the BBC dance show.
Pro dancer turned judge Judge Anton du Beke, who has been with the hit show since it began in 2004, said: “It was the greatest thing I’ve ever seen on the show.” Rose had previously said she was hoping to ‘break stereotypes’ on Strictly.
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The pair were joined on stage with a British Sign Language interpreter as an emotional Rose said about their award, which was voted for by the public: “It’s a very special moment for us and hopefully it’s shown how powerful TV can be, where actually it can influence and change things.
“It’s even helped with BSL and made people stand up more for British sign language and just a better deaf awareness and positive attitude towards people. We’ve still got a long way to go but it’s such a great start.”
And there was a beautiful moment as Giovanni looked up to see the audience signing applause for them by waving. Pointing the gesture out to Rose he said: “That’s beautiful. It’s exactly what we wanted,” he said. And he said: “When we first had the idea to put the song into the dance we knew it would have an impact but this is bigger than we thought. This is changing people’s lives. Thank you for everyone who voted for us, as it mean you’re ready for a change.”
@JudgesJaz tweeted: “I am THRILLED that Rose and Giovanni won a #Bafta !!!! Their win was SO DESERVED, the silent moment in their CC is a moment that i think all of us will remember forever. So so proud of them both and so so happy they got voted winners!!!!”
Canuckabroad3 said: “Congratulations! A moment that never fails to take my breath away. So very well deserved Rose & Giovanni.” And @marlyn_christie wrote: “I am so so happy for Rose and Giovanni they deserved to win.”
But other viewers wondered why the interpreter was only seen on stage with Rose and Giovanni. @s_reubens asked: “So, the BAFTAs. Why did the sign language interpreter only appear when Rose and Giovanni were on stage?”
@andrum99 wondered: “Hi @BAFTA. Why did you only have a sign language interpreter for one award at the BAFTA TV Awards?” and
@JohannaHinton said: “It is not inclusion or #DeafAwareness to only have an interpreter for Rose and Giovanni’s award.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.