Strictly exclusive! Winner Rose Ayling-Ellis on the glitter ball, Giovanni and the joy of being deaf

The EastEnders actor talks about the triumph and tears of the final, the secrets of her show-stopping routines – and why victory means so much

When she was a small child – too young to remember, though her mother has told her this story – Rose Ayling-Ellis was once so delighted to be at the park, she excitedly climbed on to a bench and started dancing. People stopped and, unable to resist her infectious happiness, clapped and cheered along.

Two decades later, millions more were clapping and cheering (and, I suspect, sobbing at times) as Ayling-Ellis and her partner, Giovanni Pernice, became 2021 Strictly Come Dancing champions in the most emotional and joyous finale I can ever remember.

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