Rose Ayling-Ellis signs CBeebies Bedtime Story

Rose Ayling-Ellis signs CBeebies Bedtime Story BLOG Saturday 15th January 2022


Rose Ayling-Ellis to sign CBeebies Bedtime Story

Actress and Strictly Come Dancing champion Rose Ayling-Ellis is to become the first celebrity to sign a CBeebies bedtime story today Sunday 8th May 2022 at 18:50.

Ayling-Ellis, 27, who has been deaf since birth, will tell the tale Can Bears Ski? in British Sign Language (BSL), to mark Deaf Awareness Week.

The story of a young bear draws on the author’s own experience to show how it feels to be deaf in a hearing world.

Ayling-Ellis said she hoped it would inspire children to learn to sign.

Can Bears Ski? was written by Raymond Antrobus and illustrated by Polly Dunbar, and follows the journey of a son and father as they discover and manage deafness.

It will be the first ever BSL-signed story on CBeebies and it will see Ayling-Ellis only speaking twice throughout the entire programme. Once at the beginning to introduce the story, and at the end to wish the audience goodnight. The story will also have subtitles.

Ayling-Ellis said: “I am super excited to read my first CBeebies bedtime story in British Sign Language and it’s even more wonderful to share a story written by a deaf writer.

“I hope deaf children enjoy the story and it inspires hearing children to want to learn BSL more.”

Ayling-Ellis found fame starring as Frankie Lewis in BBC soap EastEnders and went on to become the first deaf contestant to win Strictly.

She was also nominated for the Must See Moment of the Year at the 2022 Bafta Awards for her Couple’s Choice dance routine with partner Giovanni Pernice, which included a section where the pair danced without music to honour of the deaf community.

The actress has actively campaigned for BSL to be recognised as an official language and to be given legal status in the UK.

Her story will air today to mark the end of Deaf Awareness Week and will be the first of two stories she has recorded for CBeebies.

Other readers of the CBeebies Bedtime Story have included Dolly Parton, Tom Hardy and Ed Sheeran – who read a story about a boy with a stutter, as he did as a child.

In 2018, Catastrophe actor Rob Delaney became the first person to tell a CBeebies Bedtime Story in Makaton – which was another first for the programme.

The Duchess of Cambridge became the first royal to present the show earlier this year.

CBeebies Bedtime Stories airs daily at 18:50, with episodes signed by a BSL interpreter shown every Saturday and Sunday.



Can Bears Ski?

by Raymond Antrobus  (Author), 

Polly Dunbar (Illustrator)


Publisher ‏ : ‎ Walker Books

Paperback ‏ : ‎ 40 pages

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 3 – 7 years


The debut children’s book from Ted Hughes award-winning poet Raymond Antrobus that tracks a father-and-son journey into the discovery and management of deafness.

This new paperback edition includes an illustrated BSL alphabet.

Boy Bear cannot hear Dad Bear coming to wake him up in the morning but he can feel the floor vibrate with his heavy footsteps. He can only grasp little bits of what his teacher says to him at school. He cannot catch what his friends are laughing at. And, all the time, Boy Bear keeps hearing the question, “Can Bears ski?” What does it mean? With the support of Dad Bear, Boy Bear visits an audiologist and, eventually, he gets hearing aids. Suddenly, he understands the question everyone has been asking him: “CAN YOU HEAR ME?”

Raymond Antrobus, the award-winning poet of The Perseverance, draws on his own experience to show how isolating it can be for a deaf child in a hearing world. But through his lyrical and moving words, matched with Polly’s stunning imagery, he also shows how many ways there are to communicate love. With a solid network, Boy Bear will find his place in the world.



Deafness is a subject close to my heart or ears. I have been diagnosed as being profoundly deaf.

I suffer terribly in the same way as Boy Bear and totally relate to Boy Bear. “…Boy Bear cannot hear Dad Bear coming to wake him up in the morning, but he can feel the floor vibrate with his heavy footsteps. He can only grasp little bits of what his teacher says to him at school. He cannot catch what his friends are laughing at.” These problems are mine but in a grown-up world. I am affected by instructions people are giving me as I make my way through life. Impossible to socialise in noisy restaurants where acoustics are terrible (in almost all) and coffee shops, pubs and bars. Assistants who mutter at you and roll there eyes thinking you are stupid when you ask them to repeat what they said. And they repeat it in the same low monotone and you still can’t hear it.. Missing out on fun and knowledge and conversation at get togethers with family and friends.

I am lucky, I have only experienced this for the last 10 years. I feel for the children who are like this from birth as Rose Ayling-Ellis has done.

Rose Ayling-Ellis is so brave and does not let her deafness stop her doing anything. She has inspired me instead of sitting chuntering about it to get on with life and deal with it. But its tough!


REMEMBER: The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.

– Nicolas Chamfort



“Get busy living or get busy dying.” – Stephen King


Happiness is…knowing how to cope with deafness.


My new sweater had a problem with static so I returned it. They gave me a new one free of charge.


Love is…turning a deaf ear.


A time to hear…a time to sign.




©2022 Phil M Robinson