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Strictly’s Rose and Giovanni Surprise Children at Frank Barnes School Ahead of the Virgin Media BAFTA TV Awards

5 May 2022
  • As a tribute to the D/deaf community during National Deaf Awareness Week, and in celebration of their Virgin Media Must-See Moment nomination, Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice made a surprise visit to Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children in London
  • As part of their surprise visit, Rose and Giovanni taught a dance lesson at the school in celebration of their Virgin Media BAFTA Must-See Moment nomination for their silent dance to ‘Symphony’
  • Discussing the impact of the Must-See Moment, Rose says “I knew it would make an impact, but I didn't think it would make this much of an impact that it's changed people's attitudes towards deaf people. I can't believe how powerful dance can be."
  • Rose Ayling-Ellis’s appearance on Strictly Come Dancing in 2021 led to more than three-quarters of D/deaf children thinking the programme has given the public a better understanding of deafness. Google searches for BSL and local BSL courses more than doubled in 2021 compared to 2020[i].
  • The winner of Virgin Media’s Must-See Moment award will be announced at the Virgin Media BAFTA TV Awards this Sunday 8th May 2022 at 6pm on BBC One

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Ahead of the Virgin Media BAFTA TV Awards on Sunday 8th May, Strictly’s Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice celebrated their Virgin Media Must-See Moment nomination by paying tribute to the D/deaf community with a surprise visit to Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children in London during National Deaf Awareness Week.

During their visit, Rose and Giovanni – winners of Strictly Come Dancing 2021 - taught a dance lesson at the school in celebration of their BAFTA Must-See Moment nomination for their silent dance to ‘Symphony’ and spent time interacting and answering questions from the students.

On meeting the children at Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children, Rose said "I really love the children here, they're so cute. It's nice to actually meet deaf children because I've not yet met many deaf children since Strictly, so it was really lovely to have that opportunity."

Giovanni added “Rose was always telling me that when she was a kid, she didn't have a role model. And now there is somebody like Rose doing stuff like this and showing all the kids to embrace being deaf and be proud of it."

Rose and Giovanni are nominated for the Virgin Media Must-See Moment, the only public-voted for award at the Virgin Media BAFTA TV Awards, for their silent dance to Clean Bandit’s ‘Symphony’ on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing.

In the middle of the performance, the studio fell silent for eight bars of music while Rose and Giovanni continued to dance. Rose said it was important to her that the moment gave an insight into her experience as the show’s first-ever deaf contestant, but that it also celebrated the deaf community by being a positive and joyful dance.

As the first deaf celebrity on Strictly Come Dancing in 2021, Rose Ayling-Ellis’s appearance helped raise awareness of the challenges deaf people face every day, leading to more than three-quarters of D/deaf children thinking the programme has given the public a better understanding of deafness. Google searches for BSL rose substantially during Strictly Come Dancing and, searches for local BSL courses more than doubled in 2021 compared to 2020[i].

Discussing the impact of the Must-See Moment, Rose says “I knew it would make an impact, but I didn't think it would make this much of an impact that it's changed people's attitudes towards deaf people. I can't believe how powerful dance can be."

Giovanni adds “As a hearing person, I didn't realise the difficulties that deaf people can sometimes go through, such as, even hearing music. We both knew the dance was going to be big so I wanted to get this absolutely right. So, with the help of Rose, I think we achieved what we wanted to achieve and more.”

Strictly Come Dancing is one of six nominees for Virgin Media’s Must-See Moment which celebrates the diversity of British TV and the moments that got our nation talking. The other nominees include An Audience with Adele, I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, It’s A Sin, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK and Squid Game.

Giovanni stated during the visit to Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children: “A BAFTA would be a fantastic achievement for the both of us. But I think what we achieved with the message that we're sending to people and now the nomination for the BAFTA, it means that things are moving in the right direction for the deaf community. And not just the deaf community, for everybody. So in a sense, winning the Must-See Moment voted for by the public would be the 'cherry on the cake' but I think we won already, even with things like this.”

Dani Sive, Headteacher at Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children, said “There's nothing like a deaf role model. That's number one for the children to see deaf adults doing lots of different things from art and entertainment to different careers and different professions that people are involved with. To see deaf role models means the children think they can do that, and they might want to do the same. It's a big, big benefit for us and the children.”

The winner of Virgin Media’s Must-See Moment will be announced during the Virgin Media BAFTA TV Awards on 8th May 2022 at 6pm on BBC One. This year marks Richard Ayoade's third consecutive year as host as the red carpet event returns to London's Royal Festival Hall. Coverage begins on BAFTA’s social channels from 2pm with Sam Thompson, Zeze Millz and Vick Hope, bringing viewers even closer to the action.

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Notes to editors:

For accreditation, photography, BAFTA logos, press releases and more visit www.bafta.org/media-centre

About the Virgin Media’s Must-See Moment nominations: virginmedia.com/bafta

#VirginMediaBAFTAs #MustSeeMoment

ITV 1, An Audience With Adele – Adele’s surprised by the teacher who changed her life
Episode: n/a

LINK

Moment snapshot - A question from Emma Thompson leads to the reveal of a particularly special audience member – Adele’s old English teacher from school. After spotting her in the audience, they emotionally reunite on stage for the first time in over 15 years.

Moment description – ‘An Audience With Adele’ sees the iconic artist perform her record-breaking number one single ‘Easy On Me’ and other songs from her highly anticipated, newly released album, ‘30’. She does many of her classic hits too, in front of a specially invited audience of friends, family, fans, fellow musicians, actors, sports people and more. Unknown to Adele, Miss McDonald, her old English teacher who “changed her life” has been tracked down and invited along. After a perfectly worded question from Emma Thompson, Miss McDonald joins Adele on stage for an emotional reunion – much to her surprise and delight. 

ITV 1, I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! – Ant and Dec dig at Downing Street’s lockdown parties
Episode: Episode 14

LINK

Moment snapshot - Following David Ginola’s departure as camp leader, Ant insists the celebs “didn’t have a party”. Delivered with the cheeky wit Ant and Dec are known and loved for, the dig was a thinly veiled reference to the emerging stories of several parties held at Downing Street over lockdown, breaking their own rules around gatherings during a tough time for the British public.

Moment description - Ant and Dec rarely veer away from topics outside the world of the camp. But during the uproar around Downing Street’s lockdown parties, the pair picked the perfect moment to deliver a thinly veiled dig in the direction of the Government, and specifically, Boris Johnson. Reacting to the end of David Ginola’s reign as camp leader, Ant insists the celebs “categorically deny any suggestions that they had a party. And this fictional party definitely didn’t involve cheese and wine.” The moment closes with Dec twisting the knife… “Evening Prime Minister… for now.” Within hours, the scene was all over the news and social media, and was even mentioned at PMQs. Delivered with the cheeky wit Ant and Dec are known and loved for, the moment perfectly captures the nation’s horror, anger and frustration around the Government’s rule-breaking during a time that was so tough for them.

Channel 4, It’s A Sin – Colin’s devastating AIDS diagnosis
Episode: Episode 3

LINK

Moment snapshot – Colin lies in a Welsh hospital with his mum, Jill and Ash by his side. Confused and distraught, he’s told the devastating news that he’s got AIDS. His mum does her best to console him, but the pure sadness is hitting them all. They make a plan to move Colin to London for treatment. 

Moment description – Colin lies in a Welsh hospital with his mum and friends by his side, when he’s told the devastating news that he’s got AIDS. Scared and upset, Colin wants his mum to know that ‘he’s not dirty’. He tries his hardest to think who could’ve given it to him, then remembers – the boy in the football shirt. He’s terrified nobody can help him. Crying, he asks his mum to make the doctors cure him. The pure sadness is hitting them all – they feel helpless, so make a plan to move Colin to a London hospital in the hope he’ll receive the best possible treatment there.

BBC Three, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK – ‘UK Hun?’ - Bimini’s verse

Episode: Series 2 Episode 5

LINK

Moment snapshot - Bimini Bon Boulash returned with fire in their belly to prove themselves after a 7-month filming break due to lockdown. Bimini’s verse in The RuRuVision Song Contest was their time to shine, combining powerful lyrics with unbelievable dancing to help propel The United Kingdolls and ‘UK Hun?’ into pop-culture herstory. Bing bang bong to that!

Moment description - East London queen Bimini Bon Boulash returned with fire in their belly to prove themselves after a 7-month filming break due to lockdown. Bimini’s verse in The RuRuVision Song Contest was their time to shine, combining powerful original lyrics with unbelievable dance moves to help propel The United Kingdolls and ‘UK Hun?’ into pop-culture herstory. Not only was this Bimini’s turning point in the competition that catapulted them into the top three, it also crowned them as one of the most legendary queens in the RuPaul’s Drag Race multiverse. Bing bang bong to that!

Netflix, Squid Game – Red Light, Green Light game
Episode: Episode 1: Red Light, Green Light

LINK 

Moment snapshot - Contestants line up to play the traditional Korean children’s game, Red Light, Green Light – but it quickly becomes apparent that this is no ordinary schoolyard game, and the consequence of losing is death. Who’ll make it across the line, and what’s the purpose behind this barbaric game?

Moment description - 456 participants from all walks of life, but all in dire need of money, have been locked into a secret location and given the chance to win 45.6 billion won. Contestants line up to play the traditional Korean children’s game Red Light, Green Light – but it quickly becomes apparent that this is no ordinary schoolyard game, and the consequence of losing is death. Terrified and confused, they have no choice but to play, knowing only the most agile or devious will survive. Who’ll make it across the yard, and what’s the purpose behind this barbaric game?

BBC One, Strictly Come Dancing – Rose and Giovanni’s silent dance to ‘Symphony’
Episode: Week 8

LINK

Moment snapshot - Strictly Come Dancing champs Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice danced their Couple’s Choice in week eight of the competition to Clean Bandit’s ‘Symphony’. In the middle of the performance, the studio fell silent for eight bars of music while Rose and Giovanni continued to dance. Rose said the positive and joyful dance was a tribute to the deaf community

Moment description - In week eight of Strictly Come Dancing, Rose Ayling-Ellis and her dance partner Giovanni Pernice performed their Couple’s Choice to Clean Bandit’s ‘Symphony’. In the middle of the performance, the studio fell silent for 16 stunning seconds of dancing. Rose said it was important to her that the moment gave an insight into her experience as the show’s first-ever deaf contestant, but that it also celebrated the deaf community by being a positive and joyful dance. “It’s such a joy to be deaf”, she explained, and thanked Giovanni for helping her express that through this beautiful dance – that after performing once more at the final, saw them crowned champions of Strictly Come Dancing 2021.

For further information, please contact:

Rachel Barham, M&C Saatchi Sport and Entertainment (on behalf of Virgin Media)

T 07763419639

E [email protected]

Hannah McKeown, M&C Saatchi Sport and Entertainment (on behalf of Virgin Media)

T 07955744203

E [email protected].com

Jamie Clarke, Virgin Media

E [email protected]

Amanda Hearn, Multitude Media (on behalf of BAFTA)

T 0207 299 4254

E [email protected]

About Virgin Media O2

Virgin Media O2 launched on 1 June 2021, combining the UK’s largest and most reliable mobile network with a broadband network offering the fastest widely-available broadband speeds. It is a customer-first organisation that brings a range of connectivity services together in one place with a clear mission: to upgrade the nation. Virgin Media O2 is the corporate brand of the 50:50 joint venture between Liberty Global and Telefónica SA, and one of the UK’s largest businesses.

The company has 48 million UK connections across broadband, mobile, TV and home phone. Its own fixed network currently passes 15.6 million premises alongside a mobile network that covers 99% of the nation’s population with 4G, and more than 300 towns and cities with 5G services targeting 50% population coverage in 2023. 

Virgin Media O2 completed its roll out of gigabit broadband speeds across its entire network footprint in 2021 and plans to upgrade its fixed network to full fibre to the premises with completion in 2028. In January 2022, it also announced that it would be the only major mobile network that isn’t bringing back roaming charges in Europe.

Virgin Media O2 is a major investor in the UK. It employs around 18,000 people, has more than 425 retail stores and has committed to invest at least £10 billion over the next five years.  

Integration work is progresses at pace, with Virgin Media and O2 launching a joint product - Volt - less than 5 months from coming together.

Today, the business delivers award-winning broadband and WiFi connectivity to homes as well as providing a connected entertainment service. This brings together live TV, thousands of hours of on-demand programming and a wide-selection of apps to customers through a set-top box and on-the-go through tablets and smartphones. 

It also provides 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G mobile services, and is the network of choice for mobile virtual network operators giffgaff, Sky Mobile and Lycamobile, as well as managing a 50:50 joint venture with Tesco for Tesco Mobile. 

Virgin Media O2 Business plays a leading role in supporting the public sector and businesses of all sizes. This includes a variety of managed connectivity services and flexible working capabilities, security, data insight, 5G private networks and cloud solutions, as well as wholesale services to other operators and partners.

Awards for Virgin Media and O2’s telecommunications services include recognition by GWS for having the most reliable UK mobile network for three years in a row (2021, 2020, and 2019) and winning the publicly voted Uswitch awards in 2022 as both the Best Network for Roaming and Most Popular Mobile Network. Virgin Media was crowned Fastest Broadband Provider in the Choose Broadband Awards and Best Broadband Provider in the 2021 Trusted Reviews Awards and at the 2021 Mobile Industry Awards O2 claimed two wins - Network of the Year, and Best Online Retailer. 

Virgin Media O2 is committed to using the power of connectivity to supercharge communities across the UK, taking action to close the digital divide and helping to build an inclusive, resilient, and low carbon economy. The company has an ambition to achieve net zero carbon operations (scopes 1 & 2) by the end of 2025.

Virgin Media O2 is registered in England and Wales. Registration number: 12580944.  Griffin House, 161 Hammersmith Road, London, United Kingdom, W6 8BS.

About BAFTA

BAFTA – the British Academy of Film and Television Arts - is a world-leading independent arts charity that brings the very best work in film, games and television to public attention and supports the growth of creative talent in the UK and internationally. Through its Awards ceremonies and year-round programme of learning events and initiatives – which includes workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the UK, USA and Asia – BAFTA identifies and celebrates excellence, discovers, inspires and nurtures new talent, and enables learning and creative collaboration. For more, visit www.bafta.org. BAFTA is a registered charity (no. 216726).