Ben Mitchell will struggle with an additional loss of hearing after the dramatic boat crash in last week’s EastEnders.
Ben will struggle to communicate after his head injury last week and he’ll find it difficult to come to terms with his additional hearing loss.
As part of the storyline, EastEnders is introducing a new character, Frankie, played by Rose Ayling-Ellis, who is herself, deaf.
This storyline will explore what it means to be deaf in the UK today, and shine a spotlight on some of the experiences and challenges deaf people go through.
EastEnders has worked closely with the National Deaf Children’s Society as well as experts in the field to ensure the storyline is portrayed as accurately as possible.
Soapbox extra: Five soap families who are missing children
Rose Ayling-Ellis said: “I am so excited to be joining the cast of EastEnders and I am proud to be one of the first deaf actresses to be part of this soap. I can’t wait for everyone to meet Frankie.”
Charlie Swinbourne is part of the show’s writing team and pitched the idea of this storyline. He said: “Creating a storyline and a character for EastEnders has been a lifelong dream of mine, so it’s been an incredible experience to work with the EastEnders team over the last few months.
“Being deaf myself, and a fan of the show from an early age, I’ve always looked out for Ben Mitchell’s character because he was the one who wore hearing aids! I wanted to explore how losing more of his hearing affects Ben, as well as how it makes him see the world – and his deaf identity – a bit differently as time goes on.
“I also wanted to see deaf characters and sign language become a part of Albert Square, because we see so little representation of deafness in mainstream media. I’m really excited to see this story reach the screen.”