January 20, 2022

Image credit: TellyMix

11 million people tuned in to see the final of Strictly Come Dancing 2021

An approximate 11 million viewers tuned in to see EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis who became the first deaf person to win Strictly Come Dancing, on Saturday.

The episode had a peak viewership of 12.3 million viewers, earning BBC One a 57.8% overnight ratings share.

The first programme in September drew an average of seven million people, and aggregated viewing numbers reveal that the series has consistently drawn an audience of more than nine million viewers, making it one of the most-watched television shows in the country.

Chef and previous Bake Off champion John Whaite faced off against Ayling-Ellis.

After injuring a ligament in her ankle, the third competitor, TV personality AJ Odudu, had to withdraw from the competition on Friday.

The duo accomplished spectacular lifts during a Romeo and Juliet-inspired show dance to Bette Middler’s The Rose during their final dance. During the final, the judges gave Ayling-Ellis and Whaite the same score of 40 for their favourite dances and show dances. The actress’ success comes five years after the first deaf champion was declared on the US version of Strictly, Dancing With The Stars.

The 2016 season was won by Nyle DiMarco, a model, actor, and deaf advocate, and his professional partner Peta Murgatroyd. Marlee Matlin, an Oscar-winning actress who is also deaf, competed on the American version of the programme in 2008. 

In the United Kingdom, Ayling-Ellis was the first deaf participant on Strictly Come Dancing. The series finale on Saturday marked the conclusion of a rather successful run of Strictly Come Dancing. Unlike the 2020 series, no candidates were forced to leave the competition owing to Covid, while several were forced to miss a single week after testing positive. Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse, the judges, both missed weeks due to Covid. Cynthia Erivo, an actress, stepped in on both occasions.

Former rugby player Ugo Monye missed a week due to back difficulties, while Peep Show actor Robert Webb withdrew on medical advice following heart surgery two years ago.