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Ability Superstore Blog

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5 Disabled Strictly Come Dancing Stars We Love

Posted by Andrew Chapman on November 13, 2021

Strictly Come Dancing has been a mainstay of British television since 2004 (no, we can’t believe that either!) and each year has seen new celebrity contestants boogie, jive and waltz their way in to our hearts. But what about disabled stars? That’s what we’ve set to find out. Here is our list of 5 disabled Strictly Come Dancing stars we love.

Jonnie Peacock MBE

Photo from BBC - Strictly Come Dancing

Where best to start, but with Strictly’s first ever visibly disabled competitor, Jonnie Peacock MBE.

Partnered with the fantastic Oti Mabuse, Jonnie was a force to be reckoned with garnering scores like 31/40 for his American Smooth in the Blackpool round.

Jonnie’s story is inspiring, born able-bodied, he developed meningitis at five years old, which eventually resulted in a below the knee amputation. Since then, he’s gone from strength to strength, winning gold medals at the 2012 London Paralympic Games, 2016 Rio Paralympic Games and several golds over the course of his World Championships and European Championships to boot.

More recently, Jonnie has started his show, ‘Jonnie’s Blade Camp’, discussing his mobility aid prosthetic and helping other young amputees unleash their sporting potential.

Katie Piper

Photo from BBC - Strictly Come Dancing

The incredibly talented Katie Piper started her career as an up and coming model in London, when tragedy struck and her life was turned upside down by a partner she met online who became abusive. Katies then partner ordered an accomplice to throw industrial-strength sulphuric acid over her face.

Following the tragic attack, brave Katie had over 400 operations to rebuild and heal her face in hope of repairing such extreme damage. Sadly, this still resulted in permanent injury and left her blind in her left eye.

This never stopped Katie though. She now has started the Katie Piper Foundation, had a huge television presenting career, written for magazines and hosted documentaries.

Unfortunately for the talented Katie, her and Gorka Marquez left the Strictly show fairly early on.

Lauren Steadman

Photo from BBC - Strictly Come Dancing

Another legendary Paralympian on our list is Lauren Steadman. Lauren is a gold winning medallist, most recently in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. She has over 30 medals under her belt across Paralympics, World Championships and European Championships. Born without her right forearm, Lauren has competed in both swimming and triathlon events.

Possibly one of the most successful disabled Strictly stars, Lauren reached the semi-finals in 2018 and absolutely captivated audiences. The opening week, Lauren and her partner AJ Pritchard scored 25 from the judges with her waltz.

Lauren iconically decided to not wear her mobility aid prosthetic, as she preferred that her disability remained visible. Lauren also competed and won Channel 4’s SAS Who Dares Wins, alongside fellow winner, DJ Locksmith of Rudimental.

John James Chalmers

Photo from BBC - Strictly Come Dancing

2020’s edition of Strictly Come Dancing showed boundaries being pushed even further with JJ Chalmers, who boogied his way to the quarter finals with his amazing partner, Amy Dowden.

JJ served 11 years in the Royal Marines 42 Commando Unit, but during his final tour in 2011, he was injured in an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) attack in Afghanistan. JJ sustained facial injuries, lost two fingers, had holes in both of his legs, had permanent shrapnel in his body, a disintegrated elbow and, sadly, lost two friends in the blast.

JJ then became a competitor in the Invictus Games 2014, and won three medals for cycling whilst also captaining the team. JJ is now a huge advocatefor wheelchair and mobility aid users.

Rose Ayling-Ellis

Photo from BBC - Strictly Come Dancing

Rose Ayling-Ellis swapped soap scripts for sparkly dresses, and at the time of writing this article, Rose is one of the favourites to win Strictly Come Dancing 2021.

Rose found her passions for acting while at an event led by the National Deaf Children’s Society. She was then found by director Ted Evans who cast her in his award-winning short film, The End.

Since then Rose has graced our screens in shows such as Casualty, Summer of Rockets and The One Show. She’s best known though for her amazing role as Frankie Lewis in EastEnders.

Rose is the first ever deaf actor to play a deaf character on EastEnders, and has acknowledged that her appearance in Strictly Come Dancing is one that is important for the deaf community. Disability equality charity Scope said, ‘It hopes Rose’s appearance on Strictly will draw attention to some of the obstacles disabled people face’.

"Barriers can be physical, like buildings not having accessible toilets. Or they can be caused by people's attitudes to difference, like assuming disabled people can't do certain things."

A Win For Inclusion And Awareness

Disability inclusion and awareness in television has come on leaps and bounds, and we can’t wait to see the next disabled star step up to the plate and dance for the world to see (We definitely wouldn’t dare!)

For more information on how Ability Superstores huge range of mobility aids, daily living aids and independent living aids can help, visit our website, give us a call, or pop in store and we’re more than happy to help!

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