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5 November 2019, 11:25
Saffron Barker and AJ Pritchard have been using British Sign Language on live shows so fans feel ‘included’.
Strictly Come Dancing’s Saffron Barker and AJ Pritchard have left fans impressed after revealing they have been secretly using British sign language during live shows to make their deaf fans feel more 'included' and 'noticed'.
Speaking to Mail Online, the 19-year-old YouTuber said a fan asked her to do it, saying: “When I saw a message asking us to do it I knew we had to make it happen. We started doing it a couple of weeks ago and we will continue to do it every week.
“It was such a lovely feeling getting messages from those who saw our signing. I always want my fans to feel noticed, loved and included so this is just part of that, and I’m so happy AJ was up for it too.”
Signing ‘hello’ on the latest show, they also said ‘Happy Halloween’ to their audience the week before.
Fans took to Twitter to show love to the Strictly pair, with one writing: “Fab dance that was a great hello! (Yep noticed the #BSL sign when you came down the stairs at the beginning.”
“My nephew is profoundly deaf and has the cochlear implants, doing these little signs here and there is helping to promote it to people! Sign language is so so so important, so thank you x,” another added.
i love how saffron + aj have used bits of sign language the last couple of weeks🥺♥️ #strictly— Chloe♡ (@Chloe_DEathx) November 2, 2019
The contestants faced backlash over the weekend after they were spotted not wearing poppies during their most recent performance, where they were slammed for snubbing Remembrance period.
The duo explained they weren’t able to wear them due to the energetic demand of their routine.
Following the criticism they faced, the vlogger put rumours to bed about being ‘disrespectful’, after replying to a fan’s tweet which read: “Someone’s going to have to help me… have the BBC allowed saffron and AJ to get away with NOT WEARING POPPIES??!! – Not that I’m offended it’s just very out of character for the BBC.”
We weren’t allowed to when we were dancing causeve our lift :)— Saffron Barker (@SaffronBarker) November 3, 2019
Saffron responded, saying: “We weren’t allowed to when we were dancing causeve our lift,” adding a smiley face to the tweet, before the fan replied with: “Ah that makes sense!! I did notice that you were wearing one tonight / in rehearsals so was doubtful it was done out of disrespect!!”
The YouTube star shared an Instagram story of the pair wearing poppies during rehearsals, with the caption: "Just finished training! You kept us in for a reason and were gonna show u why [sic]."
In the clip, she also hinted at an upcoming 'romantic' dance for week eight and we cannot wait to see the routine!