Former Hollyoaks stars Rachel Shenton and Chris Overton have won an Oscar in the Best Live Action Short category for their film about childhood deafness, The Silent Child.

Shenton, who played Mitzeee Minniver in the Channel 4 soap, wrote, produced and starred in the film, which was inspired by her father losing his hearing when she was a child.

Shenton's fiancé Overton, who played Liam McAllister in Hollyoaks, directed the film. 

The Silent Child tells the story of four-year-old Libby, played by deaf actress Maisie Sly.

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Collecting the prize, Shenton delivered her speech in sign language saying: "I made a promise to our six-year-old lead actress that I'd sign this speech. My hands are shaking so I apologise."

She added: "Our movie is about a deaf child being born into a world of silence.

"It's not exaggerated or sensationalised for the movie, this is happening, millions of children all over the world live in silence and face communication barriers and particularly access to education."

She added, "Deafness is a silent disability, I want to say the biggest of thank yous to the Academy for allowing us to put this in front of a mainstream audience."

Shenton wrote, produced and starred in the film about childhood deafness after she became passionate about the issue when her father became deaf when she was young.

Overton - who is engaged to Shenton - served as director on the film, focusing on a deaf four-year-old girl named Libby, played by deaf actress Maisie Sly, who lives in a world of silence until a caring social worker teaches her the gift of communication.

Shenton is one of just a few actresses to give their Oscars acceptance speeches in sign language.

Jane Fonda signed part of her speech as she accepted the best actress award for Coming Home in 1979, as did Louise Fletcher who signed to her deaf parents when she won best actress for One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest three years earlier.

Marlee Matlin, who is deaf, also signed when she won best actress for Children Of A Lesser God in 1987.