Strictly Come Dancing crowns glitterball trophy winner

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Bill Bailey has won this year’s Strictly Come Dancing – becoming the oldest contestant to lift the glitterball trophy.

The comedian, 55, and his professional dance partner Oti Mabuse, triumphed over their younger rivals in a viewers’ vote.

Three other couples – HRVY and Janette Manrara, Jamie Laing and Karen Hauer, and Maisie Smith and Gorka Marquez – had reached the last show in the series.

Bailey’s name was announced at the end of a nail-biting final, which began with reference to a “tough day”, after Christmas plans were scrapped for millions.

The emotional star said winning “feels surreal, it feels extraordinary, it feels wonderful. I never thought that we would get this far”.

And he paid tribute to Mabuse, saying: “I had the most extraordinary teacher, the most extraordinary dancer, who believed in me right from the beginning and she found something in me, turned me into this, into a dancer.”

Bailey takes the record as oldest winner from Joe McFadden, who won in 2017, aged 42.

Mabuse told him: “I think you are amazing, remarkable.

“You just put your heart into everything, you put your soul into everything. You’re in your world but I love your world…

“Thank you for being a friend, a father figure to me, a brother and for this,” she said of the glitterball.

The live Strictly Come Dancing final began with co-host Tess Daly telling millions of viewers: “If ever people needed cheering up, it’s now.

“After another tough day, we are going to try our very best to keep you entertained with an unforgettable night of dance.”

The BBC’s continuity announcer said Strictly had brought viewers together during difficult months.

“In a year that’s kept us apart, whether you’re watching in Tyne and Wear, Devon, Berkshire or Lincolnshire, we’re all watching BBC One together,” he said.

The Duchess of Cornwall made an appearance on the show.

Camilla appeared in a pre-recorded clip speaking about the joy of the BBC show, as part of a video compilation of messages from viewers and celebrities.

Judge Craig Revel Horwood, known for his sharp tongue, referenced the Prime Minister’s announcement, following the rapid spread of the new variant coronavirus.

“In light of the recent news, I’ve decided I’m going to be positive. You may not recognise me,” he said.

The couples performed three dances during the show, two of which they have already done earlier in the competition.

This year’s finale also saw the return of Nicola Adams and Katya Jones to the dancefloor.

The couple made history as the show’s first same-sex couple but had to withdraw early after Jones received a positive Covid-19 test result.

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