Page last updated at 11:36 GMT, Sunday, 21 December 2008

Chambers crowned Strictly champ


The moment the result was announced

Actor Tom Chambers has won BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing, beating former S Club Seven star Rachel Stevens in a public vote in the final.

Chambers had performed four dances with professional partner Camilla Dallerup.

The Holby City star, who got married during the series, said: "The first person I want to thank is my wife... I can't wait to be a newlywed."

More than 13 million people watched Chambers crowned champion, according to overnight figures.

Lisa Snowdon was eliminated after the first round of public voting, despite getting perfect marks from the judges.

However, the public chose to save Chambers and Stevens who then competed for the title, with a fresh public vote deciding the winner.

Chambers heaped praise on his partner, telling a tearful Dallerup: "Tonight is about you because you absolutely deserve this more than anyone."

Maximum points

Stevens said she had "adored" dancing with partner Vincent Simone.

She added: "I've just had the best time of my life. I want to thank everybody behind the scenes of this show, I want to thank the judges for giving me this opportunity; everyone is amazing."

The three celebrities each performed two dances in the first part of the final - ballroom and Latin - in a bid to win over the judges and the public.

Snowdon was awarded the maximum score of 80 by the judges. Stevens was in second place with 79, while Chambers scored 73.

Tom Chambers and Camilla Dallerup
Chambers put his honeymoon on hold to take part in the series

When the results were combined with those of last week's semi-final and eventually converted into new points, it left Stevens and Snowdon with three and Chambers with one.

However, once viewers had their say, Snowdon was eliminated.

Afterwards, she said: "It has been amazing. I know it's a cliche but I already feel like a winner. I've had a great time - it's been brilliant."

Her dance partner, Brendan Cole, paid tribute to the model, describing her as "fantastic" and a "hard worker".

Figures from the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (BARB) showed an average 11.7m viewers watched the first of the two final shows, while the second attracted 12.2m viewers.

The climax hit a peak of 13.3m , equating to a 49.6% of the audience share.

Strictly Come Dancing presenters Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly opened the grand final by apologising to viewers for the voting problems which marred last week's show.

The programme sparked controversy after Chambers was saved from the semi-final dance-off by a last-minute decision to let all three remaining couples go through to the final.

The decision followed a tie between Stevens and Snowdon, who were awarded exactly the same score by the judges, meaning the public vote could not save Chambers.

Rachel Stevens and Vincent Simone
Stevens thanked the public for supporting her during the series

Daly told viewers: "We are sorry we didn't realise this earlier but when we did we took the fairest decision in the circumstances to put all three couples through to the final."

Votes cast last week were carried forward to the final - but viewers who want a refund can obtain one via the show's official website.

Last week's voting problems were not the first to hit this year's Strictly Come Dancing.

Many viewers were angry after former contestant John Sergeant quit earlier in the series.

Rachel has had previous dancing experience whereas the other two did not.
Dancemad, UK

The former BBC political correspondent was criticised by the show's judges for his clumsy footwork, but was kept in the show by viewers' votes.

Sergeant returned to the dancefloor in the grand final when he performed with the other celebrities who were voted out during the 2008 series.

The five previous winners of Strictly Come Dancing - Natasha Kaplinsky, Jill Halfpenny, Darren Gough, Mark Ramprakash and Alesha Dixon - also appeared, with all but Kaplinsky performing a group routine to a version of Robbie Williams' Let Me Entertain You.

The show also featured a performance by singer Duffy.

Speaking before the final, Chambers - who was the bookies' favourite going into the final - said he wanted to win for Dallerup.

"It would mean granting Camilla her dream. She's been working for this for six years and she's been in the semi-final twice," he said.

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