Page last updated at 21:36 GMT, Saturday, 22 May 2010 22:36 UK

Rainbow winner Danielle Hope is new West End Dorothy


Danielle Hope emerged as the audience's favourite Dorothy

An 18-year-old student has won the BBC's Over the Rainbow show and the right to wear Dorothy's ruby slippers in a new Wizard of Oz production.

Danielle Hope, from Greater Manchester, emerged as the audience's favourite Dorothy after two months of singing before the nation and judging panel.

She was joined in the final by 17-year-old Sophie Evans, from south Wales.

Hope will lead the cast in an Andrew Lloyd Webber West End production due to be staged next year.

In addition to finding a leading lady, the talent show also found a new four-legged star to play Dorothy's pet dog Toto.

He was revealed as Mini Schnauzer Dave or "Dangerous Dave", as he is known to his owner.

'Act from the soul'

After she was declared the winner by host Graham Norton, Hope smiled and hugged fellow finalist Evans.

Now the hard work starts but my goodness me, you can act from the soul and that is something that's very special
Andrew Lloyd Webber

She laughed off Norton's remark that she was now a West End star and thanked everyone involved, including the audience, backstage crew, judging panel and the other girls.

"All I can say is thank you but it really does come from in here," she said. "It feels like not enough but I am just so grateful. We all are for this amazing opportunity."

Lloyd Webber said he was "really pleased" with the result and the nation had never been wrong yet.

"You're the most fantastic, talented kid with a huge future ahead," he said.

"Now the hard work starts but my goodness me, you can act from the soul and that is something that's very special."

The show ended with Hope's rendition of Over the Rainbow, the hit song from the Wizard of Oz.

Hope, from Urmston, is a full-time student and keen dancer.

There were initially 20 contestants hoping to walk down the yellow brick road but they were whittled down to just 11 for the first show.

Hope was one of three to make it through to the final, with 22-year-old Lauren Samuels from Leicestershire knocked out at the end of the first live show after receiving the lowest number of viewers' votes.

This was the fourth Lloyd Webber TV talent search, following on from How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, Any Dream Will Do and I'd Do Anything.

In addition to Lloyd Webber, the judging panel consisted of actress Sheila Hancock, singer Charlotte Church and actor John Partridge.

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