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Former Emmerdale star Kelvin Fletcher wins Strictly Come Dancing 2019

Kelvin Fletcher with Oti Mabuse during the live Strictly Come Dancing Final on Saturday. Credit: Guy Levy/BBC/PA Wire

Former Emmerdale star Kelvin Fletcher has won Strictly Come Dancing 2019 with his dance partner Oti Mabuse.

The soap star, 35, was announced as the replacement for injured Jamie Laing on Strictly Come Dancing, just days before it was due to begin.

Best known for playing Andy Sugden on the ITV soap between 1996 and 2016, Fletcher's pairing with South African professional dancer Oti Mabuse turned out to be a winning one.

Fletcher, from Oldham, Greater Manchester, joined fellow soap stars Catherine Tyldesley, formerly of Coronation Street, and Emma Barton, from EastEnders, on the star-studded roster.

After winning the dancing competition, Mr Fletcher said he was absolutely speechless.

He added: "It's just been such a privilege to be here, I think this show represents everything that is amazing with this country."

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He added, to Mabuse: "Thank you for the most amazing experience of my life.

"Thank you to Emma and Karim, Anton and Amy, and all the pros and all the celebs, the judges, everybody at home who has supported me, I feel so proud to be part of this, so thank you."

Mabuse, through tears, said: "I've been on this show for five years and I have never ever met any celeb who gives his heart, his soul...

"If something is not working we stay in training and rehearse, not because he wanted to win but because he genuinely, genuinely loves dancing, and for me that is the best gift and the best ending to my year, so thank you."

The final leaderboard saw Zeroual at the top with a combined 119 points from the judges, with Fletcher in second place with 118 and Barton in third with 116.

Host Claudia Winkleman had reminded viewers earlier in the episode that the judges' scores were for guidance only, as only the public vote counted in the final.

The show kicked off with Zeroual and Dowden dancing their judges' pick routine, a quickstep to Mr Pinstripe Suit, for which they were awarded 40 points.

Barton and Du Beke were next with their Charleston to Thoroughly Modern Millie from musicals week, for which the judges gave them 39.

Celebrities and their dance partners during the live Strictly Come Dancing Final on Saturday. Credit: Guy Levy/BBC/PA Wire

Fletcher and Mabuse were the third to dance on the night, and they were given 39 points from the judges when they repeated their rumba to Ain't No Sunshine.

The couples then each performed their showdances, routines "without rules".

Fletcher and Mabuse won a full 40 points for their energetic dance to Shout by the Isley Brothers, described by Bruno Tonioli as a "tour de force".

The pair closed the show with their choice of dance, their first week samba to La Vida Es Un Carnaval by Celia Cruz and the panel gave them 39 points for the routine.

His first dance on the series, a samba, set the tone for the rest of the show as he topped the leaderboard with a score of 32, which, according to presenter Claudia Winkleman, was the highest score ever achieved on Strictly for a first dance.

Fletcher debuted in Emmerdale in 1996, when his character arrived as Andy Hopwood, but was adopted by Jack and Sarah Sugden and became a permanent part of the Sugden family.

His final scenes saw him bid an emotional farewell to his brother Robert (Ryan Hawley) as a fugitive on the run, leaving behind his on-off girlfriend Bernice (Samantha Giles), who decided not to go with him.

He had discovered he had been framed by Chrissie White (Louise Marwood) for the murder of Lawrence White (John Bowe).

Well-known storylines over the years have included Sugden setting fire to the farm's barn, as well as a domestic abuse storyline and a plot which saw his brother shot.