Strictly spec­tac­u­lar as Stacey lifts the crown

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - By Tony Whit­field

STACEY DOO­LEY was crowned Strictly‘s cham­pion as her rou­tines wowed the judges and the pub­lic in last night’s live fi­nal.

The doc­u­men­tary pre­sen­ter, 31, and her pro­fes­sional part­ner Kevin Clifton, 36, scored 114 out of 120 with their three dances on the BBC con­test.

They per­formed the judges’ pick, fox­trot, to Hi Ho Sil­ver Lin­ing by Jeff Beck, the show dance to Land Of 1,000 Dances by Wil­son Pick­ett and the cou­ple’s favourite dance, the pa­sodoble.

Af­ter 14 gru­elling weeks, the favourites to win were ec­static as they lifted the Glit­ter­ball tro­phy at the end of the TV favourite’s 16th se­ries.

As Stacey, from Lu­ton, was left speech­less, Kevin said: “It is a Christ­mas mir­a­cle.”

Re­gain­ing her com­po­sure Stacey said: “This is amaz­ing.” She told Grims­by­born Kevin, who had pre­vi­ously been a fi­nal­ist four times: “Kev, you are the big­gest gem. You so de­serve this.” Kevin replied: “You are so lovely and I think the ab­so­lute world of you.”

Af­ter Stacey’s first dance, which earned 39 points, head judge Shirley Bal­las said: “This has been a jour­ney for you. It has not been a walk in the park. You’ve had low scores, and high scores. What is so im­pres­sive is that you have col­lated every­thing to­gether. Your mu­si­cal­ity is sec­ond to none.”

Fol­low­ing the sec­ond, which scored 36, with only eight from Craig RevelHor­wood, Stacey said: “You can’t win them all, I am glad to be here, it was what it was.” For their fi­nal dance, Stacey took on the pa­sodoble to Malaguena by Brian Set­zer, elic­it­ing the loud­est cheer of the night and 39 points.

Bruno To­nioli hailed her “sass” while Darcey Bus­sell said: “For a tiny lit­tle thing you can be a very fierce lady.”

Stacey and Kevin never had a full house – their best score was 39 out of 40 with the Charleston in week 12 of the con­test. Be­fore break­ing into doc­u­men­taries, Stacey worked at Lu­ton air­port near her fam­ily home.

But her ca­reer took off in 2007 when she fronted Blood, Sweat and T-shirts for BBC Three, about child labour in sweat­shops, and has made 11 se­ries of her own Stacey Doo­ley In­ves­ti­gates.

And this year has been mon­u­men­tal with the re­lease of her first book, On The Front Line With The Women Who Fight Back, in Fe­bru­ary.

In June she re­ceived an MBE for ser­vices to broad­cast­ing.

The vic­tory came af­ter one of the most con­tro­ver­sial se­ries of the tal­ent show, which saw scan­dal, ro­man­tic in­trigue, con­tro­versy – and an un­ex­pected rat­ings tus­sle with an old foe, ITV’s I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! Co­me­dian Seann Walsh kicked off the scan­dal when he was pic­tured out­side a club kiss­ing his mar­ried pro­fes­sional dance part­ner, Katya Jones.

DJ Vick Hope claimed Shirley had it in for her from day one and Red Dwarf ’s Danny John-Jules was ac­cused of bul­ly­ing af­ter a bust-up with part­ner Amy Dow­den. And view­ers seemed to take against Ash­ley Roberts, 36, a for­mer sec­ond-placed con­tes­tant, be­cause of her pro­fes­sional dance ex­pe­ri­ence.

Be­fore the fi­nal, she ap­peared in three con­sec­u­tive dance-offs but was saved by the judges to go through to the fol­low­ing week, knock­ing out Charles Venn, Graeme Swann and Lau­ren Stead­man.

It was a tri­umphant night – al­though the se­ries it­self had been beaten for rat­ings by ITV’s re­al­ity se­ries I’m a Celebrity which saw ex-foot­ball boss Harry Red­knapp emerge vic­to­ri­ous.

Katya Comic Seann and DANC­ING QUEEN: Stacey and pro­fes­sional part­ner Kevin Clifton in ac­tion

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