Former Emmerdale star Kelvin Fletcher said he “never in a million years” expected to win Strictly Come Dancing after an emotional and energetic live final on Saturday.
Fletcher, 35, said he was “in complete disbelief” when his name was called out as winner with his dance partner Oti Mabuse at the show’s finale.
Fletcher – who was a late addition to the series, replacing Made In Chelsea star Jamie Laing when he was forced to pull out due to injury – broke down in tears as he and Mabuse were awarded the Glitterball Trophy.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast with Mabuse the morning after, he said: “It has just been the most amazing experience and to get the public’s vote means more than anything.
“It just felt so surreal, I felt like I was in a dream.
“When I heard my name, I was in complete disbelief.
“I never in a million years expected that.”
Professional Latin American and ballroom dancer, Mabuse, 29, said: “The most special thing was we were getting to know each other through the dance.
“The samba was how I got to know him, and it wasn’t just me – I think the whole nation got to know him.”
After his win, the actor said he is planning to have “a bit of a rest and then more dancing”.
Fletcher, who played Andy Sugden in Emmerdale, also posted on Twitter after the show that he was “humbled, elated, honoured” to have been crowned the winner.
He added: “Thank you for your votes. Thank you to my family. Thank you to @OtiMabuse. And a massive thank you to #Strictly for the opportunity.
“Team #Floti did it! #StrictlyFinal WINNERS 2019.”
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.
Fletcher and Mabuse performed three dances, including a rumba to Ain’t No Sunshine, scoring 39 out of 40, and an energetic dance to Shout by the Isley Brothers which was given a 40 by the judges and 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, which the panel scored 39 points.
US pop star Taylor Swift was the special musical guest for the grand final, and she performed her song Lover.
The previous star contestants from the series, including James Cracknell, Anneka Rice, Catherine Tyldesley, Chris Ramsey and Will Bayley, returned for one final dance along with the professionals.