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Bailey becomes oldest winner of glitterball trophy


Comedian Bill Bailey and dance partner Oti Mabuse

Comedian Bill Bailey and dance partner Oti Mabuse

Comedian Bill Bailey and dance partner Oti Mabuse

More than 13 million viewers watched Bill Bailey became the oldest celebrity to lift the glitterball trophy in the Strictly Come Dancing final on Saturday night.

A peak audience of 13.2 million saw the comic (55) describe his win as "surreal".

The feel-good prog- ramme aired shortly after British prime minister Boris Johnson announced the tight- ening of Christmas plans for millions of people in the UK.

"Strictly has provided much needed sparkle to our weekends this autumn, and last night's final brought pure joy to over 13 million viewers all over the UK as Bill and Oti lifted the glitterball," said Kate Phillips, acting controller of BBC One.

Bailey, who described his dance skills as "patchy" when he signed up for the series, looked shocked when he was named winner and said it felt "surreal", "extra- ordinary" and "just wonderful".

The comedian, whose dance to Rapper's Delight was one of the stand-out moments of the series, said "What? What?" after his win.

"I had the most extra- ordinary teacher, the most extraordinary dancer," he said of his dance partner Oti Mabuse.

"She believed in me right from the beginning and she found something in me, turned me into this, into a dancer."


Bailey takes the record for the oldest winner of the glitterball trophy from Joe McFadden, who won in 2017, aged 42.

In the series final, Mabuse said Bailey was like a "father figure".

"You just put your heart into everything," she said.

"You're in your world, but I love your world.

"Thank you for being a friend, a father figure to me, a brother and for this."