'Strictly Come Dancing': The winning couple and all the highlights of the 2020 final

Katie Archer
·Contributor
The Strictly Come Dancing contestants of 2020. (BBC)
The Strictly Come Dancing contestants of 2020. (BBC)

Strictly Come Dancing 2020 has been won by Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse.

They competed in the show’s final against Maisie Smith and Gorka Marquez, HRVY and Janette Manrara, and Jamie Laing and Karen Hauer before being crowned the winners in the public vote and collecting the glitterball trophy.

Bailey, 55, who had been considered the contest’s underdog, said: “It feels surreal, it feels extraordinary, it feels wonderful.

Read more: Bill Bailey had prepared to be the joke act

“I never thought we would get this far, but I have the most extraordinary teacher who believed in me right from the beginning and turned me into a dancer.”

Mabuse has won the competition for the second year in a row after being crowned the champion last year with Kelvin Fletcher, a stand-in for her partner Laing who was injured during the launch show.

She told Bailey: “You are amazing, you put your heart and soul into everything.

“Thank you for being a father figure to me, a brother, and for this.”

Bailey said he was “overcome” to receive a message of support from Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor.

May told him in a recorded message: “Hey Bill genius, it’s your old friend Bri. I don’t think you’ll need me to wish you good luck with this one.”

Bailey dedicated his showdance to overcoming this year’s difficulties, saying: “Now we’ve found out restrictions are going to be harder, people are going to be isolated over Christmas, this is not just the arts, this is about getting through all this and being stronger.”

Strictly’s final aired shortly after Prime Minister Boris Johnson made his latest coronavirus announcement that London, the South East and the East of England would move into harsher tier 4 restrictions, while the Christmas rule relaxation would be dramatically scaled back for the whole country.

In the face of the bad news, usually-grumpy judge Craig Revel Horwood vowed to be positive for the evening and only offered constructive comments.

The judges were full of praise for the other finalists, too.

Judge Motsi Mabuse told Smith, the youngest ever Strictly finalist: “The first time I saw you I said, ‘look at her, she is a raw diamond.’ Tonight, you are a shining diamond.

“Take that shining with you in everything that you do.”

The judges were amazed by HRVY’s final dance routine, his A Chorus Line themed American Smooth.

Craig Revel Horwood told him: “It gave me goosebumps actually. There’s only one word - fab-u-lous.”

Shirley Ballas added: “I have waited four years to be able to use this quote - it is the seven ‘p’s.

“Practise and perseverance of postural principles promises physical perfection.”

Laing, who was originally supposed to appear in last year’s series partnering Mabuse, said: “Everything happens for a reaon and I have no idea, my experience could have been amazing, but if it had been anything like this, it’s been magical.”

Ballas told him: “I will carry the joy of dance from you in my heart forever.”

Also showcasing their skills during the final were Nicola Adams and Katya Jones, who had to bow out of the contest early when Jones tested positive for COVID-19.

They danced one last routine together while the voting took place, followed by a performance from Robbie Williams.

It has been a shorter series this year as the programme’s start was delayed due to coronavirus filming restrictions, and contestants were forced to live in bubbles for their time on the show.

Bruno Tonioli, who has not been able to judge this series as he is in the US and could not travel between the two countries because of coronavirus restrictions, made a brief video appearance where he vowed to be back in the ballroom next year.

The other celebrities and their dance partners were in tonight’s studio audience to see the winners announced and took part in one final group routine.

Watch: Craig Revel Horwood talks COVID and Strictly