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Kara is crowned Strictly Queen

Former EastEnder Kara Tointon has been named the winner of this year's Strictly Come Dancing.

The 28-year-old, an early favourite in the competition, fought back tears as she said: "It's just the most special thing that I've ever achieved."

Turning to her dance partner Artem Chigvintsev, she said: "I want to thank this man, he's been wonderful".

But she admitted she was "a bit embarrassed" to be handed the title as Chigvintsev reassured her: "You're amazing".

As massive cheers erupted, Tointon focused on her dance partner saying: "I made the most fantastic friend for life". And she thanked runner-up Matt Baker, 31, who lost out on the coveted glitterball trophy.

Reflecting on his defeat, the Countryfile presenter and bookmakers' favourite said: "It's been great. They were worthy winners without a doubt."

Tointon's success came after the third finalist, psychologist Pamela Stephenson, went out of BBC show earlier in the evening when she failed to notch up as many public votes as her fellow contestants. Tointon drew standing ovations throughout the final.

But her Viennese Waltz to Cry Me A River perhaps drew the most applause and prompted judge Craig Revel Horwood to say: "I would kill to be able to dance like that, I thought it was amazing." He awarded the delighted actress a 10 out of 10.

Alesha Dixon echoed his praise, adding: "I'm quite sad that that is the last dance we are going to see you do". Addressing the pair, she said: "Together you are first class".

But Bruno Tonioli went a step further to say: "You danced to a level that we hardly ever see here. Whatever happens, this was incredible."

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