Joe Swash has won Dancing On Ice, taking the title from series favourite Perri Kiely.
The former EastEnders actor and his skating partner, Alex Murphy, were crowned champions of the ITV series after performing three routines in the finale, including their own take on Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean’s famous Bolero dance.
Both Swash and Murphy were visibly shocked when they were announced as the winners, while Diversity dancer Kiely – who was the bookies’ favourite to win throughout the series – cheered them on.
Asked by hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield how he felt, Swash said: “Honestly, this is the most amazing experience to share with Al.”
Schofield told Kiely that “everybody thought you had this in the bag”, to which the dancer replied: “I did everything I wanted to do, Joe has come so far and I’ve genuinely made a friend for life.”
The 24-year-old pulled off a dangerous backflip on the ice, the first in the show’s history, earlier in the show.
He was also told he had “the best Bolero we’ve ever seen from any contestant” by judge Dean.
'Skip To The Good Bit'? That was ALL the good bit! 👏 And we finally got a backflip! Just an incredible skate by @perrikiely & @TheVanessaBauer (plus our lovely Pros!) #DancingOnIce pic.twitter.com/nGNoHOmHcw— Dancing on Ice (@dancingonice) March 8, 2020
However, the panel praised Swash, 38, for being the most-improved contestant of the series.
Dean said that he had gone from a “flat-out faller to a finalist” and that his was an “amazing journey”.
He scored perfect 10s from the judges all night, as did Kiely, but the public had the ultimate power in choosing the winner.
Swash and Murphy kicked off the night with a Charlie Chaplin-inspired dance, before repeating their favourite routine from the series, to Niall Horan’s Nice To Meet Ya.
Kiely and his partner Vanessa Bauer offered an energetic and trick-filled routine to Rizzle Kicks song Skip To The Good Bit, which included the backflip and other break-dancing elements from Kiely, as well as a repeat of their previous dance to Senorita by Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes.
Swash’s win came after he sustained an injury to his ear this week, when Murphy’s skate blade caught his skin.
He was forced to spend the rest of the week training with a large bandage around his head.
Earlier in the episode, Paralympian Libby Clegg was eliminated, meaning she and partner Mark Hanretty came in third place and missed out on the chance to perform their prepared Bolero routine.
The blind sprinter reduced the judges to tears with her moving routine to Gloria Estefan’s Reach in a dance staged in honour of her sporting journey.
The episode also saw the former contestants, including Maura Higgins, Ben Hanlin and Trisha Goddard, return to the ice for one final spin.
However, ex-contestant Caprice Bourret, who quit the series several weeks in, was absent from the performance.
Torvill and Dean also took to the ice for a special one-off routine to Elbow’s One Day Like This.