Tom Chambers and Camilla win Strictly Come Dancing 2008!

 tom and camilla

Tom Chambers sensationally overturned the odds to win a hotly contested Strictly final.

The Holby City actor, 31, and dance partner Camilla Dallerup, 33, stormed to the title after wowing judges and the public with a superb performance in the no-holds-barred freestyle.

Runner up Rachel Stevens and partner Vincent Simone narrowly missed out on the coveted title in one of the most competitive Strictly finals ever.

Model/presenter Lisa Snowdon and Brendan Cole had earlier chalked up a maximum 80 points from her two dances, but finished third as public support went to Rachel and Tom.

And former S Club singer Rachel showed her mettle with a maximum in the foxtrot and by dropping just one point in the Rumba.

But it was Tom’s day as he made good on a promise to Danish dance partner Camilla to win Strictly, who has appeared in the hit show’s semi-finals twice.
tom and camilla

Camilla reached the penultimate stage with Gethin Jones and James Martin but fell at the final hurdle on both occasions.

The heartthrob had finished bottom of the leaderboard in last week’s semi-final, but due to a voting error he was put through to the final.

And he was determined to make the best of it as the last man left in the competition.

Tom, who postponed his wedding date and honeymoon to compete in the finals, said: ‘The first person I want to thank is my wife.

‘But this isn’t about me, it’s about you [Camilla] because you deserve this more than anyone I can imagine.’

The final was extremely close, with the judges seeming to prefer Rachel but the public firmly on Tom’s side.

Bruno Tonioli said: ‘I would like to celebrate both of you, to get this far and be so fantastic.

‘But Rachel, you really are a dancing delight and it’s plain for me to see.’

After Lisa had been voted into third place, Tom and Rachel both had to perform a simultaneous Viennese waltz.

But then they took to the stage again for the freestyle show dance, where Tom put on his best performance of the series and amazed the audience with a round-the-world lift.

Judge Craig Revel Horwood said: ‘You are like Bisto gravy, you saved the best until last.’

And Arlene Phillips added: ‘All I can say is wow. The around the world – that wasn’t just brilliant for an amateur, that was brilliant for a professional.’

Their attempt to lift the Strictly crown had got off to the worst possible start as the heartthrob stumbled during the foxtrot. Tom and Camilla received the lowest points scores from the judges, leaving them five points behind after both Lisa and Rachel scored top marks.

They scored just 35 and even though they managed an impressive 38 for their second dance, the cha cha cha, they still needed public support to remain in the competition.

There were clear signs of tension in Tom’s initial performance in the foxtrot – and even in his relations with the judging panel.

After his second dance, one of the panel, Craig, noted: ‘The slip-up was such a shame, but everyone has them. The last time you did the dance I thought you were a little smug, but this time you were not and even the facial expressions were not too much.’

The actor snapped back: ‘Judge it on the dance please.’

But Len Goodman had kinder words after their salsa. He said: ‘I’m knocked out, that was absolutely brilliant.’

Strictly had found itself at the centre of a public storm after all three couples were put through to the final last week because of a voting error.

Tom had finished bottom of the leaderboard, but the mix-up meant he could not be saved by the public vote so the decision was made to put them all through.

More than 2,000 people complained to the BBC, which decided to carry over phone votes until last night’s final and adopt a complex new voting system for the ultimate showdown.

Hosts Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly made a public apology at the beginning of the show, but Tom’s victory looks like the decision to put him through was the right one.

Forsyth said: ‘Once again we are so sorry about all this but we hope now you understand exactly what is going to happen.’

However, the show’s phone voting system came in for more criticism last night after frustrated viewers complained they could not get through.

Some fans were angry that just 40 minutes were allowed for the millions of callers to vote for their favourite after the first half of the final, resulting in jammed phone lines.

Those calling the BBC to complain included irritated George Murphy. He said: ‘If they are asking the public to co-operate and to get involved then the window of opportunity should be big enough for everyone to take part. The time allowed for voting is insufficient for millions of people to register a vote.’

And on the Strictly Come Dancing website, one fan wrote: ‘I don’t think there has been enough time to vote. Lots of people seem to have trouble getting through.’

A spokesman for the BBC said: ‘As you would expect with such a hugely popular show, phones lines have been extremely busy. This was explained on air and people were advised to keep trying. We have checked and there have been no problems with phone lines.’

Despite the row, stars clammered to get tickets to the final.

Actresses Miranda Richardson, Felicity Kendal and Fay Ripley had seats in the front rows, near former Grandstand presenter Des Lynam, comedy actor Stephen Merchant and radio DJ Johnny Vaughan.

Business Secretary Peter Mandelson was also invited after revealing that he was ‘disappointed’ not to have been asked to take part as a contestant.

There were places too for the BBC’s more glamorous newsreaders Sophie Raworth and Kate Silverton, and weather girl Carol Kirkwood.

But insiders said several ‘well-known names’ had failed to obtain tickets for the final. There was no seat for Sue Nye, the Prime Minister’s aide and wife of former BBC chairman Gavin Davies.

A source said: ‘We’ve had a lot of people contacting us and while it would be nice to accommodate everyone, it’s just not possible. Everyone wants tickets but there are very few going round.

‘Obviously the people who have helped out by giving the dancers advice get first refusal.’

The sixth series of Strictly Come Dancing was easily the most controversial. It will be inextricably associated with John Sergeant, the ‘dancing pig’, whose performances were continually derided by the judges but loved by the public.

Declaring it had all become too serious, the former TV political correspondent quit dramatically last month.

But his guest appearance last night, during which he performed his signature dance, the paso doble, for which he dressed as a matador and dragged dance partner Kristina Rihanoff across the floor ‘like a sack of spuds’, drew rapturous applause and cheering from the celebrity audience.