More than 12m watch Strictly final

Salisbury Journal: Abbey Clancy with her dance partner Aljaz Skorjanec after they were crowned Strictly Come Dancing champions (BBC/PA) Abbey Clancy with her dance partner Aljaz Skorjanec after they were crowned Strictly Come Dancing champions (BBC/PA)

More than 12 million people watched Abbey Clancy as she was crowned the champion of this year's Strictly Come Dancing.

But the final of the BBC1 dance contest pulled in its lowest ratings for a final for four years.

At its height, the audience hit 12.6 million as viewers tuned in to see Clancy gyrate to triumph in the BBC1 show to round off the 2013 series.

But both of last night's editions of Strictly pulled in an average of 11.5 million viewers according to overnight figures, which was some way behind the performance for the finale for recent years, and proved to be the lowest since 2009.

However, it was still millions ahead of rival The X Factor, which bowed out last week on an average of 8.5 million for its Saturday edition and 9.7 million for its Sunday results show.

Strictly has been well ahead of the ITV show this year. But last night's figures were no match for last year, when an average 12.4 million watched the main programme and 11.9 million watched the results show to see gymnast Louis Smith take the glory. In 2010 the figure was as high as 13 million for both shows.

And despite being down on previous years, it dominated viewing last night. The first programme - in which the contestants showed off their three routines - pulled in 48% of the TV audience at that time, and the results show achieved 46%.

This year saw an all-female celebrity final with Clancy - and her partner Aljaz Skorjanec - beating off competition from Susanna Reid, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Natalie Gumede.

Bookmakers were breathing a sigh of relief after favourite Reid missed out on the title as they would have faced a hefty pay-out following a sudden flood of bets.

William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams said: "Susanna was the subject of a sustained gamble in the last three weeks and she would have been our worst ever result in the show's history."

The programme is back for a further instalment on Christmas Day with a special edition in which six new contestants take part in a one-off programme.

Charlotte Moore, controller of BBC1, said: "Strictly 2013 has been a vintage year, bringing huge audiences together to BBC1 every week, culminating in last night's dramatic all-women final which saw Abbey crowned champion."

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