As Rose Ayling-Ellis danced her way into the nation’s hearts on Strictly, one key figure in her life was rarely seen – her boyfriend.

Samuel Arnold, the EastEnders actress at 27, was still in the background, while Giovanni Pernice (31 year old professional) practiced each week in studio.

Having not appeared in the weekly rehearsal clips, which often feature the celebrity’s loved ones, Samuel was finally caught on camera in the audience on Saturday night, as he watched his girlfriend crowned this year’s winner.

Loved-up: Strictly winner Rose Ayling-Ellis, 27, had wanted to keep her romance with Samuel Arnold under wraps during her time on the show but he showed his support in Saturday's final

Rose Ayling Ellis is a Loved-up. Although Rose Ayling Ellis won Strictly, she wanted to keep their relationship with Samuel Arnold private. However, he supported her in the final on Saturday.

He was seen celebrating in the crowd alongside Rose’s mother Donna as the actress made history, becoming Strictly’s first deaf champion.

Rose and Giovanni beat John Whaite (32-year-old Bake Off winner) and Johannes Radebe (34) who made history by being the first all-male pair on the program.

Rose wanted to avoid the attention of Samuel because she was also deaf. His attendance at the studio audience was confirmed several times. 

Champions: EastEnders actress Rose was crowned the winner of this year's Strictly Come Dancing alongside professional dancer Giovanni Pernice, 31

Champions: Rose EastEnders, actress and professional dancer Giovanni Pernice were crowned this year’s Strictly Come Dancing champions.

Samuel, who is seven years old and has been dancing with Rose since the beginning of her first dance, was seen standing up after she finished.

A peak audience of 12.3million – and an average of 11million – tuned in to BBC1 for the highly charged final, which saw the celebrities, their professional partners, judges and even the presenters frequently struggling to keep their emotions in check.

About 14 minutes of the 110-minute show – more than 10 per cent – was taking up with people crying and fighting back tears, research shows.

Gracious runner-up: Viewers watched as Rose managed to pip John to the post after they both drew on the leaderboard with the same near-perfect scores

Rose was the gracious runner-up. Viewers saw as Rose beat John to the title after both posted near-perfect scores on the leaderboard.

This included Johannes becoming emotional after dancing the rumba and comedian Judi Love, 41, the fifth contestant to be voted out in this year’s series, drying her eyes when the dance finished. 

John, who was also in tears after sharing his experiences on the show, and Johannes’s struggles with their show dance, were both emotional.

Rose wept as she shared her experiences on the show. Giovanni, however, was more emotional when they talked about their final day of training.

Connection: Former Bake Off winner John, 32, was part of Strictly's first ever all-male pairing with dancer Johannes Radebe, 34

Connection: Former Bake Off winner John, 32, was part of Strictly’s first ever all-male pairing with dancer Johannes Radebe, 34

Judge Anton Du Beke (55), struggled to stay composed as he provided feedback to the couple on their show dance. Motsi, 40, wept when she spoke to John and Johannes about one their routines.

AJ Odudu (33) broke down after she revealed her pain at missing the final because of an injury in training. This was during an interview by Claudia Winkleman (49).

Rose’s participation and success has been described as a massive step forward for disability representation. After performing a Romeo and Juliet-inspired show dance with Giovanni to The Rose, by Bette Midler, she said: ‘I’ve become more me than I’ve ever been because of Strictly.’

In tears: For the first time, just two finalists competed after AJ Odudu was forced to pull out of the competition on Friday, due to an ankle injury which left the presenter in crutches

Weeping: Only two finalists participated in the finals after AJ Odudu, who sustained an ankle injury that left him with crutches, had to withdraw from Friday’s competition.

Born to perform: BBC1’s Christmas Day Strictly special features comedian Mel Giedroyc, 53, who will dance alongside Neil Jones, 39

Born to perform: BBC1’s Christmas Day Strictly special features comedian Mel Giedroyc, 53, who will dance alongside Neil Jones, 39

Of her victory, she told The Guardian yesterday: ‘I was so shocked. It was like my whole body had been taken out. Last night was a celebration. The celebration included a few glasses of prosecco, dancing and some food.

‘The first week, I was like, “Everyone’s going to be expecting a deaf person to dance really badly”. It will hopefully change how people view deaf people. Giovanni is such a good teacher, and he’s really adapted to the way I learn.’

Ratings have gone up over the series – the launch show in September was watched by an average of seven million viewers.

BBC One’s Christmas Day Strictly special features contestants including newsreader Moira Stuart, 72, and comedian Mel Giedroyc, 53.

Screen star: Newsreader Moira Stuart, 72, is also set to appear on the festive special when it airs on BBC One on Christmas Day

Film star: Moira Stewart, 72-year-old newsreader, will also appear in the Christmas special on BBC One.