OLDHAM actor Kelvin Fletcher has emerged as favourite to be crowned champion of TV's Strictly Come Dancing after coming joint-top of the leaderboard and melting viewers' hearts with the story of how he married his childhood sweetheart Eliza.

As well as his outstanding dance routines with professional partner Oti Mabuse, the 35-year-old former Emmerdale star brought tears to viewers' eyes with the story of how Eliza eventually became his wife.

Kelvin, who played Andy Sugden in the soap for two decades, was himself seen to well up as he told the story of how he and Eliza met again after losing touch.

He told viewers he had known her since he was eight and she was the first girl he ever kissed.

But they lost contact when she went to university and he got the role in Emmerdale.

Kelvin explained how he was in a bar in Manchester when he bumped into Eliza again.

"I'm in a random bar in Manchester and who of all people appears in the crowd dancing towards me?" he said.

They married in 2015 and daughter Marnie was born in August, 2016 and son Milo arrived a year ago.

In last night's Strictly he performed to their first dance song Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) by Frank Wilson with Oti.

"It will mean so much," before the performance.

"When she walked down that aisle she took my breath away. Best moment of my life, it was just amazing," he said about their wedding day.

"I just want Liz to know how lucky I feel. Thank you for giving me two amazing incredible children."

And Eliza said about her husband: "He's everything, everything."

Meanwhile, Kelvin's closest rival for the crown Karim Zeroual and his professional partner Amy Dowden, who topped the leaderboard with the Oldham actor, finished in the bottom two in the viewers' vote, but survived the dance-off as YouTube star Saffron Barker, 19, and her partner AJ Pritchard were eliminated.