Nicola Benedetti stepped in at the last minute to deliver a "spellbinding" performance at the Last Night of the Proms 2020.

The Scottish virtuoso, from West Kilbride, North Ayrshire, filled the spot of German violinist Lisa Batiashvili after she pulled out due to illness.

HeraldScotland: The Scottish violin sensation stepped in at the last minuteThe Scottish violin sensation stepped in at the last minute

The First Minister called Benedetti's performance "spellbinding", while BBC Proms thanked Benedetti for the "gorgeous, unforgettable final notes of Vaughan Williams' 'The Lark Ascending'".

The Last Night of the Proms 2020 drew to a close last night, after weeks of heated debate over whether or not singing would be permitted.

The BBC previously said the traditional songs Rule, Britannia! and Land of Hope And Glory would be performed without lyrics but the decision was overturned.

A reduced orchestra of 65 instead of the usual 300 performed live at the Royal Albert Hall – but without an audience due to coronavirus restrictions – with the singers placed in the stalls to ensure social distancing.

READ MORE: BBC Proms: Important update on singing of 'Rule, Brittania!'

The concert featured South African soprano Golda Schultz with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under its principal guest conductor Dalia Stasevska.

Introducing the show, host Katie Derham said: “Our orchestra, singers and some very special guests are standing by for an evening of classical treats, show songs and all your traditional favourites.”

The show was screened in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea to a socially distanced audience of hundreds.

The original plan would have seen the traditional pieces, seen by some as controversial because of their perceived ties to imperialism, performed without lyrics.

READ MORE: BBC Scotland stopping daily live coverage of Nicola Sturgeon's coronavirus briefings

Some of the lyrics deemed controversial in the songs include the Rule, Britannia! lines: “Britons never, never, never shall be slaves”, and: “The nations, not so blest as thee / Must, in their turns, to tyrants fall / While thou shalt flourish great and free: The dread and envy of them all.”

Ms Stasevska, the conductor, spoke out amid the controversy to say she played no role in the decision to strip the pieces of lyrics.

The run-up to the Last Night saw musicians, media industry figures and even Prime Minister Boris Johnson weigh in to the debate over the pieces.

The BBC Proms later said that “both pieces will now include a select group of BBC singers. This means the words will be sung in the hall, and as we have always made clear, audiences will be free to sing along at home.

“While it can’t be a full choir, and we are unable to have audiences in the hall, we are doing everything possible to make it special and want a Last Night truly to remember.

“We hope everyone will welcome this solution. We think the night itself will be a very special moment for the country – and one that is much needed after a difficult period for everyone.”

The U-turn came after director-general Lord Hall was succeeded in the role by Tim Davie, the former chief executive of commercial arm BBC Studios.