Posted on January 30, 2018
Brendan Cole will be leaving Strictly Come Dancing, he has announced. He had been a professional dancer on the BBC television show since 2004, when he won the first series with broadcaster Natasha Kaplinsky.
Appearing as a guest on Lorraine, Lorraine Kelly’s morning show on ITV, Cole said, “It’s quite actually, hard to talk about. Well, the BBC haven’t renewed my contract. We get contracted year upon year. They’ve just made an editorial decision not to have me back on the show. I’m a little bit in shock. I’m quite emotional, a bit raw about it.
“I have had 15 incredible series on the show, I’m very proud of the whole show, they’re a great team… I’m disappointed. It’s very hard to talk about. It’s a recent decision.”
Asked if he would have liked to continue on the series, Cole said: “I’ve always known this day would come, but to actually get here… The BBC, they make the decisions year upon year. It’s an editorial decision, I’m sure I’ll never know the ins and outs. I’m a very strong character within the show, I have my strong views.”
“That’s what people like,” Kelly suggested, referring to Cole’s onscreen clashes with the show’s judging panel. “Some do, some don’t,” Cole replied. “I love that side of the show, I like being a character on the show… I’ve always said, as long as I’ve got a passion for it I want to be there. My passion is still very much there. I’ll miss being part of the team. I’ll miss being a Strictly dancer.”
The BBC programme’s press team later tweeted: “We’d like to thank @BrendanCole for being part of the show since the beginning – winner of the first series – and for the contribution he has made to its success. We wish him all the very best for the future.”
Cole and Anton Du Beke were the last remaining professional dancers from the original 2004 line-up. Cole is currently on tour with his show All Night Long.
For an in-depth look at the most recent series of Strictly Come Dancing, see Marianka Swain’s blog Strictly Speaking.
Pictured, top: Tess Daly, celebrity partner Charlotte Hawkins and Brendan Cole on the 2017 series of Strictly Come Dancing. Photograph: BBC/Guy Levy