Long-time Strictly Come Dancing pro Brendan Cole has announced that he is leaving the show.
Speaking to Lorraine Kelly on her self-titled ITV show, the Strictly stalwart explained that beeb executives have decided not to renew his contract with the popular show. Brendan has appeared on every series of Strictly, most recently hitting the dance floor with Good Morning Britain’s Charlotte Hawkins.
“The BBC haven’t renewed my contract. We get contracted year upon year [and] they’ve made an editorial decision to not have me back on the show. I’m a little bit in shock. I’m quite emotional, a bit raw about it.
“It’s done via a process of a phone call and stuff. I have had 15 incredible series on the show. I’m very proud of the whole show. It’s a great team.
“I’m disappointed. It’s very hard to talk about.”
Of his sometimes argumentative character, Brendan admitted:
“Some do [like it] some don’t. I love that side of the show. I like being a character on the show. They look at the show every year, I’ve never been contracted more than one year.” He added that he had wanted to stay: “Yeah [I still wanted to be part of it]. 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. It’s kind of weird to imagine yourself not having that as your… I do a lot of other things of course, but the main thing I’ve been known for is to be a dancer on Strictly. Very odd to even say this out loud. It feels quite raw.”
Brendan was partnered with BBC Proms host Katie Derham for the 2017 Christmas special
On what’s next for him, he said:
“This is the exciting thing, it’s going to open up many opportunities. I’ve always been, I wouldn’t say tied down to Strictly, that’s the wrong thing to say, but that Strictly takes up such a large chunk of your time – five months of the year the pros are involved. I’ve had to pass up so many opportunities that have come my way. I’m very sad to leave, to not be asked back, however, I’m available for weddings, funerals, Bar Mitzvahs.”
“It’s their [the BBC’s] decision, the powers that be within the BBC, they’ll have a vision of the show and I’m not part of the vision, that’s OK. I would have preferred to have made the decision myself, but maybe I would never have made it because I love being on the show.
“The last five years I haven’t really made much of a noise on the show with my partners, they haven’t been able to do what I’ve wanted to do. No disrespect to them. I haven’t had one of the ones that had a bit of dance experience that you can really challenge. So it’s one of those things where you go, I’ve asked this question many times of myself, ‘When do I leave?’ Every year, I’ve gone, ‘I love the show too much’. I love the fact that I’ve been there from the start. I feel like I’ve made a massive difference to the show and to the show that it is today. I will still watch the show, I still want to support my friends that are in it.”
Brendan’s departure has sparked speculation amongst the Strictly fanbase that a snippy encounter with new head judge Shirley Ballas may have been a factor in the decision to drop him from the show.
Brendan’s other partners over the years include Emmerdale actress Claire King, model Kelly Brook and series one winner, newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky.