Brendan ‘honoured’ by Opera House opportunity

Brendan Cole
Brendan Cole

He’s long been called the ‘bad boy of Strictly’, and perhaps his outspoken views have caught up with Brendan Cole, who revealed this week that his contract on the show wasn’t being renewed for 2018.

But the tears he shed on ITV’s Lorraine on Tuesday will have been genuine, I’m sure, as his love for Strictly Come Dancing and his appreciation of what the show has done for him was always clear whenever we spoke.

Out on the road with his All Night Long tour, Brendan spoke to the Gazette before this week’s news, where he said he was ‘in shock’, ‘quite emotional and a bit raw’ following the ‘editorial decision not to have me back’.

The 41-year-old professional dancer had previously told The Gazette he hoped to be back for the 2018 series, but that the decision was in the hands of the BBC.

“It’s the same every year; contracts are on a year-by-year basis, whether the BBC want me back, still like me and if I still want to come back,” he said. “You need to be passionate and inspired. Fifteen years in, I still am and still love it. We’ll make a decision as a family if and when I’m asked by the BBC.

“I have always said as long as I’ve got a passion for it, I want to be there. I want to still be there.”

Rounding off the 2017 series, with Children In Need and Christmas specials, as well as showdances on the main show, Brendan doubles his workload with producing and promoting his tour at the same time.

“Strictly is amazing to be part of, but the tour is my baby so I don’t mind working hard for an incredible thing,” he said.

“Strictly certainly changed the game [for professional dancers]. The people involved in Strictly are very lucky to be in it.

“We make the show what it is and are very proud of it – and hopefully people coming to see my tour want a piece of that same magic.”

All Night Long is Brendan’s fourth touring show and features 21 dancers, singers and live band.

“It’s a big old dance show with a few tweaks from last year; I’m even playing my guitar for a beautiful Ed Sheeran number,” he said. “The audience seem to love it and it’s an opportunity for me to do something different.”

And Blackpool being the home of ballroom, it’s only natural that the Opera House features every year.

“It’s definitely special coming to Blackpool,” Brendan said. “You walk on to the stage and know the proper theatre history there; every name in UK showbusiness has been there so it’s an honour to put yourself on that list.

“There’s a feeling that you’re playing with greatness, and a feeling you just don’t get anywhere else.”

· All Night Long, Opera House, Friday, March 1. Call 0844 856 1111.