Brendan Cole hints he left Strictly after making comments about Shirley Ballas
Former Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer Brendan Cole has appeared to hint that he was dropped from the show after making comments about head judge Shirley Ballas.
Cole, 42, appeared in the first 15 series of the BBC One programme, but earlier this year it was announced his contract had not been renewed.
Appearing on the ITV talk show Loose Women, the New Zealander admitted he was disappointed not to have been asked back on the show for its 16th series.
Asked whether comments he had made off-air about head judge Ballas had led to his departure, he replied: “I can’t possibly say.”
However, he appeared to confirm this was the case by adding he had made comments that were “out of line”.
Asked by Mel B, who is a guest panellist on the show, why he was not on Strictly this year, he jokingly replied: “It’s a good question, thanks Mel. It’s a good question.”
He said: “The (executives) make the decisions on these shows, like I would if it was my show. I would say, this is what I want and this is want I don’t want.
“I’m not a yes person and I don’t say yes to everything. I question things when I think they are wrong. I do it quite often, as you have seen throughout the series.
“I don’t think it was one particular thing. It was one or two things, which I won’t go into.
“I can be a controversial character. I got a rap on the knuckles for saying one thing off air, which was fair enough.”
Asked who his comments had been directed at, he replied: “I can’t possibly say” before one of the show’s hosts suggested they had been aimed at Ballas.
He replied: “I got told: ‘That’s out of line’. I agreed that it was. Having said that, would I change? No.”
Earlier in the programme he had said that he was surprised by the other professional dancers’ lack of “personality” this series.
Asked whether he thought this was due to his recent departure, he said: “Maybe. I hope they don’t look at it that way.
“For me it was a single incident. I had 15 fantastic years on the show. Now, a brand new chapter.”
Asked what he thought of the most recent series he said: “It’s good. So far, so good.
“I love the fact the show is as big as ever and people are celebrating it. It’s a phenomenal show.”
At the time of his contract not being renewed, a spokesman for the BBC said: “We’d like to thank Brendan 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.”
Since leaving Strictly Come Dancing Cole has toured his dance show All Night Long across the UK.