Brendan Cole's Strictly exit heartache: It's like not being invited to the party
Brendan Cole has said that being dropped from Strictly Come Dancing is like “not being invited to the party”, and that he thought he had more time on the show.
The professional dancer revealed earlier this week on ITV’s Lorraine that the BBC had made the “editorial decision” not to renew his contract for this year, and has now said that the last six months on the programme have been “pretty horrendous”.
Cole, 41, told The Daily Mail: “I’ve had pretty much every range of emotions over the last week from sadness to excitement.
“I loved being a pro on Strictly. I loved the fact I was there from the beginning.
“One of the saddest bits is that it will go on and I won’t be a part of it. It’s like not being invited to the party.
“You know they’re having a good time and you want to be a part of it.”
Cole said that revealing his exit from Strictly on Lorraine, during which he fought back tears, was “one of the hardest things” he has ever done.
“But I wanted to have control of the situation because I am a control freak,” he said.
“I wanted to be the one to tell the people who like watching me dance. I didn’t want them to hear it through a tweet.”
He said he could not lie about his upset over leaving Strictly, and said: “I thought I had a few more years in me.
“I wasn’t ready to hang up the old dancing shoes.”
Cole, along with Anton Du Beke, was the only professional dancer still on Strictly since the show’s inception in 2004.
The New Zealand-born star was known for sparring with the Strictly judges over the years and, in the most recent series, for clashing with new judge Shirley Ballas over his tango with Good Morning Britain’s Charlotte Hawkins.
Cole said: “I don’t know if that was handled the right way on air. If you disagree with somebody, which I did that particular day about the way she felt we danced the tango, you have the right to say what I did.”
He said that he did not “get aggressive” and that he just disagreed with the comments, although he does regret the way he then spoke to judge Bruno Tonioli.
“But what I certainly regret is saying: ‘I will, my dear’,” he said of his retort to Tonioli.
“The phrase ‘my dear’ is patronising and I certainly didn’t mean to be. I’m not a patronising person. But you’re on a live TV show and you’re frustrated with the situation,” Cole said, adding that he would take it back if he could.
He said: “But the last six months have been pretty horrendous. If I could work it out, I would. All I know is you can’t put a foot wrong.
“You can’t even dip a toe on the other side within that world because it will be taken, it will be run with, and before long you’re in a s***storm.”
He also revealed that he had had a “screen test” for the head judge role, which was eventually given to Ballas after Len Goodman left.
The BBC said of Cole’s exit: “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.”