Bren­dan Cole: ‘Bo­tox? All I’ve had is el­bows in the face’

Bring on the glit­ter­balls – it’s the re­turn of Strictly Come Danc­ing! And best wel­comes snake-hipped pro Bren­dan Cole as our ex­clu­sive weekly columnist…

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New Zealand-born Bren­dan Cole, 41, has been a pro­fes­sional dancer on

Strictly since it started in 2004 and has sam­baed and rumba-ed his way through 14 se­ries. Mar­ried since 2010 to model Zoe Hobbs, and proud dad to four-yearold daugh­ter Aure­lia, feisty Bren­dan is never scared to say what he thinks. We can’t wait to have him on board!

Wel­come to best, Bren­dan. You know your mission now is to tell us all


Strictly’s Thank you! I am very happy to be here. You know you don’t nor­mally get any hold­ing back from me, so I will do my best.

Can you be­lieve this is your 15th se­ries?

Yes, I know. I’m 41 now and I was 28 when I started. It is a mas­sive chunk of my life. Old An­ton [du Beke] and my­self are the only two orig­i­nal dancers. Of course, Craig Revel Hor­wood, Bruno To­nioli and Tess Daly were there at the start, too. The team’s had a few nights out on the sauce, talking non­sense to­gether, over the years.

What do you think is the se­cret of Strictly’s suc­cess?

It’s see­ing a re­la­tion­ship de­velop, from two strangers to some­thing re­ally spe­cial – telling a story out on the dance floor. Peo­ple get hooked.

So, are you and An­ton deadly ri­vals?

No, we’re good friends! But re­mem­ber, I’ve won Strictly and he hasn’t [Bren­dan waltzed off with the glit­ter­ball trophy in 2004], so I’m happy.

An­ton’s got twins now – do you think he might be a bit tired this year?

I strug­gle with be­ing a dad and do­ing Strictly, so I’m hop­ing An­ton might. Ba­bies ex­pect a lot and you want to give a lot back. He’s def­i­nitely go­ing to

find it… dif­fer­ent!

How are you en­joy­ing be­ing a dad?

Aure­lia’s a beauty. She’s only four years old, but she’s so grown up, it’s crazy. She does lit­tle dance shows for us. She’ll say, ‘ Wel­come to my show, Daddy.’ And is she good? Come on, she’s amaz­ing!

So, what do you think of this year’s line-up?

There are some peo­ple who are less ex­pe­ri­enced at this stage. That’s what makes it in­ter­est­ing.

Who do you think will be this year’s com­edy act?

Well, I cer­tainly know who I think it’s go­ing to be, but I’m not go­ing to tell you!

Who’s been your favourite celebrity part­ner?

So­phie El­lis-Bex­tor stands out, as does Lisa Snow­don. Kelly Brook was ter­rific. And Vic­to­ria Pendle­ton – it didn’t quite go to plan, but we had a good time and we are still re­ally good friends.

Are you a ter­ri­ble slave-driver?

I know that is my rep­u­ta­tion. Look, I say, ‘If you want to go hell for leather, let’s do it.’ But if peo­ple want to take it easy, I’m fine with that. I’ll push if I know some­one could be re­ally good, yelling and scream­ing to push them to their ex­treme. But if they can’t take that, I do it in a nice way. I prob­a­bly was more com­pet­i­tive in the past, but that’s a young buck, isn’t it? Now I’m an old buck.

Well, you don’t look it.

Thank you. You know, Judge Rin­der said, ‘ You must have had some­thing done, you can tell me.’ There’s no work on this face, only el­bows smack­ing me in the face.

Why were you known as the ‘bad boy’ of Strictly?

Well, I sup­pose I was sin­gle and out on the town a fair bit years ago, with no one at home to em­bar­rass. But once you marry, ev­ery­thing changes. I never want Aure­lia to say, ‘Jeez, Dad, you’re an id­iot.’ Al­though she prob­a­bly will!

What about judge Craig Revel Hor­wood – do you ever get sick of him?

I am al­ways sick of Craig – gen­er­ally be­cause I re­ally like him. We have this love-hate re­la­tion­ship on air, but off air we get on very, very well. Al­though some of the stuff that comes out of his mouth…

Do you ever look at your cos­tume and say, ‘I am NOT wear­ing that’?

All the time! But, of course, you do end up wear­ing it. The Strictly wardrobe de­part­ment has a tough job, and I have no fear of se­quins.

And your wife, Zoe, is no slouch in the looks de­part­ment..

No, but she chased me so, in the end, I just had to suc­cumb. That’s my story, any­way, and I’m stick­ing to it.

And fi­nally, of course, Sir Bruce Forsyth…

Ah yes, what to say? Life ends, but it’s al­ways just so sad. Bruce meant such a lot to all of us. He was just a spe­cial char­ac­ter. He was the man.

Strictly Come Danc­ing – The Launch is on BBC One on 9 Septem­ber, and the se­ries starts on 23 Septem­ber.

Bren­dan and wife Zoe are par­ents to Aure­lia, four Pre­sen­ter Tess with the late Sir Bruce

So­phie El­lisBex­tor gets top marks

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