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…
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