New Zealand Woman’s Weekly
AFTER 13 YEARS ON TV, THE KIWI DANCER IS TRYING TO PUT A POSITIVE SPIN ON HIS AXEING
Brendan Cole’s darkest year
Dancer Brendan Cole hit the big time when he left his native New Zealand to join the cast of the smash TV series Strictly Come Dancing more than 20 years ago.
But in a new interview, the professional ballroom and Latin American dancing star has spoken of his anger after being suddenly axed from the hit BBC1 show, which screens all around the world.
Brendan, who was born in Christchurch, was hoping to re-join the dancing cast of the series later this year in a bid to further his career and support his growing family, with him and wife, model Zoe Hobbs (36), welcoming their second child last month – a baby boy named Dante.
But in January, show bosses decided to pull the plug on his longstanding association with Strictly without a valid reason for their shock decision.
Today, heartbroken Brendan is still reeling from the news as he prepares to carve out a new future for himself.
“When the news came through that Strictly no longer wanted my services, I was devastated and disappointed not to be back there with all my buddies and doing what I love,” he tells.
“It’s very hard to talk about. The BBC has not renewed my contract. They made an editorial decision not to have me back on the show.
I’m in shock. I’m quite emotional. It’s still very hard to talk about. It’s just a recent decision.
I’ve always known this day would come.“In recent weeks,
Brendan has faced speculation he was axed due to his feisty nature, with him never afraid to answer back to the show’s panel of expert judges, which includes former ballerina Darcey Bussell (48) and Australian choreographer Craig Revel Horwood (53).
There has also been claims BBC bosses ended his contract after he is said to have ignored royal protocol and asked Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (70) for an impromptu dance at a recent fundraising gala at Buckingham Palace in London. Show bosses were said to be angry with the move.
But despite all the speculation, Brendan is positive about the future and is said to be considering a return Down Under at the end of the year to star in the UK-based series of I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, where he could spill secrets about his career.
“When I announced I was leaving Strictly, it was one of the most raw feelings I have ever had,” admits Brendan.
“But it is almost like a big weight being lifted. The support I have had has been just incredible. To have that love and know that people really do care is great.
“Some of the Strictly fans are really disappointed that I am not there any more. That is a really lovely feeling. I’m buoyant about the future. There are some very exciting times ahead. I have got a free diary and I am glad to say the phone is ringing. I am not sitting there thinking, ‘I will never work again,’ which is lovely. I love what I am doing and I am going to keep doing it.“
Brendan started his career as a dancer growing up in New Zealand before he moved to the UK when he was 18. His path to a career in TV was a long one, with him once having to clean toilets during his time living in Denmark to make a living.
“Imagine a 22-year-old fella, sitting in the bath, bawling his eyes out,” he once said. “That’s a moment that defines my life... Now, as a young dancer, you’re working very hard, no money, doing normal jobs, building houses was the thing I did most of all.
“I’ve worked in insurance companies. I’ve even been a cleaner at the Hard Rock Café in Denmark for a few months, and it’s those sort of moments that pushed me through the times that were hard.
“I was on the competitive circuit. I was earning six quid an hour, I was working as an insurance salesman at the time. I was working a normal day job and training in the evening, trying to get better. It was tough and I got into a lot of debt.“
Right now, Brendan is working through his Strictly heartache on his own dance tour of the
UK, a schedule he finds tough despite being only 41 years old.
“I’m pushing on now. I am 41,” he says. “It is not easy as it was when I was 28. You keep going. My knees hurt a bit, but that is because I had a car crash about four years ago. I don’t think that is from the dancing. Generally, I am fighting fit.“
And if you think 2018 has not yet given Brendan enough bad news, think again. At the start of this year, he had to cope with the aftermath of a fire that left his tour dancers fearing for their lives when the bus they were travelling in blew p in the UK.
“The crew has a sleeper bus so they can get a proper rest,” he says. “They were driving along the motorway and they had a fuel pipe issue, then the back of the bus caught fire and it was quite horrific.
“All of them were standing there in their underpants in the middle of the night. They had to go and get a change of clothing from the supermarket so they could go to work the next day. It just shows how amazing they are. But we are okay. We are all right. The show goes on.“