Entertainment & Arts

Brendan Cole 'in shock' at being dropped from Strictly Come Dancing

Brendan Cole
Image caption Brendan Cole was a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing for 13 years

Brendan Cole has announced he will not be returning to Strictly Come Dancing.

The professional dancer revealed during a TV interview on Tuesday that the decision was made by the BBC, saying he was "in shock".

"They made an editorial decision not to have me back on the show," he said on ITV's Lorraine.

A spokesman for the BBC One show thanked Cole for "being part of the show since the beginning" and contributing to its success.

'Emotional and raw'

Cole said: "I'm a little bit in shock at the moment.

"I'm quite emotional and a bit raw about it. I am very disappointed. It's an editorial decision. I will never know the ins and outs.

"I have had 15 incredible series on the show, I'm very proud of the whole show, they're a great team."

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Media captionIn an interview on 16 January, Brendan Cole told 5 live he wanted to return to Strictly.

Cole was one of the first professional dancers when the show launched in 2004, which was the year he won the contest with newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky.

The 41-year-old also won his last Strictly competition - the 2017 Christmas special - with presenter Katie Derham.

Anton Du Beke is now the only remaining original dancer on the show.

Image caption Cole won the show with Natasha Kaplinsky in 2004

Cole, who is currently on tour with his musical show All Night Long, said the exit would give him time to work on other projects.

He is also awaiting the birth of his second child with model Zoe Hobbs.

The New Zealand ballroom dancer will be remembered for fiercely defending his celebrity partners in front of the judges on the show.

Image caption He was paired with Charlotte Hawkins for the 2017 series

This included Jo Wood during the seventh series when judge Craig Revel Horwood compared her dancing to a "bush kangaroo".

The most recent series saw him paired with Good Morning Britain presenter, Charlotte Hawkins. Cole defended Hawkins when the judges - especially head judge Shirley Ballas - made comments about her performance. The pair were eliminated in week four.

"I'm a very strong character within the show, I have my views and I love that side of the show," he told Lorraine.

"I have always said as long as I've got a passion for it, I want to be there. I want to still be there."

Hawkins said she was "sad" to hear of his departure, and that Strictly "won't be the same without him".

And former Strictly dancer James Jordan said Cole "will be missed", adding: "Seems like they don't want anyone on the show that has an opinion."

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."

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