Q and A with Strictly's Brendan Cole

The Strictly star, 35, on his new show, favourite celebrity partners and a wardrobe malfunction…

Brendan Cole on his new show, favourite celebrity partners and a wardrobe malfunction

What can you do on your own show, Live & Unjudged, that you can’t do on Strictly?

Interact with the audience – they’re even encouraged to do
a salsa from their seats if they want. We have a 14-piece orchestra playing everything from Sinatra to Prince and Robbie Williams, and my elder brother Scott, who is also a dancer, will be revealing all the naughty things I did as a child. It’s a more intimate, theatre-based show than the arena-style Strictly tour. My wife [model Zoe Hobbs] came up with the idea.

Why no judges in your show?

I probably know a lot more about dancing than the Strictly judges do, because all of us pros [professional dancers] have been doing it for a very long time.

What’s the truth behind your Strictly bad-boy image?

You have got to have a bit of passion and attitude to do the tango. And although people coming to my show will probably expect the fairly arrogant, hard taskmaster portrayed in Strictly, the reality is I’m very down-to-earth – just a normal Kiwi fella who loves to entertain and joke around.

Brendan with his 2011 partner Lulu

Brendan with his 2011 partner Lulu

Who has been your favourite celeb partner on Strictly?

Lisa Snowdon and Kelly Brook were exceptional dancers – and I also loved working with Jo Wood, Michelle Williams, Holly Valance and Anita Dobson. The main thing is you have to get along with each other. I would have happily danced with Ann Widdecombe – it would have been a riot.

How do you create chemistry with your dance partner?

I have been known to flirt to get good performances out of them, because you are working very closely together from day one. But I’m not the biggest Strictly flirt – Vincent Simone would flirt with a table leg.

What’s the secret of a happy marriage?

Make sure your spouse comes first in everything. Zoe often comes with me on tour, because it can cause rifts if you’re spending a lot of time with a professional dance partner and your other half feels left out at home.

Can ‘real’ men dance?

John Travolta in Grease and Saturday Night Fever and Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing made it OK for a blokey bloke to be a dancer. And holding a beautiful girl in your arms is probably the least ‘gay’ thing you could do anyway. You can pretty much do what you want with them on the dancefloor – it’s allowed, it’s legal, it’s great!

Plan B, career-wise?

If I hadn’t become a dancer, I would have stayed in construction where I was building houses. Creating a dance show is just another construction – you have to have that visual sense.

Any vain secrets?

My hair looks like a fluffy helmet when I get out of the shower, so I smother it in hair product. Dancers have to spend a lot of time in front of the mirror, so we get to look at ourselves a lot.

Guilty pleasure?

I like the occasional After Eight mint or ginger nut biscuit. But I try to avoid a lot of sugar.

Who would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?

I can’t say a beautiful woman any more, because I’m married to one. So I’ll say Kiefer Sutherland – I was a big fan of 24.

And least like to..?

Probably one of my celebrity partners on Strictly, mentioning no names.

Most embarrassing moment?

On my solo tour last year, I had just finished a Viennese waltz when [fellow Strictly pro] Anton du Beke, who was in the audience, brought the house down by booming out: ‘Check your flies!’ The 15-inch front zip on my tail suit had slipped down and left a blooming great hole.

For information on Brendan’s Live & Unjudged New Year tour, which runs from 17 January to 12 February, visit brendancole.com


Q and A with Strictly's Brendan Cole

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