Brendan Cole is leaving Strictly Come Dancing after 14 years

Strictly Come Dancing 2016 - Professional Dancers Brendan Cole

Brendan Cole has announced he's leaving Strictly Come Dancing after 14 years.

The pro performer is one of only two original dancers still on the BBC One series, along with Anton Du Beke.

But his contract has not been renewed for another year, with Brendan confirming his exit on ITV's Lorraine today.

"The BBC haven't renewed my contract. They've made an editorial decision not to have me back on the show," he said. "I'm in shock. I got a phone call. I've had 15 incredible series."

Brendan admitted: "I'm disappointed. I've always known this day would come.

strictly brendan 1

"I'm a very strong character, some don't like that.

"I've never been contracted for more than one year. I still wanted to be part of it. My passion is still very much there."

The BBC said in a statement: "We'd like to thank Brendan Cole 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."

It was suggested during last year's series that Brendan's time on the show could be up, following clashes with the judges.

A source told The Sun newspaper at the time: "He loves being a part of the show, but his lack of promotion and clashes with judges this year have led top bosses to wonder how long he’ll stick around for.

“They don’t want him to leave. Deep down, Brendan doesn’t want to either – but options are being weighed up.”

Brendan previously dismissed the suggestion he was "bitter" after not getting Len Goodman's old job on the Strictly judging panel.

“Obviously everyone that was up for it would want it. It is an amazing opportunity in terms of a spot," he said. "I was obviously disappointed that I didn’t get it but at the same time my place has always been a dancer on the show.

Brendan Cole, Charlotte Hawkins
Brendan Cole, Charlotte Hawkins

“And I knew that even if I didn’t get the judging spot, I knew it wouldn’t just be curtains and it all be over for me. I’m still very much a massive part of the show.

“So, there was disappointment but I’m not bitter and twisted or devastated.”

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One in the autumn.

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