Len Goodman backs Brendan Cole after Strictly Come Dancing axe

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Former Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman has defended Brendan Cole.

Brendan had been a pro dancer on the show for the past 14 years but announced his exit on ITV's Lorraine last week.

The New Zealand born Brendan announced that the BBC had decided not to renew his 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. I'm a very strong character, some don't like that.

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"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."

Now Strictly's former head judge Len has spoke up to give Brendan his backing.

"I'm so sad; I don't understand why," said Len, who left the BBC series in 2016.

He continued: "You can't say he didn't do a great job. He did and there was always a bit of an edge with him: the bad boy of ballroom - he didn't mind answering you back.

"I hope me leaving didn't cause it and I just hope Anton doesn't go the same way. It'd be a bloody tragedy - he's got so much character."

Len added: "He's terrific for the show. But there always has been egos with the professionals and it was the same when I danced, with anything competitive."

Meanwhile, Len called on the BBC to hire more British dancers for its pro line up.

He told the Daily Mail newspaper: "I think all those pros are brilliant but I do like that you've got Kevin from Grimsby, and Anton from up the road.

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"You don't want to end up with a load of people from... you know... as good as they are. It's nice to have some British dancers in there."

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One in the autumn.

Shirley Ballas, who replaced Len last year, is expected to return for her second series as head judge.

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