Shirley Ballas speaks out about Brendan Cole’s Strictly Come Dancing exit

Shirley Ballas has given her view on Brendan Cole’s controversial axe from Strictly Come Dancing.


Brendan had been a pro dancer on the show for the past 14 years but announced his exit on ITV’s Lorraine earlier this year.

Brendan revealed that the BBC had decided not to renew his contract in January

“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. 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.”

Shirley Ballas
Shirley Ballas

There had been rumours that Brendan’s axe followed rows with new head judge Shirley Ballas, who replaced Len Goodman last year.

But in a new interview, she has dismissed the suggestion of any ‘feud’ between the pair.


“I don’t have any recollection on a personal level of bridges ever being broken or rebuilt between me and Brendan,” she said.

Speaking to Hello magazine, Shirley heaped praise on Brendan and wished him well.

“He is an amazing dancer, an amazing person, whose career I have followed for many, many years and I’m extremely proud of what he’s achieved both at work and at home,” she said. “One of the things people learn with me is I don’t need to pull someone else down to build myself up and I will live and die by that rule.

“There has been no face-to-face confrontation and all I can say is I wish him, his wife and their two beautiful children well because, whatever he does next, I know he will bring 100% to his role.”

In the interview, Shirley also said she intended to return to the panel this year but had yet to sign an official contract.

Meanwhile, appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today, Shirley defended herself after clashing with Brendan in last year’s live show.

“It was constructive criticism, in order for her to get better the following week,” she said of her comments to Brendan’s celeb partner Charlotte Hawkins. “Unfortunately, a certain member took it the wrong way.”


Shirley added: “First of all, there was no friction between Brendan and I.

“I’ve known Brendan a very, very long time and how Brendan likes to conduct himself is his business, but for me there was no friction. I was there to do a job, I did it.”

Meanwhile, the other Strictly judges have also been reacting to Brendan’s departure.

Craig Revel Horwood told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “Strictly will be better without Brendan.”

He also told Brendan to be “grateful” for his time on the show.

brendan cole

“The show’s done him wonders. It’s done us all wonders. It’s been fantastic,” Craig said. “I would never complain about it. It’s given us all platforms on which to stand.


“How many dancers in their life get a job that will last 15 years? Not many. Be grateful.”

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One in the autumn.