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Strictly Come Dancing's Brendan Cole to perform at Folkestone's Leas Cliff Hall

Brendan Cole
Brendan Cole

Strictly Come Dancing’s ‘bad boy’ Brendan Cole is returning to Kent with his acclaimed show Licence To Thrill. Now married and a father-of-one, the fiery Kiwi may have mellowed, but his passion for dance is stronger than ever, as he told Kathryn Tye.

It has been 10 years since the glamorous world of Strictly Come Dancing first burst on to our TV screens.

Professional dancer Brendan Cole was first to lift the glitterball trophy back 10 years ago with newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky, and attracted headlines for his lothario image and fiery personality, regularly breaking the show’s rules and clashing with the judges.

Now 37, married and with a one-year-old daughter, Brendan has mellowed since those early days.

“The bad boy tag was because I was single, I was out on the town, doing my thing,” he said. “It wasn’t a bad tag to have as a ballroom dancer! But I have been married for five years, I’ve got a little girl. It seems a bit silly. I have definitely grown up.”

He admits that the arrival of daughter Aurelia has made it harder for him to go out on tour, but he finds it impossible to resist the lure of the stage.

“As a family we deal with it the best we can, and my job gives me the opportunity to spend time at home on the off season. And it is what I do. I love what I do.”

He has been on the road with his own shows for the past five years, and his latest, Licence to Thrill, is proving a huge hit.

Brendan Cole in Licence to Thrill
Brendan Cole in Licence to Thrill

Brendan said: “We put this show on the road last year and got a fantastic reaction, so we decided to run it for another year and take it to some different places we hadn’t visited before. People will know me from Strictly Come Dancing so it’s a dance show based around Strictly with the ballroom and Latin that people know and love.

“But I wanted to make sure there was something for everyone, not just Strictly fans, so we have got the big 14-piece orchestra, a little bit of pyrotechnics.”

Brendan is joined by six professional dancers, including his brother Scott and fellow Strictly professional Aliona Vilani.

Aliona Vilani
Aliona Vilani

He said: “Having worked with Aliona on Strictly since 2009 I know what an incredible dancer she is and she brings something special to the show.”

Fans will also have the chance to quiz Brendan in a question and answer session.

He said: “I host the evening throughout so there is a lot of chat involved. In the second half people get to put their questions forward, which can be interesting, from ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid?’ to ‘Who’s your favourite judge?’.

“We have a bit of fun with it. There are no questions barred. We want the audience to feel like they are part of the show.”

But despite his solo success, Brendan has no plans to leave Strictly, particularly after coming fourth with singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor in the last series.

He said: “I consider myself really lucky to be a part of the show. It doesn’t always work out perfectly in terms of the partners you get and the way it works, but I just got partnered with the lovely Sophie and had one of the best times I can think of. I miss it now.

“Strictly gives you an opportunity to perform live to a significant amount of people, which as a performer is an opportunity you don’t want to be without. And hopefully I bring a little something to the show which people want to see.

“One day it will come to an end, nothing lasts forever – but I will be really sad not to be on the show as I do consider it a big part of my life.”

Brendan Cole: Licence To Thrill will be at Folkestone’s Leas Cliff Hall on Wednesday, February 5, at 7.30pm, with tickets from £28.90. Call 01303 228600.

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