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Ten mins with Brendan Cole

Former Strictly bad boy Brendan Cole brings his Show Man tour to Sussex in February and March. We find out what keeps him on his toes.

You’re a fairly confident chap – has it always been so?

No! I am very confident within what I do as I have worked extremely hard to get to the level that I have. To do anything well you have to believe in yourself and in your ability. But I didn’t find my confidence properly until my mid 20s.

Stage or screen? 

When on television (in particular Strictly), you are one of many and people aren’t necessarily tuning in to see you. When you’re on a stage and your name is on the door, there is a real sense of pride and it fills you with an energy that is magic.

Do you feel nervous having your name on the door?

I get nervous on every opening night of my theatre productions (this will be my fifth). Such a huge amount of thought and time goes into putting a big show like this together and you want it to be perfect both for the audience and the cast.

What can we expect?

Everything! We have championship dancers, a live band and singers, all of the Strictly dance styles that people love, plus a few surprises. When producing any show, my aim is to wow the audience and give them everything they’d expect and more. I like to think that we create a show that has something for everyone. There is a lot of laughter and chat throughout the show as well so essentially, we just have a ball!

So who plans the choreography?

It is very much a team effort between me and my cast. I love the creativity that comes from that and it makes for a better show. Song choices are difficult, especially now as this will be my fifth production. There has to be excitement, beauty, emotion, character… so much goes into these decisions. My wife Zoe, my Musical Director and I spend many days throwing around ideas and eventually we have ourselves a show list.

Picture credit Shane Finn/Fiona Whyte

Can you give us a sneak preview? 

This show will be quite different from before – it more theatrical and we’re changing the line-up of talent. We have five male dancers and three female which allows us to do more tricks.

You and Zoe have two small kids, do they tag along when you tour? How do you cope being on the road.

It is definitely hard but I love every second of it. To have what you have created appreciated in the way that it has been, makes it the best job in the world.  But, obviously when it comes to family it is hard. Zoe and our children don’t often come with me as touring isn’t really conducive to normal family living.

We were all shocked when you didn’t return to Strictly in 2018. How has life changed? 

It’s just been extremely busy. I’ve not stopped which is great. If it had stopped after the announcement then it would’ve been a horrible feeling and I suppose that was my biggest fear when I found out I wouldn’t be back. But it’s actually allowed me other opportunities. Strictly takes up so much time so you can’t do anything else. It’s a very exciting new chapter for me which I’m embracing.

Picture credit Shane Finn/Fiona Whyte

Did you watch the last series or was it too hard?

Yes, I did, I wrote a column for Hello! magazine so I watched all of it. It was weird to watch the launch show and not be part of it, but I quite enjoyed being able to relax and watch the show once it all started – and to critique it along the way.

Favourite dance?

Believe it or not it’s the Waltz, but it has to be the right kind of Waltz. When you get a great song that’s really emotional, you can tell a really magical, emotive story through dance. It’s a lovely feeling.

You must be pretty fit, right?

Dancing in general keeps me pretty fit, and so does keeping up with two small children! Having said that, although I train for dance which gives me a certain level of fitness, if I was to try and do a marathon I’d fail miserably.

And life after dance?

I love construction. I can see myself in property once my dancing legs have given up. Hard to know what would’ve been if I’d stayed in the building trade having done it for four years after leaving school but who knows what the future holds? I’m always buying tools…it’s the yin to my yang of sequin wearing!

And your guilty pleasure?

Why feel guilty? You’ve got to enjoy life, right?


Brendan Cole: Show Man comes to the Theatre Royal, Brighton for a matinee and evening performance on Sat 16 Feb; The Hawth, Crawley on 8 March and Assembly Halls, Tunbridge Wells on 10 March.   


Original feature by Muddy Stilettos, Surrey

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