Strictly star Brendan Cole sheds his armour to talk to entertainments writer WAYNE SAVAGE about Strictly, his latest live show and why’s he’s passing on the bad boy of ballroom baton.

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I HALF expect to hear the jangle of armour when Brendan picks up the phone.

“It came out the closet a lot didn’t it,” he laughs, referring to his knight in shining armour appearances on the last series of Strictly.

Eliminated from the hit BBC1 show with celebrity partner Lulu, he returned to dance with singer and actress Holly Valance when her professional partner Artem was injured and again when actress Anita Dobson’s Ipswich-raised pro partner Robin hurt himself.

“I should really put it into my act really shouldn’t I? It was quite amusing really. I was like, ‘what is going on here, I’ll be in the final at this rate’.”

Given how injury prone the professionals were, he should’ve known better than to muck about on BBC2 companion show It Takes Two a few days before the final; clearly seen tripping over chairs in the background. No injuries then?

“No,” he laughs. “Just foolish boys, behaving like children on a live TV show.”

Brendan’s antics have made him one of Strictly’s most popular performers. But he was quite behaved this year; unlike fellow pro James Jordan. Has he passed on his bad boy of ballroom crown?

“Maybe it’s got to do with being happily married and just enjoying how I am, who I am. I think a lot of it comes down to the success of my tour,” he says.

“When you’re young and wanting to do something creatively, to be the best you can be, to be successful, you’re driven for those results. If they’re not coming as fast as you want them you tend to be a bit more aggressive and a little bit more wanting.

“I think once you sit back and realise ‘actually, I’m doing b****y well, I’ve got great career, I love what I do’. I don’t know I’m just.. very happy. Maybe I’m just a bit older and a bit wiser,” he laughs. “James can have the tag if he wants, I’ve had it long enough.”

He’ll be on his best performance when Brendan Cole - Live and Unjudged, comes to the Regent Theatre, Ipswich, on January 30.

Different to the arena-style Strictly live tour; this is a more up close and personal affair still bursting with all your ballroom and Latin favourites from the cast of dancersT.

Audiences will also get all the gossip about the last series of Strictly and judge Craig Revel Horwood comes in for a bashing.

“That’s a standard, a must,” laughs Brendan.

There are some changes though; chiefly the absence of ex-Strictly pro Nicole Cutler, expecting her first child during the tour.

Now into it’s fourth season; Cole is looking forward to returning to Ipswich, “I can’t wait; we’ve been twice so far and had a great time with the audience.”

They play a large role in the show, designed to not just be something people watch but something they’re an active part of.

“I’d like to think there’s something for everybody. Husbands who get dragged along by their wives, hopefully there’s something for them as well. There are skimpy outfits so if the girls don’t do it for them hopefully the band will,” he laughs.

The 14-piece band playing everything from Michael Jackson and Robert Palmer to Prince and Sinatra. Even Brendan will be stepping behind the mic.

“I’m going to do a different number; hopefully people won’t leave by the end of the song,” he jokes.

Back to the subject of gossip and behaving; his brother Scott returns and promises not to hold back on sharing some intimate insights into the real Brendan.

“Scott is instrumental in the show because, I suppose, on Strictly the audience don’t see the real you; it’s all about the show.

“I think it’s nice the audience get to see you for who you are; just a normal guy out there entertaining them and chatting to them. Scott adds a load of that. He takes the mickey out of me the whole time and I try and get one up on him.”

Is Brendan worried he might share too much?

“It’s quite fun actually, just seeing what he’s going to come out with because you never know with Scott he’s a law unto himself,” laughs Brendan.

“There are a few stories he’s not allowed to share and hopefully he won’t this time either. There’s some embarrassing ones and it’s a family show; he could probably do quite a lot of damage to me if he wanted to.”

Preparing the show during Strictly’s run is an added pressure, the latter does take over a dancer’s life every sashay they get closer to the final.

It tends to come together on the road, though, Brendan adds; describing the show as the best thing he’s done career wise.

“To be on stage, to have a show you’re proud of and that people are excited about seeing you find that extra time, that extra bit of inspiration to keep yourself motivated.”

That doesn’t mean Brendan’s looking to hang his Strictly shoes up just yet.

“Each year when you’re in it you think I can’t do this again, I’m getting too b****y old. Then at the end of it you go ‘I can’t imagine not being there’. One day they’re going to change the furniture and I’ll be with it,” he laughs. “I’m hoping its not going to be any time soon.”

His biggest Strictly wish is a win for good mate Anton du Beke; one of only two other original pro-dancers left in the show. Is he ever tempted to tease him?

“Not really; I mean there’s a bit of banter that goes round between all the professionals. I love Anton to bits, in fact I’m seeing him later tonight, we’re going to do a little thing together.

“It’s quite nice knowing I’ve won and someone else hasn’t, but it really is dependant on your partner.

“Let’s face it, nobody was going to beat Harry [Judd], Chelsee [Healey] or Jason [Donovan]. You’d have to have someone b****y good to try to compete with them and if you haven’t got that, there’s not a lot you can do about it. You can’t turn water into wine, its one of those things.”

There goes me appearing on the show then.

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