Resort holds a special place in Brendan’s heart

A scene from Brendan Cole's A Night To Remember show last year
A scene from Brendan Cole's A Night To Remember show last year
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Alongside Anton Du Beke, dancer Brendan Cole is a Strictly Come Dancing original professional - with the added honour of having been the show’s first winner.

Taking home the glitterball trophy in 2004 with Natasha Kaplinsky, Brendan’s been one of the hit TV show’s key characters ever since.

And while three of the female professionals - Ola Jordan, Kristina Rhianoff and Aliona Vilani - have announced their departure, what are the New Zealander’s intentions for 2016?

“The contracts run year-on-year,” he said, answering tales of people being ‘sacked’. “I always say one day they will change the furniture and Anton and I will be attached to it, saying ‘Don’t take us too!’.

“I love being part of it, as does Anton, and we are both really proud of the fact we’ve been there since the start.

“It’s very hard to imagine our lives without Strictly, but everything moves on and changes. The executives have been happy with us and hope they will be in the future.”

Away from the Strictly ballroom, Brendan’s soon out on the road with his own show, a reprise of last year’s A Night To Remember, albeit with a new leading lady and fresh takes on some of the dances.

Of course, the show has to come to the ‘home of ballroom dancing’, taking in Blackpool Opera House on Friday, March 11 - as well as a show at Preston Guild Hall the day before.

With his own ballroom competition history in the resort, as well as the annual Strictly outing, Brendan always looks forward to the magic of that date each year.

“Blackpool Opera House is a big old venue, the biggest we go to actually,” he said. “It’s proper old school, and you can’t help feeling you are sharing the stage with true masters of the business. And when you’re dancing you can really spread out on the stage and do incredible stuff.”

Blackpool holds a special place in any ballroom and Latin dancer’s heart, especially those involved with Strictly Come Dancing with the show’s annual pilgrimage to the Tower Ballroom - wowing audiences across the country with the venue’s beauty and size.

“Every year the Blackpool show seems to get bigger and bigger and bigger, almost too big in my opinion,” Brendan said. “I don’t want to lose the sense of what Strictly’s about, it has an intimate feel, which is something I try to get in my own show. The heart of it is learning to dance and delivering, but then you do want the production side of it too.”

For eagle-eyed Strictly mega fans, there will be familiar faces among the A Night To Remember cast.

“If I had my choice, I probably wouldn’t have extra dancers [on Strictly],” he said. “That said, I’m very excited to say that half of the people who were extras for Strictly this series are actually in my show - I was like a proud dad watching them.”

* Brendan Cole: A Night To Remember, Blackpool Opera House, Friday, March 11. Call (01253) 625252 to book.