Monday 25 June 2018

Ore Oduba among stars and former Strictly contestants to pay tribute to axed Brendan Cole

TV presenter Oduba won the 2016 series.

Ore Oduba has praised departing Strictly dancer Brendan Cole (Isabel Infantes/PA Images)
Ore Oduba has praised departing Strictly dancer Brendan Cole (Isabel Infantes/PA Images)

By Isabel Togoh, Press Association

Former Strictly winner Ore Oduba has congratulated axed dancer Brendan Cole for an “epic” career.

Oduba, who was crowned in the 2016 series, is the latest in a string of stars to express their best wishes to Cole, who revealed on Tuesday that he had been dropped from the BBC show.

The TV presenter tweeted: “Congratulations on an epic @bbcstrictly career @BrendanCole. World’s your dance oyster now best of luck with the Tour and the newest addition mate!”

Tributes have poured in for the dancer who was an original cast member and has been on the show through 15 seasons.

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Natasha Kaplinsky and Brendan Cole (BBC/PA)

“Feeling sad for my friend @BrendanCole – with Strictly since day 1, and such a big character on the show,” tweeted former contestant Jeremy Vine.

Caroline Flack posted: “Awwwww @BrendanCole you will be missed on Strictly…you were truly a support to me when I was on the show.”

Good Morning Britain presenter Kate Garraway said: “Crikey! Not sure it’ll be the same without you @BrendanCole – I will certainly miss your unique style xxxxxx”.

The dancer fought back tears on ITV’s Lorraine as he announced that the BBC had not renewed his contract.

He said: “They made an editorial decision to not have me back on the show. I’m in shock. I’m quite emotional.

“It’s very hard to talk about. It’s just a recent decision, I’ve always known this day will come,” he added.

He revealed that he was not “part of the vision” and said: “I would have preferred to have made the decision myself but maybe I would never had made it.”

The New Zealand-born star has famously sparred with Strictly judges over the years, and clashed with new head judge Shirley Ballas in the last series.

Strictly judge Bruno Tonioli took Cole to task and told him he should be more respectful to her.

Ballas and Cole had an awkward exchange following Cole’s tango with Charlotte Hawkins, when Cole hit back as Ballas critiqued their routine and he told the judge: “I’m really sorry, but there was no rise and fall.”

She told him to look back over the footage, to which he firmly responded: “I will, my dear.”

Cole told Lorraine: “I’ve been very lucky…My passion is still very much there. I’ll miss being a Strictly dancer…It feels quite raw.”

“I’m very sad to leave, to not be asked back … However I’m available for weddings, funerals and bar mitzvahs,” he joked.

He did not mention the judges but said: “I’ll miss my gang, the pros on the show, they’re a phenomenal bunch. I love them to bits.”

A BBC spokesman said: “We’d like to thank Brendan for being part of the show since the beginning – winner of the first series – and for the contribution he has made to its success. We wish him all the very best for the future.”

Press Association

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