Sunday 19 May 2019

Shirley Ballas: I never had a spat with Brendan Cole

The head judge and the professional dancer appeared to clash during the last series of Strictly.

Shirley Ballas (Matt Crossick/PA)
Shirley Ballas (Matt Crossick/PA)

By Julia Hunt, Press Association Entertainment Correspondent

Strictly Come Dancing’s Shirley Ballas has addressed her so-called row with Brendan Cole, insisting the pair “never had a spat”.

The 57-year-old head judge and the professional dancer appeared to clash on air during the last series of the BBC One show over his tango with Good Morning Britain’s Charlotte Hawkins.

Speaking on ITV’s Loose Women, Ballas said: “I never had a spat with Brendan Cole, I want to make that clear.

“I never had a spat with Brendan Cole. I didn’t.

“I just gave my critique and people decide which way they’re going to take it.

“I did everything from a good place and I just wanted Charlotte to improve her performance.”

Brendan Cole

New Zealand-born Cole, 42, revealed in January that he would not be returning to Strictly following the BBC’s “editorial decision” not to renew his contract.

Ballas said: “I think whatever he puts his mind to and wherever he goes he will do a divine job because I’ve known him all his life, he’s a hard worker, he has a beautiful family and I have faith in everything he does, he will do a good job.”

Ballas said she had “the time of my life” on the ballroom show and would be happy to return.

“I’ve been verbally asked but as of yet I haven’t had a contract, but of course I would be highly delighted to go back on that most fabulous show,” she said.

Asked if she would be paid the same as her predecessor, Len Goodman, she said: “I do believe if a woman is doing the same job as a man then everybody should be on equal pay.

“But I do also understand that my first time on Strictly was like a trial, so to speak.

“You’ve got to see that you can do the job, so I felt that everybody was really happy and I’m sure that they will be more than fair.”

Of whether that meant she would have a pay rise for her second series, she said: “I have absolutely no idea yet but I do believe they will be very fair.”

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