Brendan Cole: why did he leave Strictly Come Dancing?

The former Strictly star married his wife Zoe Hobbs in 2010

Professional ballroom dancer Brendan Cole has wowed viewers as a front-runner on this year's Dancing on Ice but what was the real reason he left Strictly Come Dancing, the show that catapulted him to fame?

RELATED: What does Dancing on Ice's Brendan Cole do for work? 

The former Strictly star first joined the show in 2003 and quickly became a fan favourite, which made it even more shocking when viewers were told in 2018 that the talented dancer wouldn't be returning to the prime-time show.

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Speaking on Lorraine at the time, Brendan addressed the shock departure: "This is actually quite hard to talk about. "Well, the BBC haven’t renewed my contract, we get contracted year upon year.

READ: Dancing on Ice star Brendan Cole reveals the time he bravely broke royal protocol

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"They've just made an editorial decision to not have me back on the show. "I'm a little bit in shock at the moment, I'm quite emotional and a bit raw about it."

He added: "I've always known this day will come" but was still thrown by the BBC's choice not to bring him back.

Brendan telling Lorraine about his devastating departure

In the interview with Lorraine, Brendan also acknowledged that he is "a very strong character within the show" and there was a lot of speculation at the time about his on-screen feud with colleague Shirley Ballas.

However, regarding Brendan's departure, Heart reported that Shirley said: "I've known Brendan Cole for a long time, I have a lot of respect for him, I think he's an amazing dancer.

"I think he's added a lot to the show and done very well with his students.

"I'm just sorry that he happened to think my critiques were personal when in actual fact they are not.

She added: "I'm the head judge on Strictly Come Dancing, I'm not the person who hires and fires."

Brendan at the Strictly launch in 2016

Did Brendan ever win Strictly?

Brendan was in fact the first ever Strictly winner, winning the show back in 2003 with his partner newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky and being the first to raise the glitterball trophy.

Who were Brendan's partners?

During his 15-year stint on the show, Brendan was partnered with actresses Sarah Manners, Sunetra Sarker and Claire King, and newsreaders Fiona Phillips and Natasha Kaplinsky.

Amongst the brilliant list were also popstars Lulu, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Michelle Williams and Anastacia. TV personalities Jo Wood, Kirsty Gallacher and Lisa Snowdon along with supermodels Kelly Brook and Abbey Clancy also made up the list, as did Olympic track cyclist Victoria Pendleton. It's safe to say Brendan had a spectacular run of celebrity partners.

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