Len Goodman has suggested we’ll never really know why Brendan Cole was dropped from Strictly Come Dancing.
The professional dancer announced in February that BBC bosses had chosen not to renew his contract, despite being on the show since its very first series.
There have been rumours swirling about possible reasons including a clash of personalities with head judge Shirley Ballas.
Now former Strictly head judge Len has waded in, saying we may never know what happened.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain, Len, 73, said: “Listen, I’ve not spoken to Brendan, I’ve not spoken to Shirley about it, I’ve not spoken to BBC about it. I only know what we all know.”
He then joked: “It’s a bit like Putin, I don’t think we’ll ever know!”
Len was then asked if he thought Brendan, 41, had been “too naughty or tricky” in his dealings with the judges, which included that famous clash with Shirley when he stuck up for dance partner Charlotte Hawkins.
“I don’t think he was,” said Len.
“I have always thought the pros should defend their celebrities, because if you’re not careful, you can come over as a bit of a bully, picking on people that can’t defend themselves.
“So I think it’s admirable to say, ‘No wait a minute, I can’t agree with you on that’. Maybe he went a tad over the top with it, but no, I think it’s good that the pros defend their partners.”
Len – who still judges on Dancing With The Stars in America – also gave his support to new head judge Shirley, who didn’t have the easiest of first years on the show.
Some fans felt Shirley, who replaced Len on the panel, was too technical in her feedback.
And, of course, there was that infamous clash with the now-axed Brendan…
But Len said: “I thought she did a terrific job. It’s always difficult to step in on whoever’s shoes they are – I’m not saying because it was me.
“It was tricky but she went her own way, became her own person and I thought lots of her comments were good and useful to people, so I thought she did okay.”
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Brendan announced his Strictly exit during an appearance on ITV’s Lorraine in February, saying he was shocked and heartbroken by the decision.
He later told the Daily Mail: “I’m definitely upset. This is not something I wanted. I thought I had a few more years in me. I wasn’t ready to hang up the old dancing shoes.”
Len was on Good Morning Britain to discuss his new campaign with Santander called Scam Avoidance School, which aims to teach over 60s how to spot when they’re at risk of being scammed.
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