Brendan Cole appeared on Lorraine this morning, to discuss his “bitter, childish feud” with head judge Shirley Ballas.
The New Zealander has been on the show since it started 15 years ago, and is one of only two pros to have appeared in every series.
But he found himself involved in a war of words over the new head judge’s criticism of Brendan’s partner, Good Morning Britain presenter Charlotte Hawkins.
And although Brendan and Charlotte were eliminated several weeks ago, according to The Sun tensions between him and Shirley are still high.
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The newspaper reported that he had been overheard “hurling abuse” at Shirley during the show, and was refusing to talk to her backstage.
But Brendan rubbished the claims as he spoke to Lorraine Kelly this morning.
“[A newspaper] reported that I was hurling abuse over the balcony and I wasn’t,” he said.
“If someone is undermarked we all go ‘Undermarked! Undermarked!’”
And as for ignoring her behind the scenes, he responded: “I haven’t seen Shirley backstage!”
Then he jokingly turned to the camera and addressed Shirley, saying: “If I see you backstage I’m going to ignore you on principle!”
Explaining that he and Shirley ‘Queen of Ballroom’ Ballas go “way back”, Brendan did say he didn’t agree with how she had treated Charlotte.
“I don’t necessarily like what she was doing to us and our little journey on Strictly, [but] the BBC are loving her and the fans are loving her – some are hating her…”
And the 41-year-old also admitted that over the years he has brought his “bad boy of ballroom” image on himself.
“I tend to be more argumentative than the rest of the pros,” he said.
“I’ll tell you a little secret, the pros they’ll get in the changing room and they’ll be [yelling] left, right and centre.
“I unfortunately can’t control myself enough to do it in the changing room, I have to do it live on air.
“It’s frustrating because I’m not a horrible person. I’m very nice – my wife will tell you! And my mum!”
Brendan revealed he couldn’t stop himself from rushing to defend his partner Charlotte when she came in for a lot of criticism for her dancing.
“It’s one of those things where I don’t hold back, if I believe something I will say it,” he explained.
“I don’t hold back and morally I’m big on doing the right thing at the right time. And I had to stick up for Charlotte and the stuff she was getting from the judges, and in particular Shirley.”
His problems with Shirley started as early as week three, when he disagreed with her comments on their tango.
During her judging, Shirley said their performance had been “a little bit better than last week” and Brendan snapped “A little bit?”
He challenged her comments, then when she told him to watch the dance back, he sarcastically replied: “I will my dear, I will.”
It prompted Bruno Tonioli to back up the head judge’s comments, who blasted Brendan as he replied: “I’m not an expert – I’ve only done 300 shows – but I think she’s right and you should be more respectful.”
But Brendan insists he was just supporting Charlotte, who had been one of his favourite partners over the decade-and-a-half he’s been on the show.
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“She had so much to give, and I think the judges were critical of her even though she didn’t have the background of dance.
“[It would have been] great if they cut her some slack. I really wanted her to experience a bit more of Strictly, but the judges didn’t like it.”