Strictly bosses reportedly terrified one of top pro dancers is set to quit

The dancer worried fans with an emotional 'farewell' speech on Sunday

He’s been a stalwart on Strictly Come Dancing ever since the first series.

But bosses at the BBC One show are reportedly panicking that dancer Brendan Cole, 41, is getting ready to quit after he delivered an emotional speech on Sunday night that fans took as a farewell.

Adding to concerns is the fact Brendan’s been very publicly clashing with the judges recently, suggesting a frustration with the programme.

Read more: Strictly viewers not happy with Sunday’s dance-off couples

So perhaps it’s no surprise Strictly bosses are said to be on tenterhooks that their most famous pro is getting ready to hand in his notice.

An insider told The Sun: “He loves being a part of the show, but his lack of promotion and clashes with judges this year have led top bosses to wonder how long he’ll stick around for.”

The source added: “They don’t want him to leave. Deep down, Brendan doesn’t want to either – but options are being weighed up.”

A Strictly without Brendan? Can you even imagine?!

Brendan and his celebrity partner Charlotte Hawkins, 42, were given the boot following a dance-off against Davood Ghadami and Nadiya Bychkova.

We’re all use to seeing stars and dancers break down in tears after they’re eliminated – but there was something about Brendan’s speech and choice of words that caught fans’ attention…

As well as saying he felt “much sadness” to be going home, he added: “I’m going to miss dancing with Charlotte. I’ve had one of the best Strictly’s in 15 years and it’s hard for me to even say that.,”

“I feel really emotional,” he concluded.

So far, Brendan has yet to address the widely-reported rumours he’s desperate to leave.

He has, however, spent his morning sharing his sorrows at Charlotte being eliminated from the show so early on in the process.

“Sad just thinking about it,” he tweeted on Monday morning.

“Charlotte and I are out of Strictly. Charlotte, you made it one of the best series I’ve ever had #sad.

“Thank you to all who supported and tried to keep us in. We had a ball and weren’t quite ready to go. Charlotte, you did yourself proud.”

Charlotte, meanwhile, feels just as melancholy as Brendan, tweeting herself: “So very sad Brendan and I are out of Strictly. It’s been my magical sparkly world for the past few weeks, it’ll be hard to say goodbye.”

She added: “Huge thank you Brendan for being so brilliant, for supporting me all the way, for believing in me & having my back. A friend for life.”

He replied: “I loved every second. Thank you back for an incredible time. Can’t believe we don’t get to do it all again today! Friend for life indeed.”

If Brendan were to leave, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise.

After all, he’s made it pretty clear this series he doesn’t agree with some of the judges’ comments, taking aim at both Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli.

He’s famously clashed with judge Shirley Ballas twice; first after she accused him of making the routines too difficult, prompting a furious response.

The dancer raged: “I think she should keep those opinions to herself. I put in two difficult steps that we could do in training but when something goes wrong at the start [it’s hard to recover].

“If Shirley wants to swap places with me, I’m quite happy to judge – I know how to do that.”

Then he butted heads with Shirley again over the amount of “rise and fall” in his tango with Charlotte.

Brendan then took aim at fellow judge Bruno Tonioli for a comment he made about Davood and Nadiya.

He’d lavished praise on their quickstep by saying it was like a “race to the bedroom” – but angry Brendan said it was inappropriate given the pair are both in relationships.

Ranting in his Best magazine column, he said: “If it was said about two single people, like Mollie and AJ, then maybe it would have been okay, but both Davood and Nadiya have partners and children.

Read more: Piers Morgan blasts Strictly judge over Charlotte Hawkins’ early exit

“Strictly’s also a family show – imagine your kid asking you what ‘race to the bedroom’ means.”

So will Brendan really quit? Only time will tell…