Shirley Ballas has hit back after Strictly Come Dancing fans accused her of being a factor in Brendan Cole’s departure.
The show’s head judge has replied to two tweets from viewers suggesting she is partly to blame for the BBC’s decision to let Brendan go.
Shirley, 57, had a well-documented on-air disagreement with Brendan during the last series, in which they argued over the amount of “rise and fall” in his tango.
It ended with Shirley advising Brendan to watch the tape back, and him calling her “my dear” in response, which led fellow judge Bruno Tonioli to advise him to be more respectful.
So, naturally, when Brendan revealed last week BBC had not renewed his contract, some viewers began to wonder if his ‘spat’ with Shirley was to blame.
One fan tweeted at Shirley: “Happy now you have got Brendan fired…. you have given the show the kiss of death… well done.”
But refusing to stay silent, Shirley fired back: “Do you feel like Charlie Big Potatoes now? R you happy you got that off your chest (sic).”
Another Strictly viewer tweeted at her: “Shame you did not show same commitment to Brendan, shame on you.”
Shirley replied: “No dear. SHAME ON YOU ,, you have no idea what you r talking about. Get a life (sic).”
The Strictly judge was inundated with support from fans who advised her not to pay attention to any negative comments.
One tweeted: “Why anyone would think you’d have anything to do with the BBC not giving a contract for 2018 is beyond words & there’s no need to be rude to you. You’re fantastic.”
Another said: “Shirley, take no notice! That’s the biggest load of rubbish I have ever heard… it wasn’t your fault at all!”
Shirley joined Strictly Come Dancing last year after Len Goodman vacated the head judge role.
At the time, there was speculation that Brendan had auditioned for the role, but didn’t get it, which he confirmed was true in an interview with Daily Mail over the weekend.
He explained: “I’ll make no bones about the fact I would have loved that role myself. I didn’t get it.
“I wasn’t bitter about not getting it. I had a screen test. I walked out thinking I couldn’t have done it better than that, whatever happens, happens.
“I was disappointed but it was expected because I’m a dancer on the show. That was my job.”
As for his ‘spat’ with Shirley over “rise and fall”, he told the Daily Mail he’d just been trying to defend Charlotte as he felt she deserved more praise for the dance.
“If I could take that back I would,” he said.
“But the last six months have been pretty horrendous. If I could work it out, I would. All I know is you can’t put a foot wrong. You can’t even dip a toe on the other side within that world because it will be taken, it will be run with, and before long you’re in a [bleep]-storm.”
Brendan used an appearance on ITV’s Lorraine last week to announce he’d been dropped from Strictly after 15 years on air.
He was visibly emotional as he said: “This is quite hard to talk about.The BBC haven’t renewed my contract – we get renewed year on year – and they made an editorial decision not to have me back on the show.
“I’m a little bit in shock. I’m quite emotional, a bit raw about it.
“It’s done via a process of a phone call and stuff. I have had 15 incredible series on the show. I’m very proud of the whole show. It’s a great team.”
In a statement, the BBC said: “We’d like to thank Brendan Cole for being part of the show since the beginning – winner of the first series – and for the contribution he has made to its success.
“We wish him all the very best for the future.
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