My chat (and dance!) with Brendan Cole

Dubbed the bad boy of the ballroom, Brendan Cole is a stalwart of hit BBC show Strictly Come Dancing.

Currently waiting for confirmation that he’s been signed up for the tenth series of the show, Brendan’s fronting the Flora pro.activ Swing Into Action campaign, aimed at getting us all exercising more.Brendan Cole took me from a swing.Katy Pearson with Brendan Cole

So on a sunny Wednesday afternoon I joined the ballroom dancer at the Sylvia Young School for a chat – and a jive.

What one dance do you think everyone should learn, I asked (or rather panted as we pranced across the floor) 36-year-old Brendan.

‘I’m controversial because I like a waltz.’ He smiled – not even a fraction out of breath. ‘I like the beauty of it. It’s not such an easy one to learn though. Jive is easy. You can do it anywhere and even if you make a muddle of it you can pretty much get back on the right foot eventually.’

But even a jive can tax those with two left feet, so what’s the simplest dance step there is?

‘A kick,’ chuckles Brendan (whom it must be said is far less fake-tanned in real life than he is on the show). ‘Just one simple kick. Step on your right foot pick the left foot up kick it out and pick it back up again. Two steps, one kick and you’re laughing.’

Who is his favourite judge on the show I wonder? Without a moment’s hesitation Brendon replies, ‘Mr Craig Revel Harwood. I love to argue with him. I love the fact he is quite controversial the fact he doesn’t mind speaking his mind.

‘Sometimes he is an idiot, but that’s not news. We have a great rivalry with each other but also I think we have a mutual respect for each other, both on and off screen.’

And his dream dance partner for Strictly? ‘Natalie Portman would be lovely,’ he enthuses. ‘But somehow I don’t think that is going to happen.

‘I’ve had some cracking girls though. Jo Wood, is an absolute diamond. I love her to bits, we will be good friends forever. Lisa Snowdon and Kelly Brook were fantastic and I had a great time with Michelle Williams.

‘Some others, not so much. Sometimes you’re just not going to gel for that amount of time with someone.’

Is there any type of dancing he dislikes? ‘I can’t tap but that doesn’t mean I don’t like it,’ he muses. ‘My grandmother was a fantastic tap dancer, but I can’t do it. I don’t really like contemporary ballet, I find it’s all a bit weird and abstract.

‘I’m probably way too old for hip hop but I still appreciate it. Some of the stuff you see on telly these days is just phenomenal. It’s like how did you do that without killing yourself?!’

Now Brendan wants us all to start dancing – especially the men. ‘To the guys who don’t want to dance I’d say harden up. Get your act together. Small changes like dancing around your kitchen while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil will make a difference. You don’t have to it in front of anybody, you can do it with the door shut that’s all right, as long as you’re raising your heartbeat.’

Well, my class with Brendan has certainly got my heartbeat raised…

For more information about how to lower your cholesterol and to learn the routine Brendan taught me, visit

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