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It was Strictly wrong to axe feisty Brendan, reveals Len | TV & Radio | Showbiz & TV

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Goodman, 74, also revealed that both Cole and fellow competitor Anton Du Beke wanted his job when he left Strictly after the 2016 contest. 

He admitted the BBC’s decision not to renew Cole’s contract at the end of the last series came as a surprise to him. 

He said: “I was disappointed when he left because I thought he was a terrific ballroom and Latin dancer.

“I think the show was better with him and I didn’t mind the fact he was feisty. In fact, I think sometimes the judges come over a bit like bullies, so it’s nice when the dancers say, ‘Hold on, they are only a beginner’. Anton does it too. It makes good TV. 

“I don’t know what went on behind the scenes, maybe nothing, and I don’t think we ever will know.”

Brendan wanted to take over from me. 

“When you boil it down there are only three jobs on Strictly. You can be a dancer, a presenter or a judge. So when your dancing career is coming to an end being a judge is a natural next step.” 

But Goodman was full of praise for his replacement as head judge, Shirley Ballas. 

He said: “I think Shirley has done a terrific job. 

“It’s difficult to take over from anyone, and especially in a situation like this as a judge where you are bound to be compared. 

“She’s her own person and it’s a hell of a thing to take on. 

“Shirley is one of the greatest girl Latin American dancers, so she certainly knows her stuff and I thought her critiques were, by and large, very fair and sound.” 

But it is the death of former host Sir Bruce Forsyth last August that Goodman feels has had the greatest impact on the feel of the show. 

He added: “Bruce was the heart and the glue of Strictly Come Dancing. 

“As good a job as Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman do, it’s never going to be quite the same as when dear old Brucie was there. 

“He was such a warm and generous person, and wonderful at just being himself. Just before the start of the first-ever show, I was waiting in my little dressing room at the BBC and feeling a bit nervous because I’d never even talked on TV before, when there was a knock at the door. 

“And there was Bruce, one of my heroes. 

“He took the time to tell me to enjoy myself and relax. It was such a nice thing to do.” 

Len Goodman is supporting Remember a Charity Week. For more information visit rememberacharity.org.uk


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