Strictly's Brendan Cole talks to Freetime ahead of this week's final

Bucks Free Press: Brendan Cole Brendan Cole

AFTER reaching week eight in Strictly Come Dancing with Olympic heroine Victoria Pendleton you would think Brendan Cole would be relaxing, awaiting the birth of his first child. But this is not the case. He is busy preparing for his show, Licence to Thrill, which kicks off at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre. He talks about Strictly ahead of this week's final.

Brendan Cole is know for speaking his mind on Strictly Come Dancing, sometimes coming to blows with the judges. But speaking to him over the phone he couldn't have been more easy to talk to.

He lives within ten miles of Aylesbury and is brimming with excitement for his dance show which starts at the Waterside in January.

I spoke to him the week after he and his celebrity partner for this year, Victoria Pendleton, were voted out of this series. They reached week eight in the competition.

Brendan, 36, said: "It is one of those things. One part of you thinks 'Oh no. We are out'. I will miss going out in the live shows. I love being on live TV- there is nothing better. Not being a part of that is a little bit sad.

"At the same time you can get back to normality. You can sleep past 6am in the morning and have a bit of a rest. It is an extremely gruelling time for everyone involved. Just to have an hour in the morning for breakfast."

He has been in every series of the show since it began ten years ago where he came first with newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky. So how does he help the celebrities cope with the pressure?

He said: "There is physical and mental pressure. It is a big ask to come out and perform every week. You have to be aware of the psychological side of your partner.

"Some need checking and more understanding. Some need a firm hand. It is judging that moment."

So how did Victoria Pendleton cope, who came on the show high from her success in London 2012.

He said: "She was very interesting to work with. She is very much an interesting and complex character. We got on very well."

But he said it was difficult at times and he said Victoria wasn't what he expected.

He said: "I was expecting one particular person and got the opposite of what that was. It was an interesting thing for me."

Brendan said Strictly was a different environment for Victoria and a difficult one. But he added he felt very lucky to be dancing with an Olympian.

He said: "I said that at the start of the show. I was very lucky to be partnered with the pride of the nation."

He said: "I think we did very well to get to week eight. It is one of those things. Victoria is definitely not a dancer. She didn't love the whole entertainment situation. It is one of those things. Everyone left in the competition is either a great performer or has a love for the show and are embracing the whole thing."

Left in the competition who will perform this weekend are Dani Harmer, Denise Van Outen, Kimberley Walsh and Louis Smith. Brendan added: "In terms of favourite partners. I really enjoyed working with Lisa Snowdon, Kelly Brook and Jo Wood. They were nice to work with.

"Kelly and Lisa were great dancers. Jo was a terrible dancer but what an absolute gem of a person- always delightful every step of the way. Those are the people you stay friends with."

And now he is busy preparing for his new show, wherer he created every detail. He said: "Every detail is very important to me. Every detail has got to be checked. People are paying good money to come and see you perform. I want everything to be perfect.

"It is something I am very proud of. The tour has been in the planning for a good year. Every box is ticked."

He said it is a dance show but the audience really become part of the evening.

The 32 date tour includes a cast of 14 musicians and six world class dancers and will include all the dances seen on Strictly from Ballroom to Latin.

And there is also a slight James Bond theme with two of the songs focused on this. With Gladys Knight's Licence to Kill, and a dance-off between the males in Live and Let Die.

He is also very happy to have Fauve Hauto as his leading lady who hails from France. He describes her as the 'ultimate Bond girl.'

His brother Scott is also on stage as one of the dancers. Scott is based in London but it was Brendan who suggested Scott teach dance in the area, which he does in Aylesbury.

Brendan said: "I love working with Scott. I think it is lovely to see your family doing something they love doing. I am very lucky I get to do my performing on Strictly. He doesn't get that element."

He lives within ten miles of Aylesbury with his wife, Zoe Hobbs, who is expecting their first child imminently.

Brendan added: "Aylesbury is the most fantastic venue for opening the show there. One of those brand new venues with all modern technology. I loved performing there last year."

Licence to Thrill is at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre on January 20 at 7.30pm. Tickets range from £24.50-£32.50 from www.atgtickets.com/venues/aylesbury-waterside-theatre or call 0844 8717607.

For more leisure stories including more interviews, I Love My Local and what's on go to www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/leisure

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