I was a Strictly pro and if I was snubbed like Nadiya and Neil I would have walked, says Brendan Cole | The Sun

FORMER Strictly Come Dancing pro Brendan Cole has insisted he would have immediately quit the show if the BBC failed to partner him up with a celebrity.

The New Zealand native spoke out as long-running star Nadiya Bychkova was reportedly left disappointed that she was snubbed from being paired with a star on this year's edition of the BBC One dance contest.

Nadiya, 34, as well as Neil Jones were both overlooked by bosses when the decision was made about who would dance with who.

Former show star Brendan, 47, who joined the dance contest in its first incarnation, has admitted he would be infuriated by the situation and would have walked off had the same happened to him.

Speaking to The Sun on behalf of Sky Bingo, Brendan said: “Thankfully I was never in that situation [of not having a dance partner] – if I had been in that situation, I probably wouldn’t have stuck around.

"For me, it’s not something that’s necessary for Strictly, I don’t understand why they do it.

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"If you’re going to hire people, hire them. If you’re not, don’t hire them but to leave people in limbo and have them on a string – we say jump and you say how high – is not the way you do business in my world."

Brendan went onto admit that it would "not be for" him to be hired purely for group dances as is the case this year for Nadiya and Neil.

Speaking about the "respect" involved in the job, the former show star added: "You gain respect from people by giving them security and giving them a passion about their jobs, so for me, it’s not the way I would behave but, it’s a big show, they’ve got a lot to deal with.

"I wouldn’t pretend to try and teach them how to run their ship because it’s a big one, but it’s a shame for both Neil and Nadiya."

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Revealing his bond with the pair, the dancer continued: "They’re both phenomenal dancers and both very good friends of mine.

"They’re two of the people I’m closest with on the show, so for me it’s a shame I don’t get to see them doing their thing, because they are phenomenally talented people.” 

Nadiya admitted in a social media post that she was left "disappointed" by the unexpected snub from BBC bosses which left her without a starring role on this year's edition of the show.

Following the first episode of the series, Nadiya told fans: “I’m sure you’ll understand that I'm disappointed not to be partnered with a celebrity on @bbcstrictly this series.”

The star continued:  “It is an amazing show to be a part of and I’m still so excited for all the group numbers, performing with some of our music acts and much much more.

“I’m also looking forward to supporting my fellow pros and I want to wish all the couples the best of luck for the competition this year.”

Nadiya was thought to be a shoo-in to be paired with a celeb, as she has since she joined six years ago.

It was a particular surprise given the BBC used her so predominantly in the publicity to drum up interest ahead of the start of the 21st series.


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The star has partnered with Channel 5 host Dan Walker and EastEnders legend Davood Ghadami in the past.

Meanwhile, Brendan won the first series of the show with presenter Natasha Kaplinsky before exiting the show in its 15th series, where he partnered Good Morning Britain favourite Charlotte Hawkins, after failing to make it into the top 10 for the previous three years.

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