STRICTLY Come Dancing star Brendan Cole admitted the recent series of the BBC show would be “hard to top”, as he performed to a sell-out crowd in Grimsby.
The New Zealand born dancer, who has appeared in all 11 series of the show to date and finished fourth in last year’s series with dance partner Sophie Ellis-Bextor, performed his Licence To Thrill show at a packed Grimsby Auditorium on Thursday.
The show sees him joined by a cast of 20 musicians and dancers to treat fans to an evening of ballroom and Latin routines.
Prior to the performance, he told the Grimsby Telegraph how much he enjoyed the series which finished in December, and paid tribute to Waltham dancing star Kevin Clifton, affectionately known on the show as “Kevin from Grimsby” – who reached the final.
“There’s no better feeling than selling out a theatre,” he said, before performing in Grimsby on his UK tour.
“It’s been amazing so far, we have got a 48-date run on our hands which is pretty large but we have had phenomenal audiences and great feedback.
“We have fun together and have been touring for a long time. This is my second theatre tour and we really have a ball.
“Sadly the nature of touring means we don’t get to see a lot of each area, but you do get a feel of the people who live there.
“Strictly seems to become more popular each year, the fan base grows and people love the show and want to see what happens first hand.”
Brendan, 37, admitted the “Kevin from Grimsby” label which had been firmly planted on Kevin during Strictly was “bizarre”.
“Kevin is a lovely fella, I have known him for many years and he fitted in brilliantly in Strictly,” he said.
“I call him a boy but he is actually 30, and just a few years younger than me. But he is so enthusiastic which is what the show loves and needs and with Susanna Reid they had a ball together and were a great addition to Strictly.
“It’s hard to gauge what effect it has had on Grimsby but we did Radio 2 with Chris Evans and he introduced Kevin as ‘Kevin from Grimsby’ which is just fantastic.
“The ‘Kevin from Grimsby’ thing is a bizarre one but a nice one, it’s nice to have a ‘hook’ for people to recognise you and to stand out from the crowd. He represented the area well and did a great job on the show.
“The fact that his whole family are on the dance scene and everything that goes with it, it’s something that can only be good for the area.”
And having performed in each of the 11 series of Strictly to date, can viewers expect to see Brendan appear in the 12th?
“For now, yes, that’s the plan. You have no idea when it is going to come to an end,” he said.
“It’s been 11 years and I’m still being invited to do it. I love the show and last year is going to be hard to top, but every year is new.
“I think the older you get, the more you gain through experience and maturity and I am very happy with where I am within my career. The theatre tours are, I suppose, my finest hour, and it is where I am comfortable.
“For me, having a partner like Sophie meant we worked so well and we really gelled, you sort of think ‘crikey it may not be like that again’, and wondering whether I will ever have another experience like that.
“The BBC did a great job in picking the partners which made it such a good show.”
During the show at the auditorium, Brendan gave birthday kisses to two lucky audience members, an 85-year-old woman and a 91-year-old woman.
He was joined on stage by Strictly dancer Aliona Vilani, who has joined the tour after another was injured.
Source: Grimsby Telegraph