Arlene was dropped as a Strictly judge in 2009

Former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Philips has said she was “completely shocked” that Brendan Cole has been dropped from the show.

Professional dancer Brendan revealed this week that he had been axed from the BBC competition, saying he felt “emotional and a bit raw”.

Arelene, who herself was controversially axed from the Strictly judging panel in 2009, said she was stunned to hear about Brendan and discussed whether it may have had something to do with his clash with head judge Shirley Ballas.

Brendan Cole
Brendan Cole has been dropped from Strictly (Matt Crossick/PA)

She said on Good Morning Britain (GMB): “I was completely shocked.

“I think more because if anybody is going to go from Strictly it’s usually around June, so that it happened so close into the new year, and boom he’s gone.”

Arlene went on: “He is absolutely a character, mean moody Brendan. He’s very strong, he’s very tall, he does not look remotely like a dancer and then he comes out on the dance floor.

“I guess, you know, to keep everyone on their toes, I think the show needs conflict, excitement, challenges.”

Brendan has famously sparred with Strictly judges over the years, and clashed with new head judge Shirley in the last series.

Strictly's new judge Shirley Ballas (BBC)
Strictly Come Dancing’s Shirley Ballas (BBC)


GMB aired a clip from their row over whether there was “rise and fall” in Brendan’s tango with his celebrity partner Charlotte Hawkins.

Brendan disagreed with Shirley’s criticism and at one point, judge Bruno Tonioli chimed in and suggested he was “more respectful”.

Asked whether Shirley may have felt it was too much, Arlene said: “I think that’s mild.

“And Bruno jumping in saying that’s not respectful, what are they, headmaster and a kid in the school?

“For goodness sake, it’s a professional and celebrity entertainment show and you can take that and come back and say … Shirley was right, play it back let’s have a look, let’s look at it together, they can’t do that, timing is precious.”

“And quite frankly everyone knows that you – and Brendan does – that that’s one of the things in the tango, you wouldn’t even put it in, you wouldn’t even think to teach it.”

She called Brendan a real individual.

“Brendan has always been the bad boy, always been argumentative, that’s part of his trademark,” she said.

GMB host Piers Morgan joked that Brendan’s departure may have been down to his co-presenter Charlotte Hawkins.

He teased: “You came 13th and that was the worst of any partner he’s had, it must be down to you!”

But Charlotte replied: “I think it was harsh treatment from the judges. He is going to be much missed and there will be a spark less on Strictly.”

Brendan joined the show at its launch in 2004.