Brendan Cole, Licence to Thrill Tour

Brendan Cole: Licence to Thrill. No, the star of Strictly Come Dancing hasn’t made a play to be the next James Bond (although he definitely has the same dapper, bad boy reputation) but instead is taking his spectacular moves to the dance floor to a theatre near you.

The 37-year-old ballroom specialist has been a permanent fixture on our Saturday night TV screens for seven years now, as part of the flagship BBC dancing contest, but having in excess of 10million people watching his trademark Latino moves has only made him want to spread the dancing word further still.

This year, New Zealand born Cole will hit “every corner of the country” for a 48-date tour, the second time he has taken a collection of handpicked dancers, band and stage crew with him.

“The response has been huge. The last one went down well, and it’s great getting round the country to people who are interested in what you do. It’s a lovely feeling, being on stage performing to people who have made the effort to come to see you.”

“It’s a two-hour show, like an ‘evening with’, so you get an intimate experience. You get to see myself, other dancers and band live, with lots of chat and the audience involvement. There’s also a Q&A, where you might find out a bit of naughty gossip about Strictly! Alternatively, people come there to just have a laugh and join in with the dancing – we want to make it a big show. It’s a massive undertaking, but you need a big show. I want people to have the experience of the year, to walk out of the theatre blown away by the spectacle they’ve just seen – staging, lighting, band, a full experience.”

The fact Cole can pack people into any theatre in the UK says everything about his ability to entertain – he is the one dancer who has transcended fans of the show, such is his notoriety. But his appeal is also indicative of a nation that has fallen in love with ballroom dancing.

“It’s becoming more acceptable, isn’t it? In all forms of dancing. And Strictly was definitely there at the front of it. As soon as it hit the screens, you sensed there was a shift in momentum towards dancing because of it. It’s gone global, an incredible thing. And it’s not just Strictly: theatre, different programmes on the telly talking about dance… it’s opened up a whole range of opportunities.”

Those opportunities were far more limited when, along with “every sport going”, Cole took dancing as a youngster. We’d imagine he was the subject of a few barbs about that as a kid.

“I did get lots of stick, but I am the sort of person that if you tell me not to do something, I am going to do it 10 times harder. It was a hard gig in many ways, but things that happen in your life, build your life… they make you the person you are. Perhaps that explains why I’ve been quite fiery in the past. But now I’m older and a bit wiser, and a bit mellower!”

Despite his usual presence in the latter stages of Strictly, Cole hasn’t always seen eye to eye with the judges.

“It’s hard not to take things on board if you get negative criticism. For every 100 positive comments you get one negative, and that is what you focus on. But I am extremely proud of what Sophie Ellis-Bexter and I achieved – it was a fantastic ride and she did so well.”

Visit brendancole.com for tickets and information about his live show Licence To Thrill.  Current dates to come are:

Folkestone – 5th February
Southend – 6th February
York – 7th February
Sunderland – 8th February
Rhyl – 9th February
Ipswich – 12th February
Watford – 13th February
Oxford – 14th February
Cambridge – 15th February
Woking – 16th February
Guildford – 19th February
Portsmouth – 20th February
Croydon – 21st February
Hayes – 22nd February
Norwich – 23rd February
Scunthorpe – 25th February
Stoke – 26th February
Preston – 27th February
Belfast – 1st March
Dublin – 2nd March
Cork – 3rd March
Reading – 5th March
Torquay – 6th March
Plymouth – 7th March
Poole – 8th March
Aberdeen – 11th March
Inverness – 12th and 13th March
Glasgow – 14th March
Dunfermline – 15th March
Dundee – 16th March
Edinburgh – 17th March