Former Strictly Come Dancing head judge Len Goodman has said that the makers of the show were wrong to fire Brendan Cole.
The BBC decided not to renew the outspoken dancer’s contract at the end of the last series of the dance show.
“I was disappointed when he left because I thought he was a terrific ballroom and Latin dancer,” Goodman told the Daily Express.
“I think the show was better with him and I didn’t mind the fact he was feisty. In fact, I think sometimes the judges come over a bit like bullies, so it’s nice when the dancers say ‘hold on, they are only a beginner’. Anton does it too. It makes good TV.”
It was said that the ‘final straw’ which lead Cole to be axed from the show was after he ignored protocols during the filming of last year’s Christmas special, and despite being told by bosses not to, asked the Duchess of Cornwall to dance.
The Duchess was invited on the special show to attend a tea dance in aid of an osteoporosis charity, with Craig Revell Horwood – who as a personal friend had helped secure her appearance – set to dance with her.
“It was the final straw for everyone involved with the show and the BBC. They just realised he couldn’t be controlled,” a source told The Sun.
Cole had already been accused of arrogance in clashing with judges on screen and diva-ish behaviour backstage on a number of occasions.
Another source added: “By the end he was almost universally hated by staff on the show because he had become so bitter and difficult to work with.
“He used to be lovely and charming, but by the last series he thought he was bigger than the show. Some of the junior staff were too frightened to even talk to him because they worried he’d bite their heads off.
“He’s paid the price because nobody is bigger than the show.”