For nearly 10 years he has kept audiences riveted to their TV screens with his smooth moves around the Strictly dance floor.
But with back-chatting the judges, ballroom diva moments, rumours of infidelity and talk of being too demanding on his dance partners, Brendan Cole quickly gained a reputation of being the Bad Boy of Ballroom.
He’s showing an altogether softer side these days. He has a stunning wife, beautiful baby daughter, and talks humbly about his stage show Licence to Thrill which returns to Lighthouse Poole next Saturday.
“It’s going amazingly well, I couldn’t be more pleased with it,” he says.
The critically acclaimed show which launched last year followed on from his debut Theatre Tour Live and Unjudged. It includes a ‘phenomenal’ cast of 20 musicians and dancers.
As its name suggests, there may be a nod or two to 007, but Licence to Thrill is not a complete homage to Bond. “One of our singers does an amazing performance of Gladys Knight’s Licence to Kill and another part includes three guys doing a cape-off to Live and Let Die,” he said.
Having spent nearly a decade quite literally in the spotlight as a dancer and choreographer on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing, the 37-year-old knows a thing or two about serving up some glitz and glamour.
We’re promised a ‘sophisticated production’ with ‘ballroom magic’ and ‘Latin excitement’ in this live dance extravaganza.
“It has all the great costumes and fantastic dancing you’d see on Strictly, plus a lot more besides,” he told Seven Days. “There’s a bit of everything. It’s not a show of just one genre.
“It’s a big old night out. More like ‘an evening with’. I’m involved with 80 per cent of the numbers so I barely leave the stage.
“I hope it’s a really good show for people.”
Brendan hosts the show throughout, so it’s a chance to see New Zealand-born dancer off the Strictly stage. “The audience can get to know the real me,” he said.
He’s partnered some glamorous women on the dance floor, including Natasha Kaplinsky, Kelly Brook and Lisa Snowdon. He swept Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton off her feet, and in the last series came fourth with singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor whom he described as “the best partner I could have ever wished for”.
His reputation as a lothario is firmly behind him as he’s now happily married to his glamorous wife, Zoe. Luckily she doesn’t mind him dancing with other women.
“She’s an extremely beautiful woman so she doesn’t worry too much. She knows she can trust her other half. She met me when I was a dancer, so she’s always known what I do. She’s incredibly important to me and she’s got nothing to worry about.”
Another lady in his affections is his little daughter, Aurelia. Brendan became a first-time father on Christmas Day 2012 and told Seven Days: “Fatherhood is such an incredible thing.
“It’s mind-blowing and all-consuming. You’re totally responsible for this little thing but it’s fascinating to see her change by the day.
“My wife and I are incredibly proud.”
So it would seem his only temptations these days are “gingernut biscuits, peanut slabs and the odd sweetie”, though with such a gruelling schedule he can be forgiven these indulgences.
“Strictly is one of the hardest jobs you’ll ever do as an entertainer. You work ridiculous hours, seven-day weeks from August until the end of the year, and you are absolutely knackered. It’s pretty much relentless.
“At the end of it you say ‘Oh boy’. But after a while you start to miss it.”
He’s also turned his hand to a bit of presenting and singing, and done a bit of pantomime in the past. And if he didn’t have enough on his plate, now wants to turn his hand to acting.
Modestly he added: “I think acting is quite a specific skill and I don’t know if I have that skill set, but I’d like to see how it goes.
“There’s so much I’d love to do. I’d like to learn how to play the piano. I also love my adrenalin sports and I enjoy any type of activity.
“I’m a very active kind of person and I say you should try everything at least once because you never know what you are going to find.”
So we can expect a lot of this energy in Licence to Thrill, plenty of different content, lots of interaction and a diverse audience.
“It’s everyone – aged between six and 96! That’s why it has to be entertaining and dynamic for all – including the drag-alongs (the reluctant husbands).”
Brendan is no stranger to Poole Lighthouse.
“It’s a lovely venue with a good stage and I’m looking forward to coming back.
“I often find the further north you travel, the more raucous the audience.
“Southern audiences can be a bit more reserved. But that’s not the case in Poole. They REALLY get involved with the show.”
l Brendan Cole’s Licence To Thrill tour comes to Lighthouse, Poole, on Saturday March 8