Brendan Cole talks to Rosanna Rothery about babies and Bond
RENDAN Cole. The bad boy of ballroom? The lothario of Latin? Whatever you make of his past reputation, as I chat to him today, the Strictly star comes across as pretty laid-back and content. He admits the birth of his daughter Aurelia on Christmas Day has been a transforming experience.
Cole, infamous for his Strictly spats with the judges, his somewhat forthright opinions and his past tendency to swoosh women off their feet – both on and off the ballroom – sounds elated.
"It's obviously the most incredible thing you can go through I suppose, emotionally. And just like any new parents we are learning the ropes as we go. If anything it's just amazing to see your little baby changing every day – and they do."
Cole is married to the beautiful model Zoe Hobbs.
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"I'm kind of missing them a lot at the moment," says the dancer, who is rehearsing for his new touring show, Licence To Thrill. "It's quite a tough thing. Once we do hit the road, things will calm down a little bit and I won't be gone every day."
Fatherhood, he believes, has already had an impact on some of his more daredevil exploits.
"Right from when Zoe became pregnant you start thinking in a different way. For example, I raced a bit with cars and, half way through the year, I did a charity race and managed to have a break failure at 100mph and crashed head-on in to a wall with no brakes. At moments like that you go to yourself, 'Do you know what? I don't think you need to do things like this'."
He sounds happy to embrace his new responsibilities.
"You start changing your ideas as to what you should be doing and what you shouldn't be doing. I do have a lot of responsibility on my shoulders and, when it comes to your own child, the thought process changes a bit."
Judging from his past passionate outbursts on Strictly, one might assume that Brendan would be a hard taskmaster when it comes to producing his own show.
In response to the question, he cheekily asks Australian dancer Melanie Hooper, "Am I hard to work for?" before adding with a laugh, "I'm trying to work out what the look that I'm being given means".
It's actually quite fascinating to learn, that far from being self opinionated, Brendan takes a pretty creative, organic approach to choreography.
"I roughly stage what we do, then we get in to the rehearsals and all ideas sort of fly around and we start moulding things. It's a great feeling. For instance, I recently came in with a fully choreographed paso doble. Then we stuck the music on and the guys started mucking around and before long we had some completely different ideas to what I had originally created."
He believes dancers need to be able to put something of themselves into the choreography, otherwise they won't enjoy performing it.
"That's because everyone has different dance styles and different feelings as to what they feel the music tells them to do at different times. But obviously with six different people everybody can't possibly have their way."
The Brendan Cole I'm speaking to sounds positively share-y care-y. He even manages to be gracious about his sparing partner Craig Revel Horwood's new touring show, Strictly Confidential – almost.
"I do like to see everyone's show. I think it's really important that all the gang from Strictly support each other's stuff, especially individual stuff. Anton and Erin, for example, I go to see their tour every year and love it. I will probably go and see Craig's little thing."
As to whose show will be better, his or Craig's, he replies with a twinkle: "I don't think there's gonna be any question there, but I'll let the people decide."
It's a big year for all things Bond and Brendan promises Licence To Thrill will have all the sophistication and class of the films.
"If you think Bond, you think on-the-edge excitement and I think the show's captured that as much as ballroom and Latin dance can."
Under the musical direction of Barry Robinson, with a 14-piece band on stage, it promises both glamour and drama with music ranging from Nat King Cole and Gladys Knight to Michael Jackson and Tom Jones.
"It's guaranteed to be a brilliant night of entertainment, never a dull moment, with something for everyone," he adds. "If you are male, female, young, old there is hopefully something for everybody. And, if the boys are being dragged along and don't like dancing, I have some fairly attractive ladies for them to look at."
Licence To Thrill is at Plymouth Pavilions on Sunday, January 27. Tickets £32.50, £29.50 or £19.50 (subject to a booking fee). Box office: 0845 1461460 or visit www.plymouth pavilions.com