Charlotte Hawkins on Brendan Cole getting the Strictly axe: “He stuck up for me – I hope that wasn’t part of the decision”

Pro dancer Brendan Cole hit back at the judges' comments about his celebrity partner in the latest series of Strictly Come Dancing

Brendan Cole and Charlotte Hawkins on Strictly Come Dancing

Brendan Cole caused quite a stir when he came to Charlotte Hawkins’ defence by clashing with the judges on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing – and now the Good Morning Britain presenter is concerned her partner’s cross words could have contributed to his axing from the show.

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Cole, who has starred in Strictly from the very beginning, hit back at new head judge Shirley Ballas when she criticised Hawkins for too much rise and fall. Bruno Tonioli called his remarks “disrespectful”, but the pro dancer doubled down and insisted the judges were wrong.

Still, Hawkins remains forever grateful that Cole came to her defence.

Charlotte Hawkins on Strictly Come Dancing

“He wasn’t afraid to speak his mind, he had my back, he was prepared to defend me when he thought that there was unfair treatment from the judges,” she told RadioTimes.com.

“He was happy to turn around and to stick up for me, and to say, ‘Do you know what? I don’t think that’s fair.’ And I really, really appreciated that, because you go through so much putting yourself out there, trying your very hardest, and it’s really hard when you get criticism and especially if you think that it’s unfair criticism as well.

“So hats off to him for sticking his neck out and doing it! And I hope that wasn’t a part of the decision.”

As a long-time Strictly fan, Hawkins plans to keep on watching – but it won’t be the same.

“I kind of feel like it’s the end of an era, for me,” she said. “I’ve been a fan for years and years and years watching the show. I was then lucky enough to dance with him as my partner, and I think with him going it’s just lost that bit of sparkle. I don’t think it will be the same as a consequence. It’s really sad news.

“I will still watch, but it won’t be the same at all. Because I think, for people that have watched it right from the beginning, they’ve been there, it was only him and Anton that were left as the original professional dancers, and I think it just means that it’s moved on so much…  I just don’t think it’s going to be the same without him. I think it’s going to be hard to watch it and him not be in it.”

Brendan announced the news in a moving interview on ITV’s Lorraine, revealing that the BBC had made an “editorial decision” not to renew his contract.

“The powers that be will have a vision of the show and I’m not part of the vision – you’ve got to accept what decisions are made. I would have preferred to make the decision myself but maybe I’d never have made it,” he said.

Straight after the interview he had an emotional reunion with Hawkins.

“It was quite a moment, because I watched it as well and he was obviously upset and it was really sad to see it,” she said.

“And I know that it’s meant the world to him, it’s been such a big deal. So it’s really hard to come to terms with something like this when it comes to an end. He’s going to be so much missed, he was such a huge part of Strictly, it’s going to be just completely an end of an era.

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“But I was really happy that I got to dance with him, he is an amazing dancer, an amazing choreographer, he was an amazing teacher, and he’s a great friend so I’m just grateful that I was given that opportunity.”