Len Goodman: Strictly would be better with Brendan Cole

The former head judge had his share of bust-ups with Cole but says it's healthy for pro dancers to defend their celebrity partners

Len Goodman

Former Strictly Come Dancing head judge Len Goodman has opened up about pro dancer Brendan Cole’s departure from the show, saying that it would be “better with him than without him”.

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Cole announced in January 2018 that he would not be returning to Strictly after the BBC chose not to renew his contract – but Goodman says he thinks this was the wrong decision, despite having endured a fiery relationship with the dancer throughout their tenure on the show together.

“I liked the fact that we clashed,” Goodman said on ITV’s Lorraine on Monday. “If you’re not careful the judges come over like bullies picking on people that can’t defend themselves. The celebrities are a bit nervous. So you need someone, it’s nice when the pro says, ‘Hold on, I don’t think that’s quite right.’ And gives you a bit back. It all adds to the banter of the thing.”

He added: “Me and Brendan had a few fall-outs but we were still good chums. I think Strictly would have been better with him than without him.”

The 73-year-old departed the BBC1 dance contest himself last year, citing the difficulties of flying backwards and forwards from the US to the UK (he also serves as a judge on US series Dancing With The Stars).

Goodman was replaced as head judge by Shirley Ballas, who he said had so far done “a terrific job”.

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Strictly continues on Saturday evening on BBC1