Live and let dance

Rachel Banham, Post on 14th January, 2013
Brendan Cole dancing with Sarah Antonio of Norwich outside the Forum on Saturday..; Photo: Bill Smith

Fresh from the latest series of Strictly Come Dancing, Brendan Cole is performing in Norfolk and Suffolk as part of his Licence to Thrill tour. He told Rachel Banham all about it.

A year since Brendan Cole performed his Live and Unjudged tour in Norfolk and Suffolk, he is looking forward to bringing his latest production to the area. Brendan will take to the stage at Norwich Theatre Royal on February 10 and Ipswich Regent theatre on February 15 as part of his Licence to Thrill tour, combining drama, passion, music, dancing and, hopefully, a lot of fun.

Brendan Cole brings his explosive Licence to Thrill show to Ipswich and Norwich in February.

The night will include various ballroom and Latin dances as Brendan’s tribute to the style of James Bond, with music from across the decades. Brendan says: “Live and Unjudged was my debut theatre show. I loved every second of it and was very proud of all that we achieved with it.

“With the new tour it’s very exciting as there will be a new cast, new choreography, new costumes, new music and putting that all together is a challenge, but something I really enjoy doing.

“When initially thinking about ideas for the new tour I knew I wanted to stage a sophisticated show with a huge evening of dance, music and chat.

“The inspiration for the Bond theme of Licence to Thrill came from the classy, elegant persona that Bond gives and in this, the 50th year of James Bond, it seemed fitting.”

Brendan will be accompanied by a cast of 14 musicians and five world-class dancers. The show will include dances such as the waltz, foxtrot, quickstep, tango, American smooth, cha cha, samba, salsa and jive.

“When putting the show together I always want to make sure I include something for everyone,” he says.

“I want to give the audiences a magical evening of dance and music and the chance to get to know me on a more personal level.

“Everyone has their favourite dances that they expect to see on Strictly Come Dancing on a Saturday evening and I like to include all dance styles so that no-one goes home disappointed.”

Gladys Knight’s Licence to Kill is one of the pieces of music included, hence the Licence to Thrill title. There will also be a dance-off between the male dancers done with capes to Live and Let Die.

Brendan says: “With the musical selection I also wanted to make sure that there was something to suit everyone’s taste, so from Nat King Cole to Kylie Minogue to Michael Buble there is a real mix of artists and styles making it a very diverse show indeed.

“I just wanted a pretty spectacular night that was  very accessible to everybody and something that everybody can enjoy.”

Brendan’s brother Scott is one of the dancers, and he will give the audience an insight into another side of the Strictly star. “He’s integral to my shows. I think he brings a nice bit of personal flavour to it,” Brendan says.

“Doing a gig is always a chance for people to come along and meet you first-hand. The audience interaction and participation is very important to me. It’s very intimate.

“Having Scott there gives a whole new dimension to that. People can see my family, if you like, rather than just the bloke off the telly.”

Brendan Cole

Brendan has fond memories of his earlier visits to East Anglia, and says he loves the Ipswich Regent theatre. “It’s one of those older theatres… where you can feel the history in there a little bit. It’s just got a lovely atmosphere,” he says.

“They’ve been very supportive of me the last few years and so I really wanted to come back there and hopefully give them a chance to come and see me doing something different to Live and Unjudged, even though it will be a similar type of show.”

He describes Norwich Theatre Royal as “absolutely brilliant” and adds: “It’s one of these very beautiful theatres… you feel like the audience are sitting right on top of you so it’s very intimate, very close, which is exactly what my show is designed for.”

Brendan and his 2012 Strictly partner, Olympic cycling champion Victoria Pendleton, left the competition in week eight – but not before he had managed to incorporate a bicycle into the routine they performed at Wembley.

“When you are competing in Strictly it is all-consuming and the mind must be completely focused on the job, looking after your partner and all that goes with getting ready for the Saturday show each week,” he says.

“Of course it was disappointing to leave the show. I always hope that we will go further, but I’m glad that Victoria was able to dance at Wembley which was such a buzz.”

Brendan says he couldn’t fault Victoria’s dedication or training.

“She’s had a very, very different life in terms of what she achieved and how insular, I suppose, it can be as an elite athlete,” he says. “She works hard and it’s a nice feeling to have someone who’s strong.”

While Brendan’s professional life goes from strength to strength, his personal life is special as well, and he has recently become a father. His wife, model Zoe Hobbs, gave birth to their first child, a daughter, on Christmas Day. “The first child is only ever going to happen once and it’s quite a phenomenal thing,” he said.

  •  Brendan Cole brings his Licence to Thrill tour to Norwich Theatre Royal on February 10 and Ipswich Regent theatre on February 15.
  • For Norwich, call the box office on 01603 630000 or visit:
  • For Ipswich, call the box office on 01473 433100 or visit:
  • For more information and tickets, visit Brendan’s website:


  • The Brendan Cole Dance Academy launched in July 2011 and remains something that Brendan is deeply committed to. Part of Activate Sport and in conjunction with The Co-operative Group, his aim is to get children active and dancing.


“It’s important to me to do something outside of the media world and I suppose just give kids the chance to do something different,” Brendan says. “Activate Sport are a fantastic brand. They allow kids to do something very different, especially under-privileged kids, in a way that they don’t necessarily have the opportunity to try all these different sports.


“It’s very important to me. We’ve been doing it for a couple of years now and it’s growing every year which is very exciting.”



  • Brendan has taken part in every series of Strictly Come Dancing, and won the first series with Natasha Kaplinsky. His partners since have included Kelly Brook, Lisa Snowdon, Jo Wood and Lulu. He also gets on well with the other professional dancers.

“We’re a very good bunch actually. You wouldn’t expect 14 individuals to work so well together, but for some reason we do,” he says.

“We’re all individual performers and entertainers in our own right and as much as we have a different style to the other person… we still respect the ridiculous amount of work that it took to get where we’ve got. It’s a nice thing.”





Rachel Banham (writer)

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