Brendan Cole has been given his marching orders from Strictly – and the question on everybody's lips is, “who will be next?”
It was the moment the sequinned rug was pulled out from under many a Strictly fan's feet yesterday (Tuesday) when the announcement was made by the BBC that professional dancer Brendan Cole had been dropped from this year's show.
The shock was double fold. Brendan, who has been with the programme since the very beginning, was a part of the furniture. He was as much our familiar friend as the spinning glitter balls, Dave Arch's band and the sweeping steps down onto the dance floor. In short, he could not, must not, go.
Admittedly he hasn't always been the most restrained of characters when it comes to receiving feedback from the judges. He was always prepared to argue back if he did not agree with their critique – and certainly during the last series there was one particular humdinger with judge Shirley Ballas which was a little awkward to watch.
But I always felt his back chat came from a good place – a passionate wish to give his celebrity dance partner the utmost support and encouragement to thrive. We do have to be honest here and say Brendan was probably also considered a little over the hill to dance. Not that I agree – he was, and still is, a wonderful dancer and the BBC should be encouraging all ages to dance, not make it the preserve of whipper snapper types.
As to the second fold of our anguish – we come to the crucial question of who will be next? If the BBC are axing Brendan, anyone could be fair game. Anton, Pasha, Kevin, Karen, Jeanette. We now face a period of trepidation over the next eight months – a period of time usually reserved for looking forward to the welcome return of Strictly to our television sets – that first whiff of fake tan on the breeze, the first sight of sparkle dust in the clouds.
Now that joyous sense of anticipation is tinged with a certain amount of dread. Please let it not be Anton, if it's Anton, I take to the streets. However, I have a cunning plan.
Just before the show begins we bundle Anton into a car – please insert your own favourite Strictly pro name here – take him to the studios and just as the lights go up and the music starts at the top of the show, we thrust him through the stage curtain and down those stairs and Tess and Claudia will be far too professional to flinch and say this must be some kind of mistake.
“Anton Du Beck” they will announce just as if all is well in the world. And he'll be in. Of course he may have to dance with a chair for the whole of the series but they end up dancing with those at some point anyway – chairs, hat stands, briefcases, actual humans, anything goes.
So what do you think - absolutely foolproof? A dead cert? I thought so. Now we just wait...