STRICTLY pro Brendan Cole has apologised and promised not to speak out on the show again after lashing out at head judge Shirley Ballas on Saturday night.
The 41-year-old bickered with Shirley, 57, when she criticised his tango with Good Morning Britain’s Charlotte Hawkins – calling the veteran dance expert “my dear” and saying her critique was unfounded.
But on Sunday night’s show, when he and Charlotte were saved from elimination, he was heard saying: “I’ll be better next week, I’ll be quiet, I’ll be quiet, I’m sorry.”
That may not be enough to quell the backlash, though – as viewers branded “odious little man” Brendan a “patronising sexist t**t” and called for the fiery Kiwi to be axed from the show.
The controversy began after Shirley said Brendan and Charlotte’s tango, danced to Danger Zone from Top Gun, was “a little bit” better than the disastrous performance the previous week.
Riled by this, Brendan said: “Just a little bit?”
Shirley ploughed on: “We’ve established that there is no rise and fall in tango, you have to make a concrete decision not to use rise and fall.”
“Erm, really sorry, there was no rise and fall in that whatsoever,” Brendan interrupted, and then, when she encouraged him to watch the dance back, he said: “I will, my dear, I will.”
Brendan’s comment elicited an angry boo from the crowd, and judge Bruno Tonioli then told him: “I think [Shirley’s] right Brendan, you should be more respectful to a lady!”
However, Brendan refused to back down as he replied: “I am respectful, but when we do a tango and there’s no rise and fall then I’m not going to stand there and go: ‘Shirley, I’ll do that.’
“We did a fairly good routine, I messed up unfortunately, that was me – I’ll hold my hands up!” he added.
Brendan was roundly slammed for calling Shirley “my dear” on Twitter – saying he was lucky not to have been eliminated, instead of Rev Richard Coles and his partner.
— Nicola Davies (@njd2245) October 7, 2017
— Jo (@OnTheJoSlow) October 7, 2017
— Una Jefford (@UnaJeffordUK) October 7, 2017
— Jane Hoskyn (@janecell) October 8, 2017
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Strictly Come Dancing returns on Saturday at 6.45pm on BBC One.
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