7 Questions with… Dancing On Ice contestant and former Strictly pro Brendan Cole: ‘If I disagree with the judges then I’m an idiot!’

Brendan Cole swaps his dancing shoes for ice skates as he competes on Dancing On Ice alongside partner Vanessa Bauer, but will he triumph on ice like he has on the dancefloor?

By Sophia Moir Published: 7 January 2022 - 10.33am
ITV Brendan Cole Dancing On Ice 2022

Brendan Cole set the bar high as the first ever winner of Strictly Come Dancing back in Series 1, but will he get off to a flying start in the new series of Dancing On Ice?

The former Strictly professional dancer - who was axed from the show in 2018 - is set to compete live alongside pro skater Vanessa Bauer in week one of the show, which kicks off this weekend on ITV.

But rather than the regular Strictly judging panel he was used to, 45-year-old Cole will face potential criticism from Jayne Torvill, Christopher Dean and Ashley Banjo, as well as new judge Oti Mabuse, 31 - who he competed against on Strictly.

Here, New Zealand-born Cole talks swapping his dancing shoes for ice skates as he answers seven burning questions about his debut on the greatest show on ice… 

Who are the Dancing On Ice 2022 celebrities? >

1. What’s the biggest appeal of signing up to Dancing On Ice?

I love the show, it’s a challenge. The people that know me from my old job [on Strictly], if you like, will have high expectations because I’m a dancer and it is dancing on ice. I’m apprehensive that I might not be as good as people think but at the same time, I’m quite positive that I’ll be able to do it! 

To what extent is another story but I’m excited for that challenge – how good can I get in the space of time we’ve got? That’s the reason for doing it, that challenge... I want to be really good; you know? I don’t want it to be just ‘oh that’s nice.’ I really want to be able to do it. I’d be mad not to be [in it to win it]!

Brendan won the first ever series of Strictly Come Dancing with Natasha Kaplinsky in 2004

2. You’ve watched over the years and always fancied having a go, so why now?

The right time, it’s definitely the right time. It’s a long, hard time from 18 months ago where nothing’s been happening and the opportunity to do something as big as this is really exciting. Funnily enough, when they did come a’knocking on the door I immediately said ‘yes absolutely’. 

It was a nice phone call to get. The time is perfect. A year and a half of actually not doing what I do has actually been a challenge. I’ve never had time off. I’ve always been working and this is not just a little something, we’re about to get heavily involved in a massive programme which is a bit of a dream really. It’s cool.

3. What are you most looking forward to about learning to skate with a professional?

It’s lovely to think that the boot is going to be on the other foot. As a trainer, when you’re teaching somebody you’re giving, giving, giving and the other person is sort of taking and I’ve done that for a long time. I did Strictly for 15 series. 

I’m looking forward to being in the situation where someone is giving to me and I can soak up the energy and hopefully give back. I know what I want back when I’m in the teaching role so I’m hoping I’ll be able to give back the right stuff!

Brendan is partnered with Vanessa Bauer on Dancing On Ice - but will they make a winning pair?

4. What kind of student do you think you’ll make?

Hopefully a good one. I’m very hard on myself. I want to be the best I can possibly be. I don’t care about anyone else in terms of what they give or if they’re better or worse. In terms of the training, I want to take every ounce of information and hopefully put it to use. 

“The timing of this is perfect. I immediately said ‘yes absolutely’ when they asked me. It’s a dream really to be involved”
- Brendan Cole on signing up for Dancing On Ice

There’s nothing more frustrating as a teacher, to be giving something that you think is particularly easy or logical or simple or whatever, and then have them look at you with a blank face. 

I want to be that student that is like ‘right, got you, I'm onto that and I’ll put it into practice. Maybe I can’t do it now but I will the next time I see you’. I want to be that student. A bit of a swot!

I want to inspire the teacher. You only get the best out of the person you’re working with if you inspire them. That’s when I was at my best as a teacher – when my partner was inspiring me.

5. How do you think you’ll react to potential criticism from the panel?

I think I’ll be alright with it. I don’t mind critique from a position of authority. I don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to performing on ice so anything that comes my way I’d like to think I’ll take it on board and say ‘OK, I’ll take that on board and next time you see me I’ll have mastered that’. 

If I disagree with something then I’m an idiot. I’m sure I’ll be doing a lot that they’ll be saying that needs to be better, and certainly with my background [on Strictly] the expectations will be higher. Therefore I’d expect the critique to be harder and I don’t mind that, I like the thought of that.

Strictly's Oti Mabuse has joined the Dancing On Ice judging panel for 2022

6. Do you know many people who have done the show before? 

James Jordan [who won Dancing On Ice in 2019] is the obvious one. We’ve been mates for a very long time. I did a show with Wes [Nelson] a couple of years back and I know he was great on the ice. Jason Donovan – he’s a good friend of mine. I might be picking their brains! However, with this I think you need to make your own path and follow your own thought process.

7. What do your family think about you taking part in the show?

They’re very excited. My daughter [Aurelia] is now eight [years old]. It’s a great age for the show. When I finished on Strictly, she must have only been five. She knew what I did but it probably wasn’t as exciting for her then as this will be now which I love the thought of. It would be great if we got to skate together.


Dancing On Ice begins at 6.30pm on Sunday January 16 on ITV. Catch up on the ITV Hub.