Strictly Come Dancing star off the leash

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Riding high on the Strictly wave - but very much off the leash - will be Brendan Cole - Live And Unjudged with dates coming up in Brighton, Guildford and Portsmouth.

It’s very much a natural next step from all Brendan’s Strictly Come Dancing success, a chance to broaden it all out, up and down the country.

“It’s lovely,” Brendan says. “Every year we run it out in January. People are just over Christmas and the New Year and slobbing around and are wanting to get out, and it just allows the audience to become part of what we do. What they see on TV is just a part of what we do. This is me on stage for an entire evening.”

Joining him will be a cast of dancers and musicians for an evening of live music, dazzling performance and all the magic of dance, bursting with all your ballroom and Latin favourites,

Brendan’s 14-piece band will back it all up with their versions of the music industry’s greatest artists, including Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Robert Palmer, Jennifer Lopez, Prince, Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, Kenny Rogers, Gloria Estefan and Robbie Williams.

Adding yet another dimensional will be Brendan’s very own brother, the dancer Scott Cole. Scott promises not to hold back on offering some intimate insights into the real Brendan.

“I try to limit him,” Brendan laughs, “but he is uncontrollable and quite often he goes a little bit too far. But I do get my own back. It’s my show! It’s me on the billing!”

The point is that dance, it seems, can do nothing wrong at the moment, thanks to the Strictly band waggon which has captured the nation and continues to do so. As Brendan says, it’s all very different to when he started.

Ballroom is no longer about tea and cucumber sandwiches: the image has changed and Brendan is delighted to be part of that change.

“Strictly has given people a beautiful family entertainment that kids, teenagers, newly-weds and people right up to those that can remember going ballroom dancing in their youth can enjoy. It’s proper family entertainment. You see people going through the highs and the lows, and you can follow it all through.”

Brendan cites the most touching email he has ever received, from a mother whose chldren were forever fighting - fights which stopped as soon as Strictly came along and gave them something positive to do and to think about.

“She just said that she wanted to thank us for that. It was lovely to receive an email like that.”

On Wednesday, January 18, the show is at the Brighton Dome, Concert Hall (01273 709709; www.brightondome.org); on Thursday, January 19, it plays at Guildford G Live

(0844 7701797; https://glive.co.uk); and then on Friday, January 20, it reaches Southsea’s Kings Theatre (023 9282 8282; www.kings-southsea.com).