New Zealand-born Brendan Cole has the distinction of being the first pro dancer to win Strictly Come Dancing, when he and partner Natasha Kaplinsky lifted the Glitter Ball Trophy in 2004. 

Here’s what you need to know about Brendan:

Who is Brendan Cole?

Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, Cole started dancing at the age of 6. He has since specialised in Latin dancing.

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After moving to the UK when he was 18, Cole further studied dancing and soon started to dance with Camilla Dallerup – who would go on to become another Strictly professional.

Cole’s work on Strictly has earned him the nickname “the bad boy of Strictly” from some quarters, in part due to his sometimes fiery responses to the judges’ comments.

“If you look back to the early days of Strictly, the bravado was just...,” Cole told the Telegraph.

“I want to give that guy a slap. Calm yourself down, just relax a little bit. You’ve got nothing to prove. Stop it.”

Like Strictly co-star Anton du Beke, Brendan has been on the show since the very beginning. Also like Anton, Brendan was reportedly hoping to replace Len Goodman on the Strictly judges panel. This was not to be, after the BBC announced that Shirley Ballas would be picking up Len’s paddle.

“I would like to congratulate Shirley Ballas on her appointment as Head Judge in this year’s Strictly,” Brendan wrote on his official website.

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“Len is a hard act to follow but Shirley has had a long, successful career and her credentials speak for themselves.

“I was honoured to have been considered by the producers for such an important position and whilst I would have loved the role, I know Shirley will do a fantastic job.”

When not performing in Strictly and undertaking other media work, Brendan tours the country with his dance show All Night Long.

Following an earlier engagement to then dance partner and former Strictly pro Camilla Dallerup, Brendan is now married to Zoe Hobbs and the proud father of a daughter.

He was also in the news recently after he fell 40ft from a ladder while trying to cut branches off a tree in his Mallorca garden.

Best-ever finish: Winning the first series was Brendan’s best-ever result.

Worst-ever finish: Brendan came 11th in both series seven and 13.

Former celebrity partners: Natasha Kaplinsky, Sarah Manners, Fiona Phillips, Clare King, Kelly Brook, Lisa Snowdon, Jo Wood, Michelle Williams, Lulu, Victoria Pendleton, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Sunetra Sarker, Kirsty Gallacher, Anastacia

Did you know? Before a full-time career in dance beckoned, Brendan worked as a roofer and a builder.

Photo credit: David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock