Fiona Phillips regrets Strictly appearance after Brendan Cole pairing: ‘Rough taskmaster’

Fiona Phillips and Eamonn Holmes host GMTV together

Fiona Phillips has reflected on her career highs and lows, after turning 60 on New Year’s Day. One of the GMTV host’s biggest regrets is doing Strictly Come Dancing.

I’m not glad I did it, but it was an experience

Fiona Phillips

The presenter was partnered up with Brendan Cole, 44, for the third series back in 2005.

The pair became the fourth couple to be eliminated from the BBC competition, after a dance-off against Dennis Taylor and Izabela Hannah.

In a new interview, Fiona has said she felt “so self-conscious” during her time in the ballroom programme.

The mother-of-two claimed the pro, who left Strictly after the 2017 run, “wanted to be number one or nothing”.

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“I should never have done it,” Fiona stated. “Even as a teenager I hated getting on the dance floor.

“It’s funny but for someone who has spent a lot of time in broadcasting, I’ve always been quite shy and have low self-esteem.”

However, Fiona signed up to appear in season three, which was eventually won by cricketer Darren Gough and Lilia Kopylova.

Her fellow competitors that year included Siobhan Hayes, Jaye Jacobs, Gloria Hunniford, Will Thorp, Bill Turnbull, Patsy Palmer, James Martin as well as Dennis and Darren.

Darren, 50, liften the Glitterball in a grand finale opposite Zoe Ball and Colin Jackson.

Fiona commented: “I felt so self-conscious, but I thought, ‘I will have a professional dancer and it’s a nice programme’.

“But Brendan is a rough old taskmaster and really wanted to be number one or nothing.”

She continued to the Daily Mirror: “I just wasn’t very good. I became a comedy type figure.

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“I’m not glad I did it, but it was an experience.”

Brendan failed to triumph for a second time, after winning the very first Strictly alongside Natasha Kaplinsky.

His next best appearance came three years after Fiona, with Lisa Snowdon, with them making the final.

He has also been partnered with Sarah Manners, Claire King, Kelly Brook, Jo Wood, Michelle Williams, Lulu, Victoria Pendleton, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Sunetra Sarker, Anastacia and Charlotte Hawkins.

Fiona’s candid remarks come nearly a year after she suggested Brendan’s axing from Strictly was “karma”.

“Brendan was a real b****r, actually,” she told the Daily Star last year. “He wasn’t very nice. He was really naughty.

“He’s not on the show now. Karma indeed. It works its way every time.” has contacted a representative for Brendan Cole asking for comment.

Strictly Come Dancing is expected to return to BBC One later this year.

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