Amanda Abbington brands Strictly dancer Giovanni Pernice 'nasty and awful'

Giovanni Pernice's former Strictly Come Dancing partner Amanda Abbington has spoken out on her feud with the professional dancer, as she insisted he was "nasty"
-Credit: (Image: BBC)

Amanda Abbington has spoken out about her clash with Giovanni Pernice, describing him as "nasty and awful". The 33-year old Strictly professional dancer Giovanni is currently facing accusations of "threatening and abusive" behaviour during rehearsals on Strictly Come Dancing, allegations which he vehemently denies.

The BBC has reportedly initiated an internal probe following complaints from his former dance partners on the show, including TV host Laura Whitmore and actress Amanda Abbington. Amanda has claimed that her stint on Strictly last year left her with PTSD.

Reports emerged last week suggesting that Giovanni's representatives had stated he was the one who asked the BBC to record their practice sessions due to concerns over Amanda's conduct. However, she has strongly refuted these assertions in a statement to Mail+.

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Amanda, aged 55, is reported to have responded: "I asked for them to be recorded, it was me. Giovanni is nasty. He was awful to a few of us, a group of us." She also mentioned the severe impact the dispute has had on her life, reports the Mirror.

"You don't understand how awful this all is," she expressed. "Giovanni's fans have started trolling me now. I have had to come off social media and I'm getting death threats. All of this because I didn't enjoy a television programme. I didn't enjoy it because of all of this."

The BBC has issued a statement in light of the speculation surrounding the show and its professional dancer. Although not naming Strictly or Giovanni specifically, the statement referred to complaints regarding a popular series. The statement began: "It is a longstanding position that the BBC does not comment on specific matters related to individuals. Nor ordinarily, would we comment on whether we are reviewing any individual complaints."

"Recently, we have seen a number of media reports about a high profile show. We would urge people not to indulge in speculation. Anyone involved in a complaint has a right to confidentiality and fair process.

"If a complaint is made to the BBC, we assess and take any necessary steps to establish the facts, whether there is a case to answer, and, if appropriate, what action should be taken. This is all within the context of the BBC having duties of care to everyone linked to a complaint - that applies to those that have raised the complaint and to those that have been complained about.

"While we know that our shows have provided positive experiences for many participants, we always treat any concerns raised with the utmost care, fairness, and sensitivity. We will not comment further." The statement does not refer to the show nor the pro-dancer, and the BBC has said they will not be commenting further on the claims.

This comes after weeks of reports linked to the claims made to the broadcasting company, amid reports Giovanni had quit the show last month. In May, a new claim was made with the pro dancer alleged to have sent an "offensive" clip via WhatsApp to one of his Strictly partners ahead of filming one of the live Saturday night shows. He did not make commission or appear in the video.

A source said: "The BBC was told about the video clip and that someone found the content completely inappropriate, grossly offensive. The BBC was told the celebrity was shocked and upset to receive it on a WhatsApp message, hours before the couple were meant to be dancing together on live television."

"They were told they felt intimidated by it. The women are being incredibly brave in speaking out, especially as a lot of them are going up against vicious messages from his loyal fans," reports The Sun. Meanwhile, fans of the Strictly star have shown support to him on social media following reports of the allegations emerging, following him speaking out.

While many of Giovanni's Strictly colleagues have stayed silent following the recent allegations, one of his most-loved partners did show their support. Debbie McGee took to Instagram to show fans that her support for the star has not wavered since the recent allegations.

After Giovanni Pernice reached out on social media to encourage fans to vote for him and Anton Du Beke at the National Television Awards, where their travel series is nominated, his former dance partner Debbie McGee showed her support. She responded with: "On it" and added a heart emoji.

Recently, Giovanni addressed rumours about his conduct. In an Instagram post, told followers: "To my dear fans, you will be as surprised as I am that allegations have been made about my dance teaching methods in the media this week. Of course, I reject any suggestion of abusive or threatening behaviour, and I look forward to clearing my name."

He elaborated: "Those who have followed my journey on Strictly Come Dancing over the last decade will know that I am passionate and competitive. No-one is more ambitious for my dance partners than me. I have always striven to help them be the very best dancers they can be. This has always come from a place of love and wanting to win for me and my dance partners. Thank you all once again for your continued love and support! Giovanni."

The Mirror has reportedly contacted Amanda's representatives for a statement.