BBC addresses Strictly ‘scandal’ as Amanda Abbington requests ‘tense’ Giovanni training footage

BBC addresses Strictly ‘scandal’ as Amanda Abbington requests ‘tense’ Giovanni training footage

The BBC has addressed the Strictly Come Dancing controversy that began after Amanda Abbington requested rehearsal footage amid rumours of a feud with her former pro dance partner Giovanni Pernice.

Abbington, 51, was paired with 33-year-old pro Pernice on the most recent season of the celebrity dance competition. However, the Sherlock actor quit the show after just five weeks, citing “personal reasons” that left her “unable to continue”.

Earlier this week, it was reported Abbington had requested video recordings of her training sessions with the Italian choreographer as part of her allegedly seeking legal advice.

Citing a source close to the production, The Sun reported: “The BBC have received a request for the footage they hold of Amanda and Giovanni. It is known as a data subject access request.

“There is a feeling that the recordings will lift the lid on what really goes on behind the scenes on Strictly,” they added, noting the atmosphere in rehearsals “can become very tense” and that Pernice is a “perfectionist” who “can be incredibly full-on” at times.

A representative for Pernice did not respond to The Independent’s request for comment at the time.

The BBC has now responded to Abbington’s data subject access request, claiming “robust” duty of care protocols and “constant dialogue” between the show’s producers and its celebrity contestants.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the corporation said: “The BBC offers a comprehensive range of support to all individuals taking part in our shows. Strictly Come Dancing has always taken duty of care incredibly seriously and there is a constant dialogue between senior members of the production team and the contestants to ensure any concerns are addressed swiftly.”

‘Strictly’s Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice (BBC)
‘Strictly’s Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice (BBC)

Strictly has a proud track record as a joyful, positive experience where robust support and assistance is always made available at every stage of the production,” the statement, obtained by The Mirror, read.

The Independent has contacted representatives for Pernice and Abbington for comment.

Fans of the show noticed Abbington failed to mention Pernice in an Instagram statement at the time of her exit last October, while thanking “everyone on Strictly who looked after me and who are so kind and caring”.

Her message read: “It is with deepest regret that I had to leave Strictly. I did not come to this decision easily or lightly but for personal reasons I am unable to continue.

“It was an absolute joy working with my fellow contestants, they are a beautiful, hardworking and talented group of people who I love and who I will miss seeing every Friday and Saturday and competing alongside.”

Pernice, who has been a part of Strictly since 2015, addressed Abbington’s decision to withdraw from the ballroom dance competition in a statement on social media.

“Amanda … I am so sad we can’t continue but I am proud of what we achieved and I am sending you so much love,” he wrote on Instagram at the time.

The pair’s final performance on the show was a quick-footed foxtrot, earning a score of 31 out of 40 from the show’s judges.