BBC issues request in response to Strictly scandal involving Giovanni Pernice

The BBC has addressed the ongoing Strictly Come Dancing scandal involving Giovanni Pernice.

Earlier this month, it was reported that the Italian professional dancer, who has been embroiled in controversy since his celebrity partner Amanda Abbington unexpectedly quit the show in 2023, is the centre of an investigation, which is being assisted by a number of celebrities he has previously been paired with.

These files, compiled by legal firm Carter Ruck, reportedly include photographic evidence that suggest Pernice’s training regime was so “brutal” that his celebrity partners were left “black and blue”.

While Sherlock star Abbington originally cited “medical reasons” for her decision to leave, she went on to request what was described by a source as “tense” footage of her rehearsals with Pernice for a supposed investigation. The actor then revealed she was “diagnosed with mild PTSD after Strictly for several reasons”.

It was alleged in March that Good Morning Britain host Ranvir Singh and former Love Island presenter Laura Whitmore, who previously said she was “uncomfortable” with Pernice, had a “tearful summit” with Abbington about their respective “difficult experiences” working with the dancer, “who is well known to be intense during training”.

After multiple requests for comment, the BBC has now shared a statement on the matter, reading: “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.

“Whilst we know our shows have been positive experiences for many of those who have taken part, we will always look at any issues raised with care, fairness and sensitivity to everyone concerned.

‘Strictly Come Dancing’ star Giovanni Pernice (BBC)
‘Strictly Come Dancing’ star Giovanni Pernice (BBC)

“We will not be commenting further.”

Pernice, who has defended himself against allegations of wrongdoing, said of the reports: “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.”

While Pernice’s future on the show is currently up in the air, it’s been claimed he will leave the series to pursue other projects.

Amanda Abbington and ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ star Giovanni Pernice (BBC)
Amanda Abbington and ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ star Giovanni Pernice (BBC)

The dancer has been a part of Strictly since 2015, and won legions of fans due to his onscreen camaraderie with EastEnders actor Rose Ayling-Ellis. The pair won the show in 2021.

Since the news, Pernice has been supported by his fans, and by Debbie McGee, one of his former celebrity Strictly partners.

He was partnered with Whitmore in 2016, and Singh in 2020, finishing in ninth and fifth place, respectively.