BBC responds as Giovanni Pernice’s Strictly future ‘revealed’ after training controversy

The BBC has addressed claims that Giovanni Pernice is returning to Strictly Come Dancing after alleged behind-the-scenes tensions with his celebrity partners.

Pernice’s future on the show has been in question ever since Sherlock star Amanda Abbington requested “tense footage” of her rehearsals with the pro after she unexpectedly quit the show in 2023.

While Pernice has brushed off any claims of wrongdoing, it was alleged last month that the Italian dancer had caused difficulties with two other former celebrity partners during their time on the show.

Reports claimed that Good Morning Britain presenter Ranvir Singh and former Love Island host 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”.

Despite this, it’s been reported by MailOnline that Pernice, after “tense” talks earlier this week, has been assured by the BBC that he will remain on the show. Upon request for comment, the corporation told The Independent: “The professional dancers for 2024 will be announced in due course.”

The pros are usually announced in August, one month before Strictly begins. In the past few years, they have included Karen Hauer, Dianne Buswell and Nikita Kuzmin, who finished in second place on this year’s Celebrity Big Brother. Ahead of 2023’s edition of Strictly, Nadiya Bychkova was left “fuming” after being told she would not receive a celebrity partner.

It is believed that Pernice will remain on the series as no official complaint has been issued to the BBC.

Pernice 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.

Speaking on The Mirror’s Invite Only podcast, Pernice said: “It was a shame that she had to leave for medical reasons because I think, in my opinion, we could have gone all the way.”

Giovanni Pernice looks set to return to ‘Strictly’ (BBC)
Giovanni Pernice looks set to return to ‘Strictly’ (BBC)

Pernice said his reputation as a “perfectionist” comes from “caring” about the celebrity he’s partnered with, adding: “In every single part of the world, if [you’re] a professional dancer, we have to get these people on the Saturday night looking the best as they can.

“And if we get to have good scores at the end, I look back and say ‘I’ve done a great job’. We all care about our partners and we all want to look great on the Saturday.”

When it was claimed Abbington had requested training footage, the BBC said that “robust” duty of care protocols and “constant dialogue” occurs between the show’s producers and its celebrity contestants.