BBC responds as Giovanni Pernice ‘quits’ Strictly Come Dancing amid training controversy

The BBC has addressed claims that Giovanni Pernice will not be returning to Strictly Come Dancing following 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 the 33-year-old has brushed off any claims of wrongdoing, it was claimed earlier this year that the Italian dancer had caused difficulties with two other former celebrity partners during their time on the show.

Reports alleged 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” with the dancer, “who is well known to be intense during training”.

On Thursday (16 May), it was reported by The Sun that Pernice has officially quit the show. An internal memo listing this year’s professional dancers has allegedly been circulated at the BBC without the Italian performer’s name on it.

A source told the publication: “He wants to focus on other TV projects, and feels he’s achieved all he can on Strictly, having won the trophy back in 2021 and reaching the final an unprecedented four times.”

Upon request for comment, the corporation told The Independent: “The Professional Dancers for Strictly Come Dancing 2024 will be announced in due course.”

The Independent has contacted Giovanni Pernice for comment.

The BBC had been “very keen” to keep Pernice, who has been a part of the show since joining in 2015. Last month, it had been reported that his future on the programme was assured, although the BBC neither confirmed nor denied the news. The corporation appeared to be in “tense talks” with the dancer in a bid to keep him.

Pernice has been at the centre of a number of complaints about his training method (BBC)
Pernice has been at the centre of a number of complaints about his training method (BBC)

Amid the ongoing controversy, Pernice has been supported by fans and by one of his former celebrity Strictly partners, Debbie McGee. Despite the criticism of the dancer’s training methods, no formal complaint appears to have been filed with the BBC.

Professional dancers are typically confirmed a month before the show begins in September, with the programme line-up announced in August.

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.”

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.”