Giovanni Pernice's close bond with previous Strictly dance partners as Amanda Abbington quits

Giovanni Pernice's 2023 Strictly partner Amanda Abbington quit the show

Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice - Strictly Come Dancing 2023. (BBC)
Strictly Come Dancing 2023 partners Giovanni Pernice and Amanda Abbington. (BBC)

It's now eight years since Italian choreographer Giovanni Pernice joined the Strictly Come Dancing professional line-up, but the 2023 series will be one he's keen to forget.

Partnered up with Sherlock actress Amanda Abbington, Pernice's quest for a second Glitterball trophy came to an abrupt halt last week as his celebrity dancer quit the competition for "personal reasons".

She cryptically wrote on Instagram: "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.

"I want to thank the incredible Production team and everyone on Strictly who looked after me and who are so kind and caring. It's a wonderful bunch of people and I'll miss all of them. I'm so sad that I am unable to go any further."

The show must go on, as they say, but how has Pernice fared with his previous ballroom partners?

By all accounts, they've always been competitive if not the best of friends.

Richie Anderson

Strictly Come Dancing 2022,01-10-2022,TX2,TX2,Richie Anderson & Giovanni Pernice,++LIVE SHOW++,BBC,Guy Levy
Giovanni and BBC Radio 2's Richie Anderson. (BBC/Guy Levy)

Eliminated in week two after a dance-off with Fleur East and Vito Coppola last year, Pernice and the BBC Radio 2 presenter appeared to be great pals both inside and outside the studio.

"I feel so lucky that I've got to dance with you every day," Anderson told him as their journey ended. "Not only are you a fantastic dancer but you are also a fantastic guy on top of that."

Pernice replied: "It's been an honour to be able to dance with you because I know how much you love Strictly Come Dancing, you really are a superfan. And I'm glad that you got to do this experience and glad that I got to do it with you.

"It's been a shame its been too short for us but I hope you've enjoyed every single second of it, and it stays in your heart forever."

Rose Ayling-Ellis

Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing 2021 - TX: 18/12/2021 - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: ++LIVE SHOW++ Rose Ayling-Ellis, Giovanni Pernice - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy
EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis made history on the show with the Italian pro, while going all the way to Glitterball glory too. (BBC/Guy Levy)

In 2021 came his history-making partnership with deaf actress Rose Ayling-Ellis – better known as Frankie Lewis in EastEnders.

They sailed all the way to Glitterball glory.

Since that special Strictly experience, the pair's close bond has been unbreakable and Pernice even used British Sign Language on live TV as a gesture of affection a year later.

Let's not forget the 'greatest-ever Strictly moment' they conjured up, either, performing in total silence for a section of their routine.

Pernice went on to describe Ayling-Ellis as the "best thing" that had happened to him in seven series of Strictly.

"I might be the dance teacher but this year I'm learning myself new things," he said. "This thing is not just about dancing, we spend so much time together, and I'm the one who is privileged to be dancing with you. So, thank you very much."

Ranvir Singh

Good Morning Britain presenter Ranvir Singh performs. (BBC)
Good Morning Britain presenter Ranvir Singh performs. (BBC)

Lorraine and Good Morning Britain presenter Ranvir Singh made it to the Strictly semi-final with Pernice in 2020.

She found herself rubbishing romance rumours for the majority of their journey together.

"We get on. I suppose what it is is there's a performance element – it's all about telling a story between two people... He's so much about the energy of the performance," she explained in the aftermath of a particularly steamy Tango.

The professional himself also pointed out: "People are always going to talk about the Strictly curse but it's all about the performance and remember dancing is acting as well.

"So if people think that you're having a romance with your partner doing an Argentine Tango, it means our job is done, it's absolutely great."

Michelle Visage

Michelle Visage has said she's not comfortable with showing off her midriff. (BBC / Guy Levy)
Michelle Visage rubbished rift rumours concerning the pair. (BBC/Guy Levy)

The previous competition saw RuPaul's Drag Race judge Michelle Visage don the sequins with Pernice, but a reported backstage animosity threatened to derail the whole thing.

Hitting back, the American wrote on social media: "The articles about my partner and I have been upsetting. If anyone knows us, you know how close Giovanni and I are.

"Gio is my best friend in this competition, he is my rock and I trust him with everything. We have the most fun and laughs together and to suggest otherwise is just sad."

Contrary to this, Visage did go on to confess: "We're both intense. We're both Virgos. So there's a perfectionist level that's really ridiculous between us. He wants it quicker than I'm able to provide it.

"So Mondays and Tuesdays is a lot of us at each other's throats. I've never walked out. We just like to fight. We like to fight it out, but it's just that's all in love. Our relationship is very fiery."

Debbie McGee

Debbie McGee dances with Giovanni Pernice
Debbie McGee danced with Giovanni Pernice and they built a close bond (BBC)

Wife of the late great magician Paul Daniels, Debbie McGee grew extremely close to her pro partner in the 2017 incarnation of Strictly.

The 64-year-old commented at the time: "The truth is we really like each other but it isn't a love affair.

"We love each other, but we are not in love with each other. It's just one of those very special friendships. He's 30 years younger than me!"

Their chemistry helped them to reach the final.

Laura Whitmore

Laura Whitmore poses for photographers upon arrival at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards 2023 on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023 in London. (Scott Garfitt/Invision/AP)
Laura Whitmore pictured at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards 2023. (Invision/AP)

Former Love Island host Laura Whitmore dates back to the 2016 series, where she and Pernice finished in ninth place.

Sadly, the power of the Strictly curse rumour mill physically inhibited the pair's ballroom connection.

The Irish star admitted to The Mail on Sunday: "I'm so self-conscious I haven't allowed myself to develop a proper partnership with Giovanni. He's aware of it and so am I but I keep holding back.

"We were the first out on the floor on the first show and I was so nervous I couldn't feel my legs. But I was fully aware I wasn't letting myself go because of all the rumours about us.

"I've got to ignore all the stories and just be myself with Giovanni, but it hasn't been easy," added Whitmore.

Georgia May Foote

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 08:  Georgia May Foote attends the House Of Fraser British Academy Television Awards 2016  at the Royal Festival Hall on May 8, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
Georgia May Foote competed on Strictly 2015. (Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

Georgia May Foote, of Coronation Street and Grange Hill fame, is notable for being the 33-year-old's very first Strictly partner.

Following their team-up, they embarked on a romantic relationship before breaking up after a year.

Foote announced to the world with much regret: "Although it was not an easy decision to make, sometimes you realise that it is better to be friends and this is one of those times.

"We both have very busy work schedules for the rest of the year so we are both going to focus on our upcoming work projects and we wish each other well for the future."

Read more: Strictly

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