Giovanni Pernice answers frank question about Strictly controversy on Lorraine

Giovanni Pernice has addressed a Strictly Come Dancing “crisis” in a new interview with Lorraine Kelly.

On Tuesday (19 March), the Italian dancer appeared on Kelly’s ITV series Lorraine to discuss his new travel show – two days after it was claimed three celebrities were considering bringing complaints about Pernice to BBC bosses.

It was alleged 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 Amanda Abbington, who unexpectedly quit the show in 2023, about their respective “difficult experiences” working with the dancer, “who is well known to be intense during training”.

While Sherlock star Abbington originally cited “medical reasons”, 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”.

Kelly did not shy away from hinting at the alleged scandal, asking Pernice: “We know with Strictly sometimes it doesn’t work and it didn’t work the last time – are you gonna change anything?”

Pernice called Abbington a “great talent”, stating: “As I’ve said in the past, I think with Amanda we could have gone all the way to the final.”

When Kelly suggested Pernice night not have “gelled” with the actor, he said: “You’re just there to put these people in the best perspective to be the best they can be. As I said, Amanda was a great great talent, great dancer.”

Kelly previously spoke about the headlines about Pernice when they first surfaced in January 2024, stating that the BBC “should just have a quick look” at the allegations “to put everyone’s mind at ease”.

She said on her show: “It all went a bit pear-shaped didn’t it? According to the papers, there are calls for him to be banned from Strictly after clashing with his celebrity dance partners.

“Well we know Amanda stepped away from the dance series at the time, saying it was all about personal reasons. But according to the BBC, there’s been no formal complaints against Giovanni, no investigations are taking place – but it’s been said he has had clashes with more than one person that he has been paired with.”

Giovanni Pernice discussed subject of Amanda Abbington on ‘Lorraine’ (BBC)
Giovanni Pernice discussed subject of Amanda Abbington on ‘Lorraine’ (BBC)

The Independent has contacted the BBC, Pernice, Whitmore and Singh for comment.

Whitmore previously criticised the show’s bosses for forcing her to spend 12 hours a day with Pernice when she participated in the series in 2016.

She also said in 2018 that she was “extremely uncomfortable” with the dancer, stating: “I’m still not ready to talk in depth about my experience on the show... In the end I felt broken. I cried every day. And I really was broken, both mentally and physically, by the end.”