Strictly Come Dancing stars banned from talking about Giovanni Pernice

Dancer Giovanni Pernice, who will not be returning for this year's series following allegations of 'threatening and abusive behaviour' towards his former partners on the show
-Credit: (Image: BANG Showbiz.)

Strictly Come Dancing stars have been instructed not to discuss the ongoing drama surrounding professional dancer Giovanni Pernice. The dancer will not be returning for this year's series following allegations of 'threatening and abusive behaviour' towards his former partners on the show- MyLondon has reported.

BBC executives have reportedly imposed a ban on public discussions about the controversy, fearing it could overshadow the show's 20th anniversary celebrations. One of the professional dancers told The Sun: "I'm not allowed to comment. We've been told not to talk about it until the official Strictly statement."

An insider added: "When [the] claims first came to light no one could have foreseen the drama would still be raging so ferociously six months later." For the latest TV & Showbiz news, sign up to our newsletter

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"We're just a few weeks away from the 2024 cast reveal and bosses are worried the scandal is now dangerously close to overshadowing the new series. A lot of work has gone into it as it's the 20th anniversary, and now - still - all anyone talks about is Giovanni. Bosses hope gagging the cast will help. It will require some fancy footwork, but the cast have all been trained on how to handle questioning and politely sidestep difficult topics."

The ban follows comments made by show judge Shirley Ballas, 63, in defence of Giovanni, 33. Speaking to The Mirror, she said: "He has always been to me, and I will make that clear, to me, a perfect gentleman. My feeling for Giovanni is, let them do this investigation or whatever it is they are doing and the truth will come out.

"I have never ever, ever experienced any ill will or bad feeling or bad sportsmanship or rudeness from him." Shirley noted that she can only comment based on her 'own perspective', and she won't pass judgement until she knows "100 per cent it is true".

She said: "You know, I can only talk from my own perspective. I have known Giovanni for 10 years. I know he is a hard worker. He wants the people to do the very best that they can do.

"Obviously in my life, I was bullied a lot. I don't condone bullying on any path but also I don't believe gossip because things get escalated and they are blown way out of all proportion and it can turn into a great big snowball.

"So we don't judge anybody until I know absolutely 100 per cent. I won't pass on the gossip unless I know 100 per cent it is true. He will be missed."

Giovanni has denied all allegations.