Strictly's Giovanni Pernice 'defended' as pro dancer breaks silence over BBC axe

Strictly's Giovanni Pernice
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

A popular Strictly Come Dancing star has 'broken rank' to defend Giovanni Pernice, after it was confirmed on Monday that he will play no part in the show this year.

Two years after his Glitterball winning partnerships with Rose Ayling-Ellis, the Italian pro was looking good for a long run in the Strictly ballroom, when he was partnered with Sherlock star Amanda Abbington. Both the judges on the BBC programme and viewers at home were impressed by the pair, with bookies tipping them as potential favourites.

That was until, after missing one live show due to 'illness' Amanda announced that she had quit Strictly, meaning that Giovanni too was automatically eliminated, before speculation started that relations between the pair and had not been good. Add to that rumours that Amanda wanted the BBC to hand over videos of their rehearsals and other former partners of Giovanni were too left unhappy by his treatment of them and a huge question mark hung over his Strictly future.

READ MORE: Strictly Come Dancing 'set sights' on Girls Aloud star with Giovanni Pernice past

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After a lot uncertainty, Giovanni's name was missing from the Strictly 2024 pro line-up, when it was released on Monday with fans quick to rally behind him. And someone else who has thrown their support in his direction is former Strictly pro Kristina Rihanoff. Appearing on Tuesday's This Morning, the dancer, who competed with the likes of Ben Cohen and John Sergeant, said she wasn't there to 'offend or defend' anyone but told hosts Ben Shephard and Cat Deeley: "I think it is sad that someone like Giovanni isn't going to be there, I personally always looked forward to his choreography because that's what I appreciate. I think, like I said before, he produced some beautiful dances and it's always exciting to watch what he would choreograph. For me, personally, I think the whole situation is very sad."

Ex Strictly pro Kristina Rihanoff on This Morning
Ex Strictly pro Kristina Rihanoff on This Morning

She added: "I think from the point of view when he worked on the show with me and we danced in some group numbers, he was always a very nice, easy going guy who was just there to do his job. He was one who was very easy to work with for me, for what I know of him as a professional dancer."