Strictly’s Giovanni Pernice speaks out for first time amid Amanda Abbington controversy

Amanda Abbington is allegedly seeking legal advice after working with Giovanni Pernice on Strictly.

Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer Giovanni Pernice has issued his first public statement since reports emerged this week that former dance partner Amanda Abbington was seeking legal advice following her time on the show

Sherlock actress Abbington, 51, was paired with 33-year-old Pernice for last year’s edition of Strictly, but she withdrew from the competition after five weeks citing “personal reasons”.

It has since been revealed that the star has been diagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

In December, Abbington failed to return for the Strictly Come Dancing finale, unlike fellow contestant Nigel Harman, who was forced to withdraw due to injuries.

The rumour mill was then sent spinning, with fans of the show trying to work out whether Abbington had seemingly left Strictly on bad terms. Then, last week (6 January), The Sun reported that Abbington was seeking legal advice following her time on the show.

According to the publication, Abbington has made a request to access the footage from her rehearsals with Pernice.

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Amanda Abbington. (Getty)

Sources told The Sun that Abbington had been left “broken and saddened” and “really stressed” by her time on the show.

They added that Pernice, who joined Strictly in 2015, can be “incredibly full-on”.

In a brief message shared on his Instagram Stories on Thursday night (11 January), Pernice appeared to address the ongoing controversy.

“I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has sent message of support of the last week – I really truly appreciate it – thank you thank you thank you Gio,” he wrote.

Following on from the report shared in The Sun, the BBC issued a statement urging that duty of care for the show’s contestants is taken “incredibly seriously” and that “concerns are addressed swiftly”.

“The BBC offers a comprehensive range of support to all individuals taking part in our shows,” a spokesperson said told The Mirror.

“Strictly has a proud track record as a joyful, positive experience where robust support and assistance is always made available at every stage of the production,” they added.

While Abbington and Pernice’s apparent feud is the biggest controversy to come from the most recent series of Strictly, Abbington’s appearance on the show was mired by backlash before the series had even begun.

The BBC show was criticised for casting Abbington due to past controversial comments she’d made against the trans community and drag performers.

In August, Abbington responded to the fury in a length Instagram video in which she declared that she “loves” drag, regretted her “incredibly hurtful” comments about trans people, and said that she would always support the “legitimate trans community”.