Giovanni Pernice ‘quits’ Strictly Come Dancing following Amanda Abbington rift reports

Giovanni Pernice

Strictly Come Dancing professional Giovanni Pernice has reportedly quit the show, following reports of a rift with actress and former dance partner Amanda Abbington.

Pernice has appeared in the long-running BBC show with various celebrities vying to take home the glitter-ball trophy since 2015, including Drag Race star Michelle Visage in 2019 and season 19 winner Rose Ayling-Ellis in 2021.

Last year, Pernice was partnered with Sherlock star Abbington but the pair’s appearances were cut short when the latter, who has previously faced controversy over comments concerning drag shows and trans individuals – for which she later apologised – stepped away from the competition for personal reasons.

Reports later surfaced that Abbington was seeking legal advice in connection with her time on the show.

Abbington, who also starred in Mr Selfridge, was allegedly frustrated after not being given a spot on Strictly‘s live arena tour, and didn’t return for the all-cast season finale. According to The Sun, she’s asked to see behind-the-scenes footage of her rehearsals with Pernice.

Amanda Abbington is allegedly seeking legal advice after working with Giovanni Pernice on Strictly.
Rumours of a rift between Giovanni Pernice and Amanda Abbington bubbled to the surface in January. (BBC)

Now, The Sun has also reported that Pernice has quit Strictly ahead of the 2024 season. “An internal memo of this year’s professional dancers for the show has been circulated without his name,” the newspaper claimed.

You may like to watch

A source told the publication: “Gio feels the scrutiny on him has become too much, and now is the time to make a fresh start. He wants to focus on other TV projects, and feels he’s achieved all he can on Strictly, having won the trophy in 2021 and reaching the final an unprecedented four times.

“He remains adamant he’s done nothing wrong other than being a hard taskmaster, but knows his style of training isn’t to everyone’s liking, especially in this day and age. He has a lot of other exciting projects in the pipeline and [is] excited to get cracking on them. This, now, is his priority.”

Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice performing together on Strictly.
Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice performed on the show together last year. (BBC)

After reports of a rift surfaced in January, The Mirror quoted a BBC spokesperson as saying: “[We offer] a comprehensive range of support to all individuals taking part in our shows. Strictly Come Dancing has always taken duty of care incredibly seriously and there is a constant dialogue between senior members of the production team and the contestants to ensure any concerns are addressed swiftly.

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.”

Pernice responded at the time, writing on Instagram: “I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has sent messages of support over the last week – I really truly appreciate it – thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Abbington, who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after her Strictly stint, is not the only former partner to have spoken out about Pernice’s training methods after leaving the show.

In 2018, former Love Island host Laura Whitmore, who danced with the Italian in 2016, wrote in the Huffington Post: “I was placed with a dance partner I was extremely uncomfortable with, and in the end I felt broken. I cried every day. I really was broken, both mentally and physically, by the end.”

Please login or register to comment on this story.