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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Lisa McLoughlin

BBC responds to reports Giovanni Pernice 'has quit' Strictly Come Dancing

The BBC has responded to speculation that Giovanni Pernice will not be returning to Strictly Come Dancing due to alleged behind-the-scenes tensions with his celebrity partners.

It was reported on Thursday that the professional dancer was leaving the show after nine years following alleged clashes with his celebrity partners.TV insiders said Pernice has confided in friends about seeking new opportunities on other TV programs.

This follows rumoured tensions with his partner Amanda Abbington during last season's show.

Abbington exited the competition in October, revealing to The Sun that she had been diagnosed with mild PTSD.

Pernice pictured with Amanda Abbington on Strictly Come Dancing (PA Media)

A source close to Pernice told the paper: “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 back 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 right now, and he’s just super-excited to get cracking on them. This, now, is his priority.”

However, a spokesperson for the BBC told the Standard: “The Professional Dancers for Strictly Come Dancing 2024 will be announced in due course.”

The Standard has contacted Giovanni Pernice for comment.

TV executives were reportedly "very keen" to keep working with the 33-year-old dancer. However, an internal memo listing this year's Strictly pros did not include his name.

Pernice joined Strictly Come Dancing in 2015, making it to the final in his debut year with actress Georgia May Foote.

He won the glitterball trophy in 2021 with EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis.

Earlier this year, the Italian dancer defended his training methods, sharing on The Mirror’s Invite Only podcast: “I am a perfectionist, 100 per cent, but it comes from a perspective of caring.

“I think all of the professional dancers are in the same place. It’s a shame because, in my opinion, [Amanda] could have gone all the way."

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