Friday, June 14, 2024

Giovanni Pernice axed from Strictly Come Dancing 2024 lineup

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Giovanni Pernice will not be joining the cast of Strictly Come Dancing 2024, it has been announced.

The BBC has revealed the professional cast for its forthcoming season of the dancing competition, but Pernice’s name does not appear alongside those of his colleagues on the show.

The Italian professional dancer, 33, has been on the show since 2015 when he reached the grand final with Coronation Street star Georgia May Foote.

As the show prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary, it is being overshadowed by scandal after several former celebrity contestants made complaints about Pernice’s behaviour and teaching methods. His 2023 partner, Sherlock actor Amanda Abbington, withdrew from the competition citing “personal reasons”.

Shortly after, she requested what was described by a source as “tense” footage of her rehearsals with Pernice for a supposed investigation. In a recent interview with the Daily Mail, Abbington launched a fresh attack on Pernice, claiming he was “awful” towards a group of former contestants.

Among the professional names announced for the forthcoming season of the show were Strictly favourites Dianne Buswell, Nadiya Bychkova, Graziano Di Prima, Amy Dowden, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Neil Jones, Nikita Kuzmin and Gorka Marquez.

Joining them are Luba Mushtuk, Jowita Przystal, Johannes Radebe, Kai Widdrington, Nancy Xu, Carlos Gu, Lauren Oakley, Michelle Tsiakkas and Vito Coppola – but no Pernice.

Abbington is not the only celebrity who claims to have struggled while being partnered with Pernice.

Amanda Abbington, Pernice’s ‘Strictly’ partner in 2023, withdrew from the competition citing ‘personal reasons’
Amanda Abbington, Pernice’s ‘Strictly’ partner in 2023, withdrew from the competition citing ‘personal reasons’ (BBC)

It was alleged in March that Good Morning Britain host Ranvir Singh and former Love Island presenter Laura Whitmore, who previously said she was “uncomfortable” with Pernice, had a “tearful summit” with Abbington about their respective “difficult experiences” working with the dancer, “who is well known to be intense during training”.

The Italian dancer has previously rejected allegations of “abusive or threatening behaviour” and previously said he looks “forward to clearing my name”.

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In May, he wrote: “You will be as surprised as I am that allegations have been made about my dance teaching methods in the media this week.” He went on to describe himself as “passionate and “ambitious” while competing on the show.

“I have always striven to help them be the very best dancers they can be,” he said. “This has always come from a place of love and wanting to win – for me and my dance partners.”

A statement from law firm Carter-Ruck said: “There have been numerous serious complaints made to the BBC who are now in the process of evidence gathering.

“As it is still an ongoing matter, no further comment can be made at this stage.”

Pernice had been part of the ‘Strictly’ cast since 2015
Pernice had been part of the ‘Strictly’ cast since 2015 (Getty Images)

Throughout the ongoing controversy, Pernice has been supported by fans and by one of his former celebrity Strictly partners, Debbie McGee, whom he competed with on the show in 2017. She said in January that she had the “best of times” working with Pernice during her stint on the competition.

Pernice lifted the glitterball trophy in 2021 alongside Rose Ayling-Ellis. As well as going close with Foote, he reached the final in 2017 with McGee, and with Faye Tozer in 2018.

The Independent has contacted Pernice and the BBC for comment.

Strictly Come Dancing will return in the autumn, with Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse, Craig Revel Horwood and Anton Du Beke back in the judges’ chairs.

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