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Amanda Abbington’s Strictly partner Giovanni Pernice reacts as celebrity quits BBC series

‘I am so sad we can’t continue,’ dancer said

Jacob Stolworthy
Tuesday 24 October 2023 09:04 BST
Moment Amanda Abbington's Strictly exit announced by Fleur East

Giovanni Pernice has reacted to Amanda Abbington’s decision to quitStrictly Come Dancing.

The Sherlock star has withdrawn from the BBC competition just five weeks in.

No reason was initially given, but after missing Saturday’s show (21 October) for “medical reasons”, Abbington shared a quote about mental health while addressing her absence.

The BBC said: “Amanda Abbington is unable to continue in Strictly Come Dancing and has decided to withdraw from the competition. The show wishes her all the best for the future.”

Now, in response to Abbington’s decision, her professional partner Giovanni Pernice wrote on Instagram: “Amanda … I am so sad we can’t continue but I am proud of what we achieved and I am sending you so much love.”

However, in her own statement about the news, Abbington failed to mention Pernice, a detail that is causing fans to share theories about an alleged feud between the pair.

Abbington is best known for playing Mary Watson in the Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman series Sherlock. In the lead-up to Strictly, she found herself at the centre of controversy due to a resurfaced tweet about a baby sensory and cabaret show aimed at parents and their infants aged two and under.

When the controversy reared its head again in response to her Strictly casting, Abbington posted a video to her critics, saying: “I’m sorry if my tweet about drag shows made you feel like you can’t watch Strictly. And I think if you got to know me, you’d quite like me.

“I need to make this very clear,” she added. “I love drag. I think it’s an amazing form of entertainment and I f***ing love drag queens. I think they’re hilarious and brilliant...”

She continued: “But my tweet back in March was regarding a 12-year-old who was doing it in front of adults. And it just upset me because I saw a kid, a little kid, a 12-year-old, doing something very oversexualised and I didn’t think it was right.

Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice on ‘Strictly’ (BBC)

“That was my tweet. I didn’t associate that with the trans community, nor would I associate that with the trans community, because I think they’re two separate things. And I’m not transphobic... I am a firm supporter of the legitimate trans community.”

Abbington had tweeted that the show was “not for babies”, saying: “If you think it is, there is something fundamentally wrong with you.”

Find out which celebrity was eliminated from Sunday night’s results show (22 October) here.

Strictly Come Dancing continues Saturday 28 October at 6.40pm on BBC One.

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