Debbie McGee shares pointed post about former Strictly partner Giovanni Pernice

Dancer Pernice thanked McGee amid reports Abbington has requested video recordings of their rehearsals

Isobel Lewis
Wednesday 10 January 2024 11:38 GMT
Strictly’s Amanda Abbington slams rumours of rift with partner Giovanni Pernice

Debbie McGee has supported her formerStrictly Come Dancing partner Giovanni Pernice amid reports that Amanda Abbington is seeking legal advice after quitting the show.

Sherlock star Abbington, 51, was cast in the most recent series of the BBC’s long-running dance competition, but left after just five weeks due to “personal reasons”.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Abbington had requested rehearsal footage of herself  and Italian dancer Pernice, 33, with the BBC responding that it has “robust” duty of care protocols in place and a “constant dialogue” between the show’s producers and its celebrity contestants.

After the reports emerged on Monday (8 January), McGee shared a picture of herself and Pernice smiling together on both Twitter/X and Instagram. The entertainer was partnered with Pernice on Strictly back in 2017, when they reached the final together.

“Happy memories,” she wrote. “Giovanni and I had the best of times on Strictly.

Commenting on the picture, Pernice thanked McGee for her support. “Love you… thank you,” he wrote.

In the comment section below McGee’s posts, Pernice’s fans thanked her for standing up for the pro dancer. Pernice joined Strictly in 2015, and won the show in 2021 with partner Rose Ayling Ellis.

“Thank you lovely lady for speaking out and showing your support for Gio, I hope he is receiving love and care throughout all of this,” one fan wrote.

“Thank you for standing up Debbie. So many people love you for this,” another commenter.

University Challenge star Bobby Seagull added: “You were an incredible partnership.”

Another comment read: “You had a fantastic partnership and good on you for speaking out.”

McGee and Pernice danced together in 2017
McGee and Pernice danced together in 2017 (Getty Images)

“Thank you for sharing this Debbie. He needs to know he has a lot of support and  I hope he returns for the next series,” one commenter wrote.

According to the original report by The Sun, Abbington requested video recordings of her training sessions with Pernice as part of a data subject access request while she is allegedly seeking legal advice.

“There is a feeling that the recordings will lift the lid on what really goes on behind the scenes on Strictly,” a source told the publication, branding Pernice a “perfectionist” who “can be incredibly full-on” at times and noting the atmosphere in rehearsals “can become very tense”.

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

Responding to the reports, a BBC spokesperson said in a statement: “The BBC offers 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.”

While Abbington’s exit from Strictly 2023 was put down to “personal reasons” leaving her “unable to continue”, fans quickly noticed that she did not mention Pernice while announcing her decision to leave.

Pernice, however, wrote on his own social media: “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.”

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