Former Strictly dancers James and Ola Jordan speak out on Giovanni Pernice’s ‘very sad’ exit

‘There’s no smoke without fire,’ James suggested on the ITV magazine programme ‘This Morning’

Nicole Vassell
Tuesday 11 June 2024 12:59 BST
Strictly's Giovanni Pernice breaks silence on Amanda Abbington feud

Former Strictly Come Dancing professionals Ola and James Jordan have shared their thoughts on the departure of Giovanni Pernice.

On Monday (10 June), the BBC announced this year’s judges and professional dancers due to take part in the much-loved dance competition show.

Italian dancer Pernice, who has been subject to months of speculation over his practice and methods with celebrity partners, was not included in the announcement, ending his near-decade on the programme.

During an appearance on Tuesday’s edition (11 June) of This Morning, former Strictly stars Ola and James spoke out about Pernice leaving the show.

“It’s very sad that it’s come to this,” James noted, before Ola added that there is a “cloud” over the show’s forthcoming 20th anniversary celebrations.

Strictly is a family entertainment show, everyone loves it,” James continued.

“The only thing I will say is that there’s no smoke without fire. And I’ve always protected the professional dancers. We don’t know the ins and outs of it.

“Whether or not Giovanni has decided not to come back, or the BBC have asked him not to come back, I’d be curious to see what the answer to that is. But I feel the BBC have dealt with it pretty well – and there’s no smoke without fire.”

Ola Jordan, James Jordan and Giovanni Pernice
Ola Jordan, James Jordan and Giovanni Pernice (PA)

Pernice’s partner in the 2023 series, Amanda Abbington, launched an official complaint against him after she left the season early, citing medical reasons.

In March, it was reported that Abbington, Good Morning Britain host Ranvir Singh and former Love Island presenter Laura Whitmore had met for a “tearful summit” about their respective “difficult experiences” working with Pernice.

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In May, Pernice denied using abusive teaching methods, before another a further dancer came forward with allegations of misconduct.

“I’d be devastated if one of my previous celebrity partners came forward, saying that I was abusive or not treating them nicely in training,” said James. “But he’s had four.”

James Jordan and Ola Jordan on This Morning
James Jordan and Ola Jordan on This Morning (ITV / screengrab)

Ola chimed in, stating: “And you’re not going to get on with everyone. There’s a lot of personalities and you have to change your teaching methods to every person that you dance with.”

James then noted his celebrity partners Gabby Logan and Pamela Stephenson as people he could push in training as he would a professional, but would treat partners of different ability levels accordingly.

“I’m known to be very outspoken and bullish, and everything, but when it came to my teaching, I wanted my celebrity partner to have the best Strictly experience ever,” he said.

“I honestly believe, if you went and asked all of them, they would say that they had a great time.”

James left the show in 2013, while Ola departed two years later, having been on the show for a decade.

Pernice is yet to comment on his exit from the programme.

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