Three past Strictly contestants ‘meet to discuss difficult time’ with pro dancer

One star previously said she was ‘extremely uncomfortable’ with Italian dancer

Jacob Stolworthy
Monday 18 March 2024 07:34 GMT
Strictly's Giovanni Pernice breaks silence on Amanda Abbington feud

Strictly Come Dancing pro Giovanni Pernice has addressed the controversy surrounding Amanda Abbington, who unexpectedly quit the show in 2023.

While the Sherlock star originally cited “medical reasons”, she went on to request what was described by a source as “tense” footage of her rehearsals with Pernice for a supposed investigation. The actor then revealed she was “diagnosed with mild PTSD after Strictly for several reasons”.

Now, Pernice has shared his thoughts on the subject – and his musings arrive at the same time as a fresh report claims the Italian dancer was the source of complaints by two other former celebrity partners during their time on the show.

It’s being alleged 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”.

A source told The Sun: “They met in person to share their experiences. Their meeting was emotional but heartwarming. They now know they are there to support each other after their tough times with Giovanni. Tears were shed.

“There is every possibility all three could take it further and formally complain to the BBC, but for now they’re comforting each other.” Pernice, Singh, Whitmore and the BBC declined to comment.

This new claim arrives as Pernice spoke about Abbington’s decision to quit the show, which he called “a shame”.

Ranvir Singh was partnered with Giovanni Pernice in 2020 (Photos by BBC)

Speaking on The Mirror’s Invite Only podcast, Pernice said: “It was a shame that she had to leave for medical reasons because I think, in my opinion, we could have gone all the way.”

Pernice said his reputation as a “perfectionist” comes from “caring” about the celebrity he’s partnered with, adding: “In every single part of the world, if [you’re] a professional dancer, we have to get these people on the Saturday night looking the best as they can.

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“And if we get to have good scores at the end, I look back and say ‘I’ve done a great job’. We all care about our partners and we all want to look great on the Saturday.”

Pernice and his 2023 series partner Amanda Abbington (BBC)

When it was claimed Abbington had requested training footage, the BBC said that “robust” duty of care protocols and “constant dialogue” occurs between the show’s producers and its celebrity contestants.

Pernice has been a part of Strictly since 2015, and won legions of fans due to his onscreen camaraderie with EastEnders actor Rose Ayling-Ellis. The pair won the show in 2021.

Since the news, Pernice has been supported by his fans, and by Debbie McGee, one of his former celebrity Strictly partners.

He was partnered with Whitmore in 2016, and Singh in 2020, finishing in ninth and fifth place, respectively.

Whitmore previously criticised the show’s bosses for forcing her to spend 12 hours a day with Pernice when she “just wanted to dance”.

Laura Whitmore previously said she was ‘extremely uncomfortable’ with Giovanni Pernice on ‘Strictly’ (BBC)

She also said in 2018 that she was “extremely uncomfortable” with Pernice, stating: “I’m still not ready to talk in depth about my experience on the show... In the end I felt broken. I cried every day. And I really was broken, both mentally and physically, by the end.”

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