BBC launches investigation into Giovanni Pernice after 'traumatised' Strictly partners come forward

Giovanni Pernice (Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)
Giovanni Pernice (Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)

The BBC has reportedly initiated an internal investigation into Strictly Come Dancing pro Giovanni Pernice after three former contestants have instructed lawyers.

The Sun has claimed that the broadcaster is "evidence gathering" in the wake of the complaints logged separately but by the same legal firm, Carter Ruck, amid speculation he has quit the series.

While the three complainants have not been identified, a Carter Ruck spokeswoman told The Standard: “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.”

The Sun also alleged that the investigation, focused on workplace misconduct, will likely include reviewing rehearsal footage recorded between the 33-year-old dancer and his 2023 Strictly dance partner Amanda Abbington.

The Sherlock actress exited the competition early in October and has since revealed that she was diagnosed with mild PTSD from her experience.

Pernice was last partnered with actress Amanda Abbington (PA Media)
Pernice was last partnered with actress Amanda Abbington (PA Media)

A source claimed that news of the internal investigation is a “nightmare situation” for the BBC.

An insider told The Sun: "These are troubled times for the BBC - this is a nightmare situation, frankly.

"Rumblings have been going on for months about allegations surrounding his behaviour but they steadfastly declined to launch any kind of investigation.

"It was only when three contestants, all allegedly deeply traumatised and upset by some of his training methods and behaviour, complained that any action was taken."

The same source also praised the complainants for coming forward describing it as “incredibly brave”.

The Standard has contacted the BBC and Pernice’s reps for comment.

“Gio feels the scrutiny on him has become too much and now is the time to make a fresh start,” a source reportedly told The Sun.

“He remains adamant he's done nothing wrong other than being a hard taskmaster, but knows his style of training isn't to everyone's liking - especially in this day and age.”

Pernice has not commented publicly on the BBC investigation.

In March it was reported that his former celebrity dance partners Ranvir Singh and Laura Whitmore met with Amanda Abbington to discuss their own challenging experiences working with Pernice.

Insiders revealed that the trio had an “emotional summit” where they “compared notes” about their experiences working with the Italian dancer - weeks after it was reported that Abbington was seeking legal advice.

A source told MailOnline: “They are very unhappy with the way the BBC are handling this. It’s one thing saying they are standing by him, but they feel as if Giovanni is being promoted and pushed centre stage in a bid to make them go away and keep quiet. It’s a kick in the teeth.

“One of the reasons they wanted to meet up was to try and work on a way forward because they have no intention of just backing down and letting this just fade away.

The dancer previously performed with GMB presenter Ranvir Singh (PA)
The dancer previously performed with GMB presenter Ranvir Singh (PA)

“All three have been impacted in different ways by what happened and they’ve agreed to speak again about how best they can get something done about it because they are genuinely worried about want went on and the fact someone else could end up experiencing what they went through.

“But right now there’s a feeling that Gio is pretty much untouchable – especially given he is so close to Anton who thinks the world of him and can’t believe the stuff he’s been hearing claimed about his mate.”

At the time, reports had emerged suggesting that the trio were contemplating filing a "formal" complaint against him to the BBC after their alleged meeting “but for now they’re comforting each other”.

News of the internal investigation comes amid reports that Pernice has quit the BBC ballroom series after nine years.

TV executives were reportedly "very keen" to keep working with him. However, an internal memo listing this year's Strictly pros did not include his name.

Although, a spokesperson for the BBC told the Standard regarding the TV star’s future on the series: “The Professional Dancers for Strictly Come Dancing 2024 will be announced in due course.”

Pernice joined Strictly Come Dancing in 2015, making it to the final in his debut year with actress Georgia May Foote.

He won the glitterball trophy in 2021 with EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis.