Strictly scandal as Giovanni Pernice ‘faces official allegations’ of ‘brutal’ celebrity treatment

Strictly Come Dancing is facing the biggest scandal in its history, with reported allegations against Giovanni Pernice.

It’s being reported that the Italian professional dancer, who has been embroiled in controversy since his celebrity partner Amanda Abbington unexpectedly quit the show in 2023, is the centre of an investigation, which is being assisted by a number of celebrities he has previously been paired with.

While Sherlock star Abbington originally cited “medical reasons” for her decision to leave, 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”.

It was alleged in March 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”.

According to The Sun, these files, compiled by an expensive lawyer, include photographic evidence that suggest Pernice’s training regime was so “brutal” that his celebrity partners were left “black and blue”.

However, it’s been claimed that Pernice, who has described himself as a “perfectionist”, is also compiling his own documents that he believes will clear him of any wrongdoing, including audio transcripts of one ex-partner apologising to him for their “difficult” behaviour.

It’s expected that these files will be handed to the BBC, which may prompt the corporation to launch its own investigation into the matter.

A source said: “The whole situation is deeply unpleasant, and the women fear they risk losing other lucrative BBC contracts if they speak out.

Amanda Abbington quit weeks into the last series of ‘Strictly’ (BBC)
Amanda Abbington quit weeks into the last series of ‘Strictly’ (BBC)

“Despite this, they are pressing ahead because they feel it is the right thing to do – and to prevent anyone else facing anything similar on such a loved family show.”

The Independent has contacted the BBC for comment.

Pernice’s future on the show is currently up in the air, but it’s been claimed he will leave the series to pursue other projects.

The dancer 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.

Giovanni Pernice’s ‘Strictly’ future is up in the air (BBC)
Giovanni Pernice’s ‘Strictly’ future is up in the air (BBC)

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.