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Strictly star defends Giovanni Pernice amid Amanda Abbington row

motsi mabuse, shirley ballas and anton du beke, strictly come dancing
Strictly star defends Giovanni Pernice amid rowGuy Levy - BBC

Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas has defended professional dancer Giovanni Pernice amid an ongoing row with former celebrity partner Amanda Abbington.

Giovanni and Amanda had been paired up for the 2023 series of the BBC dancing show until the Sherlock actress withdrew from the series due to "medical reasons" during week five.

At the time Amanda rejected rumours that her exit had been due to her relationship with Giovanni, however reports have since alleged the actress is seeking copies of footage from rehearsals after being diagnosed with PTSD after her time on the show.

Shirley has now come to the defence of her co-star, calling Giovanni an "absolutely splendid teacher" during an appearance on today's (January 15) episode of Lorraine.

strictly come dancing's shirley ballas
BBC

Related: Strictly's Neil Jones on why not having a celeb partner was a blessing

"I've known Giovanni for many, many years and he is an absolutely splendid teacher and my experiences with him have only ever been that he is an absolute gentleman," Shirley said of her interactions with the dancer. "He serves the show well and he gives 100%."

The head judge went on to explain that celebrities are aware of the difficulties before signing up to the show, adding: "This is a tough show so when people sign up, they kind of know what they are getting into.

"It's been on the screen for 20-odd years, so it is quite difficult to do the show."

Earlier this month a report from The Sun claimed the actress was seeking videos of her and Giovanni's training sessions in order to obtain legal advice.

amanda abbington and giovanni pernice, strictly come dancing
BBC

Related: Shirley Ballas calls off wedding to fiancé Danny Taylor

Amanda is yet to speak publicly on the suggestions of a feud or reports of a video tape request, while Giovanni has since a post on Instagram seemingly addressing the speculation and thanking fans for support.

Meanwhile, a statement from a BBC spokesperson read: "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."

Strictly Come Dancing will return later this year on BBC One, while spin-off Strictly: It Takes Two airs on weeknights on BBC Two. Both shows are available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

Tickets for Strictly's 2024 live arena tour are available now.

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