Giovanni Pernice will not return to Strictly Come Dancing, BBC confirms

Entertainment

Giovanni Pernice will not return for the new series of Strictly Come Dancing, the BBC has confirmed.

The 33-year-old Italian dancer has performed on the BBC One primetime show for nine years.

For use in UK, Ireland or Benelux countries only Undated BBC handout photo of Giovanni Pernice and Amanda Abbington. The actress has left the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing competition, Fleur East announced on behalf of a Strictly spokesperson on the BBC Two spin off show It Takes Two. Issue date: Monday October 23, 2023.
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Pernice with actress Amanda Abbington in 2023. Pic: BBC

He was not announced as part of the show’s line-up of professional dancers for 2024 following reports he would not compete.

Pernice has rejected allegations he displayed “abusive or threatening behaviour” while working as a professional dancer on the show, following complaints about his conduct.

A legal firm acting on behalf of the complainants said the broadcaster is “evidence gathering” – but the BBC has not confirmed any probe has been launched.

A statement from law firm Carter-Ruck said: “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.”

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The Sun, which was the first to report suggestions that an investigation was underway, had claimed Pernice quit the show.

In his first year on the show, Sicily-born Pernice reached the grand final with Coronation Street star Georgia May Foote.

He was last paired with Sherlock actress Amanda Abbington, who withdrew from the competition in 2023 citing “personal reasons“.

Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice in 2022. File pic: PA
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Pernice lifted the Glitterball Trophy alongside Rose Ayling-Ellis in 2021. File pic: PA

In 2021, Pernice lifted the Strictly glitterball trophy alongside EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis, who was the first deaf contestant to win.

He also reached the final in 2017 with Debbie McGee and in 2018 with Faye Tozer.

Pernice also holds the Guinness World Record for most jive kick and flicks in 30 seconds, which he achieved on the BBC’s Strictly It Takes Two show in 2016.

Giovanni Pernice and Nadiya Bychkova perform during the Strictly Come Dancing Professionals UK Tour. File pic: PA
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Pernice and Nadiya Bychkova perform during the Strictly Come Dancing Professionals UK Tour. File pic: PA

In May, Pernice wrote that “you will be as surprised as I am that allegations have been made about my dance teaching methods in the media this week” adding that the public has seen him “passionate and competitive” on the show.

He went on: “No-one is more ambitious for my dance partners than me. I have always striven to help them be the very best dancers they can be.

“This has always come from a place of love and wanting to win – for me and my dance partners.”

Pernice has said he looks “forward to clearing my name”.

Dancers who will return to Strictly this year include Amy Dowden, who was forced to pull out of last year’s show after she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer, and 2023 winner Vito Coppola, who took the trophy alongside Coronation Street star Ellie Leech.

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