Strictly's Giovanni Pernice 'stamped on Amanda Abbington's foot' in 'bruising' training, as dancer vows to 'clear his name'

19 May 2024, 10:00

Giovanni Pernice's dance partner Amanda Abbington quit Strictly
Giovanni Pernice's dance partner Amanda Abbington quit Strictly. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Strictly Come Dancing pro Giovanni Pernice has been accused of stamping on partner Amanda Abbington's foot, as he vowed to clear his name after quitting the show.

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Pernice, who denies any wrongdoing, is said to have clashed with his celebrity partner, Amanda Abbington, during last year's show.

She left the competition in October, saying that she had been diagnosed with mild PTSD.

Friends of the Sherlock star revealed that she found him "abrasive" and that she had "crisis talks" with Strictly bosses as his training sessions left her "bruised" and in tears.

"Amanda had a terrible experience with Gio. She felt his behaviour was bullying and abrasive. She would be in tears as communication between them broke down. She tried every avenue to try and make it work," they told the Sun.

There would be crisis talks every Friday after producers watched back the video footage of their rehearsals but it would always end up toxic again by the end of the following week.

"Runners would check in on the training weekly and she would regularly be seen crying and feeling very sad and despondent, she desperately wanted it to work but invariably it would break down."

Read more: Debbie McGee hits back at Strictly 'tension' and backs Giovanni Pernice after ex-partners meet to discuss ‘difficult experiences’

Read more: Strictly’s Giovanni Pernice in new crisis as ex-dance partners meet to discuss their ‘difficult experiences’ with him

Giovanni Pernice
Giovanni Pernice. Picture: Alamy

Pernice said in a statement: "You will be as surprised as I am that allegations have been made about my dance teaching methods in the media this week. Of course, I reject any suggestion of abusive or threatening behaviour, and I look forward to clearing my name.

"Those who have followed my journey on Strictly Come Dancing over the last decade will know that I am passionate and competitive. 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.

"Thank you all once again for your continued love and support!"

Amanda Abbington
Amanda Abbington. Picture: Alamy

The dancer has told friends he is looking for a fresh start on other TV shows, following his nine-year stint on Strictly.

A source told the paper: "Gio feels the scrutiny on him has become too much, and now is the time to make a fresh start.

"He wants to focus on other TV projects, and feels he’s achieved all he can on Strictly, having won the trophy back in 2021 and reaching the final an unprecedented four times.

"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.

"He has a lot of other exciting projects in the pipeline right now, and he’s just super-excited to get cracking on them. This, now, is his priority."

TV bosses were said to have been “very keen” to continue working with the 33-year-old.

But an internal memo of this year’s dance pros on the show is understood to have been circulated without his name listed.

Pernice joined Strictly in 2015, reaching the final in his first year with actress Georgia May Foote and taking home the glitterball in 2021 with EastEnders' Rose Ayling-Ellis.

Defending his training methods on a podcast earlier in the year, he said: "I am a perfectionist, 100 per cent, but it comes from a perspective of caring.

"I think all of the professional dancers are in the same place.

"It’s a shame because, in my opinion, [Amanda] could have gone all the way."

A spokesperson for the BBC said: "The Professional Dancers for Strictly Come Dancing 2024 will be announced in due course."

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