Amanda Abbington launches fresh attack on ‘nasty’ Giovanni Pernice as Strictly row intensifies

Amanda Abbington has launched a fresh attack on “nasty” Giovanni Pernice while pointing out a discrepancy with the furore surrounding her time on Strictly Come Dancing.

Strictly, which has reportedly just signed up its first 2024 contestant, is facing its biggest crisis in its 20-year history due to allegations about the conduct of professional dancer Pernice, whom Sherlock star Abbington was partnered with in 2023.

After repeated requests for comment, the BBC finally broke its silence on the matter earlier this week, urging people “not to indulge in speculation”.

Abbington unexpectedly quit the show weeks into the latest series and, shortly after, she requested what was described by a source as “tense” footage of her rehearsals with Pernice for a supposed investigation.

However, in follow-up reports, it was suggested it was Pernice who had requested their training sessions be filmed due to growing concerns with Abbington’s behaviour.

The actor has now taken umbrage with this claim during a seven-minute interview with MailOnline, in which she candidly addressed the subject, stating: “You’re wrong! I asked for them to be recorded – it was me. Giovanni is nasty. He was awful to a few of us – a group of us.”

However, a source close to Pernice told the outlet: “Why should everyone believe her and nobody believe Gio? It feels like she wants to finish him off and ensure the BBC is on her side. Giovanni wants a fair hearing. He has said all along that he will take part in any investigation when asked.”

Amanda Abbington has taken umbrage with latest ‘Strictly’ reports (Getty Images)
Amanda Abbington has taken umbrage with latest ‘Strictly’ reports (Getty Images)

Abbington claimed she “went to producers early on and told them about Giovanni” before deciding to quit the show.

“You don’t understand how awful this all is,” the actor said. She told the outlet she is being “trolled” by Pernice’s fans over the scandal, adding that she has “had to come off social media” as she’s “getting death threats”.

The Independent has contacted the BBC for additional comment.

‘Strictly’ stars Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice (BBC)
‘Strictly’ stars Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice (BBC)

Abbington is not the only celebrity who is said to have struggled being partnered with Pernice.

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”.

Pernice’s future on the show is currently up in the air, but it’s believed he will leave the series of his own accord 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 might not be a part of ‘Strictly’ 2024 (Getty Images)
Giovanni Pernice might not be a part of ‘Strictly’ 2024 (Getty Images)

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.