‘Numerous serious complaints’: Strictly axes Giovanni Pernice after biggest scandal in show’s history

Giovanni Pernice

Goodbye for now, Giovanni Pernice. The BBC has finally announced that the popular Strictly Come Dancing celebrity will not be a part of the professional dance group for this year's season.

The BBC's popular ballroom show has finally come to an end after a chaotic and unsettling time, which is particularly humiliating given that the show hasn't even aired yet. The controversy could have put a damper on the upcoming dance competition, which commemorates 20 years of dancing. However, in the end, the BBC had no other option but to sever ties with the program.

Pernice has been facing severe criticisms over his offensive behaviour towards his past dance partners as well as actress Amanda Abbington. The situation has been getting worse day by day, and the 33-year-old from Sicily has been struggling to cope with the serious charges against him. Despite his strong rejection of the allegations, he has lost his job in the end.

In October of last year, Abbington left the show after five weeks due to health and personal issues. Speculation arose about conflicts with Pernice, especially when she thanked everyone except him in her departing message. Then, in December, she decided not to participate in the customary "Strictly Class of 2023" dance during the finale.

Back in January, she asked for some footage from BBC showing their "stressful" training sessions because she suffered a mild case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and was thinking about getting some legal help. Carter-Ruck, a law firm, stated that there were many notable grievances with Pernice's actions. He denied all of the accusations and promised to try to prove his innocence and hired Schillings, who provides "reputation consultancy" services, to assist him with his defense.

There have been other individuals who have expressed dissatisfaction towards Pernice aside from Abbington. Laura Whitmore, for example, shared her discomfort with Pernice back in 2016, stating that she felt emotionally drained to the point of crying everyday. Ranvir Singh also had a similar experience when she partnered with Pernice in 2020, saying that despite his innocent appearance, he was a strict Italian with a temper, causing Singh to admit she was a bit intimidated by him.

Abbington, Whitmore, and Singh allegedly had a meeting to discuss their ordeals, which some tabloids labeled a "misery summit." An unnamed male public figure, believed to be Richie Anderson, the partner of Pernice in 2022, stepped forward to lend his support to the ladies and share his personal encounters with Carter-Ruck.

Some of Pernice's dance partners did not have a hard time working with him, it is important to note. Debbie McGee showed her support for him on Twitter when the allegations were made public. He also developed a romantic relationship with Georgia May Foote. Pernice admitted to being a perfectionist and driven to succeed, like many other competitors. However, Abbington referred to him as "nasty" and treating some of their colleagues poorly. Rumors spread that the BBC received a collection of evidence against Pernice, including claims that he stomped on his partners' feet when they made mistakes during dance routines.

This has been considered as the most significant scandal in the history of the popular television show, even surpassing the notorious "curse of Strictly" relationships. It was believed that the scandal has caused difficulty in recruiting female talent for the upcoming season as they were hesitant to be paired with Pernice. In contrast, Pernice's colleagues expressed concern about the lack of psychological assessments for the celebrities they will be partnered with, which added to their worry.

Recently, news spread that Pernice was not identified on the internal memo for this year. There were reports that he had left. The BBC requested that people wait while they investigated the situation. This is not the first time that the organization has not responded promptly to a problem. The bosses should have acted sooner if there were problems with Pernice's behavior. Filming happens during training sessions and producers should have addressed any issues earlier. It took eight months to resolve the situation.

Perhaps one reason why they deliberated for a long time was because of Pernice's position as the top male professional in the show. He has consistently been an exceptional performer and has gained popularity among both viewers and judges. Over a span of nine years, he has made it to the finals four times, culminating in his win for the glitterball trophy in 2021 with Rose Ayling-Ellis, the first deaf contestant to ever compete on the show. Their Couple's Choice routine, which featured a breathtaking silent segment, was even recognized by Bafta as the Must-See TV Moment of the Year.

After experiencing a great achievement, he faced a letdown. The following year, he joined forces with Radio 2 presenter Anderson as an all-male duo. Sadly, they were knocked out in week three, which marked Pernice's lowest rank ever. Later on, he paired up with Abbington, leading to his exit.

Pernice has received the highest score ever given to a Strictly professional dancer with a remarkable 98 perfect 10s. He has achieved the most leaderboard wins in the series compared to any other dancer. Additionally, he holds Guinness World Records for his impressive Charleston swivels and jive kick-and-flicks.

In 2015, a 25-year-old man known as the "Italian stallion" joined a popular show. At first, some people thought he was conceited. One of the judges scolded him during his first appearance for making facial expressions when criticized by the panel. However, as he became more comfortable, he impressed viewers with his well-planned dance routines and charming personality, which he often showed off by repeatedly saying "thank you". He became very popular, even more popular than the show itself, with 1.1 million followers on Instagram. BBC even gave him a show where he travels and shares his experiences.

In 2017, Pernice teamed up with McGee and it was a turning point in his career. McGee was still mourning the loss of her husband Paul Daniels, who passed away the year before. Pernice played a crucial role in boosting McGee's self-esteem and bringing back her laughter. When I spoke to her during that time, she couldn't stop praising Pernice for his patience and gentlemanly conduct. Despite being a former ballerina herself, McGee may have been familiar with strict training methods.

In the past few years, Strictly has seen a number of male professional dancers leave the show. Dancers like Kevin Clifton, Pasha Kovalev, AJ Pritchard, and Aljaž Škorjanec have all moved on to new opportunities. Anton du Beke also made a change from dancing to judging. While some of the new dancers have gained popularity among fans - such as Kai Widdrington and Vito Coppola - the departure of a skilled dancer like Pernice will undoubtedly be deeply felt.

Strictly Come Dancing has a powerful structure that has endured even when well-known figures, like Lord Len and Sir Brucey, have left. Pernice's recent dismissal reinforces the fact that no one is more important than the show itself. The BBC must uphold the integrity of such a vital brand.

If he had remained, everyone would have been watching who he was matched with, which could have taken the attention away from the contest's 20-year milestone. It was almost turned into a celebration of controversy instead of achievement. It's desirable that we can forget about this negative episode and concentrate on the enjoyable aspects of the event.

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