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Shirley Ballas backs Giovanni Pernice amid Amanda Abbington feud

Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas has addressed the reported feud between pro dancer Giovanni Pernice and his former show partner Amanda Abbington. Shirley threw her support behind Giovanni, calling him a “gentleman” and a “splendid teacher” in response to the alleged falling out between the pair.

Amanda, known for her role in Sherlock, left the BBC dance competition in week five of October 2023 due to “medical reasons”. Recent reports suggested that she sought professional help due to the “behavior she was exposed to” while on the show. It was even rumored that she sought legal advice to obtain backstage footage of their rehearsals, as she was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following her exit. Giovanni took to social media recently to express gratitude for the support he has received during a new venture away from the BBC show.

The BBC is said to be supporting Giovanni after these claims, deeming the allegations “excessive”. Regarding Amanda’s request for footage, the BBC stated that duty of care is taken “incredibly seriously”.

Shirley, Giovanni’s co-star and fellow judge, addressed the matter on Lorraine. Lorraine mentioned the documented problems Giovanni had with his partner last year and Shirley responded by praising Giovanni’s teaching abilities and character. Lorraine acknowledged that sometimes partnerships don’t work and Shirley added that shows like Strictly are tough and it can be difficult to be a part of them.

A source close to Amanda told The Sun that there is a feeling that the recorded footage will reveal what really happens behind the scenes on Strictly and that things can become tense during rehearsals. The source described Giovanni as a perfectionist who can be “incredibly full-on”. Strictly bosses confirmed that they had never received any formal complaint about Giovanni’s training methods and are puzzled by Amanda’s claims. They added that while Giovanni is a perfectionist and there may be occasional “moans” about his regime, his conduct has never crossed any lines. The source also mentioned that none of Giovanni’s previous dance partners have made any formal complaints. After speaking to Giovanni in the wake of the PTSD claims, a BBC source deemed the allegations to be “excessive”.

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