Strictly's Giovanni Pernice delights with surprise Rose Ayling-Ellis reunion

Giovanni Pernice and Rose Ayling-Ellis national Television Awards
Giovanni Pernice and Rose Ayling-Ellis at the 27th National Television Awards (REX)

Giovanni Pernice was officially paired with actress Amanda Abbington on Saturday night's Strictly launch show but he filmed with his former dance partner Rose Ayling-Ellis the following day.

No doubt delighting their fans, the dancer teased Rose's appearance on his Instagram Stories with an image of their shadows side-by-side, which he captioned: "Who is this?" 

Rose confirmed that she and Giovanni had reunited in the next story, although she teased the Italian by denying that her name was Rose, as you can see the video below…

The EastEnders actress danced to victory with Giovanni back in 2021, becoming the first deaf competitor on the programme. The pairing was much-loved by viewers for their sweet bond and shared silly sense of humour, as well as for their talent and hard work.

Viewers were especially impressed by their moving Couple's Choice to Clean Bandit's song Symphony and the poignant dance routine was swiftly hailed by judges and audiences as Strictly's greatest-ever performance, going on to win a BAFTA.

Giovanni Pernice teased fans with a glimpse of Rose Ayling-Ellis' shadow
Giovanni teased fans with a glimpse of Rose (Instagram)

The pair paid respect to and raised awareness for members of the deaf community in the routine when the music cut as they continued to dance in silence. However, Rose provoked surprise earlier this year when she confessed in an interview that she initially disliked it.

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"I hated it," she told The Guardian. "I watched this pre-recorded video by external choreographers and immediately didn't like what they'd come up with.

Giovanni and Rose posing for a photo at the BAFTAs
The duo won a BAFTA last year (Getty)

She feared the dance would score her the "pity" vote, adding: "I was up for the idea, as long as it wasn't a patronising stunt. An attempt to get the pity vote, all sad, dreary and 'poor me'. It was what hearing people think deaf people experience".

"Very insular, cut-off, small. It was so sad. And that's not me." After reworking the routine, Rose embraced the dance as it began to feel "more true" to her. She went on: "It was only at camera rehearsals in the studio, when I was told the crew – who never stop – all dropped what they were doing to watch that I thought: '[Expletive]. This might be a big deal.'"

Giovanni Pernice Rose Ayling-Ellis Couple's Choice
The pair performing their Couple's Choice (BBC)

At the time, after the couple danced their routine, judge Motsi Mabuse delivered an emotional speech and Anton du Beke was seen tearing up as well.

MORE ON ROSE AND GIOVANNI: The sweetest things they have said about each other

READ: Rose Ayling-Ellis holds 'deep affection' for Strictly's Giovanni Pernice

As Motsi's voice broke, she said: "In this case, I honestly feel like saying thank you. I think this was such a beautiful moment to include us in your world and for us to actually understand how important and how aware we all could be of each other genuinely everywhere.

Giovanni Pernice in sheer shirt
Giovanni is paired with Amanda Abbington this year (Getty)

"This was so special. Sometimes it's more than just marks and scores and dancing, sometimes it's just a moment." Anton also started welling up as he called the routine "the greatest thing I've seen on the show".

After the final, Rose and Giovanni both took to Instagram to pay emotional tributes to each other. The actress gushed: "I'm dedicating this post to the most wonderful human ever, Giovanni… I am beyond proud of us. I never thought I would leave Strictly with a best friend for life, thank you Gi."