Inside Giovanni Pernice's rocky celeb partnerships as he 'quits' Strictly Come Dancing after Amanda Abbington row

Giovanni has reportedly quit Strictly
Giovanni has reportedly quit Strictly -Credit:BBC/Ray Burmiston

After nine years on Strictly Come Dancing, professional dancer Giovanni Pernice has reportedly quit the show following months of speculation about whether he would return.

In a statement to OK! , BBC bosses insisted that viewers should stand by for official announcements on the cast, amid claims Giovanni is now seeking a fresh start on other TV shows. It said: "The professional dancers for 2024 will be announced in due course." OK! has contacted Giovanni's reps for comment.

This surprising move comes after tensions between the dancer and Sherlock star Amanda Abbington, 52, his celeb partner last year. She left the show in October following a series of confrontations that left her in tears reportedly due to Giovanni's tough training methods, reports The Mirror.

With fans now coming to terms with Giovanni's departure from screens, we take a closer look back at what his dance partners have said about their partnership over the years...

Amanda and Giovanni were rumoured to have become embroiled in a "feud"
Amanda and Giovanni were rumoured to have become embroiled in a "feud" -Credit:Ray Burniston/BBC/PA Wire

Georgia May Foote - 2015

Georgia and Giovanni were paired in 2015
Georgia and Giovanni were paired in 2015 -Credit:BBC/Guy Levy

When Giovanni joined Strictly in 2015, his first-ever pairing was with ex-Coronation Street star Georgia May Foote. During her time on the show, Georgia was dating her co-star Sean Ward, who played Callum Logan, at the time, and had been seen cheering on his girlfriend in the audience.

However their relationship hit the rocks in December of that year, after Giovanni and Georgia's sizzling chemistry saw more than just professional connections being made. Just weeks later the finalists were seen kissing during a Disneyland Paris trip in the New Year.

Georgia, who commended Gio for his teaching skills, admitted struggling with feelings of jealousy in the summer of 2016 though, ahead of the new series of Strictly, saying: "Of course I'll get jealous. Whoever Giovanni gets is a very lucky girl. He's a great teacher."

"I'm excited for whoever he gets and, yeah, he's a great teacher, so I'm happy for him. I think it's fine," she added. Unfortunately just weeks later, their relationship came to an end.

Laura Whitmore - 2016

Laura Whitmore and Giovanni Pernice danced together in 2016
Laura Whitmore and Giovanni Pernice danced together in 2016 -Credit:BBC

Following his breakup, Giovanni was partnered with Laura Whitmore for the 2016 series of Strictly and the pair were initially billed as the bookies favourite to take home the Glitterball trophy. However, just weeks into training it soon became apparent that things were tense between the pair, with rumours of a strained atmosphere between the two.

After the final, the pair went their separate ways and in 2018 Laura broke her silence over their strained relationship. She confessed to feeling "extremely uncomfortable" about being partnered with her friend's ex in a first-person piece for the Huffington Post.

Laura: "I was placed with a dance partner I was extremely uncomfortable with – and in the end I felt broken, I cried every day. And I really was broken, both mentally and physically, by the end."

Debbie McGee - 2017

Debbie and Giovanni are said to have 'supported each other'
Debbie and Giovanni are said to have 'supported each other' -Credit:PA

One star who had nothing but praise for Giovanni was his 2017 partner Debbie McGee. The 65-year-old radio and stage performer made it all the way to the final with Gio, but was sadly beaten to the Glitterball trophy by Joe McFadden and professional dancer Katya Jones.

Debbie worked with Giovanni and said "everyone supported each other" on the show. She recently said: "All my memories of Strictly behind-the-scenes are happy ones. I adored every single minute and every single person I was working with.""

Faye Tozer - 2018

Faye and Giovanni danced their way to the finals
Faye and Giovanni danced their way to the finals -Credit:Brett D. Cove /

Just one year on from his partnership with Debbie, Giovanni was back on the dance floor for a new season of Strictly, this time with Steps singer Faye Tozer. Although the pair appeared to get on very well for much of the series, Faye did tweet in the December asking for fans' tips on combating fatigue.

"Wow... this week is super, proper, crazy, hard," she wrote. "I am exhausted! Any top tips for fatigue and focus??? I am all ears!!! xxx @bbcstrictly #semifinalsweek."

Despite the fatigue, once again Giovanni danced his way to the final, this time with the singer, but sadly they narrowly missed out on the trophy to Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton.

Michelle Visage - 2019

Michelle and Giovanni were 'best friends' during the competition
Michelle and Giovanni were 'best friends' during the competition -Credit:BBC

For the 2019 series, Giovanni was partnered up with Drag Race UK judge Michelle Visage and speculation was rife that their gruelling rehearsals were strained.

However, Michelle quickly took to social media to set the record straight as she told her followers: "The articles about my partner and I have been upsetting," she said in an Instagram statement ahead of their Blackpool performance, after which they were voted off.

"If anyone knows us, you would know how close Giovanni and I are. Gio is my best friend in this competition, he is my rock and I trust him with everything. We have the most fun and laughs together and to suggest otherwise is just sad."

Ranvir Singh - 2020

Ranvir Singh and Giovanni Pernice competed during lockdown
Ranvir Singh and Giovanni Pernice competed during lockdown -Credit:BBC

In 2020, Giovanni was paired with Good Morning Britain newsreader Ranvir Singh. Due to lockdown restrictions at the time, it meant the celebrities and their professional partners had to bubble together to prevent the spread of the virus, so one half of each couple had to live alone while the other half could remain with their household.

Despite the obstacles they faced - including social distancing and a reduced runtime from the usual 12 weeks down to just nine - the 2020 Strictly series quickly gained traction with fans, with many even speculating that romance could be blossoming between the pair due to their on-screen chemistry.

As the rumour mill began to hot up, Giovanni was forced to deny they were anything more than colleagues, telling Entertainment Daily: "Every year there's always a romance rumour with a different partner. I mean, even if you don't have a partner there's a rumour. The thing is you get very close when you dance with another person, but dancing is equal to acting. You have to deliver a performance. Each dance is a different story."

Rose Ayling-Ellis - 2021

Rose and Giovanni won in 2021
Rose and Giovanni won in 2021 -Credit:Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock

After narrowly missing out on the Glitterball trophy twice, Giovanni's partnership with EastEnders star Rose Ayling Ellis finally saw him dance his way to victory for the 2021 series. While competing on the show, the pair struck up a strong bond, with Gio even learning British Sign Language to communicate with Rose, who herself is Deaf.

Upon their win, the actress shared some kind words about her partner. "He came into my world and brought the best out of me. I cannot thank him enough for all the work and effort to make me become the dancer that I am today. Winning the Glitterball is the best gift I could ever give to Giovanni because he really deserves it."

Richie Anderson - 2022

In 2022, Gio made Strictly history when he was given his first male partner for the show, radio star Richie Anderson. However just days into their partnership talk of friction began to hit the press, with the pair even rumoured to be locked in a "feud" after failing to "click" as a pairing.

But the duo batted away speculation that there was trouble between them when Richie shared a clip of their cha-cha-cha to Instagram, captioning it: "A moment I'll never forget and so grateful I got to share it with Giovanni."

"Thank you Gio for being the most amazing teacher over the past fortnight. Last night was a dream come true moment."

Amanda Abbington - 2023

Amanda quit the show last year
Richie and Giovanni made history in 2022

Giovanni's most recent partnership with Amanda Abbington is arguably his most controversial after their time on Strictly came to an abrupt end after Amanda shockingly quit.

It later emerged that Amanda had pulled out of the show due to struggling with Gio's 'intense' training tactics. Following her exit, Giovanni paid a tribute to her on social media as he shared a snap of the pair alongside the comment: "Amanda .. I am so sad we can't continue but I am proud of what we achieved and I am sending you so much love @amanda_abbington74 @bbcstrictly."

Since then, Amanda has reportedly demanded to see behind-the-scenes footage of her time on the show and has even been rumoured to have enlisted the help of a "big name Lawyer" to look at her case.

Earlier this year, Giovanni discussed Amanda's exit. He said: "I am a perfectionist, 100%, but it comes from a perspective of caring. I think all of the professional dancers are in the same place. In every single part of the world, if you're a professional dancer on one of these shows, you have to get these people looking the best they can on Saturday night."