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Giovanni Pernice addresses Amanda Abbington’s early exit from Strictly

Strictly Come Dancing star Giovanni Pernice has said it is a “shame” that Amanda Abbington left the show early as he feels they could have “gone all the way”.

The Italian professional dancer, 33, was partnered with the Sherlock actress for the 2023 series before she withdrew from the competition ahead of week six citing “personal reasons”.

Earlier this year, Abbington, 52, said she was “diagnosed with mild PTSD” and received death threats following her stint on the BBC dance competition.

Speaking on the Mirror’s Invite Only podcast, Pernice said: “It was a shame that she had to leave for medical reasons because I think, in my opinion, we could have gone all the way.”

Asked if he is a perfectionist, he agreed but said it comes from a place of “caring”.

“In every single part of the world, if (you’re) a professional dancer, we have to get these people on the Saturday night looking the best as they can”, he added.

“And if we get to have good scores at the end, I look back and say ‘I’ve done a great job’.

“We all care about our partners and we all want to look great on the Saturday.”

Strictly judge Anton Du Beke, who also appeared on the podcast alongside Pernice to discuss their new travelogue series, said he thought the pair had been “marvellous” and praised Abbington as being “terrific straight away”.

Abbington did not give a specific reason when she announced her decision to leave the show in October, saying in a post on Instagram: “I did not come to this decision easily or lightly but for personal reasons I am unable to continue.”

Following her departure, Pernice shared a photo of them together wearing Christmas outfits, writing: “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.”

Abbington opened up about how her time on Strictly had affected her mental health earlier this year.

She told The Sun On Sunday: “I was diagnosed with mild PTSD after Strictly for several reasons and I told a few people about that, in the utmost confidence, among other things that were happening in my life at the time both professionally and personally.

“I’m very sorry that people felt the need to send me death threats, threaten my children and bring up my past, healthy relationship with an ex-partner as an ­indicator of my current mental health. I wish those people well.”

The actress is best known for playing Mary Watson in BBC drama Sherlock and has appeared in other TV series including Inside No 9, Mr Selfridge and After You’ve Gone.

Abbington had two children – son Joe and daughter Grace – with her former long-term partner and Sherlock co-star Martin Freeman.