Giovanni Pernice will not return to Strictly, BBC confirms

Giovanni Pernice will not return for the new series of Strictly Come Dancing, the BBC has confirmed.

The Italian professional dancer, 33, has been on the BBC One celebrity dancing show since 2015 when he reached the grand final with Coronation Street star Georgia May Foote.

The BBC did not announce Pernice as part of its line-up of professional dancers for 2024 following reports that he would not compete.

The dancers who will return include Amy Dowden, who had missed competing on Strictly last year after she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer, and 2023 winner Vito Coppola.

Sicily-born Pernice, a previous winner of the Italian Championships dance competition, was last paired with Sherlock actress Amanda Abbington, who withdrew from the competition in 2023 citing “personal reasons”.

Strictly Come Dancing 2023
Giovanni Pernice and Amanda Abbington (Ray Burniston/BBC)

Other dancers who will return include Dianne Buswell, Nadiya Bychkova, Graziano Di Prima, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Neil Jones, Nikita Kuzmin, Gorka Marquez, Luba Mushtuk, Jowita Przystal, Johannes Radebe, Kai Widdrington, Nancy Xu, Carlos Gu, Lauren Oakley and Michelle Tsiakkas.

The show marks its 20th birthday in 2024 and the BBC has promised “a spectacular series of glitz, glamour and unforgettable performances”.

Sarah James, executive producer, said: “This year Strictly marks two decades of entertaining the nation and we will be back with a bang in September as we celebrate in style with our incredible team both on and off screen.”

There will also be a one-off programme detailing 20 years of the show featuring famous performances, interviews with past celebrity stars, professional dancers and judges.

The celebrity line-up for 2024 has not been announced yet but it has been confirmed Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse, Craig Revel-Horwood and Anton Du Beke will all return as judges,

Pernice is currently on tour with Du Beke, with whom he has also hosted a travel show, and the duo will next take to the stage at the Beck Theatre in Hayes on June 14.

In 2021, Pernice lifted the Strictly glitterball trophy alongside EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis, who was the first deaf contestant to win.

He previously rejected allegations of “abusive or threatening behaviour” and said he looks “forward to clearing my name”.

A legal firm acting on behalf of the complainants said the broadcaster is “evidence gathering”, but the BBC has not confirmed any probe has begun.

The Sun, which was the first to report suggestions that an investigation was under way, had claimed Pernice quit the show.

In May, Pernice wrote that “you will be as surprised as I am that allegations have been made about my dance teaching methods in the media this week” and the public has seen him “passionate and competitive” on Strictly.

“No-one is more ambitious for my dance partners than me,” he added.

“I have always striven to help them be the very best dancers they can be.

“This has always come from a place of love and wanting to win – for me and my dance partners.”

A statement from law firm Carter-Ruck said: “There have been numerous serious complaints made to the BBC who are now in the process of evidence gathering.

“As it is still an ongoing matter no further comment can be made at this stage.”