Gorka Marquez says Giovanni Pernice’s Strictly exit is ‘sad for everybody’

Strictly Come Dancing professional Gorka Marquez has addressed Giovanni Pernice’s exit from the BBC dancing show.

The BBC announced earlier this month that Pernice, who was the longest-serving professional on the show, having joined in 2015, will not be part of the cast for the 2024 instalment of the competition.

His departure follows after the dancer faced a flurry of allegations from several former celebrity contestants, including Amanda Abbington, Ranvir Singh, and Laura Whitmore, over his teaching methods while on the show.

The 33-year-old, who has been a staple on Strictly since 2015, has said publicly that there are “untrue” stories about his behaviour and that he is looking forward to clearing his name and “establishing the truth”.

Appearing on Good Morning Britain on Tuesday (25 June), fellow Strictly pro Marquez, who joined the series in 2016, was asked about Pernice’s exit and its impact on the cast.

“It’s like when Anton Du Beke decided to go do the jazz role, everybody is missed, everybody is a big part of the show when they leave or change their careers. It’s sad for everybody,” the dancer said.

Asked by host Adil Ray if he was still in touch with Pernice, Marquez replied: “Yeah, sometimes we speak, obviously he’s busy, he’s on tour with Anton.”

Following Pernice’s exit, Marquez is now the longest-serving professional competing in the dance competition.

Gorka Marquez is now Strictly’s longest-serving professional after Pernice’s exit (ITV)
Gorka Marquez is now Strictly’s longest-serving professional after Pernice’s exit (ITV)

Pernice and judge Anton Du Beke are currently touring their live double-act show Anton & Giovanni Together, as they entertain audiences with Strictly chatter and dazzling performances across the UK. Both dancers have respective solo tours planned, with Du Beke’s An evening with... tour running from 2024 to 2025. Giovanni’s The Last Dance tour will kick off in January 2025.

Last week, Strictly’s head judge Shirley Ballas defended Pernice, calling him a “perfect gentleman” and said the allegations were forms of gossip that had been “blown way out of proportion”.

Speaking at a panel to promote her forthcoming crime novel, Ballas said: “I just spoke to Giovanni 30 minutes before coming here and I am going to one of his ballando classes to teach the jive. He is coming to my party on Sunday.”

Pernice joined ‘Strictly’ in 2015 (Getty Images)
Pernice joined ‘Strictly’ in 2015 (Getty Images)

The Sun reports that the head judge said: “You know, I can only talk from my own perspective. I have known Giovanni for 10 years. He has always been to me – and I will make that clear, to me – a perfect gentleman.”

She continued: “I know he is a hard worker. He wants people to do the very best that they can do. Obviously, in my life, I was bullied a lot. I don’t condone bullying on any path.

Judge Shirley Ballas has shown support for Pernice following allegations (Getty Images)
Judge Shirley Ballas has shown support for Pernice following allegations (Getty Images)

“But I don’t believe gossip because things are blown way out of all proportion and it can turn into a great big snowball. So my feeling for Giovanni is, let them do this investigation and the truth will come out. So we don’t judge anybody until I know absolutely 100 per cent.”

During a recent appearance on This Morning, former Strictly professionals James and Ola Jordan also commented on Pernice’s exit, with James stating it is “very sad” that the situation had reached this conclusion.