Strictly Come Dancing Judge Shirley Ballas Shares Her Take On Giovanni Pernice Drama

"The truth will come out."
Shirley Ballas
Shirley Ballas
Mike Marsland via Getty Images

Shirley Ballas has shared her take on the ongoing controversy surrounding Strictly Come Dancing.

The BBC is currently investigating complaints made by three of former Strictly professional Giovanni Pernice’s celebrity dance partners (including actor Amanda Abbington) about his conduct behind the scenes of the show.

For his part, Giovanni has refuted the claims that have been made about him, and vowed to “clear his name” in the investigation.

On Monday night, Shirley made a promotional appearance to discuss her novel Murder On The Dancefloor, during which she was asked about the current drama facing the show.

“I know he is a hard worker. He wants the people to do the very best that they can do,” The Mirror quoted Shirley as saying.

“Obviously in my life I was bullied a lot. I don’t condone bullying on any path, but also I don’t believe gossip and what you read in the newspapers, because things get escalated and they are blown way out of all proportion and it can turn into a great big snowball.

“My feeling for Giovanni is, let them do this investigation, or whatever it is they are doing, and the truth will come out. So we don’t judge anybody until I know absolutely 100 percent. I won’t pass on the gossip unless I know 100 percent it is true.”

Giovanni Pernice at the Strictly launch in 2018
Giovanni Pernice at the Strictly launch in 2018
David Fisher/Shutterstock

Shirley went on to say she has “never ever ever experienced any ill will or bad feeling or bad sportsmanship or rudeness” from Giovanni, adding that he “will be missed” on this year’s series.

Later in the conversation, Shirley pointed out that she still has a personal relationship with Giovanni, saying she’d spoken to him less than an hour earlier and would be seeing him in person at the weekend.

“I can only talk from my own perspective,” she insisted, adding: “He has always been to me – and I will make that clear, to me – a perfect gentleman.”

Giovanni Pernice and Amanda Abbington performing on last year's Strictly Come Dancing
Giovanni Pernice and Amanda Abbington performing on last year's Strictly Come Dancing
BBC/Guy Levy

“Every week, there are totally untrue stories about me in the media,” the former champion wrote, insisting that the “latest accusations” made about him are “simply false”.

“I am co-operating fully with the ongoing BBC investigation, which will determine the truth,” he said. “As requested, I have stayed silent, but I am looking forward to the conclusion of the investigation and ultimately clearing my name and establishing the truth.

“I am so happy to be back on tour. Thank you all for your continued support – [your] messages and love mean so very much to me. I will hopefully see many of you very soon and I look forward to clearing my name.”

The BBC also issued a rare statement amid the investigation earlier this month, although they did not refer to any individual or show explicitly.

“It is a longstanding position that the BBC does not comment on specific matters related to individuals,” a BBC representative said. “Nor ordinarily, would we comment on whether we are reviewing any individual complaints.

“Recently, we have seen a number of media reports about a high profile show. We would urge people not to indulge in speculation. Anyone involved in a complaint has a right to confidentiality and fair process.

“If a complaint is made to the BBC, we assess and take any necessary steps to establish the facts, whether there is a case to answer, and, if appropriate, what action should be taken.”

“This is all within the context of the BBC having duties of care to everyone linked to a complaint – that applies to those that have raised the complaint and to those that have been complained about,” the statement continued.

“Whilst we know our shows have been positive experiences for many of those who have taken part, we will always look at any issues raised with care, fairness and sensitivity to everyone concerned.”


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