STRICTLY Come Dancing contestant Amanda Abbington has threatened to quit the show after a series of rows with dance partner Giovanni Pernice.
The pair are at loggerheads, with the actress unhappy with the dance pro’s “militant” attitude in training.
Amanda Abbington has threatened to quit Strictly after a series of rows with dance partner Giovanni PerniceCredit: PA
Amanda is said to be unhappy with Giovanni’s ‘militant’ attitude in trainingCredit: James Curley
The Sun can reveal the pair’s escalating tension has become the talk of backstage ahead of the BBC show’s opening competition night tonight.
A source said: “Giovanni is a hard taskmaster and takes the competition very, very seriously.
“Sometimes his manner is incredibly brusque and this can upset his partners.
“Amanda was really looking forward to dancing with him, but has found his aggressive training style and attitude pretty difficult to handle.
“He is quite militant in his approach to training. She’s been left very shaken, and has liaised with her team about quitting.
“It has become far more stressful than she ever imagined and at the moment things between them are incredibly tense.
“That being said — and somewhat ironically — they actually dance very well together.
“The hope is they talk things through, and wave the white flag.”
It comes just a week after Amanda, 49, revealed she had wanted the 33-year-old dancer as her partner, saying: “I went nuts because I wanted Giovanni, so it was a really lovely surprise.”
This is not the first time Giovanni — who won the competition in 2021 alongside EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis — has fallen out with his celeb pairing.
In 2016, ex-Love Island presenter Laura Whitmore admitted she “cried every day” while on the hit show.
Laura had been partnered with the Italian, who had split from Laura’s friend, Georgia May Foote, prior to the series.
She said she had inadvertently ended up in “the middle of someone’s break-up”.
Laura later wrote: “I’m still not ready to talk in depth about my experience on the show.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Giovanni was also reported to have “feuded” with partner Richie Anderson in 2022, as well as not getting on with GMB star Ranvir Singh in 2020.
Amanda, previously married to fellow Sherlock star Martin Freeman, has not had an easy time on Strictly.
Shortly after her signing was officially announced, she was forced to come off of social media following a backlash.
Fans threatened to boycott the series after Amanda tweeted her disapproval of a drag show aimed at parents with babies.
She called it “abhorrent”, adding: “You cannot have a penis and be referred to as a woman.”
She subsequently denied being transphobic and apologised for “stupid” and “ill-informed” past comments.
Last night a friend of Giovanni insisted the dancer was a “perfectionist”, adding: “Amanda has had a lot going on and Giovanni found it frustrating that she was struggling to fully commit to rehearsals.
“He is a perfectionist and when a celeb partner is 100 per cent committed, he knows he can get the best out of them and the partnership will fly — just look at his and Rose’s experience on the show.
“But they have had a big talk recently and things are improving between them.”
The BBC declined to comment. Strictly is on tonight at 6.15pm on BBC1.
A source described Giovanni as a ‘hard taskmaster’ who ‘takes the competition very, very seriously’