Strictly Come Dancing is in crisis as bosses fear celebrity contestants will refuse to team up with Giovanni Pernice after Amanda Abbington feuded with the professional.
The 51-year-old actress left the BBC One show mid-series last year citing “personal issues” and reported a falling out between the pair.
However, it has now been claimed that she asked for rehearsal footage to highlight the Italian's “tense” and “full” training methods, which have allegedly caused her a lot of distress.
TV bosses fear future contestants will refuse to work with the dancer, who has previously received negative feedback from former partners including Laura Whitmore, 38, Ranvir Singh, 46, and Richie Anderson, 36.
Amanda Abbington, 51, left Strictly midway through the series last year citing “personal issues” and reported a row with her professional partner Giovanni Pernice (both pictured on the BBC One show).
It has now been claimed that Ms Abbington asked for rehearsal shots to highlight the Italian's “tense” and “overwhelming” training methods, which allegedly caused her a lot of distress (the pair were pictured during a training session).
Pernice, 33, is one of Strictly's best-known dancers and a rising BBC light entertainment face thanks to his traveling series with 57-year-old judge Anton Du Beke, which could pose a problem for bosses.
Show insiders believe Strictly will stand by Pernice but accept it won't be easy to find him as a future partner.
A source told Web: “The row between Giovanni and Amanda is a matter of great concern.”
“Celebrity contestants usually don't care who they're with, they're just happy to be on the show.”
“But Giovanni's reputation has suffered further damage as a result of Amanda's experience and they don't want to end up in a situation where new candidates threaten to leave if they are paired with him.”
Meanwhile, Strictly has scrambled behind the scenes to deal with the intense coverage following the row, replacing its current PR heads with a more experienced BBC representative.
Professional dancer Pernice has appeared on Strictly for eight years running and has made it to the final three times.
While a decision on his future on the show is yet to be made, there is a feeling internally that he needs to move on to new projects.
Pernice is already thought to be pursuing a career outside of Strictly after launching his own cosmetics brand, Vita, in October and touring the country with independent shows.
His Strictly highlight was undoubtedly winning the 2021 series with deaf actress Rose Ayling-Ellis, 29, who received praise and a BAFTA TV Award for her silent dance to Symphony.
The former EastEnders star has previously gushed about Pernice, praising his mentorship skills and expressing their close bond, contradicting comments from some of his other Strictly partners.
Another source close to the show believes that Pernice's reputation as a tough taskmaster isn't actually a big problem, as contestants with winning ambitions would be happy to work with him.
The source explained: “There are different types of contestants who sign up for Strictly.”
“Some do it for experience, learn a new skill and improve their profile, but also have fun.”
“While others are very determined and want to get on the glitter ball by putting hours into rehearsals and working their butts off.
“If you agree with the latter and can accept tough talk and brutal actions, Giovanni is your man.”
Ms Abbington left the show in the fifth week of October and did not return for the finale, where eliminated celebrities took part in a group dance.
A source told Web: 'The row between Giovanni and Amanda is a major concern' (Mrs Abbington pictured during training for Strictly)
Strict bosses fear future contestants will refuse to work with the dancer (pictured with Ms Abbington), who has previously received negative feedback from other former partners
It reportedly took her months to recover from her Strictly stint and it is believed she needed therapy after the “behavior she was subjected to”.
The actress isn't the first celebrity to criticize Pernice's strenuous workout style.
In 2016, TV presenter Ms Whitmore said: “I'm still not ready to talk in detail about my experiences on the show.”
“I was given a dance partner that I was extremely uncomfortable with and I ended up feeling broken and crying every day. “And in the end I was really broken, both mentally and physically.”
In 2020, Pernice fell out with Good Morning Britain presenter Ms Singh when she admitted she had a “complete breakdown” during rehearsals with him.
The ITV presenter told her co-star Kate Garraway that she and the dancer were in a “20 minute divorce” when things got tense in training.
It was also reported that Pernice had a falling out with radio DJ Anderson when he performed in a same-sex relationship for the first time in 2022.
Pernice has yet to comment on the allegations against him, but posted on Instagram that he was teaching a dance class for 250 people.
A Strictly spokesman declined to comment.
Professional dancer Pernice (pictured during rehearsals with wife Abbington) has appeared on Strictly for eight years running and has made it to the final three times.