Strictly Come Dancing fans brand BBC 'calculated' ahead of Aljaz Skorjanec's return: 'Bring back Giovanni'

Giovanni Pernice and Aljaz Skornajec

Aljaz is returning to the series for its 20th anniversary

Lauren Williams

By Lauren Williams

Published: 09/07/2024

- 16:04

The professional dancer quit the BBC series back in 2022 to spend more time with his family

Strictly Come Dancing fans have caused an uproar after the news of Aljaz Skorjanec's return was announced, with many claiming the move is a "deflection" on the BBC's behalf due to the ongoing investigation into Giovanni Pernice.

It was revealed back in June, the full professional cast list was announced which left out Pernice - confirming that the 33-year-old would not be returning to the BBC series.

Pernice is currently under investigation after his former partner Amanda Abbington slammed his "militant" training techniques and claimed she had suffered PTSD from their time together.

Both Pernice and Abbington have enlisted the help of lawyers to help settle the claims - with the Italian dancer vehemently denying the claims and adamant he will clear his name.

Pernice is also said to be "confident" that the investigation will come to a close soon - despite conflicting reports which suggest that it will continue across the latest series and into next year.

Whilst the BBC is said to have imposed a "ban" on Strictly stars discussing anything to do with Pernice, many of his colleagues such as Shirley Ballas, Anton Du Beke, Lauren Oakley and Kai Widdrington have publicly expressed their love for the star.

Many fans have also claimed that the BBC's treatment of Pernice has been unfair, which was further scrutinised recently after it was announced that Skorjanec is making a return for the 20th-anniversary series.

Skorjanec left the series in 2022, with his last appearance being in the 2021 series, and heaped praise on his wife Janette Manrara when she also left the show ahead of the 2021 series.

His return was announced on The One Show where he gushed: "What haven't I missed? I got to look after my beautiful wife, and my beautiful baby for two years. But I missed everything about Strictly."

He also announced the news on his Instagram account and penned: "Here it goes.. @bbcstrictly is back for the 20th anniversary this autumn…. and so am I! So grateful for this very special opportunity.

Janette Manrara and Aljaz Skorjanec

Janette and Aljaz left the show within a year of one another


"Can’t wait to be back in that iconic ballroom, and to get the chance for my little one to see me on the best show on TV #lifeisbeautiful #keepdancing."

Following the exciting news of his return not everyone was pleased about his comeback, with many throwing their support to Pernice, as one social media user wrote: "Great! Now bring back Giovanni who did not deserve the treatment he’s been given.

Another echoed: "Trying to bring the public back on side after the appalling way the BBC treated Giovanni."

"BBC running scared cos Giovanni has gone," someone else said before a fourth noted: "The BBC trying to deflect the fact that Giovanni is gone without a trace by bringing back Alijaz. They must think we're all so dim." (sic)

Aljaz Skorjanec

Aljaz was revealed to be returning on The One Show


Ballas recently doubled down on her support for Pernice and claimed that gruelling training can be "super-strict" and include "cruel words" amid the dancer's misconduct probe.

She recently told The Sun: "I've known Giovanni for 10 years, and he's a good friend of mine. But I'm not involved on any side of that [the investigation]. You don't want to kill their enthusiasm or the thought that they can be the Glitterball champion.

"So, I think sometimes, words can be cruel and people deliver them in not a great way. I learned the difference. I can be super strict when somebody is trying to win the gold medal, then I can still be quite strict but in a positive way on Strictly so they will learn something.

"That's always ongoing for me. I'm always searching for the best way I can bring great constructive criticism."

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