Strictly bosses defend Aljaz Skorjanec's return and hit back at claims show is in the grip of 'panic'

Aljaz Skorjanec

Aljaz is returning to the show 2 years after leaving

Lauren Williams

By Lauren Williams

Published: 10/07/2024

- 15:45

Fans of the BBC dancing competition have slammed the decision to bring back Aljaz after his exit in 2022

Strictly Come Dancing bosses have defended their decision to bring back Aljaz Skorjanec ahead of the show's 20th anniversary despite axing Giovanni Pernice due to the ongoing investigation into his conduct.

On Monday evening, Skorjanec was announced to be returning on The One Show, and explained: "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."

However, critics of the show have watched bosses every move since Amanda Abbington claimed that she had PTSD from her time with the ballroom dancer, something which Pernice has vehemently denied.

Many have felt that the fact Skorjanec was drafted in at the last minute was shrouded in "mystery" and claimed that the broadcaster was in the grip of "panic" in the wake of Pernice's investigation.

Others pointed out the fact that Skorjanec was quietly revealed on the BBC's own programme and that no media were informed in advance.

Since then, sources have hit back and claimed that his late arrival was part of the Strictly plan and told The Mirror: "Not all pros have always been announced together and some have been added at a later stage previously.

"Aljaz is well known to viewers so it’s nice to give fans of the show a surprise announcement of the 20th anniversary."

Sarah James, Executive Producer of Strictly Come Dancing added: "We are all so thrilled that Aljaz is back in the Strictly Ballroom, bringing his incredible choreography and passion for dance.

"During his nine series, he was a firm favourite with viewers across the country, I’m sure everyone is in for a treat as he joins us to entertain the nation for a very special 20th year of the show."

Aljaz Skorjanec, Janette Manrara and their daughter Lyra

Aljaz left the series to spend time with his family


GB News has contacted the BBC for a comment.

Fans of the series - which has been running since 2004 - claimed that Skorjanec's return was a calculated move in a bid to turn the attention away from the ongoing investigation into Pernice's "militant" teaching techniques.

Whilst Pernice has claimed he is "confident" that it will all come to a close fairly soon, it has also been noted that it could drag on throughout the 20th-anniversary series and into the new year.

Today it was reported that it's now understood the probe is looking into "wider issues" on the show outside of the professional dancer.

Aljaz Skorjanec and Janette Manrara

Janette is also returning to the series but not as a dancer


A source told the MailOnline: "This investigation is no longer just solely about Giovanni but other, wider issues. Amanda's complaints have started something massive, it has opened the door for others to come forward about things they haven't been happy with.

"Having the Giovanni complaint has been a big enough issue, but now it looks like there is more to be scrutinised and looked into."

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