Shirley Ballas defends Giovanni Pernice

Shirley Ballas defends Giovanni Pernice credit:Bang Showbiz
Shirley Ballas defends Giovanni Pernice credit:Bang Showbiz

Shirley Ballas has defended Giovanni Pernice amid the ongoing BBC investigation into his behaviour.

The head judge of the BBC One Latin and ballroom show insisted she knows nothing about the investigation into the 33-year-old Italian dancer- who was popular with viewers - amid allegations of "threatening and abusive behaviour" towards his former partners on the show but insisted he is a "good friend of mine".

She 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].

"I think before I speak, and I stay in my lane, which is ballroom dancing. I think everybody goes into 'Strictly' with the best will in the world to entertain the country.”

She also revealed that things can get heated during a competition.

She explained: "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."

Shirley, 63, has previously defended Giovanni, telling the Daily Mirror newspaper: "He has always been to me, and I will make that clear, to me, a perfect gentleman.

"My feeling for Giovanni is, let them do this investigation or whatever it is they are doing, and the truth will come out.

"I have never ever, ever experienced any ill will or bad feeling or bad sportsmanship or rudeness from him."