AMANDA PLATELL: Lies, vicious rumours and dirty tricks: So who IS trying to kill off Strictly Giovanni?

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The BBC are reported to be ‘furious’ that details of their top-level, highly confidential inquiry into Strictly’s most famous dancer Giovanni Pernice’s behaviour have been leaked.

There have been previous claims about Giovanni’s tough training sessions with his former partner Amanda Abbington. Yet last week’s accusation was the most serious: that Gio would ‘grab his crotch’ during rehearsals when one of his dancers performed well. An accusation that he has publicly denied.

The race to find the leaker is becoming a whodunnit worthy of the sleuthing skills of Sherlock Holmes, all too familiar to Amanda, who starred in BBC series Sherlock as Dr Watson’s famously loyal wife, Mary Morstan.

It’s got more twists and turns than a rumba, and many suspects.

Giovanni Pernice took a cigarette break as he made his first appearance since being overlooked for the forthcoming twenty second-series of Strictly Come Dancing

Giovanni Pernice took a cigarette break as he made his first appearance since being overlooked for the forthcoming twenty second-series of Strictly Come Dancing

Giovanni pictured with former dance partner Amanda Abbington on last year's Strictly

Giovanni pictured with former dance partner Amanda Abbington on last year’s Strictly

Yet this, as with all the best mysteries, is not elementary. The stakes are high – and such claims must be devastating for Giovanni, as the BBC leaker would surely know.

Who had a motive to leak private allegations before its findings? Who held a grudge? Who had the most to gain from destroying Gio’s integrity?

It would be easy to point at Amanda herself, but perhaps that’s too obvious. A spurned lover? An aggrieved TV exec wanting to burst Gio’s glitterball? A highly strung and perhaps not-too-stable celebrity diva? There’s long been suspicions it’s a fellow male dancer, jealous of Gio’s stella success.

The BBC is said to be so ‘concerned’ about these briefings, which are destroying the inquiry’s integrity, they are determined to find out how and by whom the information is being released. I hope they do – and that the culprit is named and shamed.

Yesterday, Strictly judge Shirley Ballas backed the under-fire dancer, saying: ‘The truth will come out.’

She added: ‘I have never ever, ever experienced any ill will or bad feeling or bad sportsmanship or rudeness from him.’

One BBC insider went so far as to say Giovanni was being ‘publicly vilified’. ‘We’re talking about a confidential, internal inquiry yet there are several elements finding their way into the public domain’, adding ‘it also seems quite rum that it is all anti-Giovanni.’

For it is only Giovanni being hung out to dry by these leaks, while he maintains a dignified silence.

Amanda is said to have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after her time on the show

Amanda is said to have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after her time on the show

Amanda suddenly quit the show after just nine weeks mysteriously citing 'medical reasons'

Amanda suddenly quit the show after just nine weeks mysteriously citing ‘medical reasons’ 

The latest, vicious accusations mean he is not being tried by a private BBC body, but now by the court of public opinion.

All I can say is good luck to the Beeb in discovering who is responsible. Anonymous briefings began against Gio months before the BBC’s own inquiry began back in January – and soon after Amanda suddenly quit the show after just nine weeks mysteriously citing ‘medical reasons.’

READ MORE: ‘Giovanni’s a tough guy but this has really hurt him. He’ll NEVER go back to Strictly.’ The dancer’s friends reveal to KATIE HIND why he believes he’ll be exonerated – and why he’ll fight back against his accusers…

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Many fans thought that the recently divorced 50-year-old mother of two might be suffering from menopausal symptoms. During a live video to her followers on Instagram, said she had only signed up for Strictly to challenge the ‘negative’ perceptions of menopausal women, who had become ’invisible’ to society.

Briefings to newspapers said Amanda found Giovanni’s training sessions so ‘abrasive’ it left her suffering PTSD and that her foot was ‘bruised’ after he stood on it.

Two other women, TV presenters Laura Whitmore and Ranvir Singh – both former dance partners of Giovanni – joined the Abbington camp as she instructed the high-end legal firm Carter Ruck to represent her. Giovanni responded by hiring top rival legal firm Shillings.

What a tragic end to Gio’s Strictly career. Although he insists he will not be cancelled and, as proof, on Friday began his UK tour with Strictly judge Anton Du Beke who has remained loyally by his side. Giovanni also has a film out, called Man And Witch: The Dance Of A Thousand Steps, and has launched a fragrance for his new brand, Vita.

One friend says ‘this is the end of Gio and Strictly’, that ‘it’s a real shame, but there is no way back now – it’s over. He’s a tough guy but all of this has really hurt him.’

Shirley Ballas has backed the under-fire dancer, saying: 'The truth will come out'

Shirley Ballas has backed the under-fire dancer, saying: ‘The truth will come out’

To make matters more painful, the Strictly ‘family’ is looking forward to the show’s 20th anniversary that will be marked later this year by a three-month TV celebration, which Gio won’t be a part of. They are ‘gutted’ at his decision to leave for ever, after they’d ‘stood by him as both a close friend and a star of the show’.

One insider added: ‘There has been an immense amount of loyalty towards him from his BBC colleagues. We all thought it would go away but Amanda wasn’t going to let that happen.’

Meanwhile, Gio is pleading his innocence.

‘Every week, there are totally untrue stories about me in the media. As you know, I have always rejected any suggestions of abusive of threatening behaviour. The latest accusations are simply false.

‘I am cooperating fully with the ongoing BBC investigation. As requested I have remained silent, but am looking forward to the conclusion of the investigation and ultimately clearing my name and establishing the truth.’

Which leaves his millions of bewildered Strictly fans asking: Who is trying to kill off Gio?