Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice in front of Strictly logo

A complete timeline of events leading up to Amanda Abbington’s Strictly exit – backlash, ‘feud’ with Giovanni and medical issues

Giovanni and Amanda withdrew from the series ahead of Halloween week…

Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice sadly left Strictly Come Dancing early this year, leaving fans devastated.

On October 21, the cracks started to show when Amanda and Giovanni didn’t perform after the BBC confirmed she would be missing the episode due to “medical reasons”.

We all know what happened next, but let’s take a look at the events leading up to Amanda’s exit – from initial backlash when she joined to claims of a ‘rift’ with Giovanni…

Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice on Strictly
Amanda and Giovanni left Strictly early (Credit: BBC)

Amanda Abbington on Strictly

Actress Amanda was the first celebrity confirmed for Strictly 2023 back in August. The news was announced on Lorraine.

Amanda… I am so sad we can’t continue but I am proud of what we achieved.

But at the time, there was some backlash online over previous comments Amanda made and fans even threatened to ‘boycott’ the series. Amanda said the boycott threats happened because of a tweet she made in March about a drag show. Back in March, Amanda had tweeted: “I lost quite a few followers for saying that a semi-naked man in thigh high boots dancing in a highly sexualised way shouldn’t be performing in front of babies and it tells me everything I need to know about where society is heading. How do you not agree with me on this?”

It came after she spoke out against footage from a baby sensory and cabaret show for parents and their babies. It showed a person dancing in boots and bondage harness.

Addressing the backlash on Instagram in August, Amanda said: “Now I need to make this very clear, I love drag, I think it’s an amazing form of entertainment. I [bleeping] love drag queens, I think they’re hilarious and brilliant and it’s an art form. My tweet back in March was regarding a 12 year old who was doing it in front of adults. It just upset me because I saw a kid, a little kid, doing something very over sexualised and I didn’t think it was right.”

She added at the time: “I’m not a hateful person, I support the trans community and I also support women’s rights. I’ve said stupid things, of course I have, and instantly regretted them. Everybody is learning. So sorry if you feel you have to boycott Strictly for a tweet I made about a drag show but I don’t think 12 year olds should be doing overly sexualised drag acts.”

Giovanni Pernice and Amanda Abbington smiling in Strictly promo pic
Giovanni and Amanda faced ‘feud’ claims (Credit: BBC/Ray Burniston)

‘Feud’ rumours with Giovanni Pernice

Elsewhere, in September, there were claims of a ‘feud’ between Giovanni and Amanda. Reports alleged that Amanda had threatened to quit due to her pro partner’s “aggressive behaviour” during training.

However, Amanda seemingly hit back at the claims. She wrote on her Instagram Story in September: “Ignoring the [bleep] because clearly people are [bleep]s. Just stop it, stop it, grow up. No one gives a [bleep]. Shut up, it’s [bleep], so [bleep] off.”

Meanwhile, during an appearance on It Takes Two in September, the pair confirmed they were getting along.

Host Janette Manrara asked them: “You’re getting along like a house on fire in rehearsals, right?”

Amanda said they “laugh a lot”, adding: “We’re having a great time.”

Giovanni added: “We do have a good time. But at the same time it’s a difficult process. Especially for people who have never done Strictly before. I always say it’s a marathon not a sprint. The first few weeks, it is difficult. It’s a lot of hours to train, it’s a lot of hours you have to concentrate.”

Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice on Strictly
Amanda didn’t mention Giovanni in her statement (Credit: BBC)

Amanda misses week on Strictly due to ‘medical reasons’

On October 21, Amanda didn’t perform with Giovanni due to “medical reasons”. Janette confirmed the news on It Takes Two the night before the live show.

She said: “We have some breaking news. Unfortunately, due to medical reasons, Amanda will not be taking part in Strictly Come Dancing this weekend.

“Strictly Come Dancing protocols mean that all being well, Amanda and Giovanni will return the following week. Amanda, we hope you get well soon my love, sending you all the best wishes!”

Then, on Saturday’s show, host Claudia Winkleman sent Amanda well-wishes on behalf of the show and its stars.

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Amanda’s exit and Giovanni’s sweet message

The following Monday it was announced that Amanda has withdrawn from the series. A statement from Strictly read: “Amanda Abbington is unable to continue in Strictly Come Dancing and has decided to withdraw from the competition. The show wishes her all the best for the future.”

Giovanni also broke his silence, sharing a touching message to Instagram. He said alongside a photo of them smiling on the show: “Amanda… I am so sad we can’t continue but I am proud of what we achieved and I am sending you so much love.”

Amanda broke her silence on the Tuesday, writing on Instagram: “It is with deepest regret that I had to leave Strictly. I did not come to this decision easily or lightly but for personal reasons I am unable to continue.

Amanda Abbington’s statement

“It was an absolute joy working with my fellow contestants, they are a beautiful, hardworking and talented group of people who I love and who I will miss seeing every Friday and Saturday and competing alongside.

“I want to thank the incredible Production team and everyone on Strictly who looked after me and who are so kind and caring. It’s a wonderful bunch of people and I’ll miss all of them.

“I’m so sad that I am unable to go any further. Thank you to everyone who voted and who sent wonderful messages and inspiring support. You are all amazing. Truly.”

Amanda Abbington
Amanda missed one show due to “medical reasons” before quitting altogether (Credit: ITV)

What happened next?

Since then, fans picked up on a so-called ‘snub’ to Giovanni following his notable absence in Amanda’s statement.

She was also revealed to not be returning for the show’s final tonight (December 16). This means Giovanni could face dancing alone.

However, she did send a good luck message to the three finalists on social media.

Sadly, however, there are fears among fans that the 2023 series could be Giovanni’s last.

“He’s not himself,” said one, the week after his early exit.

We guess only time will tell…

Read more: Strictly fans’ prediction for Giovanni Pernice before 2023 series began as he and Amanda Abbington quit

The Strictly final is on tonight (December 16) at 7pm on BBC One. 

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Will you miss Giovanni and Amanda? You can leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know.

Rebecca Carter
Associate Editor (News)