Aljaz Skorjanec speaks on The One Show, Giovanni Pernice purses his lips

Strictly sparks backlash as Aljaz Skorjanec returns to show: ‘BBC running scared because Giovanni is gone’

'Ready to experience the Strictly magic again'

The return of Strictly Come Dancing pro favourite Aljaz Skorjanec to the BBC programme has seen some fans bring up Giovanni Pernice‘s name.

It was revealed during Monday (July 8) night’s episode of The One Show that Aljaz will star in the 2024 dance series.

Aljaz, 34, has had a two-year break from Strictly, having participated in nine runs of the show before his hiatus.

Aljaz Skorjanec smiles on The One Show
Dancer Aljaz Skorjanec is coming back to the Strictly dance floor in 2024 (Credit: BBC iPlayer)

Aljaz Skorjanec returns to Strictly

While away from the Strictly dance floor, Slovenian star Aljaz has become a dad to Lyra, who he shares with wife Janette Manrara.

Aljaz said: “I could not be more ecstatic to be back with the Strictly family! This year is such a special one for this legendary show, I can’t wait to be a part of it and make my return to the dance floor.

“I had an absolute ball during my nine year stint on Strictly. During my time away I became a parent, which has been an exciting challenge in itself and now I’m ready to experience the Strictly magic again.

It feels so right to be coming back.

“It feels so right to be coming back, I missed the fun, glitter and the judges of course and I hope to make my daughter Lyra proud!”

Aljaz Skorjanec makes an appearance on The One Show
‘I can’t wait to make my return to the dance floor’ (Credit: BBC iPlayer)

Giovanni Pernice Strictly exit

But while Aljaz will be reunited with many other beloved Strictly pros later this year, one familiar face won’t be joining him for the 20th series.

That’s because Giovanni Pernice has exited Strictly, following months of his name appearing in the headlines.

Gio’s departure was confirmed in early June as the pool of pro dancers for Strictly 2024 was announced.

It came amid reports of a BBC investigation following allegations concerning Giovanni’s training methods and his 2023 Strictly pairing with actress Amanda Abbington.

And it seems Gio is still in the thoughts of some fans, even though yesterday’s announcement didn’t relate to him.

How fans reacted

Several celebs and Strictly stars reacted with joy in the comments section over on Instagram.

Former dance partner Gemma Atkinson celebrated: “Yay!!!!!”

Judge Motsi Mabuse posted: “Welcome back.”

And Neil Jones gushed: “This news made my day. I missed watching you dance.”

Meanwhile, a fan speculated: “That’s brilliant – once they’ve left I don’t think they usually return. But maybe replacing Giovanni which is sad for Gio but lovely to have @aljazskorjanec back.”

Someone else also reckoned Aljaz returning may be linked to Gio going, claiming: “I think that’s why they’ve chosen him because he’s very popular and won’t upset Gio’s fans so much.”

But someone else huffed: “Now bring back Giovanni who did not deserve the treatment he’s been given!”

And yet another person went on to suggest: “BBC running scared because Giovanni has gone?”

To which someone else replied: “What does one have to do with the other?”


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Robert Leigh
Freelance writer