Former 'Strictly Come Dancing' pro Kristina Rihanoff has defended Giovanni Pernice following his departure from the show, but James Jordan has insisted there is "no smoke without fire".

Former Strictly pro Kristina Rihanoff has defended Giovanni Pernice

Former Strictly pro Kristina Rihanoff has defended Giovanni Pernice

Giovanni was absent from the BBC's list of pro dancers confirmed to be taking part in this year's 'Strictly' earlier in the week after nine years on the show.

It comes amid allegations of "threatening and abusive behaviour" towards some of his former celebrity partners on the Latin and ballroom show.

However, Kristina - who danced on 'Strictly' from 2008 to 2015 - insisted it is "very sad" that Giovanni won't be part of this year's series, and said he was always "easy-going to work with".

Speaking on 'This Morning', she said: "I personally always looked forward to his choreography because that's what I appreciate on the outside because this is the job I love and used to do.

"I think he produced some beautiful dances and it's always exciting to watch what he would choreograph. I think the whole situation is very, very sad."

Former 'Strictly' pros and couple James and Ola Jordan also appeared on 'This Morning', via video link, later on Tuesday's episode (11.06.24).

While James agreed with Kristina that the situation was "very sad", he insisted "there isn't smoke without fire".

He added: "I wanted each of my celebrity partners to have best 'Strictly' experience they could. I honestly believe if you went and asked all of them they'd say they had a great time.

"For him to have four people come forward, there’s clearly something there.

"I’m not bad-mouthing Giovanni, none of us clearly know enough about it. I can only discuss what I've read in the paper, which is four people that have come forward.

"If that is the case you have to sit up and look at it, isn't the proof in the pudding a little bit, he’s not coming back.

"There’s something going on we don't know about, we haven't seen the footage, so it’s very difficult to comment."

Giovanni has rejected all the claims made against him and said he is "looking forward to clearing [his] name."