Debbie McGee: Strictly’s Giovanni on emotional time with ex partner ‘In my heart forever’

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Debbie McGee stunned audiences with her flawless dance routines on Strictly Come Dancing. The former magician’s assistant was partnered with Giovanni Pernice, 30, when she made her debut on the BBC programme in 2017.

The 61-year-old has built up a solid friendship with the Italian hunk ever since she appeared on the show three years ago.

Giovanni has now spoken candidly about a moment he shared with Paul Daniels’ widow which will remain in his “heart forever”.

It comes as the professional dancer and his fellow Strictly stars reflected on special moments in the BBC special Strictly: Best of Musicals.

The Italian-born star opened up about the moment the dancing duo wowed audiences with their American Smooth to Memory from the hit musical Cats.

Giovanni gushed over his former dance partner and admitted the way Debbie danced was “beautiful”.

“Musical week with Debbie McGee was definitely one of the most beautiful dances I’ve ever done on Strictly Come Dancing,” the dancer mused.

“It was emotional. The way [Debbie] danced was beautiful. It will definitely stay in my heart forever.”

The stunning routine was a hit with judges and viewers and the pair topped the leaderboard with 39 points alongside Alexandra Burke and Gorka Marquez.

Debbie and Giovanni made it to the finals of the competition but lost out on the Glitterball trophy to Holby City’s Joe McFadden and his dance partner Katya Jones.

The former magician’s assistant was crowned Strictly champion last year after being partnered with Kevin Clifton for the Christmas special.

The Grimsby-born performer recently announced his departure from the BBC show in March.

Giovanni has since insisted he “wasn’t jealous” of his co-star after Kevin scooped the Strictly win with his ex dance partner.


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He said: “I wasn’t jealous actually to be honest, I loved watching Debbie dancing with Kevin because Debbie is an incredible dancer and is a winner of Strictly Come Dancing.

“And when they danced together, Kevin was calling me pretty much everyday saying, ‘Well done, you did an amazing job and it feels so nice to dance with Debbie’.”

Giovanni explained that Kevin’s kind words meant he had “done his job correctly” in training with the former magician’s assistant.

“So this is praise for me, when somebody dances with your partner and says, ‘It feels so good dancing with Debbie’, it’s a compliment and means that I’ve done my job correctly,” he continued to

“When they won, it’s like the cherry on the cake, it’s like I couldn’t do it with you but she deserves to win.”

Debbie was previously married to magician Paul Daniels until his death in 2016.

The famous British star died after a battle with an incurable brain tumour.

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One this month.

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