Strictly’s most ferocious backstage feuds – MasterChef star’s shocking dig at partner to pro's spat with Danny Dyer | The Sun

Strictly’s most ferocious backstage feuds – MasterChef star’s shocking dig at partner to pro's spat with Danny Dyer | The Sun

IT’S the sparkly dance show that brings a dose of glitz and glamour to our Saturday nights.

But over the years Strictly Come Dancing has been dogged by rumours of simmering feuds and backstage spats.


This week reports of a rift between dancer Giovanni Pernice and partner Richie Anderson have emerged.

A source told The Sun the Radio 2 presenter’s over-excitement at taking part has meant the Italian pro, who won the contest with deaf actress Rose Ayling-Ellis last year, is struggling to rein him in during training.

“The pair haven’t clicked,” said the source. “Richie is so swept up by the whole experience that he is talking 100 words a minute, and it can be hard for Giovanni.

“He has told pals that Richie talks instead of listening during training, and it is frustrating.”

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But Richie addressed the rumours by thanking Gio for being "the best teacher over the past fortnight".

While it's early days for the all-male pairing, theirs won’t be the first partnership to cause friction.

Backstage tensions have previously flared between dancers, stars and even the judges.

Here we look at the Strictly spats that have threatened to take the shine off the gleaming glitterball. 

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Amy Dowden vs Danny John-Jules

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Amy and Danny had a tricky relationship

The 2018 partnership between the Red Dwarf star and the Welsh dancer was not a happy one, with reports that BBC bosses had to warn Danny about “bullying” behaviour towards Amy.

Danny was said to be furious at being painted as the villain and shunned backstage as cast and crew backed Amy. 

A source told The Sun that Danny felt Amy "turned him over" and blamed her for them not being booked on the Strictly Tour.

They added: “They don’t talk, they don’t look at each other and when they aren’t being forced to dance together they are on separate sides of the room.”

Amy was left in tears on It Takes Two when he refused to turn up to discuss their week seven exit, but insisted she never felt “threatened or bullied by him".

Danny later addressed the feud saying the BBC hid the truth about an injury Amy sustained, which meant he rehearsed with a stand in.

“The week that I made the mistake that everyone came down like a ton of bricks, the judges knew that I hadn’t danced with my partner that week,” he said.

James Jordan vs Danny Dyer


Danny and James got into a bitter war of words in 2015 after the EastEnders star was pictured in the audience supporting his on-screen wife Kellie Bright, as well as appearing in a number of video clips.

James, who had left the show two years before, tweeted: "Is Danny Dyer on Strictly???" to which Danny replied: "Yeah like you……oh….wait…."

As the spat intensified, Danny accused the former Strictly pro of living off the earnings of wife Ola, tweeting: "That moment when your wife pays the mortgage and utility bills. #keptman."

James fired back: “Don't forget the holidays and cars… Unlike you she didn't stick all her money up her nose.”

Acerbic James has also had public spats with judge Craig Revel Horwood and former co-star Aliona Vilani.

Katya Jones vs Nadiya Bychova

Reports of tension between professional dancers Katya Jones and Nadiya Bychkova emerged while the dancers were on the Arena tour earlier this year.

Sources told The Sun Katya, 32, was unhappy with the attention Nadiya was getting, after she began a romance with fellow pro Kai Widdrington.

A source told The Sun: "Katya is used to being the one everyone is talking about on the show and has been struggling a bit this year. 

“Nadiya has become the hot topic this tour, leaving Katya telling pals she is a bit jealous."

In March there were further rumours about a backlash against Russian dancers Katya and Luba Mushtuk, over the war in Ukraine. Nadiya and fellow pro Nikita Kuzmin are Ukrainian. 

But Katya rubbished the rumours in March and condemned Putin’s invasion, calling it "totally wrong". 

Ola Jordan vs Kristina Rihanoff

A backstage battle between Ola Jordan and Kristina Rihanoff was said to be behind both pros leaving in 2016. 

The stunning dancers were fan favourites but allegedly made it difficult for their fellow dancers as a jealous feud brewed backstage for two years.

“Ola and Kristina were friends but jealousy took over and it created an incredibly uncomfortable atmosphere,” a Strictly insider told The Sun.

Kristina later blasted the rumours as “silly” adding: “I have a good relationship with everyone on the show.”

Craig Revel Horwood vs Brendan Cole 

Judge Craig and fiery dancer Brendan frequently locked horns on screen with the former champ challenging critiques on a regular basis.

The animosity even bubbled over to the New Zealand version where they both sat on the judging panel. 

Brendan was booted off Strictly in 2018 and, a year later, Craig claims he offered him an olive branch by inviting him for lunch – but it didn’t go well.

"I hadn't spoken to him for years. I thought, 'wouldn't it be nice to see Brendan, just to see if he's working'," he told Kate Thornton on her White Wine Question Time podcast.

“Anyway he had an electric car. He was showing that off. We hated each other."

Fern Britton vs Artem Chigvintsev

Presenter Fern took part in the show in 2012 but had a frosty relationship with partner Artem.

Three years later she claimed the Russian pro used to “kick” and “shove” her during rehearsals.

She told The Times: “He was like: ‘Shut your face. Go home before I kill you.'

“I would say, ‘Oh please just kill me, it would be easier.'"

Artem denied the claims, insisting he treated Fern with “respect and genuine care”, and said her comments didn’t reflect “any situation” he recognised.

Greg Wallace vs Aliona Vilani

The MasterChef star was voted off first in the 2014 season, and instantly blamed his dance partner.

“I love dancing, but if I were paired with somebody who liked me then I would have done better,” Greg said. 

In response, Aliona retweeted a number of messages calling for her to get a better partner in future series, with select messages including “could someone please give Aliona a decent partner next year”.

The following year she lifted the glitterball with The Wanted star Jay McGuinness before quitting the show.

Brendan Cole vs Anastacia 

Rock singer Anastacia was recovering from breast cancer treatment when she took on the challenge in 2016.

But she reportedly fell out with Brendan after the rigorous training led to her painfully ripping her mastectomy scars.

She later admitted they clashed, saying: "We’ve definitely had some conversations, I won’t lie about that.

“I think we’re both two very strong-minded individuals in a process, but we get along very, very well.”

Two years later she admitted she was still in regular touch with almost everyone from the show except Brendan, and didn’t message him when he left the show.

Brendan Cole vs Lulu 

Brendan was paired with Sixties legend Lulu in 2011, and made her want to Shout after they fell out in training.

She later revealed: "I worked with someone [on Strictly] with whom I wasn’t really compatible, so that was very hard."

Brendan claimed Lulu was “not a particularly nice person” when they worked together, and branded her his worst ever partner during an interview on Loose Women. 

“Blooming awful,” he said. “But she felt the same about me, so it’s alright.”

Anton du Beke vs Bruno Tonioli

Original judge Bruno was replaced by Anton in the 2021 series, as travel restrictions made it difficult for him to fly from Los Angeles, where he judges the US version.

This year the change became permanent, but there were rumours of a feud when Bruno commented: “Good for him. He needs the money.” 

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