Strictly Come Dancing star Giovanni Pernice says his former pro partner on the BBC series Rose Ayling-Ellis has “changed my life” and has opened up about the way Rose continues to influence him even today.

Italian stallion Gio was paired with deaf Eastenders star Rose Ayling-Ellis on the 2022 series of Strictly.

The pair ended up winning the entire series and Rose became incredibly popular for the way she raised awareness for deaf people during her time on the show, including several hearing impairment themed dances.

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And fans loved Gio and Rose’s pairing on the show – certainly more so than Giovanni’s most recent partner, Amanda Abbington, who quit the series halfway through.

Now, Gio, who remains good friends with Rose and is regularly seen meeting up with her, has opened up on The One Show about how Rose continues to have a positive effect on him.

Giovanni said: “Rose not only changed my life she changed lots of lives. What she achieved was great, raising awareness for the deaf community.

Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice
Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice on Strictly Come Dancing
(Image: BBC)

“But it’s important for me as well to keep doing things like this. For example on my shows I do still have an interpreter. Because I remember Rose told me once that deaf people can go to the theatre only once a year on the Wednesday afternoon. It’s the only time they do a signed performance.

“And I think a lot of people would like to go to the theatre a lot more often so I decided to keep going with those performances.

“I think it’s important to be more inclusive. I think we all should try to be more inclusive really.”

Gio was talking about his latest tour, which is currently in theatres. He assured Alex Jones and Ronan Keating that audiences at his new live shows will be treated to a slew of 60s, 70s and 80s hits – and of course, an interpreter.

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