Strictly Come Dancing's Giovanni Pernice was reportedly attacked by masked muggers who "blinded" him with a noxious substance. The professional dancer was allegedly jumped by two men who pulled up in a car and grabbed his watch and rucksack following a night out with friends in Epping, Essex, last month. According to The Sun, the 29-year-old at first thought he was the victim of an acid attack as the substance, believed to be pepper spray, burned his eyes. The paper adds that Giovanni was treated at the scene by paramedics and is understood to have avoided any long-term damage from the incident. Police are said to be investigating the alleged attack. HELLO! has reached out to a spokesperson for Giovanni for comment.
This is not the first time a member of the Strictly team has been attacked. Pasha Kovalev, who quit the series earlier this year, was robbed of his mobile phone by moped muggers in London in June. AJ Pritchard, 24, and brother Curtis, 23, were beaten up at a Cheshire club last year, and Gorka Marquez, 29, lost two teeth in an attack in Blackpool in 2016.
Giovanni's girlfriend Ashley Roberts was reported to have cancelled engagements to be by his side
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Giovanni's reported attack comes as the seventeenth series of the hit BBC One show prepares to kick off with its pre-recorded launch show on Saturday. Viewers will find out which celebrity is partnered with which pro, before the first live show airs on Saturday 21 September. Made in Chelsea star Jamie Laing has unfortunately had to withdraw from the competition after sustaining a foot injury, but there has been no word from Strictly bosses yet as to whether a replacement celebrity will be drafted in.
The Strictly class of 2019
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Other celebs in this year's series include EastEnders Emma Barton, Youtuber Saffron Barker, comedian Chris Ramsey, former Corrie star Catherine Tyldesley, Will Bayley Michelle Visage, Dev Griffin, Emma Thynn, Vicountess Weymouth, Anneka Rice, David James, Karim Zeroual, James Cracknell, Mike Bushell, and Alex Scott.
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