Strictly’s Will Mellor ‘a bit annoyed’ by judges’ comments after dancing with flu

The Coronation Street actor talks to Lisa Salmon about taking criticism on Strictly, losing weight and having adventures with his kids.

Lisa Salmon
Wednesday 19 October 2022 14:35 BST
(Suzan Moore/PA)
(Suzan Moore/PA) (PA Wire)

Will Mellor is made of tough stuff. Despite being “in a bad way” with the flu virus, the actor still managed to participate in Strictly Come Dancing on the weekend – and didn’t get eliminated.

The Coronation Street star, who was asleep in his dressing room before he went on stage, scored just 23 points for his rumba to The Joker And The Queen by Ed Sheeran featuring Taylor Swift.

“I’d only trained for about five hours that week because I’d been in bed with the full-on flu virus. I was in a bad way. The judges knew, but they just decided not to mention it or take it into consideration,” Mellor says.

“I was a bit annoyed by it, to be honest, because I was struggling, and when you’re that way you feel a bit sorry for yourself, and when I got the scores I was a bit, ‘After all that…?!’. I got a four from Craig [Revel Horwood], but that’s just the way it is. They have to judge it as they see it, and that’s up to them.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have [danced], because the judges slagged me off – I should’ve just left it!”

But the 46-year-old, who is partnered with professional dancer Nancy Xu on the BBC One show, is keen not to say anything too negative about the judges. “It’s hard taking criticism when you’re not feeling great. I don’t want it to come across that I’m complaining about the judges’ scoring – that’s part of the competition.

“I wanted to dance, it was my decision – they offered to let me have the week off, but I thought I’ll see how I feel, and if I can dance, I should do.”

He had dedicated his routine to men’s mental health in the VT during the show. “It was an important message,” he says. “I loved the song, and I thought if I can get through it I should do it – it just didn’t go as well as I hoped.”

Mellor – who is working with James Villas ( on a family-themed travel campaign – says he’s much better now, although he’s not 100% well yet and still feels “drained”.  But he’ll be dancing on Saturday, and says his bad experience on last week’s show has made him “more determined this week to get it right”.

The intense training has been a huge boost to his health. He says: “I’m massively fit, and I’ve lost loads of weight – I don’t know how much. When I say I’m fitter, I don’t know if that’s contributed to what I’ve caught because maybe I was a bit run-down from all the training.”

But he adds: “I’m absolutely loving being in the show and the experience, because every week I’ve got a new skill to learn. There’s a lot of pressure, and you’ve got to put a lot of graft in, but if you get it right, the pay-off is amazing on that Saturday night.

“When it goes well, it feels great. But then you’ve got the other side of it like this week, when it didn’t go so well. It’s like a rollercoaster, you’re up and down.”

Coronation Street viewers have seen Mellor’s villainous character Harvey Gaskell return to the show this week in scenes shot before he started his tough six-days-a-week training schedule for Strictly.

“Harvey’s back!” he says, with a laugh. “I’ve filmed quite a few episodes, so he’ll be around for a bit. I had to film it all before I started Strictly because that was going to be very busy and I didn’t want to do other jobs at the same time because I’d heard how tough Strictly was and I thought I wanted to give it my best shot – I didn’t want to spread myself too thin.”

Although life is busy for Mellor, he’s planned a getaway with his family next spring to Grenada where his wife Michelle is from – so his children Jayden, 18, and Renee, 14, can see their 80-year-old grandparents.

“We really want to get out there and take the kids, because that’s where their heritage is, where their roots are,” he says. “It’s a big holiday, it’s not one you do every year, so we’re looking forward to it.”

He says his children have been all over the world with him and his wife, and have travelled much more than he did as a child. “When I was a kid we didn’t have much money, so we went to places like Minehead and Pwllheli. Even still, we had some of the best times ever – caravan holidays as a kid were fantastic,” he says.

New research by James Villas has found that children today are going on holiday at an average of four years younger than when their parents went on their first holiday, enjoying their first overseas holiday from an average age of four.

The research found 37% of families like to return to their favourite places from childhood and relive the experience with their kids. But Mellor says: “I think I went abroad once when I was 14 with my mum and dad, but my kids have been going abroad since they were three or four – we thought it was important.

“It’s massively important to go places with my family and create memories, that’s what life’s about.”

And although the family do go to Gran Canaria a lot in the winter, Mellor says: “I’m not one of those people that likes to keep going back to the same places, because when you go to the same place you tend to do the same things.”

The research found two-thirds of parents think their children will still be going on holiday with them when they’re into their twenties, saying family holidays are more precious now as the cost of living has made it harder to get away.

Mellor says: “I want my kids to come on holiday with me all the time – I feel guilty, especially if I go abroad, if I’ve not got my kids with me. I feel like I’m missing out with the family. We’re a very tight family and that’s how I like it. I love creating memories together, and giving them things they can look back on one day and talk about with their kids.

“I’d give my family anything. I’ve been on TV now for 32 years, so it’s been a long stint for me working, and if I can’t use what I’ve got to try and make memories for my family, then I’m doing it for the wrong reasons. I work as hard as I can and try and make as much money as I can so I can create opportunities for my family. That’s what it’s all about.”

Will Mellor is supporting the family holiday research by James Villas (

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