Strictly star Will Mellor admits receiving tough feedback from the judging panel feels like a ‘kick in the teeth’ after Craig Revel Horwood picked about his routine on Saturday night.

The actor, 46, told MailOnline he finds ‘being criticised hard’ and was ‘disappointed’ by the judges’ comments after he danced the notoriously difficult rumba with professional partner Nancy Xu, 31, to Ed Sheeran track, The Joker and the Queen.

In an exclusive interview, Will revealed he was previously too ‘frightened’ to sign up to Strictly, after being approached by bosses over the years, because he was ‘weary’ of the impact being on the show would have on his two teenage children, Jayden, 18, and Renée, 14, who he shares with dancer wife Michelle. 

After suffering the tragic loss of his father, who passed away two weeks after being diagnosed with cancer in 2020, Will’s perspective changed and now he confesses to be enjoying the Strictly experience more than he could have ever predicted. 

'I find it hard to hide my emotions': Strictly star Will Mellor admits receiving tough feedback from the judging panel feels like a 'kick in the teeth' after Craig Revel Horwood picked about his routine on Saturday night

‘I find it hard to hide my emotions’: Strictly star Will Mellor admits receiving tough feedback from the judging panel feels like a ‘kick in the teeth’ after Craig Revel Horwood picked about his routine on Saturday night

'It wasn't easy to take': The actor told MailOnline he finds 'being criticised hard' and was 'disappointed' by the judges' comments after he danced the notoriously difficult rumba

‘It wasn’t easy to take’: The actor told MailOnline he finds ‘being criticised hard’ and was ‘disappointed’ by the judges’ comments after he danced the notoriously difficult rumba

Will said: ‘I find being criticised by the judges hard. I find being criticised hard as a person.

‘Some people can let it go over them, but I find it hard to hide my emotions. You know how I’m feeling, and I can’t help that.

‘I was disappointed by the judges’ comments because I really tried my best but we are there to be judged so I have to take the rough with the smooth.

‘I got some good comments in week one and two and then I found myself second to the bottom of the leader board and it wasn’t easy to take, especially because I wasn’t feeling well and I was feeling sorry for myself.

'I'm enjoying the journey': After suffering the tragic loss of his father, who passed away two weeks after being diagnosed with cancer in 2020, Will's perspective changed and now he confesses to be enjoying the Strictly experience more than he could have ever predicted

‘I’m enjoying the journey’: After suffering the tragic loss of his father, who passed away two weeks after being diagnosed with cancer in 2020, Will’s perspective changed and now he confesses to be enjoying the Strictly experience more than he could have ever predicted

‘When you get it right it is the best feeling in the world because all your emotion comes out, your nerves, it’s a sense of achievement when you finish and do it well.

‘Also, if you do it and put all that effort in and get negative comments it can be a bit of a kick in the teeth but that’s part of it and I have got to get used to it.’

On Saturday night, Craig, 57, criticised Will’s rendition of the rumba for lacking leg and hip action, which he explained is crucial to the dance, while Anton Du Beke, 56, said there were a number of technical problems with the couple’s performance.   

But the panel praised Will’s acting ability, with his sentiment and storytelling earning him top marks in previous weeks.

Will added: ‘It’s tough and it’s tiring, and you are putting yourself out there every week live on TV but I’m enjoying the journey and I really want to see how far I can get.

'We're doing it as a family': Will revealed he was previously too 'frightened' to sign up to Strictly because he was 'weary' of the impact being on the show would have on his two teenage children, Jayden and Renée

‘We’re doing it as a family’: Will revealed he was previously too ‘frightened’ to sign up to Strictly because he was ‘weary’ of the impact being on the show would have on his two teenage children, Jayden and Renée

‘I’m enjoying it more than I thought I would. I thought I would find it really tough but I’m surprising myself and I want to see how far I can go.  

‘Since my dad passed away, my mindset changed and I thought life – you’ve got to grab it and I don’t want to waste time doing things I’m not passionate about.

‘When Strictly came along that’s why I said yes because I was a bit frightened about it but that’s when you test yourself and you’ve got to grab life and that’s what I want to do from now on.’ 

Before taking on the Strictly challenge, Will confided in his family and sought approval from his wife Michelle, who’s a professional dancer and has performed with the likes of Destiny’s Child, Robbie Williams, and Craig David. 

He said: ‘I spoke to my family when they asked me to do it – they’ve asked me to do it for a long time and I’ve always said no because I’ve always been a bit weary of doing it. I feared it.

‘Any kind of reality show I was always a bit weary of doing. My mindset changed and I thought I’m going to say yes to more things and grab life and opportunities.

‘When I thought about doing it, I spoke to my wife and my kids, and I said I’m thinking of doing this, but it involves us all because it’s a journey we all go on together.

‘My daughter getting affected from people at school by people mentioning it and my wife being an ex-dancer herself I knew she was going to get peppered for me doing it. But we’re doing it as a family and they’re right behind me.’

Support: Before taking on the Strictly challenge, Will sought approval from his wife Michelle, who's a professional dancer and has performed with the likes of Destiny's Child, Robbie Williams, and Craig David

Support: Before taking on the Strictly challenge, Will sought approval from his wife Michelle, who’s a professional dancer and has performed with the likes of Destiny’s Child, Robbie Williams, and Craig David 

Memories: Will attended the London premiere of new film Black Adam, which stars Dwayne Johnson, on Thursday evening with his 18-year-old son Jayden

Memories: Will attended the London premiere of new film Black Adam, which stars Dwayne Johnson, on Thursday evening with his 18-year-old son Jayden 

Will, who starred in BBC Three sitcom Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps alongside Sheridan Smith, says he’s open to the comedy returning and insists there’s still an appetite from fans to see where his character Gaz ended up.

Though, Will’s dream is to continue being himself on TV and after filming new series The World’s Most Dangerous Roads with Keith Lemon, the former Hollyoaks actor is keen to commission his own travel show.

He said: ‘We did offer it. Susan Nickson the original writer came up with another series called Two Pints Last Orders and it was the characters Gaz and Jonny now so in their 40s and how have they changed, are they still in the pub talking nonsense, and the kids have grown up and it was a very funny script.

‘The BBC said they didn’t want to revisit it and that was up to them but the fans really want it. I don’t know what’s next I’m sort of flying by the seat of my pants a little bit with what’s going on.

‘I am enjoying being myself. I am looking at doing my own travel show. I have a series coming out with Keith Lemon called The World’s Most Dangerous Roads and we go to Albania, and we drive round there in a jeep, it’s hilariously funny but a proper journey.

‘I’d like to do more of that and travel. I want to get my own shows off the ground and do things I have always wanted to do.’

Will has teamed up with James Villas Holidays who have learned through research that children are the new jet setters after 67 per cent of parents say their kids are better travelled than they were at the same age.

And Will’s two children are no different because the star says he priorities family time and taking a break with his wife and kids is something he looks forward to the most.

He said: ‘When my kids were younger, I was always about getting away with them and giving them experiences and it helps build them up.

‘I love getting away and creating new memories. I feel guilty if I’m anywhere without my children. I want to be wherever there are.

‘Whenever we book a holiday, I try to go somewhere different so we can have a new adventure and stay somewhere else. We always tend to get villas and with James Villas doing this research it shows how important holidays are to families and creating memories.’

The survey, conducted by Atomik Research, also discovered that out of the 2,000 parents asked, two thirds of people would pay for their children to come on holiday with them way into their 20s. 

Will added: ‘You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have quality time together.

‘Holidays are so important, to get away, create memories and have something to look forward to especially when those winter months kick in. You’ve got to book a holiday and get out there.’



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