Will Mellor on childhood memories of Blackpool ahead of Strictly special

Will Mellor has said performing at Blackpool for Strictly Come Dancing will be a “magical moment” as the seaside town holds special memories for him.

The Coronation Street star, 46, will be among the eight remaining celebrity contestants and their dance partners competing in the Tower Ballroom on Saturday as the BBC show returns to Blackpool after a two-year absence due to the pandemic.

Ahead of his performance, Mellor revealed that as a child he used to spend family holidays going to the resort’s beaches and arcades while growing up which left him dreaming about living there one day.

The Bredbury-born actor told the PA news agency: “I used to go as a kid for little day trips and go see the lights and I’ve never been up the tower, we couldn’t afford it really, and this is the chance for me to dance in the tower so it’s going to be a magical moment.”

He said the place holds “good memories” for him, recalling: “Me and my family would go up there for the day and be freezing cold on the pebble beach looking for crabs, wrapped in coats and enjoying every minute of it.

“As a kid, I used to dream about living in Blackpool because it was like Las Vegas to me.

“It was like, ‘Could you imagine living near this funfair? You’d go on it every day’.”

His dance partner, Nancy Xu, will also compete at the Tower Ballroom for the first time with Strictly since joining the dance competition in 2019.

Strictly Come Dancing 2022
Will Mellor and Nancy Xu will dance the samba to I Go To Rio by Hugh Jackman when they take to the dancefloor at Blackpool (Kieron McCarron/BBC/PA)

She said: “For both of us, it’s going to be amazing. Every year, with Strictly going to Blackpool, it’s always bigger, more glitter, and everything is extreme. It’s going to mean a lot.”

Xu explained how everyone has “dreamed” of going back to Blackpool after the Covid restrictions eased, adding: “We wanted to go back so much but every week for us is special because we want to give our best.

“All the team work very hard to make this show just look amazing so we just enjoy every week.”

The pair will dance the samba to I Go To Rio by Hugh Jackman when they take to the dancefloor in a bid to impress the judges.

Mellor added that he is determined to have his mother in the audience to watch him during the Blackpool special as she is a “massive fan”.

He said: “My mum is coming to Blackpool, I’ve already told her. I said, ‘If I ever go to Blackpool, mum, you’re coming’.

“She’s a massive fan of the show. She has a T-shirt that says Team Will on it, all my sisters do.

“And half the village of where I come from, in Bredbury, and (people in) Bromley and Stockport are messaging me with their support.

The remaining couples will take to the dancefloor at the Tower on Saturday November 19 at 7.45pm, with the results show on Sunday November 20 at 7.20pm on BBC One.