Will Mellor: Losing my dad during lockdown made me fully embrace life

Jayne Cherrington-Cook
·4-min read

Watch: Will Mellor talks about why he cremated the wrong cat

Actor Will Mellor lost his beloved father Bill suddenly in April 2020, just two weeks after he was diagnosed with cancer. Due to the pandemic and social distancing guidelines, Will was unable to be with his father or his grieving family, but a year on, while still coming to terms with the loss, he feels it’s given him a new outlook on life.

The actor was chatting on White Wine Question Time about how he is now determined not to waste a moment of his life.

“He lives in me,” he said about his late father.

“I'm going to make him proud wherever I do. Whatever it is, it doesn't have to be massive. I stopped chasing the big things - if something comes your way grab it, enjoy it for what it is. I'm going to do what I want to do - and I don't care what anyone else thinks!”

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This carefree attitude is somewhat different to the Mellor of old, who said having to provide for his family meant he would panic about where his next job was coming from.

FROM ITV

STRICT EMBARGO - No Use Before Tuesday 9th March 2021

Coronation Street - Ep 10273

Monday 15th March 2021 - 1st Ep

Leanne Tilsley [JANE DANSON] masks her panic. Approaching HarveyÕs [WILL MELLOR] car with trepidation she hands him the £1k, telling him sheÕs SimonÕs Mum and thatÕs all heÕs getting. Harvey makes it clear he wants the rest or heÕll put them in hospital. 

Picture contact David.crook@itv.com 

Photographer - Danielle Baguley

This photograph is (C) ITV Plc and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV plc. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission [TX] date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on  www.itv.com/presscentre/itvpictures/terms
Will Mellor plays the menacing Harvey in Coronation Street (ITV)

“It's such a dodgy business to be in, because there are no guarantees,” Mellor said about acting.

“If the phone doesn't ring, you don't work and and then it's like how long do I wait before I start saying 'yes' to the things that I didn't really want to do before or other opportunities? You think if I say 'no' to that, what if nothing else comes and all this panic started to happen.”

Read more: Actor Will Mellor opens up about trauma of his father dying during the coronavirus pandemic

In his career previously, he revealed he would also get advice from his agents about the kind of work to take, which would make the panic even worse.

He told podcast host Kate Thornton: “My agents said if you do that, you know that might damage your drama career. If you do the drama, then you won't get much comedy and if you do singing, you can’t act at all.”

Will said he's enjoying the challenge of playing drug-dealing baddy Harvey in Coronation Street (ITV)
Will said he's enjoying the challenge of playing drug-dealing baddy Harvey in Coronation Street (ITV)

Mellor has however successfully married all three aspects in his career so far, from staring in cult comedy classics like Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps to appearing in musicals — and even having a top five hit — and he’s always keen to try challenging roles, which is why he accepted his latest part of Harvey in Coronation Street.

“Straightaway I said 'yes', because it's a challenge for me, and it's also somewhat different,” he revealed.

Losing his father so unexpectedly last year has meant Mellor taking a whole new approach to his work life: he is worrying less and living more.

Read more: How to cope with grief at work

“I realised there's a lot more to life to worry about, and I just grab life by the scruff of the neck now and just try and enjoy the simple things and the things that I can control,” he said.

The toughest part of the grief though has been going through it without being able to comfort his nearest and dearest, something he’s aware plenty of others have sadly also experienced this last year.

“I know a lot of people have been going through a lot of things that would be tough in normal circumstances, but in this pandemic to lose somebody when you can't be with them is just horrendous because you can't change it,” he told Thornton.

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“There's simple things like being able to be with them at that moment or be able to give them a hug when they're going through something and you have to watch them through a window or sit in the back of a garden. It just didn't seem right.”

Mellor has taken to enjoying the simple things in life, such as going for walks, which has helped heal his grief to a point. And a year on from his father’s death, what’s the one thing that's getting him through the tough times?

“Don't worry about the things you can't [control] because you never will control them,” he advises.

Hear Will Mellor talk about why he’s worried about playing a baddy in Coronation Street in the latest episode of White Wine Question Time. Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Watch: Coronation Street’s newest addition Will Mellor talks about how much his new role means to him, and his mum