Will Mellor 'proud' of BBC drama In The Club's success
Recent roles in top primetime dramas have helped Will Mellor shrug off the 'cheeky chappy' roles he had become accustomed to.
It's not that he doesn't still love playing comedy roles, but extending his character repertoire is something he has always strived to do.
And with the success of In The Club - a drama following the lives of couples who meet at antenatal class, about to welcome a new baby into their lives and the twists and turns a new-born brings - his plan is working.
Fresh from starring in acclaimed Broadchurch and Dates last year, Will was delighted to be cast in Kay Mellor's latest six-part series, alongside Jill Halfpenny.
Stockport-born Will, who is best known as playing loveable Gaz in Two Pints of Lager and Packet of Crisps, said: "I still love comedy but I didn't want to be pigeon-holed. I want to keep testing myself, work with new people and learn from them.
"And I loved the (In The Club) script as soon as I saw it. It's a role I could really get stuck into and Kay is so good at writing such human stories - she has you laughing and crying.
"I'll admit I was worried whether men would watch it, due to the subject matter, but the feedback has been great and the viewing figures just kept going up every week.
"I'm very proud of its success and it was great to work with Jill. She's honest with no holds barred which is good as that's how I like to work.
"Hermione (Norris) was fantastic; she is so good at heartbreak and then being hilarious. There was no weak link in the cast."
Will was able to draw on some of his own personal experience, something which helped him 'do justice' to the role of Rick, who is expecting a miracle child with his wife Diane (Halfpenny) but he loses his job and is driven to commit a desperate act - rob a bank.
Rick is caught and thrown in prison, missing the birth of his baby.
"I'm a dad so that helped me tap into how I would feel if I was taken away from my kids. And my own dad did some time in prison and I have talked to him at length about it and how I went to visit him and didn't remember who he was. He told me how much that hurt him.
"The hardest thing for a parent to imagine is not being there for their kids." Will said.
The 38-year-old, who is currently filming a new Paul Abbott black humour detective show No Offence in Manchester, meaning he has been unable to catch his close friend Sheridan Smith in ITV drama Cilla, but is full of praise for his Two Pints co-star,
"Sheridan is so brave to take on such an iconic role.
"She is fantastic at what she does but she is still very family-orientated and grounded. I am very proud of her."
Will, who will be filming No Offence until December, hopes to continue to balance comedy, drama and his family life (he is married to actress Michelle McSween and they have two children Jayden, 10 and Renee, six) and playing a soldier is next on his wish list.
"I've always wanted to play a soldier or ex-soldier who is battle-scarred. Or maybe a true action hero, the type of role you can really immerse yourself in."