Waterloo Road’s latest recruit Richard Mylan says that an incident when he was outed as a teenage ballet dancer left him with skin thick enough to deal with any embarrassment.

“I really enjoyed rugby when I was at school, but I also had a secret life as a ballet dancer,” he told What’s on TV.

“My ballet teacher had agreed not to tell anyone because I was in the rugby team. But when I came top of a ballet exam the head teacher announced it at school assembly,” laughs Richard, 40, who plays new deputy head Simon Lowsley in Waterloo Road.

“So there’s me, this little Welsh curly headed kid sitting down the back with my mates thinking I’m a tough guy when the headmaster calls out my name and the whole school turns round. Everyone just fell about laughing!”

Fortunately, Richard got a top tip from his mother when it came to dealing with excruciating jibes in the form of poorly executed pirouettes…

“When I went home and told my mum how everyone was taking the mick out of me she told me to correct their technique. So the next day I went in and said things like ‘That’s rubbish – you need to keep your shoulders down and your arms up’. It was terrible at the time, but I learned to deal with it. I carried on playing rugby and eventually they got over it.”

Richard had the last laugh, as his dancing led to a starring role in London’s West End production of Starlight Express and eventually his career in television, with roles in The Bill, Coupling, Where the Heart Is, Grownups and Doctors soon following.

In Waterloo Road Richard’s alter ego Simon has to deal with an equally embarrassing revelation when the school discover he’s engaged to a science teacher and begin calling him by her pet name ‘Twinkle’!

For more on this week’s Waterloo Road and this exclusive chat check out What’s on TV magazine.