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Meryl Williams on The Traitors return


Meryl Williams on The Traitors return

Following the return to BBC One of The Traitors, Meryl Williams, first series winner, has pondered the latest series…

Meryl sat down with Sky Vegas in an exclusive interview to chat behind-the-scenes gossip and her predictions for this season.

These contestants aren’t going to let people stand by and say nothing … “When I initially read Paul and Ash’s bios, I thought they would make good Traitors. You could tell straight away that they wanted to be Traitors and they’re dominant characters. They’re also a little older and more experienced so they have the same advantage that Wilfred [Webster] and Amanda [Lovett] had over Alyssa [Chan], who had more of a guilty conscience that led to her downfall at the end. That’s why I was surprised that they chose Harry, who is 22. I was surprised that they recruited another young person. I like Harry but I have a gut feeling he might let himself slip. 

“Last year everyone was a lot more relaxed and just enjoying themselves, whereas there are lots of big personalities this year that have come in, knowing what to do and wanting to win. This year’s cast aren’t going to let people stand by and say nothing, they’re going to pull them in. It’s quite intimidating, thank God I was in last season.” 

Harry will let himself slip and be the first Traitor to go  … “This year’s cast is looking for something, whereas we let a lot slide last year. They’re going to be analysing every single movement, every single expression, every single thing said. I think [Harry] will let himself slip and as soon as he does, then that will be his downfall. The whole point of the show is to try and get a Traitor out and, he might surprise me but, I think he will most likely be the first person to go and it’ll probably be quite soon.” 

Having a shield can often be a disadvantage   … “I was actually quite surprised [that they introduced shields to the challenge]. It definitely adds a competitive streak, and you can tell who’s out for themselves and who’s a team player. If they go straight to that shield, and don’t help anyone else, you know they’re out for themself. What was interesting is that a Traitor got a shield, so they’re definitely trying to pull everyone off the scent by saying, ‘well, I’m not a Traitor, because if I was a Traitor, why would I get a shield?’, which is quite clever. But they’re also going to put themselves at risk because no one wants someone that’s not a team player.

“They’re all working together to make the money from the missions and then they’re [the contestants who got the shields] just out for themself. What’s the point? And I think that definitely does reveal a lot about characters and obviously the two Faithfuls. I know from last year, having a shield does help you sleep at night, you just don’t have that worry. Whereas if you don’t, you’re kind of like, ‘am I gonna make it?’ They’ve obviously got the round table to deal with so they’re not shielded from that and I often do think it’s kind of a disadvantage in a sense, because if you do go for the shield, then the others will think ‘well we can just get you out tonight at the round table because you’re not a team player’. And a lot of the times we had that last year, when someone got a shield and they actually went out that night, because we all thought that’s really suspicious anyway.” 

You can’t let shields make you complacent because you can still be eliminated the next day … “[In the game] you feel like you’re constantly living on the edge, nothing is guaranteed. From experience, I was never thinking about the future. I was always saying just get to the next day. That’s the way I was living my life so I think having that guarantee that you’ll be there tomorrow, all day, is reassuring. You do get caught into a little rhythm and routine and you don’t want the experience to end. I had a really positive experience but from talking to the other contestants, nobody wanted to go home. I also think it’s clever because you get that guarantee and then you can still be eliminated the next day. So you don’t want to get too complacent with that.” 

Diane is the easiest target because she’s so vocal  … “Diane, the retired teacher. I looked at her and thought it’s like butter wouldn’t melt. She looks really nice, but I think she is very vocal and I always said, from experience, don’t go and be the loudest person in the room on the first episode. The Traitors are looking for someone to get out and if you’re the loudest person, if you’re talking to people, if you’re dictating and throwing your voice so everyone can hear, you’re going to be the only name that everyone can remember later. So I think she is most likely the easiest target. She’s not really got that many connections with anyone either so it’s not like she’s building an alliance with any of the other Traitors to keep her in.” 

I want to see people building bonds and making friendships  … “I love that in this first episode, Claudia [Winkleman] lined everyone up because it was a clear way of telling everyone that this is not the same as last season. I know obviously, the whole point of the game is to play for the money, but it’s also nice to watch people enjoy the experience and build bonds with other contestants. Hopefully they will show the development of friendships too because it can sometimes become quite strategical.” 

Meryl was speaking exclusively to Sky Vegas. The Traitors airs on BBC One and catch up on the iPlayer.

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