Aaron Dingle takes on ‘cousin’ Mandy when she takes advantage of the Dingle clan. With Robron coming to an emotional end, Emmerdale actor Danny Miller talks about his new feud and filming Robron’s final scenes…
You’d think with all the turmoil going on in Robron’s lives at the moment the last thing Aaron Dingle would want to do is get embroiled in someone else’s drama – think again! His new nemesis is none other than Mandy Dingle!
Since arriving back in the village, Mandy has been sponging off Aaron’s nearest and dearest – Chas and Paddy, Marlon and Uncle Zak. But when Chas discovers a bag full of stolen casino chips, Aaron steps in. Actor Danny Miller explains more…
“Aaron takes an instant disliking to Mandy when she comes back,” Danny says. “When he finds out from Chas that she’s nicked this bag of casino chips, he wants to knock her down a peg or two, because she’s been asking Paddy, Marlon and Zak for money and the whole time, she has this money in her pocket. Aaron decides to give her a taste of her own medicine, taking the chips off her and takes them to a friend who works in a casino to cash in the chips.”
“Aaron is trying to have as much as fun as he can with Robert. They enjoy having some money in their pocket, especially as they don’t have long left together…”
Given the troubled times ahead for Aaron and Robert, could Aaron be adding to their worries by making an enemy of Mandy. Will she break the Dingle code and retaliate?
“Aaron doesn’t really care that Mandy is experienced in these kind of situation, or if she knows the right people in these situations,” adds Danny. “If anything he’s testing how far he can push her. He doesn’t like his family being mugged off and for that reason he decides to teach her a lesson.
“The pub is closed so Chas is struggling for money, Zak needs a few quid, so in his head the logic is he’s going to nick it, give Mandy a share, pay everyone else in the family, and keep some for him and Robert. He knows she can’t go to the police about it because she’d be dobbing herself in.”
Meeting at the scrapyard, Aaron gives Mandy a dressing down for how she’s treated the family. When he reveals that he’s taking a commission, Mandy goes berserk. A heated argument leads to Aaron ‘accidentally’ dropping the bag of money into the fire pit. Mandy and Vinny are distraught, but is all as it seems? Who has Mandy stolen the money from and will that in turn bring trouble to the Dingle’s door?
“As you can imagine £18,000 cash going in the fire, nobody is going to be best pleased,” quips Danny. “But she’s fuming because she needs the money for something unbeknown to Aaron.
“Aaron just thinks she’s ripping off his family, even though she is family, and he wants to knock her down a peg or two. You can’t come back to the village and think you run this family. he really gives it to her.
“As far as the Dingles are concerned its just the casino that’s out of pocket – but then again I don’t know who owns the casino…”
For Danny, this is the first time he’s got to work with Lisa Riley, who plays Mandy and it seems the two have plenty in common.
“She’s brilliant,” he enthuses. “Someone said she’s the female version of Danny Miller. We got off on the right foot from the start and it bodes well for the future because I love working with her and her character. Aaron and Mandy seem to play off each other really well. I’m a big fan of Lisa’s. Thought she was brilliant in Three Girls and when I went over to Scott and Bailey, the production team sent me her episode to get a feel for the show, and she was brilliant in that.
“I feel very blessed I get to work with Lisa Riley. Her enthusiasm and joy for the job is amazing. I can’t believe I’m getting to work with her. She won’t thank me for saying this but I used to watch her as a kid on You’ve Been Framed, and now we’re actually friends!”
With Robert Sugden’s departure hurtling towards us and the end of the #Robron era, does this mean we’ll see more of Aaron with other members of the Dingle clan?
“Definitely,” Danny exclaims. “Often, because of Robert and Aaron’s partnership, they seem to be inseparable on screen and in their stories which is great for me and Ryan, but we also like to spread your wings and do other things and have our own sense of individuality on the show. I don’t know what’s coming up for the Dingles but I’ll be back working with Jeff Hordley again. Cain and Aaron have always worked really well together, there’s a hidden love there for each other, so working with Jeff again will be incredible. I’m looking forward to him having a bit of rebellion and seeing how Aaron’s life unfold a bit now that he’s lost his one true love.
So how is Aaron feeling in general with Robert’s potential prison sentence looming? Is he is as worst state as the Robron fans?
“He’s heartbroken,” Danny sympathises. “He knows the core of his family will just be ripped away from him. It’s almost inevitable that Robert’s going to prison, for whatever reason, but we don’t know how long it will be for at this point. He knows he’s going to lose the love of his life but he’s also going to lose him to the worse possible way, which is behind bars.
“Aaron’s been there and done that and we all saw how terribly wrong that went, the mistakes that he made and the impact it had on his family. He’s worried Robert may go down that same route and what it might mean for the relationship. Does he wait for Robert; does Robert wait for him. He’s confused and desperate to cling on to as much love and happiness as he can whilst he’s here.
“In a nutshell, he’s utterly devastated but he’s putting on the bravest of faces to try and not show Robert he’s going to struggle while he’s inside. He’s grabbing every minute with Robert while he can.”
The Robron fandom is a powerful force, with many friendships formed, fundraising for charity, brilliant fan art, fan fiction, etc so the news of the end of an era was always going to be hard. So what’s Danny made of the fan reaction since Ryan’s departure was announced?
“I’d honestly say that for the first time, it’s split down the middle 50/50,” Danny says. “People are angry and upset that the couple are coming to an end and they don’t understand that it’s a decision that every actor should take at some point – to go out there and spread their wings and unfortunately with that you lose the character. And then other people are excited to see what Ryan gets up to and thanking the couple for the stories they’ve told over the past four or five years. That’s the most important thing to the fans, the representation of the couple and the representation of them being two best mates who just happen to be madly in love with each other. As the old saying goes ‘love is love’ and it doesn’t matter who it is with.
“They’ve had some great stories together – breaking up, getting back together, doing stupid things, one night stands, and all that kind of stuff and I think people will miss that and I’ll miss that because I’m also losing a friend as well as my co-star. It’s quite a sad time really but I’m excited for Ryan. I think he’ll do really well and he might be back in a couple of years or that might be it for Ryan at Emmerdale and he’ll go off and do amazing things. Time will tell but all we can do now is tell a story to the best of our abilities to keep a little bit of a surprise even though people know he’s leaving.
Most fans are already dreading the inevitable final scened but imagine being Ryan and Danny! Will those final Robron scenes be weird to film?
“We’ve done a lot of the goodbye, upset ones, and there was real raw emotion in there for both Ryan and myself,” admits Danny. “There was a very emotional scene when I speak to him for the first time when he’s in prison, and at that point I realised it was real and this is actually happening and there were some genuine tears. We’ve been very close Ryan and I over the past four years. It won’t be the same without him but the show goes on and we’ll have to wait and see what happens to Aaron…
After losing Kelvin Fletcher (Andy Sugden), Adam Thomas (Adam Barton), and now Ryan Hawley, Danny’s yet to find a new bromance but its his on-screen sister who he is closest to now.
He explains: “I’m very close to Isobel Steele (Liv Flaherty) and her family and vice versa. I’m often round at her house, we’ve got a really solid friendship there.
When I saw Isobel in the audition I instantly knew she’s going to be a superstar, and we need her, we have to have her here before she gets older and goes off to do more amazing things. Kate Oates, then producer, was in total agreement. Kate said: ‘You need to guide Isobel in the right way and help her out.’ But, I would never tell her what to do but just say this is my advice from my experience and this is what I did wrong. This girl’s got the head and shoulders of an older woman, she’s very clever and talented. All I ever wanted to do is push her on and give her the confidence to express herself and show how good she really is. Now, she’s not afraid to suggest extra little lines or ways to develop a scene. If I’ve had anything to do with it I’m very proud of her, but she’s done it herself, she’s very switched on.
“Also, Lucy Pargeter and Dominic Brunt are my go-to’s – Jeff Hordley and Mark Charnock as well. Those I work the most and closest with. I came in to Emmerdale when I was a kid and every one of them looked after me and mentored and nurtured me in to the business and in to the job. I can’t thank them enough for it.”