After a brief visit at New Year, Mandy Dingle returns to Emmerdale for a longer stint. Actress Lisa Riley teases Mandy’s future in Emmerdale.

Mandy Dingle returns to Emmerdale with son Vinny
Mandy Dingle returns to Emmerdale with son Vinny

There’s been a Mandy Dingle sized hole in Emmerdale since the larger than life character made a brief visit to Emmerdale in January. So its good she’s back to fill that void for a longer stint. Actress Lisa Rile teases Mandy’s return and what’s next for the leopard print trouble maker.

What did you make of the reaction the last time Mandy was back?
I was just completely blown away and still now I’ve never seen such a reaction and excitement for a soap characters return, so like there’s a lot of like pressure on my shoulders but the stories are there so I’m really excited and everyone is.

Did you always intend to return later or were you testing the water, what was the plan?
When I came back, when I shot in November which was then aired in January, it was my own personal bucket list and now I know I’ve made the right decision. We had great discussions with the producer Jane Hudson, who is incredible. She’s the best thing that’s ever happened to the program. She’s mixing it up and its great. So she knows exactly what she wanted, and she wanted under her realm as producer, to bring Mandy back and she has done.

What did Mandy make of what was going on in the village the last time she was there?
I think she thought, , and this will come to into fruition in the storyline, that the Dingles are actually settled. She wants to mix it up a bit and she wants to get the fight back and will do anything to get that fight back. She might even manipulate a few of them to get what she wants. She wants some money and she’ll do anything to get some money to pay for herself and you will realise why with Vinny as well.

We saw her drive off last time but there was obviously still unfinished business and a hint of a secret. Will that be explored and will we get to know what the secret is?
Well remember Mandy is a really good teacher right, so Mandy could have told Vinny to say anything. Who was that driver? Who did she kiss? Is he still around? Probably not in ‘Mandy world’ probably Mandy’s paid him to make a show of it. And of course, if Vinnie is Mandy’s son, which he is, she will have taught him everything, she will have taught him over this time of how old he is. He’s 17 years old, how to manipulate, how to survive, how to get money, in that kind of gypsy way, so maybe Vinnie’s not who we think he is, you know, so maybe that’s what is going to be explored. But what we will see is the fact that Mandy hasn’t got a home when she first initially comes back, and bursts in on Al and Jessie doing the wrong thing. All she wants to do is look after Marlon, Marlon is the priority for her.

Wed 18 Sept 2019: At Butler’s barn, an up to no good Mandy Dingle and Vinny are desperately searching for a bag.

Is that who she went into the house for originally?
Of course, she came back because she was like “Right I’m gonna stay here and oh what are you doing?” She was bursting in to find Marlon to say can we come and live with you because that is what she wants, to fulfil her first scam. She needs a house to fulfil it but that’s what the first initial burst was the fact she’s like “right Marlon can I stay with you” Marlon’s gonna say yes and what’s gonna happen.

This business is essentially a scam on the way.
It’s a complete scam, a complete lie. I keep saying this, I love this and it’s so true – she is the ultimate Big Ben, she’s got more faces than Big Ben at the moment.

Are the Dingles going to be worried or is she loyal to the Dingles?
She’s very very loyal. She’s got a lot of bricks to rebuild with Uncle Zak because as far as Uncle Zak is concerned, he’s still grieving from Lisa’s death of course. Mandy is very upset about that and I think Zak feels that Mandy was just very selfish and did her own thing. Mandy is selfish and she does look after number one.  However, everyone will benefit by her looking after number one, all the family always benefits because she has her big heart. But she does have to prove to her Uncle Zak that she’s back for the right reasons, they might not be most honest you know, but fundamentally he will benefit, he will absolutely benefit in the long run. How she gets there, she needs him, she really needs him.

Thurs 12 Sept 2019 – 8pm: It’s Mandy Dingle! What will she do with the knowledge? Is this the beginning of the end for Marlon and Jessie’s marriage?

Talk us through the scene with Jessie and Al, she blundered in to find Marlon, was it fun?
It was hilarious! Diane Patrick, the brilliant director who I worked with even 17 years ago, she was like you really literally burst in, the energy, and that’s what the show needs, you know. There’s nothing held back the energy, she bursts in sees them ‘at it ‘ on the sofa and she basically says “are you gonna tell him or shall I?  She knows exactly that she’s gonna go and tell Marlon because it’s a winning streak, so she knows that straight away and of course, as I said, she completely uses it to her advantage. Her main thing is to get rid of those two boys because if she gets rid of Jessie, which she does, but how is she gonna get those boys out, she wants to be in that house initially.

How are relations with Paddy and Chas at the moment?
Phenomenal! With Paddy, I think they are gonna be a lifelong friendship and of course all the speculation that I read, as Lisa, is the fact that I’m gonna split them up. Of course I’m not gonna split them up, that would be the most ludicrous idea ever, and she loves Chas as a cousin. She loves Chas and they are more like sisters they are, you know like the sisters that peck each other’s head but there’s so much love there. There is so much love with the two of them. However, they are spiky just like my two best friends that are sisters and they’re still spiky to one another but adore each other, and they would do anything for one other because fundamentally they know that they’ve got each other as allies, they are allies for one other. And I think its nice for Paddy to have a female confidante, someone he knows that will never do Paddy over, ever and Paddy needs a, he’s got a great friend in Marlon of course, and that’s been around since I was here back in the day, but I think it’s nice that he has got someone to offload on. He says to her (Mandy) there’s a lot of stuff that’s gonna happen and gonna keep happening with their friendship but I think as we get towards the birth you are going to realise that Mandy is elated that Paddy is happy and she would never dent that, to see his elation I think is really special and they are the bestest friends as boy and girl can be, yes they were married but you can still be…

They are best friends and I think that little core of Chas, Marlon, Paddy, Mandy they are friends you know like “Chandler and Joey” and “Monica and Rachel” in “Friends” they’ve got that form…

You get on really well with Dominic as well who plays Paddy so is it lovely to slip straight back in to that friendship again?
Honest to God, the texts and What’s App that were going on before and even now have just been amazing. And I’m so blessed of course I love working with the newbies. I’d never worked with Lucy or the phenomenal Danny Miller. I love what they are writing for Aaron and Mandy and there is so much of that to come. The good and the bad.

Will she put down roots this time or is it too early to say
Well initially, she wants to move in with Marlon, I think she needs to look after Marlon a bit. But Lisa has passed so I think Zak needs a bit of her love as well. And that kind of leadership, female leadership within the house maybe.

Could she clash with Lydia coz Lydia has slightly stepped into that roll?
Yeah, I don’t think there is ever gonna be a lot of love there and, I don’t know what it is, I think the writers are enjoying writing that, I think, at the moment they are pure symbols

Will Mandy come back and rule the roost in the Dingles do you think?
She’s definitely gonna lay her comfort blanket down, and I think, because obviously I’m not allowed to tell people how long I’m back for, but I do now keep saying we are just about to shoot Christmas! So I think I am allowed to say that, which is exciting for everybody, because I’ve been told off in the street, because people say to me “how dare you only come back for four episodes!” and I feel like I’ve let people down.

So you’re back for more than just a couple of episodes?
Yeah, Mandy’s got her Christmas knickers!