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Lisa Riley reprises her role as Mandy Dingle in Emmerdale, and reveals character has dark secret – see first photo

This is so exciting!

Hanna Fillingham

Having been asked to return to Emmerdale for many years, Lisa Riley delighted fans on Tuesday with the news that she will be reprising her role as Mandy Dingle in the New Year. After a 17-year hiatus, Lisa couldn’t be happier, and it sounds like her character will be causing quite a stir too! Mandy turning up in the village will send shockwaves across the Dingle family, while Paddy Kirk – who has been grieving the death of his daughter Grace – is bound to have a lot to say to his ex-wife. Lisa said in a statement: "I could not be happier to be returning in the New Year to Emmerdale. It’s something I never thought would happen after 17 years and I am so interested to see what trouble Mandy is capable of causing. But mostly being back with all my old friends, it’s like I’ve never been away."

Emmerdale is welcoming back Lisa Riley as Mandy Dingle

Emmerdale's Producer Kate Brooks hinted about Mandy's future storylines, adding: "Iconic Mandy Dingle returns to the village carrying a secret that turns lives upside down. She’s a character bursting with fun who certainly ruffles a few feathers during her short stint back in the village, and she clearly hasn't lost any of the joie de vivre that made Mandy so popular and enjoyable to watch. We're delighted to welcome Lisa back to Emmerdale."

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Since leaving Emmerdale, Lisa has gone on to achieve many accolades, including a National Television Award for the harrowing BBC drama Three Girls, where she played the mother of one of the Rochdale grooming ring victims. Lisa has also appeared in shows including Waterloo Road, The Bill and Strictly Come Dancing, and regularly appears as a panellist on Loose Women.

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In 2012, Lisa admitted that she would like to return to Emmerdale during her time on Strictly. She also opened up about her alter-ego Mandy earlier in the year, predicting what her life was like since leaving the Dales, and how she still gets asked by fans to make a comeback. Talking to Inside Soap magazine, Lisa said: ""People keep telling me 'Your Paddy needs you back.' But in my last episode Mandy and Paddy spent the night together, so there could be a mini-me knocking about." She added: "I'd be much more interested to see what their child is like – and it'd give Paddy a shock."

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