Lisa Riley: I won’t go back to Emmerdale

“I don’t agree with actors who stay in soaps for ages. It’s not acting to me,” says Lisa who reveals a role in a period drama would be “perfect”

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Mandy Dingle fans, it’s not good news. Lisa Riley has confirmed she won’t be heading back to the Yorkshire Dales.

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Asked if she would ever return to Emmerdale, in which she starred as loveable Mandy from 1995 to 2001, Lisa tells RadioTimes.com, “They keep asking me. No. I’m an actor. I don’t agree with actors who stay in soaps for ages, like more than ten years, it’s not acting to me.

“You’re playing the same character over and over again. You need to go off and be an actor. That’s why we do what we do. It’s not about being famous or anything like that, it’s about doing our craft and that’s playing different roles. I sort of pride myself on that,” Lisa adds.

But Lisa’s fans aren’t quite on the same page. “It’s flattering. The public are like go back, go back. But I’ve done that. But they think it’s weird, why wouldn’t I go back.”

Lisa admits in her autobiography, Never Judge A Book By Its Cover (on sale today), that she experienced jealousy during her time on Emmerdale due to the number of storylines she was given.

“I was involved in storylines where it didn’t even warrant my character to be there. I was getting the daily rosters of each director and going, ‘Jesus I’m with them in the morning and them in the afternoon.’ So I was heavily involved with every director. Then when they put you in the pub of course you’re in every single episode.

“I suppose the writers wanted a bit of light relief,” Lisa explains adding, “Now that I think of soap operas being five times a week, I mean god knows. I don’t think I’d have even come up for air with Mandy being in a soap now.”

For Lisa, who has since wowed on dancing show Strictly Come Dancing, there’s a different sort of role she’s got her eye on. “I just want to do a period drama more than anything else. I’m perfect. I’m fat, you know, I can be the cook downstairs. I’m perfect for it. Not Downton. That’s been done to death. I want to play like an alternative Miss Havisham in Great Expectations. I think it should be a modern day Great Expectations – that would be my absolute dream role.”

About her candour, she adds: “What I love now, as everyone’s started reading my autobiography is that everyone’s saying, ‘Jesus Chris Lis, it’s brutal’. They always knew with me it was going to be honest. I don’t think they realised how honest it was going to be. Even my bestest friend said ‘You’ve literally gone warts and all’. 

Never Judge A Book By Its Cover by Lisa Riley is on sale from today (November 7), Orion publishing.

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