Are Mandy and Chas sisters? Emmerdale’s Lisa Riley teases Dingle twist

Anything is possible in soap's most convoluted family tree…

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Emmerdale‘s Dingle clan welcome back one of their most famously feisty family members in the new year when Mandy returns, marking Lisa Riley’s return to the role that launched her career 17 years after her exit. But she’s set to clash with one relative in particular…

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Mandy arrives for Marlon Dingle (Mark Charnock) and Jessie Grant’s (Sandra Marvin) official wedding the week beginning Monday 7 January, although she hasn’t been invited – her visit is very much a surprise, especially to ex-husband Paddy Kirk (Dominic Brunt) who is stunned to see his old flame.

When Chas Dingle (Lucy Pargeter) sees partner Paddy sharing a moment with his former squeeze she flips and the pair come to blows outside the church and a catfight breaks out. Luckily, the jealousy soon subsides when the women make amends, but the hint of bad blood between them in the past is in intriguing dip into the Dingle divas past. Could there be a hidden reason behind the initial animosity?

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Have Mandy and Chas ever been on screen together?

“I honestly think Mandy and Chas are sisters,” Riley tells RadioTimes.com ahead of her big comeback. “They are very similar in that they are confident but they live with bravado and hide it when they are hurting inside. The way they write for Chas reminds me of how they wrote for Mandy when I was here. If it turned out they were sisters it would be wonderful to explore they are so similar and have both been through so much turmoil.

Interestingly this is the first time the characters have appeared on screen together as Pargeter joined the show shortly after Riley’s exit, but there’s obviously a backstory to the girls who we can assume locked horns growing… “It’s implied Mandy was the fun girl when they were younger and Chas wasn’t,” reveals Pargeter, filling in the gaps. “So there’s a bit of history and tension between them even before their links to Paddy.”

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Despite the hair-pulling and fisticuffs of their first scene, Riley is full of praise for her co-star. “Working with Luce was just amazing, I’ve loved her stuff on screen with the baby story and wanted to tell her how brilliant she’s been. Everyone assumes Mandy and Chas are going to hate each other – but we’ll see…” The real reason for Mandy’s return is shrouded in secrecy, so maybe it will transpire that she and Chas are secret siblings? Anything is possible with the Dingle dynasty…

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