Chas Dingle’s world was turned upside down when she was told she had breast cancer, and she bravely faced the diagnosis with strength and determination. The Woolpack’s indestructible landlady eventually had a double mastectomy, and is now recovering and looking to the future.


To discuss her nomination for best actor in the Soap Awards 2024 sponsored by Inspired Villages, Emmerdale stalwart Lucy Pargeter exclusively tells us how she handled her character’s hard-hitting storyline, and who she believes are the unsung heroes of soap…

Are you pleased to be nominated for best actor?

It’s lovely that these brand new awards have sprung up, it’s always nice to go to a do! Although it’s bizarre as I don’t think there’s any other job where you get an award for working! But it is an honour and lovely to be appreciated for putting in the hard graft, and hopefully for doing a harrowing storyline justice.

Do you enjoy awards ceremonies?

The build-up can be quite stressful! I’m not a girly girl and there’s all that preparation about what to wear, and having someone else doing your make-up makes me nervous. If I could just go in my pyjamas that would be brilliant! But it’s nice to chill out with the cast and have a drink afterwards…

What have been your highlights of the last year?

Now the breast cancer storyline has played out, having people come up to me and say they’ve been through it themselves and thanking Emmerdale for portraying it realistically – that is the highlight. You don’t know how to play it at first, apart from your gut instinct. I don’t take praise very well but it’s good to hear people positively and appreciatively to what we’ve done. I was at the Emmerdale village tours at the weekend and spoke to quite a few people who had personally gone through the same thing as Chas. You never know until after the event.

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Which moments stand out as the most challenging through the storyline?

There were quite a few. Getting the diagnosis was huge, the realisation she had it and the fear kicking in of her mum dying from breast cancer. The others were the revealing of the scars, Chas hadn’t actually looked at herself since the surgery and Charity sat with her in the bedroom saying: ‘Let’s do this together, I’ll get mine it if you get yours out!’ And Chas getting her prosthesis out and publicly saying I don’t need these, I’m more than a pair of boobs and am absolutely fine the way I am. She’s no less of a woman without a pair of breasts.

What other storylines are you currently enjoying on Emmerdale?

I’m quite affected and disturbed by the Belle and Tom story, which I think a lot of the audience are. People really hate Tom! I went through the same hatred for Chas when she had the affair with Al, it can affect you personally and I think James Chase (who plays Tom) is chucking himself wholeheartedly into this narcissistic, evil character.

Is it nice to see Eden Taylor-Draper all grown up, having worked with her since she was a child?

Eden is playing a blinder, it’s been a while since she was really tested as an actress and to see her doing such a relentless, heavy storyline is great. I don’t know where it’s going to end but with the Dingles being so closely involved I’m hoping they have some hand in taking Tom down.

Chas smiles at Aaron in Emmerdale
Emmerdale. ITV

What else is coming up for Chas?

She’s not quite out to pasture but she is dipping into other people’s storylines which I enjoy, especially after doing such a hard storyline. We’ve got some stuff coming up with her and Aaron, and another thing with Moira. And of course there’s the Belle situation still going on.

Who at Emmerdale deserves an award for being an unsung hero?

Do you know what, the supporting artists deserve an award. Some have been on the show longer than a lot of the cast, including me. They are always respectful and very confidential, we are very open on set and they have to sit there while we jabber on! It’s a hard job, you have to look interested and appear animated but without interfering in the scene, be fully aware of what’s going on and react to it. I don’t think supporting artists get enough acknowledgement.

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Emmerdale airs Monday to Friday at 7:30pm on ITV1. Stream on ITVX.


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