In Brief

What is Mandy Dingle’s secret?

Lisa Riley agrees to return to Emmerdale for New Year storyline

Emmerdale residents must dread New Year after suffering everything from plane crashes and fatal lightning storms to confessions at gunpoint - and now ITV bosses are plotting another festive surprise.

Mandy Dingle, played by Lisa Riley, is returning to the Yorkshire Dales after a 17-year hiatus and she is “carrying a secret that turns lives upside down”, producers have revealed.

Riley has had one of the more successful post-soap careers of former Emmerdale cast members, presenting You’ve Been Framed and appearing on Strictly Come Dancing and Loose Women.

When the “iconic” Mandy left in 2001, “it was a blow to the ITV soap and fans alike, as she’d regularly been named the favourite character and often garnered the most laughs”, says the Daily Express. Producers have long been trying to lure her back in a bid to boost ratings against competitors such as Coronation Street and Eastenders, the newspaper adds.

The news of her return has prompted much speculation about the bombshell “secret”.

One theory is that she will have a 17-year-old child from her previous marriage to Paddy Kirk (Dominic Brunt), who is now in a relationship with Chas Dingle (Lucy Pargeter). The couple recently lost their newborn baby, so “Mandy will be entering an incredibly sensitive zone”, says the Express.

“Other theories could see Mandy’s secret simply being that she’s still in love with her ex-husband Paddy, and is in the village to make it her mission to get him back,” the paper continues.

The feisty barmaid was known for being “at the centre of drama in the village and will no doubt cause even more upon her return”, says the Yorkshire Evening Post.

“All we know so far is that Riley is returning for what the soap’s bosses are calling ‘a self-contained storyline’ and that Mandy won’t be staying in the village long-term,” says the Radio Times. “But might her short stay end up having big repercussions for those left behind?”

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