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Emmerdale legend Lisa Riley: People thought I’d be AWFUL on Strictly… then I was doing the splits at Wembley!

(Image credit: FilmMagic)

As Mandy makes her return to Emmerdale, Lisa remembers her eventful time on Strictly

Emmerdale star Lisa Riley has recalled how she proved the doubters wrong when she appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2012.

On the eve of the show coming back to BBC1, Lisa, who’s returned to Emmerdale as a regular character, has spoken about how many people thought she was on the show “to be the funny one” and how she was thrilled when she proved she actually could dance.

Emmerdale star Lisa shows off her moves on the 2012 series of Strictly

Emmerdale star Lisa shows off her moves on the 2012 series of Strictly (Credit: Steve Thorne/Getty Images) (Image credit: Steve Thorne)

Talking to TV Times, Lisa, 43, said: “Mandy Dingle has always proved people wrong and I wanted to do the same when I joined Strictly Come Dancing.

“Everyone thought I was going to be the fat, funny one and do what Anne Widdecombe did a couple of years before, but then Craig Revel Horwood admitted I could actually dance and I was thrilled.

“People thought I would be awful and then the next thing you know I’m doing the splits at Wembley! It is a really important lesson: never presume.

“Emmerdale taught me to not be the person I believed everyone thought I should be, but who I really am.”

MORE: Everything you need to know about new BBC1 comedy Scarborough - which stars Catherine Tyldesley and Jason Manford

Emmerdale legend Mandy Dingle

Emmerdale fans are delighted to have Lisa back as Mandy Dingle

Lisa, who partnered Robin Windsor, ended up going really far in Strictly Come Dancing, eventually becoming the 10th celebrity eliminated.

Strictly that year was won by Olympic gymnast star Louis Smith.

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC1 this Saturday, while Emmerdale continues on ITV.

Main picture: FilmMagic

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.


Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years on TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 


David started out as a writer on TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.


Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!