Lucy Pargeter — things you didn't know about the Emmerdale star

Lucy Pargeter on the red carpet
Lucy Pargeter has been in Emmerdale for 20 years. (Image credit: Getty)

Emmerdale's Lucy Pargeter is one of the most recognisable faces in soap, having played the role of feisty bar manager Chas Dingle since 2002.

As a member of the iconic Dingle family, Chas has been at the centre of some of the show's biggest storylines. During her two decades in the Dales, she's endured numerous turbulent relationships, been a murder suspect, battled with PTSD, and suffered the heartbreaking loss of her baby daughter. 

Lucy's portrayal of her character has wowed Emmerdale fans across the globe, and in 2019 she deservedly scooped the Best Actress gong at the British Soap Awards. 

But else is there to know about the star whose been on our screens these past 20 years?

1. Her parents supported her acting dreams

Lucy Kate Pargeter was born on 1st March 1977 in Nottingham. Having decided at an early age she wanted to be an actress, she trained first at the Central Junior Television Workshop, and then at New College in Nottingham. 

Lucy's family were supportive of her ambitions and encouraged her to purse her dreams. In an interview with The Express, Lucy revealed: "The best thing my parents taught me was to stick at it. As an actress, you have to be determined and never give up. They stuck by me and said, “Keep going because it will happen and we’ll keep supporting you until it does.” They are still supporting me now."

Prior to landing her role in Emmerdale, Lucy appeared in Soldier Soldier, Dalziel and Pascoe and played Helen Raven in the short-lived revival of ITV soap Crossroads

2. She's a former pop star

Before she found fame in Emmerdale, Lucy was part of a girl group called Paperdolls, who toured with the likes of Boyzone. Their debut single 'Gonna Make You Blush' was released in 1998 but thankfully for soap fans their success ended there. 

Lucy, however, has nothing but fond memories of her time in the band, telling Woman magazine: "It was a laugh. We went from thinking we were just a few girls getting together and doing a few songs, to getting signed by a record label and touring. It was a great time."

Lucy has also shown off her singing skills on Stars in Their Eyes performing as Spice Girl Emma Bunton, and in 2016 she appeared in the reality singing competition Soapstar Superstar, finishing in a very respectable third place.

3. She has a secret talent for horse riding

Claire King (aka Emmerdale's Kim Tate) isn't the only star on the show who's got equestrian skills. Lucy also has a talent for horse riding, having first saddled up as a young girl. 

In a chat with The Express she said: "Not a lot of people know this but I'm very good at horse riding. My family bred horses and show ponies, so I began riding at a very early age. Although I don't have a horse now, Lola (her teenage daughter) and I used to go once a week." 

4. She's a mum to three girls

Alongside her busy work schedule, Lucy is mum to her three daughters — Lola, 17, and five-year-old twins Missy and Betsy, who she fell pregnant with after undergoing IVF treatment. The actress shares her girls with former fiance, Rudi Coleano, who she split from in 2019.

Lucy popped the question to Rudi just two weeks after they first met, but despite their 12-year engagement, the couple never got around to tying the knot. However, they almost said 'I do' back in 2012, with Lucy revealing at the time: "We were in Dubai about a month ago and we said: 'Sod it, while we're here, let's do it'. Then I thought all our mates would be like, 'Oh cheers, thanks for the invite'."

5. She was a contestant in I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!

Lucy faced her fear of creepy crawlies when she took part in the thirteenth series of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! in 2013.

Lucy made her journey to the jungle by jumping out of a helicopter — which she later admitted was the bravest thing she's ever done — and entered the camp on day one as part of the Croc Creek team.

During her time on the reality show, Lucy took part in a number of gruesome challenges, winning 17 stars out of a possible 20 for her fellow hungry campmates. And she did herself proud, finishing up in third place behind fashion designer David Emanuel and eventual winner, and King of the Jungle, Westlife singer Kian Egan.

In her exit interview with show hosts Ant and Dec, Lucy said: "I'm so happy right now. I just can't wait to have a bath and have my roots done."

6. She wouldn't follow in Chas's footsteps

Lucy's character Chas was left heartbroken earlier this year when she was forced to step down as landlady of The Woolpack. But it wasn't long before she was back behind her beloved bar, this time working as manager of the village boozer.

Pulling pints and keeping the punters in check is what makes Chas tick, but Lucy insists she's far too nosey and disorganised to run a pub.

She told What To Watch: “I have done bar work before when I was living out in Gran Canaria as a very small person. I was dragging people into bars and supplying them with alcohol, I was alright but think I drank more than I served!”

And she also reckons she'd make a rubbish landlady: “I would be too nosey to work behind a bar now, I would get stuck in someone’s conversation and then forget everyone else. I also don’t think I am organised enough to work behind a bar.”

7. She'd love to star in a period drama

Lucy has admitted if she wasn't in Emmerdale then she'd love to try her hand at period drama.

During a chat with OK! she confessed: "I want to be in Peaky Blinders, but as one of the blokes, in those amazing suits and caps. So I'd change my gender and be a Peaky Blinder. Or something period-y, so you could wear the most amazing dresses and pretend you owned this massive stately home."

Lucy Pargeter's fact file 

Frequently asked questions about the star…

How old is Lucy Pargeter?

Lucy Pargeter is 45, she was born on 1st March 1977.

Is Lucy Pargeter married?

No. Lucy split from her long-term fiance Rudi Coleano in 2019.

Does Lucy Pargeter have any children?

Lucy shares three daughters with her former partner Rudi — 17-year-old Lola and five-year-old twins Missy and Betsy.

Where was Lucy Pargeter born?

Lucy Pargeter was born in Nottingham.

How tall is Lucy Pargeter?

Lucy is five foot six.

Twitter: @lucyparge

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.