We know and love (or sometimes love to hate) their characters on screen, but now it’s time to discover all the behind-the-scenes secrets from our favourite soap stars.
In our exclusive interview, Soap Stars Coming Clean, OK!'s finding out all the juicy gossip about what happens when the cameras stop rolling, as well as the actors’ favourite memories with their co-stars so far.
We recently caught up with Emmerdale actress Lucy Pargeter, who plays Chas Dingle, to relive her time in the Dales so far, why the cast have earned themselves a party reputation, and her close and lasting bond with her co-stars.
What’s your favourite memory on the show so far?
This is easy and I think it will always be my favourite – the live episode. I have never been so scared but excited. It was just amazing. So many things could have gone wrong and there was that fear in the back of my mind. It was thrilling and will always stay in my mind for as long as I live.
Would you be up for another live episode then?
Every time I bring it up at work, everyone says, ‘Are you kidding me?! You’d want to do it again?’ And I say, ‘Yes!’ I think I might be the only person at work who would want to do it again.
Who are you closest to from the cast?
It’s hard not to include people. Everybody in our cast has a role within our life off screen as well as on. You become really, really close with everybody. Charley Webb, who used to play Debbie Dingle, Emma Atkins, who plays Charity Dingle, Jeff Hordley, who plays my brother Cain Dingle and his real wife Zoe Henry, who plays Rhona Ghoskirk. Plus, Roxy Shahidi, who plays Leyla Harding, and Charlotte Bellamy, who plays Laurel Thomas. And then there’s Dominic Brunt, who plays Paddy Kirk, and Danny Miller, who played Aaron Dingle.
Are you missing Danny since he left the show?
I am. Every time I walk into work, I’m expecting him to phone me and go, ‘I’m stuck on the M62, it’s absolutely rammed, can you tell them I’m going to be 10 minutes late?’ Or walking past his dressing room and seeing him. I’m missing him massively, but we’re on the phone all the time and I spoke to him just the other day about getting to see him, his partner Steph and their son Albert.
Who’s your funniest co-star?
Emma, but not necessarily because she’s comic, but because she’s a funny human. She just makes me laugh. I just find her insanely funny. Roxy is also very, very funny. Adam Thomas [who played Barton] was honestly hilarious because there was not a minute that lad wasn’t laughing, and his laugh is quite contagious.
What’s the best night out you’ve ever had with your co-stars?
Any awards event. You can guarantee that we’re literally like it’s the first time we’ve ever been let out. People just expect us to turn up and be on the dance floor – first and last. We are pretty strong partiers. So any awards event always had some lasting memory… or scar (Laughs). There’s always a lot of people on the train on the way home in various states in the morning, if we make the train!
What do you always have in your dressing room?
Back in the good old days [pre-covid] when we didn’t move around and I had my own dressing room there was always photographs of my kids [daughter Lola and twins Missy and Betsy], a drawing that they’ve done, a candle and snacks and painkillers. I have a little medical box in case anyone needs anything.
Who’s the messiest member of the cast?
We’ve actually become more messy since we have our own dressing rooms. Where we’ve been doing our own hair and make-up, you have to take your whole kit with you – your hairdryer, all your make-up. We’re in a bad habit now of spreading. When you walk past now, it’s like a bomb’s gone off in each dressing room. Whereas when you’re in an environment with other people, you don’t want to be the one whose stuff everyone else is having to step over.
Which celebrity would you love to see doing a guest role?
Julie Walters. If Sally Dexter wasn’t playing my mum Faith Dingle – and I couldn’t see anyone else playing her now as she’s just incredible – I’d want Julie Walters to play her. I saw her years and years ago at the National Television Awards from across the room and couldn’t believe it. I’d also want Joanna Lumley or Judi Dench. If I could have three aunties, those three please!
If your character could have a romance with anyone in the Dales, who would you like it to be?
Nobody. I want somebody called Dave so I could ride around in a car with Chas and Dave in the front (Laughs).
If you could play another character on Emmerdale, who would it be and why?
Kim Tate would be quite fun to play with her scheming ways, money, influence and hold over the village. I’d enjoy that.
What’s the strangest or funniest fan encounter you’ve ever had?
Being recognised during a smear test was quite embarrassing. It’s strange when you’re doing something quite personal and then someone says, ‘Oh I haven’t seen you on screen for a while, are you off at the moment?’ And when I was in active labour somebody asked me for a photo, so there've been quite a few hospital situations.
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If you weren’t an actor, what would you be doing?
From a young age acting was always on the agenda, I was one of those annoying kids who ran around singing, dancing and playing the fool. But my dad is an architect and I’ve always had a massive interest in houses and interior design. So I’d love to do something to do with property – whether it be designing, selling or staging them for sale. My current house that I’m in now was a depatilated mess and I’ve turned it into something I’m really proud of.
If you weren’t in Emmerdale, what soap would you like to be in?
I wouldn’t want to move and relocate with the kids, so I suppose the easiest one would be Corrie. We’ve always said that one of our characters should randomly be walking down the cobbles, like Where’s Wally?, just to see if anyone would spot us.
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