7 things you didn’t know about Lisa Riley – AKA Emmerdale’s Mandy Dingle

From travelling to far-flung locations to her Strictly Come Dancing journey...

Emmerdale’s Mandy Dingle has returned to our screens with a bang as she brings trouble to the Dingles’ door… but while we all love legendary Mandy, what do we know about Lisa Riley, the actress behind the leopard-print loving troublemaker?

Here are a few things you might not already know about the lovely Lisa Riley…

1. Strictly Come Dancing was a career highlight

Lisa Riley on Strictly Come Dancing

Lisa was paired with professional dancer Robin Windsor (Picture: BBC). Strictly is currently being shown on BBC1.

Lisa took part in the 2012 series of Strictly Come Dancing, and wowed judges with her fancy footwork until leaving the show in week 11. The actress was paired with Robin Windsor who she now classes as one of her best friends… “People thought I was going to be awful and then the next thing you know I’m dropping the splits at Wembley,” she joked to TV Times.

2. She’s great friends with her Emmerdale cast mates

Emmerdale, Marlon Dingle, Chas Dingle, Mandy Dingle

Lisa’s great friends with her co-stars at Emmerdale (Picture: ITV)

Despite being away from the show for 17 years, Lisa has kept in touch with her friends from the cast… “Steve Halliwell, who plays Zak, Mark Charnock who plays Marlon, and Dominic Brunt who plays Paddy are all old friends,” Lisa told TV Times. “But then I have also started working with Lucy Pargeter, who plays Chas. I feel like I’ve met my sister on and off screen, which is amazing. She’s a dream and we have a real life bond.”

MORE: Check out the latest Emmerdale spoilers

3. Lisa Riley is an advocate for healthy living 

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There are some days when I literally cannot get over just how ENORMOUS I really was, it STILL shocks me, and I truly believe it ALWAYS will….when it’s raining outside, and you feel like you can’t motivate YOURSELF. Just take a long long look at the girl on the right size 28….next to the healthy, happy, glowing girl on the left size 14 in a body she adores and stays strong every single day. Eating correctly, training as much as possible, pushing myself to get stronger and stronger. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🏋🏼‍♀️🏋🏼‍♀️🏋🏼‍♀️🧘🏻‍♀️🧘🏻‍♀️🧘🏻‍♀️the natural way is the BEST way, I can say it as it’s how I live my life each and every day #weightloss #beforeandafter #healthy #healthyfood #healthierlifestyle #loseweịght #gym #training #trainhard #motivation #motivated #change #mindset #selflove #inspirational #nobadfoods #weightloss #slimmingworld #weightwatchers #transformation #bodyconfience 💛💛💛

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Lisa has shed an amazing 12 stone, going from a size 28 to a size 14 and has even written her own cookbooks. But she says it wasn’t a diet that got her fighting fit, it simply by making small changes to her lifestyle. Lisa has been alcohol-free for four years, as well as quitting smoking and greasy food. She told Bella Magazine: “I’m the healthiest I can possibly be. I train a lot, I eat the right things. It’s not a diet, I just literally eat less and move more!”

4. She found fame very young

Since leaving drama school at just 14 years old, Lisa has been working as a professional actor. But earning a good living so early on came with its down side… “When I joined Emmerdale the wage was a lot of money for a teenager,” she told TV Times. “Me and Adele Silva (who played Emmerdale’s Kelly Windsor) used to go out in our lunch break and buy two designer handbags. In the end Steve Halliwell (Zak Dingle) cut up my credit card and it was the best thing he could have done.”

5. She’s got the travelling bug

When she’s not busy filming at Emmerdale, Lisa likes nothing more than jetting off to far-flung places… and she’s even admitted the more obscure location the better! The actress told TV Times: “I have been to 92 countries now and some have been really weird places. I did the generic trips to places like Tenerife when I was younger, but I’ve always wanted to see the world and now I can! I go with my other half, he is my travelling buddy.”

6. She lives by a great motto

As well as discovering the world, Lisa also likes to learn new things… “I always say that if I haven’t learnt three new things by the time I go to bed then it has been a rubbish day,” she told TV Times. “It doesn’t matter what the three things are, but I have to have discovered something new.”

7. She’s not afraid of looking the part

Not all of the roles Lisa has played over the years have been as glamorous as Mandy Dingle… “I looked so different in shows like Three Girls and Waterloo Road that people didn’t even realise it was me,” Lisa told TV Times. “While I was working on Scott and Bailey my grandad, God rest his soul, once said to me ‘Crikey Lisa, you looked rough’ and that’s the best compliment he could have given me. There is no room for vanity in this job.”

Emmerdale airs weeknights at 7pm on ITV, with an extra episode at 8pm on Thursdays.

Main pic: Dave Benett/Getty Images