The actress who plays Chas Dingle opens up about making a return to the soap and how she’s juggling her career with being a mum-of-three

On screen she’s the feisty landlady of Emmerdale pub The Woolpack, and while actress Lucy Pargeter, aged 40, says she can match her character’s outspokenness, there’s one area where the two women are worlds apart…

Motherhood is very low down on her character Chas Dingle’s list, but Lucy couldn’t be more devoted to her brood. Already mum to 12-year-old Lola, she gave birth to twins Missy and Betsy in April, after five years of IVF treatment with fiancé Rudi Coleano. And she can’t contain her joy.

The actress, who lives with her family in North Yorkshire, talks to us about baby brain, returning to work and turning 40…

Lucy on returning to work

‘Returning to work was a huge mix of emotions. I wanted to get back because I love my job, but I was nervous because I haven’t had to learn anything for so long and my brain had gone to mush. I thought I’d forgotten how to act. I did a couple of scenes and everyone was like, “Remember that you’ve got to put an accent on and not just talk like yourself.” At the end of each day I was going, “Oh my God, that was rubbish!” I apologise to everyone watching for the first couple of weeks – I think I was a bit ropey!’

Lucy on her Emmerdale character, Chas Dingle

‘While I was on maternity leave, Chas has been away, too. She’s been in Ireland. Now she’s back in Emmerdale, she’s back with Paddy Dingle. She’s had a lot of time to think. She and Paddy gave their relationship a go before she left, but they decided against it because they thought the Dingle curse was following them. She’s had a dalliance with somebody in Ireland but wants to be with Paddy. Thankfully, he’s welcoming and they jump into bed together.’

Lucy on ‘awkward’ kissing scenes

‘Kissing scenes are awkward – there’s nothing romantic or nice about it. It’s even worse if it’s somebody you’ve known for years, especially if you know their wife and family. You don’t go to work going, “Yes, I’ve got to kiss somebody!” You go to work going, “Is there any way we can get out of kissing today?”’

Mandatory Credit: Photo by REX/Shutterstock (8459206ao)
Lucy Pargeter
Celebrities at the ITV studios, London, UK – 2 March 2017

Lucy on turning 40

‘I hate birthdays and don’t really celebrate them. When I turned 40 earlier this year, I was appearing on This Morning talking about IVF, so I spent the evening in a hotel room on my own, very pregnant and not able to drink. I went to bed very early – whoop, whoop, welcome to my 40s! But I didn’t mind – an early night with room service was pretty perfect.’

Lucy on baby weight

‘I felt under a lot of pressure to lose my baby weight the first time round with Lola. I was a lot younger and I gave more of a s**t then! This time round, I put on about four stone but because I didn’t care so much, it went. Also, I was just too busy to eat. It can get to 5pm and I’ll realise I haven’t eaten anything yet. My weight is back to normal now, but of course I’ve got excess skin! That doesn’t go, does it? I think the Spanx will be on forever!’

Lucy on working out

‘What time I do have spare I wouldn’t waste going to the gym. I don’t think I’ve been to the gym since I was a teenager! I walk a lot with the girls and used to horse-ride, but the thought of going to the gym fills me with nothing but dread. I’d rather spend my spare time at home with my kids. The TV series Border Security is my guilty pleasure. I’ll sit there watching it with a tub of Häagen-Dazs and if it doesn’t get taken off me, I’ll eat the whole tub!’

Emmerdale is on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 7pm, and Thursday and 7pm and 8pm, ITV