Nicola Stapleton, who played Mandy in EastEnders, is joining the cast of Emmerdale.

Friends of Eli Dingle usually amount to many a person’s worst nightmare, but Emmerdale fans are in for a pleasant surprise in September with the arrival of streetwise Londoner Danielle, played by Nicola

A figure from Eli’s past, Danielle is the last person he expects to run into. But this is no happy reunion. When Eli practically runs her over outside the Emmerdale village he feels forced to offer her sanctuary.

There is much more to the encounter than meets the eye and Danielle may have an extensive past with the bad boy.

Nicola, 33, will be known to many soap fans for her role as Mandy in Eastenders, and has more recently appeared in Bad Girls, The Commander and The Last Enemy. She trained at the prestigious Sylvia Young theatre school before forging a successful career in television, film and theatre.

Nicola, who also starred in Bad Girls, said: “Danielle is such an intriguing character because there’s more to her than meets the eye. I’m really looking forward to starting filming and I think viewers can expect some interesting encounters as we explore the relationship between Danielle and Eli. I can’t wait to spend some time in Leeds and meet the rest of the cast.”

Emmerdale Series Producer Anita Turner said: “I’m so pleased to welcome an actress with Nicola’s calibre to the show. Eli likes to manipulate people, but Danielle is a different proposition and she’ll definitely get under his skin.”