Lisa Riley: ‘I’m beyond excited to be on Strictly at Christmas. Giddy, giddy, giddy!’

Emmerdale ex Lisa Riley talks the Christmas Strictly and her ideal job… starring in Coronation Street!

So, you’re in the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Day special!
“I’m beyond excited about it! I’m giddy, giddy, giddy! It’s a dream come true to be appearing on one of the most popular TV shows over Christmas with my best friend, Robin Windsor, who I danced with back in 2012! I’m not saying how we do, though. You’ll have to watch and see.”

Will you be watching?
“Of course. I’m in panto at Crewe this Christmas, playing the fairy in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Lyceum Theatre, but December 25 is a day off. Do you know, this is my 15th panto on the trot? I haven’t missed a year since 1999. I love spending most of my Christmas in a theatre. It’s like being in a bubble!”

Speaking of love, how’s your love life?
“Let’s just say I’m very happy at the moment and leave it at that… I don’t want to jinx anything!”

What’s your dream role?
“I’d love to appear in a costume drama. I’d like to be the downstairs cook or housekeeper. I don’t really see myself in an upstairs role – I’m too common for that! You wouldn’t believe the number of busty barmaid parts I get offered, but I’m not interested in roles like that. I’d rather wait for a role I’m challenged by and can believe in.”

Any chance you’ll return to Emmerdale?
“I don’t think so. I’ll always be grateful to Emmerdale because it put me on the map and I can’t believe, after all this time, people still remember Mandy Dingle so vividly. But if I was to do any soap now, Corrie would be the one. As a born-and-bred Manchester girl, that would be great.”

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special, BBC1, Christmas Day, 5pm.