Lydia Felicity Hyacinth Dingle (née Hart, born Jennifer "Jenny" Finn) is an oddball who ran a bereavement group in the village hall. She previously went on disastrous dates with Paddy Kirk and Rishi Sharma and is currently married to Sam Dingle.
Pre-1990: Early years
Lydia was born as Jennifer 'Jenny' Finn. When she was 5, Jenny was placed into Hotten Grange children's home by her mother as she was too ill to look after her. Jenny didn't have any memory of her father either.
When Jenny was 15, she was placed next to Craig Reed in her maths lessons. She soon fell pregnant by him and in November 1990, she went missing. She gave birth to a boy, although he was stillborn, and buried him in some woodland which would later be the site of Hotten Academy.
Jenny got the bus to Scarborough and found a bedsit with someone called ‘Lydia Hart‘. After her housemates had found her dead on the bedroom floor, Jenny found her birth certificate and took on the persona of Lydia. Scared the police were looking for her, Jenny officially changed her name and never looked back.
1990-2016: Marriage to Steve and his death
After changing her name Lydia met and married caravan enthusiast Steve. The marriage didn't get off to the best start when the ink for the marriage certificate stained her wedding dress.
During their marriage, he had an affair with his caravan club secretary Pat Pearce. Lydia, scared of growing old alone, took him back with open arms when the affair was discovered. She wanted people to believe that she had a happy marriage, when in reality, the affair had changed their relationship forever.
Lydia fell pregnant with Steve on two occasions, but failed to carry either baby to term. Steve bought her a charm bracelet in memory of her miscarriages, but she felt stupid wearing it, reminding her of her grief.
2016-2017: Arrival in Emmerdale and settling in
Lydia was the leader of the bereavement support group held in the village hall that Jimmy King inadvertently attended in September 2016. At the group, bumbling Jimmy talked about his wife 'Ricola's' death, although his wife Nicola was actually alive and well. Jimmy struggled to keep up the lies and came up with far fetched stories to cover his deception. Nicola discovered Jimmy's deceit and Jimmy and Nicola argued during a bereavement meeting.
A few months later, Lydia turned up at Emmerdale Veterinary Centre with her depressed parrot Steve and she and vet Paddy Kirk decided to go for a drink in The Woolpack. Eric Pollard, who had previous attended the bereavement group, warned Paddy that Lydia was deranged. During their date Lydia bored Paddy by going on about her parrot and suggested a trip to the lawnmower museum. To save Paddy from Lydia's clutches, Paddy's estranged wife Rhona stepped in and told Lydia that she was his wife. Despite learning he was married, Lydia still wanted a relationship with Paddy so Paddy's other ex, Chas Dingle, helped him out and said she was Paddy's mistress, causing Lydia to slap Paddy. Lydia couldn't believe it and grabbed the microphone during a pub quiz and told people not to be fooled by Paddy before storming out.
A few months later, Lydia met Rishi Sharma on a dating website and they met up for a drink in The Woolpack. Marlon and Eric advised Rishi to run from Lydia but Rishi commented Lydia is as crazy as he is. The date was going well until Rishi's son Jai turned up at the pub drunk and called Lydia a 'munter'. Lydia decided to end things with Rishi due to this, but the following month got a job cleaning the Sharma's factory. A few weeks later she got another cleaning job at Home Farm. Due to this, she gave up her bereavement counselling job at the village hall.
Lydia soon asked game keeper Sam Dingle out. Although Lydia and Sam initially struggled for conversation, Lydia had a great time hearing Sam's bird calls. Sam later let her down gently after realising he had to make son Samson his top priority. Sam later persuaded Laurel Thomas to make Lydia (and a stuffed Steve) her lodger after hearing her complain about the daily commute. Sam and Lydia later rekindled their romance after Samson gave his approval and encouraged his father to take Lydia dancing. During her stay at Mulberry Cottage, she was almost to eager to please, cleaning the house as well as looking after the needs of the Thomas family.
In October 2017, she began to work overtime as she needed the money for not only her rent at Mulberry but still paying for her old home in Hotten. After overhearing a few phone calls and whispered conversations between Rishi Sharma and Lydia, Kerry Wyatt was convinced Lydia had been working as a sex slave for Rishi. After Sam heard about this, he confronted Rishi, only to be humiliated when he realised nothing indecent was taking place. Instead, Sam was spurred on to propose marriage and Lydia gleefully accepted.
The following month, a customer called Mrs Dumphreys died in the salon. It is later revealed that Lydia is a distant relation and the only heir. Unbeknown to her, Mrs Dumphreys had made a bet on the horses and it wasn't until after she passed away that salon owner Bernice Blackstock had discovered the win. Bernice and sister Nicola King then decided to keep the £100,000 until Bernice felt guilty. In December, Bernice's daughter Dee Dee showed up and, thinking her mother owned half the village, Bernice was determined to impress her daughter whilst frantically writing IOUs. After getting guilt presents from Bernice, Lydia discovered the truth. Dee Dee was also appalled to learn that her mother had lied about having a string of successful salons and left immediately. Lydia received the money and forgave Bernice, deciding not to go to the police.
2018-: Life with the Dingles and cancer scare
In January 2018, Sam and her are given the week off from their jobs at Home Farm, but when the new owner moves in, he tells them that their services are no longer needed. This made no difference to Lydia, as she still had her jobs at The Woolpack, Sharma & Sharma as well as her private clients.
By June, Lydia began to feel more at home in Wishing Well Cottage, especially after Zak Dingle suggested that she gave the place a once over with a duster and move some of her belongings downstairs instead of keeping it in her room. Initially, she went a bit over the top, but they came to an agreement and Zak even let her keep the stuffed Steve downstairs. A few weeks later, during an argument with Samson over his mother and Sam's ex-wife Alice Dingle's death, he pushes her down the stairs. At the hospital, the doctor notices a mole that he thinks may be cancerous. After temporarily breaking up with Sam for fear of hurting him and Samson, she eventually goes back after she sees how much she means to them, vying to be there for her whatever happens. Lydia gets the all-clear a few weeks later, much to everyone's relief.
- Sandy Thomas: "She's relentlessly cheerful."
Lydia is often seen with a bizarre, erratic behaviour. She is an avid eco-warrior, often priding herself on her natural cleaning products in her job. With her cheery aura and colourful clothing, Lydia can come off as crazy and annoying, although she is a mostly friendly and eager people person, ready to help. Because of her background in bereavement counselling, Lydia is a kind, sensitive individual who will often lend an ear to other villagers and a shoulder to cry on. She is not also willing to help people but is a blatant animal lover.
Lydia is unlucky in love. Having a husband who died, Lydia became lonely. But with her big heart, it is obvious that she wants to spend her life with someone, hence the dates with Paddy Kirk and Sam Dingle, along with finding Rishi Sharma on a dating site.
Hobbies and interests
Much of Lydia's passion is based around her love of her late parrot Steve. Other than caring for her now-deceased (and stuffed) pet, Lydia also showed that she's caring when she ran a bereavement group at the village hall, long before getting cleaning jobs at Sharma & Sharma, Home Farm and The Woolpack. Due to having Steve, a lot of Lydia's furniture, clothes and belongings are animal and bird-themed, with a lot of items containing cockatoos. Lydia is also against animal testing, once voicing her distaste for Lachlan White's deodorants. Lydia has turned her hand to gardening as well.
Lydia loves dancing. She was once 'Yorkshire Junior Amateur Ballroom Champion' three years in a row, between 1994 and 1996. She taught Doug Potts how to dance in June 2017 so that he could impress partner Diane, which turned into further dance classes at the village hall and in The Woolpack. She has also taught dance to Chas Dingle and Paddy Kirk in March 2018. Her love of dancing reflects Lydia's tempestuous attitude. In her youth, she was a member of the North Hotten Second Unit Girl Guides, where she was dance champion in 1989 and 1990, specialising in jazz and limbo.
She also has a love of films, with the 1988 film Beaches being the inspiration for the bereavement group, after watching it three times in a row. Lydia is a fan of Molly Ringwald. Lydia is also nostalgic in her childhood TV shows, gifting Sarah a Brave Heart Care Bear stuffed toy when she was ill.
She has also taken to karaoke at many parties, even if she does insist on always cleaning up after. Having a distinct interest in Gary Barlow, believing that he unites us all together.
Lydia can also say 'thank you' and 'goodbye' in ten languages, including BSL.
Lydia also loves cooking for her loved ones, and makes her infamous potato salad at family gatherings, much to everyone's disgust.
Lydia's relationship with Sam Dingle is an all but simple one. She first met him in April 2017 after asking colleague Lisa Dingle if her son was single. The next day they went on a date at David's Shop and after an awkward start, soon got on like a house on fire. After realising he had to put his son first, they mutually agreed not to see each other. She soon got a job at Home Farm, seeing Sam every day which strengthened their friendship. Months later, he invited Lydia to a dance and hurriedly accepted, believing he had feelings for her too. The next day, she told him how she felt and they shared a kiss. After a misunderstanding in which Sam thought Lydia was working as a sex worker to boss Rishi Sharma, he proposed to which she said yes.
Although she got off to a bumpy start with Sam's son Samson Dingle, she soon earned his respect. She also grew close to the rest of the Dingle family, especially after moving into Wishing Well Cottage. Zak, especially, grew close to her as she kept the house running following Lisa's departure.
We first see Lydia get a job in April 2017 after hearing that the cleaners at Sharma & Sharma had gone on strike. Chrissie White soon took pity on her and offered her another cleaning job at Home Farm. She has also lent her services as a cleaner and accountant at Take A Vow. She also got another cleaning job at The Woolpack in August 2017, along with other cleaning jobs she did for her other clients.
Whilst working at Sharma & Sharma, she fabricated a fake cleaning assistant by the name of 'Una' so that she could work longer hours for the money. Ultimately, she was sacked for breaking the law in October 2017 until she was reinstated the next day. Whilst staying at The Grange B&B, she agreed to do some cleaning for Eric Pollard in exchange for a discount on the room price.
|Accounts clerk||Unnamed bookmakers||Prior to 2017|
|Cleaner||Sharma & Sharma||26th April 2017 to 10th October 2017|
|Cleaner||Home Farm||9th May 2017 to 11th January 2018|
|Cleaner||The Woolpack||3rd August 2017 to present|
|Cleaner||Sharma & Sharma||11th October 2017 to present|
|Cleaner||Home Farm||17th May 2019 to present|
Role in the community
Lydia volunteered at a bereavement support group at the village hall for years, helping people move on after the deaths of their loved ones. She was very helpful in the groups and received many cards and gifts when she announced she was leaving.
Lydia started giving dance classes at the village hall in June 2017. Doug, Eric, Lisa, Ronnie, Faith, Sarah, Sam and Samson turned up. Despite Lydia's teaching and expertise, Faith convinced the others to freestyle.
|Hotten||Unknown to 25th May 2017|
|Mulberry Cottage||25th May 2017 to 16th October 2017|
|Wishing Well Cottage||16th October 2017 to 16th November 2017|
|Mulberry Cottage||16th November 2017 to 19th April 2018|
|Wishing Well Cottage||19th April 2018 to 2nd August 2018|
|The Grange B&B||2nd August 2018 to 3rd August 2018|
|Wishing Well Cottage||3rd August 2018 to present|
- She has Eremikophobia, the fear of sand.
- She had an Aunty Mimi, who was her second cousin once-removed on her mother's side. She died in Beauty & Bernice in November 2017 and Lydia inherited her estate.
- Lydia made sporadic appearances between September 2016 and March 2017, but due to popular reception returned as a regular cast member in April 2017. During this time, the character was credited as simply 'Lydia', although giving her surname in dialogue.
"Hello! We've got coffee and doughnuts from the cafe if you want one." (First line, to Jimmy King)
"You know grief, it's just another name for love." (To Lachlan White)
"I haven't finished! You took what wasn't yours because you could. I loved that man so much and he knew it, but when I took him back he never looked at me the same again, because we both knew he'd settled for second best. I've never hated anyone in my entire life, but I hated you, and I still hate you!" (To Pat Pearce)