Penny Golightly arrived in Beckindale in 1973 after hearing that her father, Ian McIntyre was living in the village. Upon finding who she was, Joe Sugden and Matt Skilbeck took her back to Emmerdale Farm where Annie Sugden broke the news to her of her father's death. Joe and Penny arranged to go fishing, but she forgot about it and he sulked due to this. Penny then formed a friendship with Jim Latimer but he wanted more, and even tried to strangle her but was stopped by Jack Sugden. Latimer then confessed to the murder of Sharon Crossthwaite. Penny soon recovered from her ordeal at Jim's hands.
Wanting to be close to the last place where her father was alive, Penny started a close friendship with Jack Sugden and after helping him to decorate the old Millhouse, he agreed to let her live there and even let two of her friends, Gwen Russell and David Reece, stay for a while. After David and Gwen returned to Wales, Penny stayed on at the mill.
Penny began to date Joe Sugden, but their relationship fell apart when Joe wanted to progress a step further, and he was being a bit childish and selfish. She decided to finish with Joe, so she visited her father's grave and left a message for Jack stating she was going back to Birmingham, but may return to Beckindale. Penny left that day, and when Joe went to see her at the millhouse, he saw her empty room. Jack told Joe that Penny had gone back to Birmingham. She never did return to Beckindale.