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Debbie Dingle
Debbie Dingle.jpg
Portrayed by Charley Webb
Duration 2002, 2003–2010
First appearance 24 December 2002
Last appearance 12 March 2010
Occupation Mechanic/businesswoman
Residence Jersey

Deborah "Debbie" Dingle (previously Jones) is a fictional character in the ITV1 soap opera Emmerdale. She is portrayed by Charley Webb.


Early storylines

Debbie as she appeared in 2002.

Debbie moved to Emmerdale in 2002 and was fostered by Paddy and Emily Kirk. She discovered that Charity Tate is her birth mother when her cousin, Sam Dingle, recognised her birth mother from the photo her adoptive mother gave her.

Charity initially wanted nothing to do with Debbie but eventually they bonded and began building a mother-daughter relationship. Charity was thrilled that her husband, Chris Tate, also bonded with Debbie and suggested he adopt her. Debbie, however, was more interested in the identity of her real father and Charity told her that her cousin, Cain Dingle, was her father. They spent time together as a family, accidentally excluding Chris. He was unhappy about this and the adoption didn't go ahead.


Family life

After Chris died, Cain, Charity and Debbie moved into Pear Tree Cottage while Charity was on bail for Chris's murder. Debbie was devastated when Charity was found guilty. She and Cain returned to the Dingles but soon moved into Butler's Farm with Andy Sugden and Daz Eden, due to overcrowding.

Meanwhile, Charity - knowing she wouldn't be allowed to keep her son, Noah Tate, with her in prison for long - gave him to Zoe Tate after DNA tests proved Chris was his father. When Charity was freed on appeal, Zoe told the Dingles that Charity sold Noah for £20,000. Furious, Debbie burned the money but softened when Charity took Noah when Social Services, concerned about Zoe's ability to cope with her businesses, the children she already had and her mental illness, blocked Zoe's application to adopt Christopher (as she renamed Noah) and insisted he be handed either to Charity or them.


Now a teenager, Debbie - like most girls her age - became interested in boys and make-up, much to Cain's horror. Daz fancied her but she preferred his older half-brother, Andy and local curate, Ethan. Ethan helped her with her schoolwork and she kissed him but he reminded her that he was engaged to Niamh. Andy, however, was single and they began a relationship, discovered by Charity. She wanted better for Debbie than a struggling farmer but allowed Debbie to make her own decision. Cain, however, wasn't as tolerant. Feeling that Andy had taken advantage, he blackmailed Andy to dump her - unaware that she was pregnant.

Debbie after she gave birth to Sarah, at the age of 15 (2005).

Debbie concealed her pregnancy, planning to leave the baby at the hospital after the birth. Daz, however, discovered Debbie's secret and agreed reluctantly to help, assisting when she gave birth in Seth's hide. Debbie named her daughter Sarah Charity after her grandmothers and reconciled with Andy briefly but it didn't last. She dated Robert Sugden briefly, unaware of his ulterior motive to hurt Andy by stealing his daughter, but Robert dumped her when, intending to leave the village, she met him alone. He, however, was angry that she hadn't brought Sarah and revealed his plan - it was Sarah he wanted and dumped her.

Life after baby Sarah

Debbie felt Sarah would be better off without her. On discovering that Cain had thrown Emily, her former foster mother out, and that Emily planned to leave the area, Debbie asked her to take Sarah. The Dingle and Sugden families were devastated when Emily agreed and the Dingles threw Debbie out so she moved into the vicarage with Ashley Thomas and his family.

She made friends with Ashley's niece, Jasmine Thomas, which developed into a brief lesbian relationship which ended when Cain seduced Jasmine. Cain made sure that Debbie discovered his and Jasmine's relationship and she ended her friendship with Jasmine but they reconciled when Jasmine told her that she was pregnant. Jasmine decided she wanted an abortion and Sadie King paid for her to go private. Debbie accompanied her and took great delight in telling Cain about the abortion and Sadie's part in it - unaware of his and Sadie's plan to kidnap Tom King. In revenge, Cain took Tom and Sadie hostage and Chastity delivered the ransom. She and Debbie were shocked by Cain's behaviour but Debbie begged him not to leave her behind. Cain insisted he had to and left but sent money to Debbie, which Chas returned to the Kings.

Sarah Sugden's return

In October 2006, Emily returned baby Sarah to her father, knowing Debbie didn't want her. She also knew that Andy wouldn't want to see her so she left a book of photos and instructions on Sarah's routine, likes and dislikes in her nappy bag. Initially he, his wife, Katie, and lodger, Jo, kept Sarah's return secret but, aided by boyfriend Scott Windsor, Debbie left Sarah with Andy. Her only condition was that he didn't expect her to be part of Sarah's life.

Jo took over as Sarah's mum when Andy and Katie, following him admitting to his and Jo's affair. Andy and Jo took Sarah to visit the Dingles frequently and Lisa, trying to spark Debbie's maternal instincts, asked her to visit at the same time. She was successful and Debbie started bonding with her daughter but when she asked for access, Andy refused.

Life in the village

Meanwhile, Debbie showed she was a true Dingle by getting Eli Dingle to pose as "Scott Windsor" so she could get a bank loan, using the garage as security. She was also involved in a jewellery scam with Chas and Lexi in September 2007. They stole a valuable necklace from an auction at Home Farm, planning to split the proceeds equally. Unfortunately Debbie got greedy and wanted a bigger share, feeling she'd done the work so she and Eric plotted to cut Chas and Lexi out, telling them that the necklace was a fake but Lexi overheard them discussing this. She was furious and confronted Debbie, leading to a fight in the street, and the necklace was lost down a drain.

Bonding with Sarah

One day, Jo asked Debbie to look after Sarah while she visited Andy in prison. Debbie was surprised by how much she enjoyed it. By now, Andy and Jo were engaged and Jo planned to adopt Sarah but Debbie couldn't sign the papers, much to Andy's horror.

Looking out for Jo

In September 2008, Debbie realised something was wrong when she saw Sarah's picture of Andy standing over a crying Jo. Jo eventually admitted that Andy was hitting her and Debbie warned her if Andy hurt Sarah, she would remove her immediately. Debbie supported Jo, reassuring her that it wasn't her fault and even gave her money so she and Sarah could escape but Andy stopped Jo.

When the full details came out in the village, Debbie warned Andy that he would have as little access to Sarah as possible. She was disappointed when Jo allowed Andy access but gave in when she saw how much Sarah loved and missed Andy.

Accessory to murder

Learning that Jasmine had gone to her boyfriend, PC Shane Doyle's flat, Debbie followed and found Shane attacking Jasmine. Rushing to help, there was a fight and Jasmine accidentally killed him. Jasmine, assisted by Debbie and Eli, dumped his body in the lake at Home Farm but his colleagues got suspicious when Shane didn't return from "holiday". Victoria Sugden found him when she fell into the lake. Donna Windsor-Dingle told Marlon, that Ross and Shane had fought over Shane blackmailing them about their affair, leading to Ross being charged with murder. Feeling guilty, Jasmine told Debbie that she wanted to confess to the police so Debbie took her to the station. Once there, they had a heart to heart where old feelings emerged. They kissed and began a relationship again.

On 26 January 2009, Debbie and Jasmine planned to run away together but Debbie was arrested and charged with manslaughter. Jasmine, however, escaped and Eli told the police about Debbie and Jasmine's relationship so Debbie was charged with murder. Feeling guilty, he tried to get Debbie out of prison by asking his ex, Danielle, to beat her up so they would be sent to hospital. The plan worked but Debbie refused to leave so Marlon, Eli and Danielle left without her. Danielle wasn't free for long - she was arrested at the bus station. Jasmine saw this as she had returned to get some money her grandfather, Sandy, had promised her. Already fed up of life on the run, Jasmine gatecrashed Debbie's court hearing and confessed to Shane's murder.

On 3 March, Debbie and Jasmine appeared in court. Both girls pleaded guilty and were sentenced to six months and four years respectively and were told they would be eligible for parole after serving half their sentences. Debbie was released on 24 March, due to time already served.

Fight to be Sarah's mother

Thanks to her time in prison, Debbie realised she wanted to be Sarah's mother but Andy still refused her access. Angry, Debbie took Natasha Wylde up on her offer of a solicitor so she could fight Andy for custody. When Andy found out, he and current girlfriend, Natasha's daughter, Maisie Wylde, argued with Debbie in public. The fight got physical when Maisie, angry at her mother, said Debbie would never get custody and insulted her and her mother. Debbie later apologised, worrying about her case and Maisie ended things with Andy, not wanting to get involved.

Cain Dingle was thrilled Debbie wanted custody and did everything possible to help. Seeing his nephew, Aaron Livesy, was dating Victoria Sugden, he used this against Andy - getting Aaron to persuade Victoria to play truant and steal from local shops. He then reported Victoria's truancy who sent the school liaison officer round. She was concerned about Andy's ability to cope but agreed not to call Social Services this time. Cain also reported Andy's domestic abuse, taking great delight in telling Andy, who promptly tried to run him over. The hearing was postponed while CAFCASS investigated. Andy denied it but Jo and her medical records confirmed it. Andy, scared he would lose his daughter, planned to take her on "holiday" but Mick Naylor told Debbie. She and the Dingles removed Sarah but promised Andy they would make decisions about Sarah together. Cain, however, said he would make sure Andy never saw Sarah again. The next day, at the hearing, Andy withdrew his application so the judge awarded a residency order to Debbie.

Relationship with Michael Conway

In summer 2009, Debbie met and started dating Michael Conway. Things were fine until early September - when Michael admitted that he was with another woman. This shocked her but she was suspicious as his behaviour had seemed odd, particularly when they seemed to be getting closer. In late September, Michael admitted he was engaged and only days away from getting married. Insisting he loved her more than his fiancee, Debbie challenged him to prove it by calling off the wedding and he agreed but later told her that his fiancee was pregnant. Debbie told him that she never wanted to see him again but she and Cain went to the wedding and were stunned to discover that the bride was her mother, Charity. Following a confrontation between the four of them, the wedding was called off. Michael later tried to reconcile with Debbie briefly but, busy getting to know her mother and half-brother, didn't take his calls.

Charity's back

Debbie was made up, getting to know her mother and half-brother again and was upset when she and Cain caught Charity stealing Cain's money, Debbie refused to speak to Charity. On 17 December, Carl King barged into Debbie's house, thinking Debbie had his money and tried to attack her but Charity saved her and the two made it up. Debbie wanted her parents to get along at Christmas but they had a row but found themselves agreeing to get married. The Dingles were thrilled but Debbie said cynically that it wouldn't last

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