Dan comes to Emmerdale to see his children. Ali and her partner, Ruby, are not pleased by his presence, but Amelia and Sean enjoy having their father visit. Dan decides to stay around for a while and he believes he can win Ali back. After a couple of weeks, Dan announced he is leaving to return to work. Sean asks to go with him, but Dan tells him he has no flat yet.
Dan returns to the village a few months later, still refusing to give up on his marriage, even though Ali wants a divorce. He moves in with Bob Hope and gets a packing job at the Sharma and Sharma sweet factory. Sean tells him to leave Ali and Ruby alone and that he likes living with them. Dan takes Amelia and Sean to his house after Sean claims that Ruby kissed him. Dan allows the children to return home when Sean confesses to lying about the kiss. When Ali and Ruby fall out, Dan helps them repair their relationship. Dan develops feelings for Chas Dingle and she reciprocates. After dating for a few weeks, Chas proposes to Dan, but he turns her down. He later changes his mind and proposes to her instead. Chas accepts and they begin planning their wedding. With the wedding taking place on 17th October 2012, Dan is disappointed when Chas disappears on their wedding night. He later discovers that she had been having an affair with Cameron Murray and had been responsible for Carl King's death. Their marriage did not last as Chas engaged in a full relationship with Cameron, now the news had become public and their marriage was annulled in June 2013.
Kerry and Dan get engaged. Dan's brother Daz arrives in town, pushing Dan's buttons and sharing a kiss with a drunk Kerry. In spite of this, Dan and Kerry wed, but her first husband, Kev, shows up at the reception, asking for a divorce so he could marry his new partner. Punches are thrown and Dan and various others are arrested. Dan and Kerry split, with Dan's emotional state worsened by news of Sean joining the army. Dan and Ali seek comfort in each other, leading to sex. A pregnancy scare leads to the truth being revealed, but Dan and Kerry still reconcile.
Dan and a reluctant Kerry begin taking college courses to improve their lives. Sean suffers severe burns in an accident, leading Ali and Ruby to spend much of their time close to him in Liverpool while he recovers. Dan initially plans to join them, but stays behind with Kerry and Amelia. Ruby returns to help earn more money, but is soon significantly injured after a helicopter explosion causes a ceiling to collapse on her. Dan and Kerry stay with her as she dies, with Dan left guilt-ridden over not being able to help her. He decides to become a paramedic, later helping save Robert Sugden's life after his shooting. Ali leaves town with her sister Rachel, with Amelia choosing to stay with Kerry and Dan.
Dan continues his courses, finding quiet time to revise while "babysitting" for an unaware Ashley Thomas. Dan, Ashley, Jimmy King and various other men eventually begin having poker parties, with Dan even turning down sex with Kerry to spend time with the lads. This turns into water gun fights with the kids, including Amelia, who blackmail Dan and the other men into complying. Kerry and the partners of the other men are less than pleased when they learn the truth. Dan's paramedic training comes in handy after Rakesh Kotecha starts a fire at Mill Cottage which causes an explosion. Dan is the first to see the explosion, and calls the fire brigade. Nicola King, who is trapped inside, screams for help, so Ronnie Hale and Dan go in and get her out. Ronnie goes back into the burning house while Dan stays with an injured Nicola.
Dan looks forward to seeing Joanie once again when she is released from prison - she was jailed for a month after accidentally assaulting a police officer. However, Dan and company are left stunned when Joanie suddenly dies from a heart attack while Lisa is driving her home. Questions about little Kyle's future loom, as Zak tells social services that he and Lisa are too old to look after a child, and when Kerry's behaviour turns erratic and she suffers a diabetic fit due to excessive drinking, Kyle is taken into care. Thankfully, he is returned to the Dingles' care. Further mortality awaits Dan as Ashley succumbs to pneumonia.
"Everyone out! Clear the room, move it!" - before helicopter crash.
"Oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no" - before Mill Cottage explodes.