Delilah 'Del' Dingle sped into the village in a flash red sports car, wearing a wedding dress and refusing to explain why she was there. In fact, she was so determined not to answer any questions, she gave the widescreen TV she’d been given as a wedding present to her uncle Zak so he would let her stay with him and his family.
The next day, her bewildered fiancé Jay arrived, convinced Del just had cold feet but Del couldn't marry Jay. After much soul searching, Del realised he wasn’t the man for her and gently told him they had no future together. Although hurt, Jay accepted Del's decision and they parted amicably.
Settling into life in Emmerdale, Del – a talented seamstress – helped Val Lambert and Eric Pollard start their soft furnishings business and became an integral part of the company. Del not only earned a living but she made friends with her colleagues, Sandra Briggs, Pearl Ladderbanks and boss Val – helping her out of a number of scrapes. It was these friends who she turned to when her heart was broken just weeks later.
Resident hunk Carl King was on the rebound. Having loved and lost Del’s cousin Chas, he was single and the pair became friends. Del wanted the flirtatious banter between them to lead to a proper romance but Carl had doubts. While in Spain, on holiday with the Dingles, Carl rejected Del's advances – explaining he was still in love with Chas. Although distraught at the knockback, Del became Carl’s best friend – and the pair ended up in bed together, Carl suggested giving romance a go but Del knew it wasn’t right and helped him win back Chas. With Carl and Chas happily reconciled, Del tried to get on with life but her night with Carl was about to come back to haunt her.
When Chas’s son Aaron visited, he discovered Carl's secret and gleefully told his mother – wanting to cause maximum pain. Chas was furious but Del implored her not to give up the best man she’d ever been involved with. Chas and Carl soon became engaged.
Del was heartbroken to discover Alice Wilson, her cousin Sam’s fiancée, had been told her cancer was terminal so she and Chas gave her a hen night to remember - although Del struggled to cope with the secret.
However, her own romantic life soon took centre stage again. Del got close to local vet Paddy Kirk after agreeing to adopt abandoned pooch, Titch. They started dating, Paddy’s friend Toni Daggert decided she was in love with him and set out to ruin their romance. Initially her schemes didn’t work but after Toni enticed Paddy to spend more time with her than he did with Del, Del confronted Toni in the Woolpack kitchen. After a struggle, Toni was scalded with hot fat when a pan got knocked over, leaving her badly burned. Del was horrified at what had happened and called for help immediately but it was too late. Disgusted at Del's behaviour, Paddy dumped her and spent his time consoling Toni. Toni forgave Del for burning her - realising that it was a genuine accident.
When David Metcalfe arrived in the village in November 2006, looking for his long-lost father. They took a shine to each other until Del thought that his father was her uncle Zak and distanced herself. Fortunately David's father was revealed to be Eric and they started planning to steal £20,000 from him in revenge for Eric stealing £20,000 from David's late mother, Lydia. Unfortunately Chas saw David with her friend, Katie Sugden, one night and Katie admitted that they had had a one night stand. Chas told Del, who confronted Katie, but her real revenge was directed at David for lying to her. She changed their plan to steal the £20,000 slightly, convincing David to put the money in her account, and he agreed. Once the money was safe in her account, she left the country, leaving David behind.
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