Emmerdale’s Natalie J Robb – Emma’s the biggest threat to Moira

Emmerdale’s Moira Dingle could die next week as she becomes the focus of Emma Barton’s rage.

The two women are going to have a showdown as Emma loses the plot and attacks her rival with a pitch fork. Their clash sparks a fire in Moira’s barn and a shooting, and it remains to be seen who makes it through the week alive.

Here Natalie J Robb, who plays Moira, reveals Emma’s more dangerous to Moira than the raging fire around them.

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Tell us what Moira is doing when Emma Barton first comes to confront her?

Moira is really tired and working hard and after a busy day clay pigeon shooting with Faith she heads to finish her work in the barn. It’s quite late so she is surprised when Emma suddenly arrives at the barn – she is not sure why she is there.

Why does Emma come to confront her?

Emma goes to confront Moira and from the state of her, Moira quickly ascertains Emma is not in a great place. She’s acting erratically, is clearly angry and very confrontational. Moira quickly works out Emma is having one of her odd days. So she just decides to play along and go steady as she can see Emma’s acting a bit unhinged.

Does Moira realise Emma is so angry?

She doesn’t really know at first but then she starts quizzing Moira about James and what he meant to her. For Moira, the penny quickly drops and she does her best to pacify her.  But Moira can’t say the right thing as Emma is trying to twist her words.

Could you describe Emma as unhinged at this point?

Yes she’s very insecure, unstable and Moira finds her vulnerable.

What does Emma want from Moira?

She wants to know if Moira loved James and what they meant to each other. She is very persistent and agitated and it’s obviously been eating her up. She then confesses she pushed him off the bridge but blames Moira for it. Moira is shocked and in disbelieve but then also becomes quite frightened.

It was all so long ago – did Moira think that Emma had moved on from it?

Yes she really is surprised that Emma is still discussing it. Moira has moved on and thought she and Emma were getting along okay. But clearly Emma has not moved on.

How angry does she get and does it get dangerous?

Emma is really angry. As they are talking Emma gets closer and closer. Moira breaks away to escape but Moira goes for her. Grabs a pitchfork and then thrusts it threateningly at Moira. In their tussle, she also hits a light which in turn causes a fire. The ladies don’t spot the fire as it starts small, but soon they are both aware the barn is on fire around them. And then an oil drum explodes.

Does Moira fear for her life at this point?

Yes Moira is frightened as they both could die. It’s really dangerous in the barn and Emma is a loose cannon. The barn is full of lots of hay and straw bales, plus oil drums, farm machinery, diesel supplies etc.. but the most frightening thing in the barn is Emma – forget the fire – it’s Emma who is the biggest threat at this point.

The barn sets on fire and initially it looks like Emma is leaving Moira to die..  What was it like to film the fire scenes?

It has been good but there have been lots of night shoots involved.  We did all the barn stuff on a series of night shoots. We have stunt people and special fx people working around us to get the best results. But Gillian and I did do a big stunt ourselves. It was a real adrenaline rush. We had to jump from a big fireball explosion.

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What are these kind of night shoots like?

Night shoots feel different to a day shoot. There is often an exciting buzz on set. We tend to arrive at the location at around 6pm and work through the night until about six in the morning. They have been long nights and some of them have been wet and cold too. On those shoots I’ve been driving home as other people have been waking up and heading to work.  

How much preparation is there in choreographing the fights?

We rehearse/record on Emmerdale which means we arrive on set to do the scene, we then block it through with the director, and the stunt arranger.  It is very collaborative as we work out what we are doing, plus as well as deciding the action moves at this point we also run the lines. With the big fights we sometimes get another day in the schedule to work them out. But very often it’s just before we film it. As we rehearse the crew are watching so they know how the scene is working out so know what the lighting needs are. It’s all one big team effort.

Is there anyway back for Emma after this?  

You will have to wait and see but she will get her comeuppance..

Did you have to wear anything different for the fire scenes?

Yes, costume had our clothes specially made. They are fire proof as they knew we would be getting near to the flames.  Two layers and they had have lots of different versions of the same outfit because as the scene progresses the outfits get into a worse state.

What was your reaction when you found out that you’d be involved in all of this?

I was thrilled to hear I would be in this story. I knew I was going to be busy this half of the year as when I tried to book a holiday I was told to try for a different time.. It’s great to be part of this storyline that we are calling – No Return, Returns. When I read the scripts I was excited to read it all.  This fire is just the beginning of it. The week gets bigger and bigger but we are trying to keep that all a secret.

Can you tease what else is in store for Moira?

I could but then I’d ruin it for you.. There is much more to come and a few twists we hope you will enjoy. Don’t miss it!

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