Moira Dingle’s (Natalie J Robb) world was turned upside down in Emmerdale when her estranged brother Mackenzie (Lawrence Robb) rocked up last week.
Yes, Moira was taken aback by the arrival of her younger brother, which is no surprise given that it’s been decades since they last set eyes on one another.
However, things didn’t exactly pan out the way the village mainstay had hoped, and animosity ensued as a result.
Speaking to Metro.co.uk about Mackenzie’s arrival, actress Natalie J Robb — who plays Moira — said: ‘The fact that he turns up in the village… it’s such a shock because it’s been such a long time since she’s seen him.
‘He was always like her little shadow when he was younger, and everything just comes flooding back to her.
‘For her, it’s just a maternal feeling, if anything. But obviously, he doesn’t feel the same way, so it’s a bit of a shock for her. It’s a shock for her to see him again, and all these feelings come flooding through her, but when she realises that it’s not in a good way, she’s going to have another fight on her hands!’
A fight on her hands is exactly the right way to describe it, as another showdown of sorts ensues between the brother and sister in the coming episodes, and it’s one that brings back bad memories.
‘There’s a dark past,’ Natalie explains, ‘It’s a long time ago that she left the family. It will be revealed in time, but it’s something she had to run away from and never look back in order for her to continue with her future — if she was going to have any future.
‘I can just say that [the dark secret] is very sad. But there is a big reason why she had to run away. That’s all I can say!’
Mackenzie has things that he wants to tell Moira, but as Natalie said, Moira has got some truths of her own — and she’s determined to make her younger sibling listen.
‘I don’t think he’s going to want to listen, no,’ Natalie reckons, ‘But maybe when the seeds are planted, in time maybe he’ll realise.
‘[Mackenzie’s rejection] hurts her deeply. there are things that will be revealed and unravelled but it’s how they can go forth with it and forward with it.
‘All she wants to do is give him a big cuddle and tell him everything is going to be alright, but she just doesn’t get that opportunity. If anything, it’s going to take a long time because of what’s happened in the past. It has deeply hurt Mackenzie, and he’s not willing to forgive.’
After the dust settles, Moira makes a mystery phone call to someone, but the identity of that someone remains a mystery.
The question, of course, is: who is it?
‘It’s basically her holding out an olive branch,’ Natalie teased, ‘And whether they’ll take it or not… it’s hard to discuss, as I don’t want to give too much away! She is trying, but we just don’t know to who!’
We’ll just have to wait and see, but one thing’s for certain: Mackenzie’s introduction will not only provide a whole new dynamic for Moira, but it will also strengthen her as a character, as we can now learn more about her past.
Natalie added: ‘It’s been talked about for quite a while, it was just knowing when the right time was going to be. It’s really good. It’s always been John’s [Moira’s first husband] family, and the immediate family Moira has created, and Nana Barton!
‘It’s never Moira’s mother, father, brother or whatever. This [story] is good as it may explain a lot about why Moira is the way that she is, and why she’s fiercely protective of her children.
‘It’s going to be exciting stuff, and to have that link in the past which is her family. It’s her past catching up with her.’
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