Creation & CastingEdit
In May 2009, it was announced that Emmerdale's new series producer, Gavin Blyth, would be introducing a new farming family called the Bartons, as part of an ongoing overhaul of the show. The family, which consists of five members - a mother, father, two daughters and a son - took over the running of Butler's Farm. Of the family, Blyth said "I don't want to make Emmerdale a show about teenagers and young people, it's about family values. The Bartons are sexy, modern and contemporary. They're almost happy - and in soapland that's quite strange!"James Thornton was cast in the role of John Barton and Adam Thomas, Sophie Powles and Grace Cassidy were cast as Adam, Holly and Hannah respectively. Former The Bill actress Natalie J. Robb was cast in the role of John's wife, Moira.Robb said a call went through her agent asking her to audition for the role of Moira. She auditioned with several different actors, including Thornton Robb's agent later called to tell her she had won the role. Robb explained finding out she had won the part was one of the best bits of the job. The actress said she was looking forward to joining because the Emmerdale team, which she described as "genuine and lovely."She added "Cast and crew have been very welcoming and that always helps. There’s nothing better than being able to really look forward to going into work.
2009-2010: Arriving in the villageEditMoira and her family have taken over the farm from the Sugden family. They made their first appearance in July 2009, when she arrived with husband John Barton, and children, Adam, Holly and Hannah. In August 2009, Moira stood up for John when he faced prison for standing up against Aaron Livesy. She also became concerned when her daughter Hannah started to show an interest in Andy Sugden, who was recovering from a breakdown. Moira had heard from a number of local residents that Andy was dangerous, and was unsure of her daughter's safety. Moira jumped to conclusions after seeing Hannah crying after leaving Andy's, and argued with him. She had misunderstood the situation however, and later apologised to Andy. Moira began working as a barmaid in the Woolpack in September 2009, and frequently clashed with Marlon Dingle. Soon after Marlon began to develop feelings for Moira, however Moira did not feel the same way, and he read too much into her flirty nature. They both soon agreed though that it was wrong and that Marlon was still trying to get over his ex-wife Donna Windsor-Dingle.
Moira continued to work in the Woolpack, making more friends as time went on and becoming a great staff member and confident to landlady Diane Sugden. Soon though, Moira revealed her nasty side as after months of torment and bullying, her daughter Hannah revealed the wicked torture she had been enduring by Victoria Sugden and friend Kayleigh, after confronting Victoria in the pub where the two families were having a meal together. However, Moira and Diane soon made up and continued to be good friends, with Hannah and Victoria also building bridges in their friendship.
When Edna Birch's granddaughter, Eve Jenson, arrived in the village and started working for the Bartons as their farmhand, Eve's constant flirting with John made Moira suspicious, but Eve reassured her that nothing was going on, even finding it amusing. Although Moira began to dislike her new farmhand, she put Eve's flirting down to her personality and thought her husband couldn't cheat. John however kissed Eve in the back of his car and was spotted by Cain Dingle. Cain visited Moira in The Woolpack and told her what he had seen, but Moira refused to believe him and went home to confront John. When she got home she told John what Cain had told her and John confessed that he and Eve had kissed but said there was nothing to it and he loved Moira. Moira however told John if he could kiss her he might as well have slept with her and she told him to get out of the house. After that however they reconciled [Moira and John] and continued to battle their eldest daughter, Holly's continual drug problem. A little later, Moira could not bear to see Holly suffering, so she bought heroin and supplied her daughter with it. She was caught and cautioned by the police.
Moira finds out about her son, Adam's affair with Ella Hart, she demands Adam to finish with Ella, but they decide to carry on with the affair, since then Moira has given Ella a number of dirty looks and has told her to back off from Adam. Ella's husband Declan Macey discovers the affair and goes mad, Adam comes back home to John and Moria, which then Moira makes Adam come clean to John about the affair, John's not happy about this because it could affect the deal he has with Declan about the farm, but Adam ensures that the farm will be safe.
John and Moira's relationship becomes strained, especially when Cain reveals Moira is paying him in installments for a Land Rover. Moira goes to the garage to confront Cain, but she ends up having sex with him. Moria and Cain then begin an affair. Moira tells Diane she is having an affair with someone she hates and Diane works out it is with Cain because of the way Moira acted around him. Moira begs Cain not to tell John about the affair however he does so by taunting him about a birthmark that was on her thigh and John throws Moira out. She leaves to stay with her mother but later returns and then goes to stay with Marlon Dingle. She is desperate to make amends with John and her children however they refuse to speak to her. John allows her to come to the farm to help with the finances for the business.
2010-2013: John's deathEditMoira is concerned and worried when John is arrested for Cain's brutal attack and temporally moves back into the farm to support her children. During the Christmas time, Adam and Moira start to bond again and he begins to forgive her. Moira is devestated when John bans her from spending Christmas with them so she puts their presents in the barn. Adam, Hannah and Holly eventually forgive her and try to help her reconcile with John. However, Moira is devastated when John starts flirting with her friend and boss Chas Dingle. Chas goes on a date with John, upseting Moira. On Chas' return, they argue and Moira slaps Chas. Chas then blurts out that John couldn't go through it as he really loves Moira. Moira tells John that she will agree to a divorce if that is what he wants, but John tells her it is not. Moira and John reconcile and their children book a night at a hotel for them. While driving, John loses control of the car as he hits some black ice and the car falls down a hill. Moira manages to free herself from the car with help from John and Declan. However, Moira cannot free John and the vehicle falls over a cliff. John is rescued and rushed to hospital, where he undergoes surgery. Shortly after Moira tells John that she loves him, he dies.
Moira is devastated by John's death and the children try to help her around the farm. Hannah struggles with her studies, while Holly blames Moira for John's death. After turning to drugs again, Holly begins seeing a counsellor and is later offered a job in London. Hannah announces that she is bored of village life and wants to go with her. Moira initially refuses to let her go, but later relents. Her farmhand, Alex Moss comes to stay at the farm, after his house floods. Moira and Alex begin an affair and try to conceal it from Adam who is best friends with Alex. However, when Victoria confronts Alex about who he has been seeing, Moira reveals that it was her. Victoria later reveals the affair to the rest of the village.
Cain makes a deal with Moira that if Alex works at the garage then his father, Zak can have Alex's old job at the farm. Moira sees Cain's vulnerable side and the couple begin seeing each other late 2012, disgusting Adam who blames Cain for John's death. However they split when Cain goes on holiday without telling her and she realises he isn't responsible. She then goes on a date with Dominic Andrews and thus pleasing Adam. However, Cain 'kidnaps' Moira after stealing Dom's motorbike and pretending to be Dom. Moira is at first fuming, however her hate soon turns into passion and they sleep together.
2013-2016: Relationship with CainEdit
On New Years Eve, they announce their relationship by kissing in the Woolpack. Adam disproves of the relationship and starts giving Moira grief about it. In April, Moira learns that she is pregnant with Cain's baby but she soon miscarries. Cain then moves in with Moira after his daughter Debbie becomes too difficult to handle.
Adam, still angry at Cain and Moira's relationship, tries to set Cain up. He notices a bit of flirtation between a Cain and a girl called Natalie. Adam sets up a party and pays Natalie to sleep with Cain. Cain realises what Adam is up to and pushes Adam against a wall and threaten him. The following day Adam finds out about Moira's miscarriage and tells Cain he's glad Moira lost the baby. Cain then punches him, but is stopped by Zak before things esculate. Adam then shows his mum his black eye and tries to persuade Moira to leave Cain. She sides with Cain and Adam leaves the farm.
In late 2013, Ross Barton, son of John's brother James Barton interrupted Cain proposing to Moira at the farmhouse after he arrived to avoid the wrath of gangster drug dealers who had shot him in the shoulder. Realising his family connection, Moira offered Ross a place to stay for a few days until he was able to move on. Shortly afterwards, James and his other son Pete Barton along with Ross would become temporary longterm tenants at Butler's Farm after losing their own farm in December. Soon afterwards, the Bartons went into business together and Cain began to become suspicious of James's motives for staying at the farm. His suspicions were soon proved to be correct when on the evening of a big business deal at a hotel, James admitted to Moira that he still had feelings for her as he had done in the past. Moira turned him down however and later confessed to Cain that James had admitted to her that he had feelings for her. Assuring him that she did not feel the same way, Moira proposed to Cain in 10th February 2014. Cain Surprises Moira with their wedding on her hen party and then week later on 15th May they go married same day as Charity and Declan in the barn with whole of village however there one point that Moira is scared because when 18 she had slept with James Barton, John's brother and then 9 months later had Adam and James did a DNA test and found out her was biologically his son and said to Moira he tell but did not.
In March 2016, The police inform Moira and Cain that there is a stolen Ferrari in the village. When they where driving home that day, a flock of sheep scattered onto the road. When Cain and Moira tried to get the sheep back into the field, Moira spots the Ferrari. Unexpectedly, it was Charity Dingle that got out of the car. Cain quickly fixed the damage to the car and got Charity's clothes and belongings out the boot of the car and tumbled them into the mud. Once the Ferrari was fixed, Moira got in the Ferrari in order to take it back to the dealership. That was just moments before the police arrived on the scene.
2016: Holly's return and splitting from CainEdit
About a fortnight after Charity returned from prison, somebody stole Cain's car. Moira pulled up into a lay-by when her and Cain saw his speeding right by. The driver parked the car in the middle of a field and tried to do a runner. Cain caught up with the driver, pulled the ski mask from their head to reveal who the driver was. Moira was stunned to learn that it was Holly. She returned from London and stole Cain's car so she could sell it. Holly's reason was to get the money so that she could pay £2,000 to a gang of thugs who followed her home. The following day, Charity plans with Holly to rob the Woolpack safe. When they put they're plan into action, Holly triggers the fire alarm. Charity gets everyone outside whilst Holly goes down to the basement where Cain's sister Chas keeps the safe. Holly keys on the code and opens up the safe. Moira appears from behind some boxes. She reveals the Charity told her that Holly is trying to rob money from the safe.
Holly bought drugs from Simon McManus, her drug dealer. She took a dangerous drug and suddenly collapsed unconscious. She was found in the Cemetery later on that day by Ross and Pete. Now Moira was at the point of sending Holly to Rehab, but they said she can't get seen for at least 4 weeks. Moira found out that Cain deleted a message on her phone when Holly was calling for help. Cain's excuse was that he deleted the messages so the her and Moira wouldn't have to split up. Cain walked away from Moira because she had chose Holly over him.
Holly agreed to do a drug test. The packaging says if the test comes back positive, Holly was had some drugs. And if it is negative, she hasn't had drugs. She forged the test by using the urine of Cain's son Kyle Winchester. This meant that the test came back negative. Moira said it the test come back as negative, it will be the last test the Holly does.
About one month later, Simon attacked Victoria in her Diddy Diner van. Holly steals some money from the van to pay a gang of thugs. When Holly was driving home one day, she fell asleep at the wheel of the diner van. When she realised someone was coming the other way, she swerved the van and accidentally crashed it into a wall. When Holly didn't return home, Moira and Adam went out looking for her. Adam found the van crashed into the wall, but there was no sign of Holly. She suddenly appears from behind the van. Victoria asked Adam to put a lock on the back door of the van. On Holly's day off, she went into Hotten an bought some stuff for Victoria, thinking it might make her feel safer. When she got home she showed the to Moira. It was a small tin of runny red spray paint and a dealing noise box. Moira agrees to the Victoria that stuff. When Victoria was at the van when she shouldn't be, someone rattling the back door. She kicked the door open and opens fire with the spraypaints. It was James' youngest son Finn Barton.Holly suddenly confessed all to Moira. She confessed that it was Simon that attacked Victoria. She confessed that she used Kyle to forge the drug tests. And above all, she confessed that she is still taking heroin. Moira pretend to forgive her, but she locked her in her bedroom. James heard her screaming for help. James was ready for letting her out, but Moira told her not to. Until she is clean.
At the end of July 2016, Holly hasn't returned home one day. James and Moira barges into Simon's house, thinking that she might be there. Simon tries to get Moira out of his house, repeatedly telling them that Holly isn't there. Moira reaches out to punch Simon, but Simon manages to push her back, making her fall onto the carpet. She is stabbed in the back of her elbow with a used heroin injection. James pin Simon up against the wall, treating not to touch Moira again. Moira pulls the injection from her elbow, in sever pain. She finds out that she has been diagnosed with a contracted HIV condition. Moira starts taking her first lot of her HIV medication. Moira agrees with Holly that if she stops taking meth and heroin, things can be great for them both. Moira starts to get terrified. She then gets a phone call from Cain, telling her that he will be returning home from visiting his daughter Debbie Dingle and her kids Sarah and Jack in France. That made Moira feel a little bit better.
When Cain returns home, he finds the medication. He assumes that Holly is back on drugs. Moira tells him that they are her medication, revealing to Cain, Holly and Adam that he has been diagnosed with a contracted HIV condition. Cain then went out that night. He kissed Charity several times. They where caught by Chas. That night, Cain took Moira to bed and confesses all. Moira kicks Cain out for the night. He sleeps in a car parked at the garage, awaiting repair. Cain called back round to collect his belongings. He moved back into Wishing Well Cottage with Lisa Dingle, his other sister Belle Dingle and her boyfriend Jermaine Bailey.
Moira eventually finds out she doesn't have HIV, with an enduring Holly by her side. Following this, Moira files for divorce from Cain, even though she still loves him. Their divorce is finalized in September 2016. Then, Moira makes the decision to sell Butler's, finding that having lived in Emmerdale for seven years, it's brought her nothing but suffering. James puts in an offer for the farm, but later opts to buy Wylie's Farm upon Emma's insistence. Moira and James kiss while driving to a farming convention, which is later discovered by Ross. He agrees to keep silent about it, but only because he knows what Emma would be capable of if she knew.
2016-: Holly's deathEdit
At the end of September, Moira was confident that a new dawn was in sight for her, despite Holly and Adam's protests. However, while she appears to be on cloud nine, Moira is soon struck with a sudden and inexplicable tragedy. Holly comes in early in the morning after a night out with friends. As the morning goes on, Moira continues to shout Holly to get up, even leaving a cup of tea by her bed without even checking if she's there. Eventually, Moira goes to wake Holly up herself, only to fail, and then discover that she is cold, and has blue lips. Checking for a non-existent pulse, Moira is left absolutely distraught as she comes to the horrifying realization that Holly has died, and she finds what appears to be a heroin wrapper on the floor, and so Moira concludes that Holly had a relapse, one which would end her life. Moira is found by Chas and Diane, and an ambulance is called. Adam and Victoria are both informed, and so Adam spreads the news to the rest of the village, including Cain who is shaken by the tragic turn of events. When the private ambulance takes Holly's body away, a distraught Moira chases after it until Cain appears and Moira breaks down in his arms. Holly's funeral takes place two weeks later. Moira asks Cain to stay away but she can't help but look out for him as the service goes underway. Adam supports her as they say their final goodbyes to Holly. Moira doesn't see that Cain is watching from a distance. The following week, Moira is devastated by James' death after he succumbed to his injuries following a motorway collision caused by Emma.
Moira starts drinking heavily as a means of coping with her grief over the loss of Holly and James and admits to Cain that she had a one night stand with Pete. Cain is devastated and angry but after an intense and bitter row, they sleep together.
In 2017, Moira and Ross set up a chop shop at Butlers as a means to raise money to keep the farm afloat as well as for Sarah's cancer fund.
Moira appears in the 2011 spin-off DVD Paddy and Marlon's Big Night In. The DVD centers around the characters of Paddy Kirk and Marlon Dingle who have a "not-so-quiet night in the country, and a morning after anybody would want to forget." The script was written by Paul Roundell and directed by Emmerdale assistant producer Tony Hammond. Filming took place over September and October and the DVD was released on 14 November 2011.
For her portrayal of Moira, Robb was nominated for "Best Newcomer" at the 2010 Inside Soap Awards. The following year, Robb was shortlisted for "Best Serial Drama Performance" at the 16th National Television Awards.