How do you feel about the storyline which sees your character Katie fall down a mine shaft?
“The accident is one of the most demanding and exciting things I have done in my 11 years at Emmerdale.”
Katie ends up fearing for her life when she ends up with a fractured leg at the bottom of the shaft. But is it true you had some real-life injuries close to filming?
“It was a minor car accident, but I hurt my back. It was muscular and what I should have been doing was lying down and doing nothing, but I had these scenes to shoot. There was a physio on standby and I was looked after really well. I counted myself lucky as I was filming indoors – the hole was actually three different sets, which had been specially built in the studio. The cast who were outdoors were stuck in torrential rain for days!”
You have a seven-year-old daughter, Mia. Will she be watching these scenes on TV?
“She got upset when I told her that the storyline was coming up. I’ve explained that it’s not real, but there is a lot of screaming in agony and crying from Katie as she has shattered her pelvis, and I am told that feels as if you’ve been ripped in two. I’m not sure it would be good for Mia to see her mum in that situation!”
Do you find it hard to balance your working life and home life?
“I’ve got a good support network to help me with Mia and when I stay over in Leeds, I think I miss her more than she misses me. I only live an hour from the studios, so on a normal day, I get home.”
The mine shaft scenes must have been difficult to film, though?
“It was a challenge. They poured a lot of cold water over me. I had four layers of clothing on and I was soaked through. I was covered in mud, grit and blood. Now that I’ve done eight hours a day in those conditions, I’m never going to complain about being a bit cold whilst filming in the village again!”
When you joined the soap 11 years ago, you were only set to appear in eight episodes. Are you surprised you’ve stayed so long?
“The storylines just kept coming and I’m still here. I’ve got a contract for next year and I am still very happy. The last part of this year is the biggest I’ve had at Emmerdale by far and it’s been brilliant. It’s a great show to work on.”
We’ve seen you grow up on Emmerdale…
“Yes. Some of my best friends are my co-stars. Lucy Pargeter, Charley Webb, Nicola Wheeler and Emma Atkinson – they are really good friends. All the girls are really close. It’s hard when someone leaves and for a lot of us the live episode was tough because it was Tom Lister’s last. He’s still part of the Emmerdale band though, so he will be at the charity gigs and we’ll all go and watch.”
After filming the mine shaft episodes, you went straight on to do the live episode, which saw Katie in a pristine cream wedding dress!
“That was quite a contrast to the mud and blood look. I can’t tell you how nice it was to have a shower and wash all the dirt off after I’d been covered in it for days.”
And of course you were part of the live episode this year!
“I had a week off after the live episode, but we were all on a high for a few days afterwards. Our producer Stuart Blackburn was like ‘It went so well, we can do it again’, and I was like ‘Oh God, really?’ because it was the most nerve-wracking thing I’ve ever done.”