Actress Roxanna NicLiam, who plays Erica, says she had a huge reaction from the public when the miscarriage story first happened
Thrilled couple Erica Allen and Doug Ferguson welcome their little bundle of job into the world having suffered the heartbreak of miscarriage in recent years.
But it’s not all plain sailing for the new parents as viewers will be on the edge of their seats watching little Nora battle for survival.
Actress Roxanna NicLiam, who plays Erica, confesses she had huge feedback and reaction from the public when the miscarriage story first happened two- and- a -half years ago when the soap couple lost their baby.
“Mostly women coming up to me,” she confirms. “There were a few messages social media wise.
"Usually when I get chatting to people out and about, I’d say maybe a lot of the audience wouldn’t be social media savvy.
“So, I think it just happens sometimes the storyline hits or moves someone and it definitely moves a lot of people and people were really generous coming up and sharing stories
“Just letting me know how true to life and it’s always a scary part that you want to portray it as real as possible and try and do justice to the story, especially such a serious story.
"It was really great to get that feedback and really powerful to just to hear some of the stories from women.”
Roxanna hails from East Wall in Dublin and has been acting since a child, appearing in the likes of Agnes Brown and The General. She started in Fair City five years ago.
“I think I’m quite lucky my character isn’t a villain,” she smiles.
“It’s the people who play the villains I feel sorry for because people know that it’s not real but obviously again it shows how kind of emotionally people are sometimes with the storyline
“I’m quite lucky in having a nice character, not that she hasn’t made mistakes and stuff, I think she has a good-hearted person and I usually don’t get any abuse.”
Tonight will see a dramatic turn of events in Carrigstown when Erica persuades her boyfriend Doug’s father Pete to lend her a car for the day.
When Erica ropes in Dearbhla and Nora for a day out in the country the girls’ day out takes an unexpected turn when Erica’s waters break.
Nora takes charge when Erica’s contractions start. Dearbhla and Nora help Erica through her labour and delivery. Nora and Dearbhla get ready to deliver the baby and Erica gives birth.
“it isn’t plain sailing and there are a few scares and she ends up in hospital for longer than she’d like,” explains Roxanna.
“Even myself watching it myself you are kind of screaming at the telly. Even if you know it’s not real you’re kind of attached to the storyline.
“Even after that the baby is premature and stuff. I don’t want to give too much away. But it goes on to be quite a scary time at a time which should be a joyful celebratory time.”
Baby Nora is played by Poppy Dixon Hollywood.
Roxanna acknowledges that fans saw a different side to Erica when her troubled mum was introduced into the soap in late 2020 and made herself at home in Erica and Doug’s flat for longer than they had planned.
“When my mam came into it it just introduced another layer to the character, because I think people thought ‘oh she’s a bit nice and a bit this and that’, but I think that added she had to fend for herself and her whole life and her mam, as much as her mam does love her, she wasn’t a great caretaker and I think she has always like fiercely independent,” Roxanna points out.
“It can sometimes mean now that she is a mother it can be hard to ask for help because she is so used to not asking for help.
"I can really relate to that myself. I know sometimes you can be too independent for your own good and it’s hard for everyone to ask for help.
"I really like that storyline with the mother because it just added a very human aspect to the character.”
There is already a character in Fair City called Nora, who is tragic Robbie’s mother and was was injured when Doug knocked her down in a freak accident.
Roxanna hints there is a touching meaning to the new baby’s name.
“Whether there’s a connection there you’ll have to see yourself. There is a really gorgeous storyline in it, but I wouldn’t want to ruin it by giving it away,” she notes.
She concurs that Erica and Pete have a complicated relationship.
“Pete is his own worst enemy. He always is.
"As good intentioned as he always is.
"I watched one episode during the week and he’s trying to have a chat with Erica and the more he tried to connect with her the more he tries keeps putting his foot in it, talking about how sore labour is and how it is the most painful thing,” she reflects.
“She is just like ‘shut up, I don’t need to hear this right now’. He is just trying to relate to her, but I think he is more trying to look out for Doug. As much as he might try to care for Erica he is always going to put Doug first.
“Doug is struggling, and Pete takes his side and so it’s quite an isolated time and lovely time for Erica, again it’s supposed to be one of the happiest moments of her life.”
Given that Erica has a new baby some will wonder if it makes Roxanna more maternal.
“I’m not too sure about that,” she ponders. “I’m not married and I don’t have kids.
“I have a lot going on at the minute. It’s not something that I’m particularly thinking about so never say never.”