Emmerdale’s Viv Hope actress now – creepy colleague to upset over her own death

Deena Payne, who played Viv Hope in Emmerdale for nearly two decades, said she was ‘hurt’ by the death of her character and said one cast member was ‘creepy’

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Deena Payne discusses her Emmerdale exit in 2017

Emmerdale icon Viv Hope was killed off in the famous post office explosion in 2011, but where is Deena Payne now?

Viv was wife to Bob Hope and first made her first appearance in the Dales in 1993 and stayed for a whopping 2,037 episodes.

Her character gave birth to Donna Windsor, Scott Windsor and Cathy and Health Hope and she was initially married to Reg Dawson.

Viv was thrown in prison for committing conspiracy to defraud after the money for charity that Viv and Bob raised disappeared.

Since leaving the soap she has mainly worked in theatre but made an appearance on BBC medical soap Doctors.

Bob Hope (Tony Audenshaw) and Vic Hope (Deena Payne) at the Christening of Kathy Hope (Gabrielle Dowling) and Heath hope (Sabastian Dowling)

Deena revealed that she thought her on-screen husband was “creepy” and begged bosses not to give him the role.

Speaking on the Soap From The Box podcast, she explained: “The truth being there were six people auditioning for Bob and the producer came up to me and said, “Look, did you have any feelings about any of them?”

“And I said, ‘Look, just not number six because he was really creepy’, and that was Tony. Anyway, bless him, not that anyone told him, and he got the job.”

She added: “In retrospect he was so right. He used to backcomb his hair like Viv did. They were two peas in pod, they really were.”

Deena said how she begged bosses not to hire Tony for the role of her husband

Deena joined the Loose Women panel

Deena’s love life has been far less dramatic than her character Viv’s.

When she was 24 years old she ended her marriage with percussionist Frank Ricotti, who played for Elton John among others.

She told The Mirror: “My husband was a lovely man, Frank Ricotti, a very well-known percussionist who played with Elton John. I just wanted my independence. It was a classic situation, really – I was too young to be settled down.

“We’re still friends, but back then I wanted to be off, travelling and seeing the world, so I just shifted a gear and moved out.”

Deena now runs a dancing school

After the divorce in 1989, she got together with Steve Grant, her current partner and the pair had their son William together.

Deena spoke of how she was “hurt” by how the producers planned Viv’s exit from the soap.

Speaking of her character’s departure she said: “That was a bit of a funny thing, my death.

“I wasn’t furious, I was a bit hurt I think because having ridden so many waves and really enjoyed it.

“[Producer] Steve Frost thanked me and said you’d have a really good storyline out but we can’t think of anything for the future. And I thought, hmm someone with a history, when you’re new you don’t have a history to bring things back.

Deena has since gone on to work in theatre

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“I was a bit taken aback when I got the script.”

She went on: “I was waiting for a storyline to work up and I’d got pantomime because I knew I was going.

“I just went up and asked if I was in anything that week because I’m starting pantomime and she said: ‘Oh you’ve gone, you’re not in it.’

“And the script I had got – I didn’t even cry out for help. I just died.”

In a career u-turn, Deena has returned to her musical roots and now runs a dance school.

Before turning her hand to acting she toured with former Animals keyboard player Alan Price as a backing singer, before joining girl band Cats UK.

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