Emmerdale’s Viv Hope star Deena Payne ‘bitterly disappointed’ with exit from ITV soap

Emmerdale’s Viv Hope star Deena Payne ‘bitterly disappointed’ with exit from ITV soap


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Viv was played by Deena for 18 years at the time of her exit from Emmerdale, making her one of the longest-serving characters to have featured on the ITV soap in the early 2000s. The character’s memory lives on as her husband Bob Hope (played by Tony Audenshaw) still lives in the village with the couple’s two children, Cathy Hope (Gabrielle Dowling) and Heath Hope (Sebastian Dowling). However, the fact the circumstances behind her exit was a matter that “deeply hurt” the soap star, with Viv’s death airing as part of a double departure from the village alongside Terry Woods (Billy Hartman).

Talking about how she felt with regards to Viv’s exit, Deena said: “18 years was enough. It was at a time when I wasn’t quite sure [if I wanted to stay].

“If they tempted me to stay, I would’ve stayed and I would have preferred to have given in my notice. I was bitterly disappointed with the storyline exit I had as well after all the years I had been in.

“I was hurt quite deeply and I did enjoy playing the character. I still miss that, absolutely,” she added before explaining what it was like to leave after almost two decades.

“It did hurt, that’s for sure because it was a life and a person I had been playing for 18 years and it was also my son’s total upbringing and schooling.

“Although he was born in London, he was brought up in Yorkshire and he is kind of a Yorkshire man,” she said in an interview with the Distinct Nostalgia podcast.

Deena continued: “So, I never in my wildest dreams thought we would be here and it is like leaving a family because you can’t choose your family.

“The hours you just have together in long shoots and things and scenes you do together, you’re quite vulnerable. You’re airing your soul to somebody.

“That is there forever, I think and the connection is there forever and you might not see them socially but if after a couple of years you bump into somebody, it is like seeing family.

“To me that was a big thing because I’m a people person and I love to have a purpose to my day and I love to go and be with people.

“People are very important to me. So I think I saved face by saying, ‘It is time to go so I am happy to do so,’ she shared.

I was hurt

Deena Payne

Continuing to voice her disapproval over her character’s departure, Deena opined: “I not only didn’t have a storyline building up to it, but I also didn’t even have a grave in Emmerdale.

“They just sent my bits down south and I didn’t have any family left there so I did fell all of a sudden gone.

“And yes, in an ideal world it would have been fantastic to keep coming back in and muddying the waters and upsetting everybody and then back out as if nothing had happened.

“I’ve got my twins there,” she remarked but 11 years after she left the cast, Deena has not made a return in either living or ghost form.

She was quickly replaced by Brenda Walker (Lesley Dunlop), who has become like a surrogate mother figure to Cathy and Heath.

At the time of her exit from the show in 2011, Deena delivered a statement on leaving after 18 years, reflecting on her nearly two-decade stint.

Asked who she would miss most, the soap actress said: “Viv! She has been my one Emmerdale constant for nearly 18 years!

“And of course many of the crew and cast I have worked closely with, Tony Audenshaw especially!”

Talking about what she enjoyed the most about being on the programme, Deena added: “Having the time to evolve as Viv and not being a typical nomadic actor, being in one place to bring my son up!

“And now realising that for quite a few people I am a household name – they have been on Viv’s journey too. I am given many positive warm comments, it’s a lovely fulfilling feeling!”

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Deena has also spoken about what she thought of her co-star Tony Audenshaw when she first met him and it wasn’t the most resounding of reactions.

The actress said: “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 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. And in retrospect, he was so right,” she told the Soap on the Box podcast.

After getting together in 2000, it was only a mere 12 months later they were walking down the aisle and exchanging their vows.

Taking to Twitter, viewers of the show still express their sorrow that Viv is no longer part of the weeknight serial drama.

With regards to recent storylines, they think she would be perfect to be a part of them.

Jamie recently posted: “Resurrect Viv Windsor so she can buy the shop #Emmerdale,” in relation to David Metcalfe (Matthew Wolfenden) facing money troubles.

Poulpo added: “Bob was once with Viv, the idea he would be with Wendy is like chalk and cheese. #Emmerdale.”

Sean shared: “Wish they had not killed viv off, would love to see her back bold and loud as ever on the show #emmerdale.”

Emmerdale airs weekdays at 7:30pm on ITV, with an hour-long episode airing on Thursdays.

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