Viv Hope
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Deena Payne

 

It's seven years since cockney Viv Windor arrived in Emmerdale cursing her rougish husband Vic for bringing her north to run a post office instead of heading off to the picturesque Devon hamlet she'd imagined. Yet actress Deena Payne, who plays the vicious-tongued Viv, remembers her first scenes as if they were yesterday. 'It was cold and pouring with rain. I was wearing these high heeled boots which were very difficult to walkin and I banged noses with Alun Lewis, who played Vic, as soon as we were introduced,'she recalls. 'It wasn't the best start but, within half an hour of filming, I felt at home and as if Alun and I had been married for years!' click here for Vic Windsor
It was around the time of the Windsors' arrival that Emmerdale started going through a period of real change. 'There was the air crash, which was really exciting to be involved with,' recalls Deena. 'It was a bit like making a movie. Then I was taken hostage, which was also fun to film. Emmerdale's definitely become pacier and more action-packed over the years. It's a good thing as it gets people's attention.
Sometimes I think it's a bit over the top but, hey, it's a soap and people don't watch soaps because they want real life. They want escapism. They want to be able to say, "No! That would never happen!"' Deena says her character's also gone through quite a few changes over the years - not least when husband Vic died just over a year ago.
'She lost her sparring partner when that happened and, as a result, she became more sharptongued than ever. Viv's a very passionate woman and she gets angry when she has no emotional outlet. She loses any patience she might have and doesn't think before she speaks. She sees everything in black and white. If she thinks something's wrong, then it's wrong - end of story. No one can ever persuade her to see their point of view.
'There is a softer side to her, though, as she can be funny and enjoys a bit of banter with Emily, who now helps out in the post office. I don't actually think Viv's comic side has been sufficiently explored. When Vic was still alive, he and Viv had this great repartee ~ a bit like Jack and Vera in Coronation Street. It's a shame that we weren't able to make more of it.'
When she's involved in a heavy storyline, Deena often works 12-hour days. 'When we're filming in the studio, we sometimes start at 7am and don't finish until 7pm,'she says. 'Then there's the location stuff in The Woolpack or Kathy's Diner for example. It can be exhausting if you're involved in a storyline which requires all the sets. But there are times when your character isn't so involved and you get more time off. I prefer it when I'm busy though"
Although Emmerdale is a real community on screen, Deena says she doesn't see a lot of fellow cast members that often. 'Because there are so many storylines weaving through, you see the people your character's involved with the most. In my case that's Adele Silva (Viv's stepdaughter Kelly) and Ben Freeman (Viv's son Scott). No matter what's happening on screen, we all get along well behind the cameras. The youngsters tend to socialise together the most, although I enjoy girlie nights out with Malandra Burrows (Kathy Glover), Paula Tilbrook (Betty Eagleton) and Samantha Giles (Bernice Blackstock).
'Most of my spare time is actually taken up with my seven year-old son, William. But when I can, I love to go walking in the Dales and settling down in front of the fire with a good book. I'm also a qualified aromatierapist and try to keep my hand in.'
To start with, Deena found moving north as much of an upheaval as Viv had done. Before Emmerdale, she shared a home in London with her musician partner Steve and William, who was then a baby. 'At first I tried to commute, jumping into the car or on to a train as soon as filming was over,'she says. 'But it became impossible - and pretty exhausting - so we relocated up here.
We still keep a base down south and go back there when we can, although William's often busy with his friends and extracurricular activities at the weekends and holiday time. He's a real Yorkshire lad. I suppose I'm something of a Yorkshire lass these days, too. It's a great place to live and work.

Viv married Bob Hope on February 5th 2001

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