About Deena Payne who plays Viv Hope

Deena Payne

IMDB entry for
Deena Payne who plays Viv

Please visit Will's site Emmerdale Cast Interviews Homepage fro a recent interview with Deena Payne.

A Huge Big Thank you to Paul Berridge who has made various profiles and photos availabe to me. They were previously on his Beckindale site (that is no more). The folowing is one of those profiles - although the coloured boxes have been added.

Taken from the emmerdale companion (1997 & 1998) by Anthony Hayward

Before joining Emmerdale as postmistress Viv Windsor, Deena Payne started out as a dancer. She trained with raunchy Hot Gossip's choreographer, Arlene Phillips, performed in stage musicals and sang with pop stars such as Alan Price and B. A. Robertson.

Deena Payne is a trained reflexologist and aromarterapist, and has a special room at the Emmerdale production centre which she uses as her parlour. "It all started years ago after going to a minds and spirits exhibition," she says. "I became fascinated with the wonders of essential oils."

'I started doing ballet at the age of two,' says Deena, who was born on August 29th 1954 in Kent and brought up in Sussex, 'and then won a cap for tap-dancing when I was eight. But I was very much a modern dancer, so I enrolled at the Arts Educational School to do dance and drama, and then got my Equity actors' union card by working abroad as a dancer in Spain and Portugal, before coming back and doing classes at the Dance Centre with Arlene Phillips.'
Deena's ambition was to appear in musicals and she fell on her dancing feet by being cast in Big Sin City, starring Hi-de-Hi star Su Pollard and staged by Bill Kenwright, who had become one of Britain's most successful theatre producers since leaving his role as Gordon Clegg in Coronation Street. Deena - real name Diane - also played the Portuguese girlfriend of one of the stars in Ned Sherrin's production of Only in America, set in the Bronx in the fifties and staged at the Roundhouse, in London. That was her favourite stage musical, in which she had a solo dance number and appeared alongside Bertice Reading. But the biggest show she performed in was the original West End production of They're Playing Our Song.
'After that,' says Deena, 'I did fringe theatre to develop the acting side of my career. I always took work that I felt I needed to do to push myself Then I did a musical with Alan Price called Who's a Lucky Boy in Manchester and, when it finished, said to Alan, "Do you need some backing singers for your gigs?" As a result, I sang with him for seven years.'
During that time, Deena also played Lynda Barods elder sister in One Careful Owner, starring Joe Brown. 'Lynda was actually in the first pantomime I ever saw and the first person I understudied when I became an actress', she says. Deena sang backing vocals for other performers, too, including Eric Burdon, Alvin Lee and John Farnham, which came about because her ex-husband was session percussionist Frank Ricotti. Deena also acted on television in Rock Follies '77, The Bill and Alan Plater's series Tales of Sherwood Forest, as well as appearing in the films Valentino and The Music Machine. During her days as a backing singer, she performed in television programmes such as Oh Boy', Top of the Pops, Superpop, Get It Together and Gas Street. It was while working with Alan Price that she met her partner, Steve Grant, with whom she has a son, William, born in 1992. He was still a baby when she was offered the role of Viv Windsor in Emmerdale the following year.
'It was a big decision,' recalls Deena, 'because I had got my life quite well balanced. I didn't really think any further than getting work that would suit me as a mum. This part came along and it meant either travelling on a regular basis up and down from London to Yorkshire or moving up here. I took the job and, for the first six months, I found a small cottage, brought William up and hired a nanny. I then realised that that wasn't working, so Steve and I both moved up here - he suggested it. We rent in Yorkshire and still keep the house down south.'
Deena had no problems tackling the role of Viv, a wife and mother in a family themselves moving from London to Yorkshire, who was the backbone of the family but later cheated on husband Vic by having an affair with Woolpack manager Terry Woods. 'I saw exactly who she was,' says the actress. 'An Essex girl with high heels and colourful clothes - but slightly clashing in the way the colours are actually co-ordinated. She opens her mouth first and thinks afterwards - her reactions are quicker than her head - but she has a heart.
Click here for Terry It took Terry ages to persuade Viv to have an affair. When she did, the whole family collapsed, and then she went through the whole guilt of it all. I'm quite different from Viv. I like the colours she wears, but not necessarily the way she wears them, and I wouldn't wear high heels. Also, I'm more broad-minded.'
She has no plans to disrupt the routine that Emmerdale has enabled her to establish as a mother. 'It's perfect for a working mum,' she says. 'Sometimes I don't see William at all in a day, but that's only two or three days out of 14.' Partner Steve has also found success through Emmerdale - writing songs with actors Alun Lewis and Billy Hartman, who with Steve Halliwell formed The Woolpackers and hit the charts with a single and album.  

Profile provided by Paul Berridge and written around 2000/2001
Based on an artcle from "Soap Life" 2000

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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