FORMER Emmerdale actress Deena Payne is looking in good shape for someone who died in a house fire.
From Monday she is back on the stage at The Lyceum – in a very different guise to mouthy postmistress Viv Hope – when Calendar Girls lands for two weeks.
But she reveals she wasn’t entirely happy with the way her 18-year run in the rural Yorkshire soap came to an end last year.
“It was a bit of a surprise,” she says of the decision of Emmerdale bosses to axe her character, the longest-serving in the Yorkshire-based show.
“I was told in July last year my contract wasn’t being renewed and I was promised a huge storyline out to warrant the character I had built over the years and as a big thank you on behalf of YTV.
“Then I got into pantomime in Manchester as The Wicked Queen and I found out they’d pulled my finish date forward to November. As far as I could see in the script there wasn’t really a building storyline that was going to leave people hanging on the edge of their seats.
“When I got my last script I admit I was a little disappointed. I went out with a bang as far as Emmerdale is concerned because the fire was well done and the aftermath I believe was very good but as far as my character was concerned I believe it was a bit of a damp squib.
“There was just three scenes in three episodes of me asleep on the sofa, oblivious. A couple of glasses of wine and a kip on the sofa has been well rehearsed over the years, I have to say, so it really didn’t take much of my acting abilities to get that one over.
“That’s the way it is. If that’s what they wanted... I was sad to leave all my friends.”