DEENA PAYNE is missing Viv Hope, the soap character she played for 18 years in the ITV soap Emmerdale.
“That is the only thing I miss about Emmerdale, playing that character,” she reveals.
“As much as she was different to me, she exorcised a certain part of me... I used to enjoy wearing short skirts and high heels and tottering around everywhere,” she adds with a guilty chuckle.
Viv was written out in a fire just over a year ago and it is clear that Payne, who stars in Calendar Girls at the Festival Theatre next week, is not best pleased.
“The writing changed in the latter years but there was a point when Viv was in her element.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the comedic side of the role which I’d always under-play as situation comedy in its true sense. When she married Bob it was fantastic, then they split us up and there was nothing. I was truly ready to leave but incredibly disappointed in the way they did it.
“After 18 years I’d been promised a really big storyline to go out on but I only had three scenes in my last three episodes.”
Viv was last seen asleep on the sofa having had a glass or three of wine.
“The thing that disappointed me most was that she wasn’t given a grave in the graveyard - her body was just sent down south. That’s what made me really sad, the fact that I’d put all that involvement into the history of Emmerdale and yet don’t have a little placard.”
It’s a very different side to the actress audiences will see at the Festival Theatre next week, when she plays Cora in Calendar Girls.
It’s not the first time Payne has joined the ranks of the stripping Yorkshire women - it’s actually the third - and she happily admits she has never had any reservations about the production, which famously tells the story of a group of WRVS ladies who pose nude for a calendar to raise funds to buy a new sofa for the waiting room of their local hospital’s cancer ward.
“The amusing thing is people see me on the poster and then don’t recognise me on stage.”
Laughing, she adds, “I’m not quite sure what they are looking at... this great vast expanse of flesh that you see in front of the piano, which, I have to say, has been air-brushed slightly.
“But often, in the theatre, my family have heard comments like, ‘Where’s Viv?’ because I look so different now. You see, for the last year I was on Emmerdale I wore a hair-piece as I’d had my hair cut to what it is now.
“As Cora I confuse the audience because I also wear jeans and I’m a bit kind of laid back and cheeky, it’s only when they meet me at the stage door they go, ‘Oh! You are Viv.”
Calendar Girls, Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, Mon-Sat, 7.30pm, £14.50-£29.50, 0131-529 6000