Ex Emmerdale star Deena Payne: ‘I decided it was time to get on stage again!’

Deena Payne, Our House

Former Emmerdale star Deena Payne reveals what made the 'home bunny' sign up for her new role in the Madness musical Our House!

So, Deena, you’re touring with Madness musical Our House! “I am, indeed. We open in Crewe on August 10 and finish in High Wycombe on November 25. I play a character called Kath Casey, who’s the mother of the show’s main character, Joe.”

What’s she like? “Kath’s a very loving, protective mum, who just wants the best for her boy. Taking on this role is rather bitter-sweet because I’ve stepped in for Linda Nolan, who had to pull out because she has cancer. I wish her all the best and I just hope I do her justice.”

Are you a Madness fan? “Who isn’t? I love music and the band’s songs are so great. The musical’s storyline is really good, too, and works on all levels – emotional, spiritual and physical.”

Do you get to sing any of the songs? “I’m not doing any solos, but I join in and sing the odd line on my own. We worked it all out during rehearsals. I love rehearsing. It’s like sucking a toffee and discovering the flavour.”

Do you enjoy touring? “Not really as a rule! I’m very much a home bunny, but I’m looking forward to going on tour with Our House. I haven’t done anything like it for a couple of years because I’ve been busy teaching drama and movement, and also Pilates. But when this came up, I thought, ‘Yes! It’s time to get on stage again!’”

You’re doing a cookery book, too, aren’t you? “Yes, with my son’s girlfriend. The premise is we must eat good fats for good health. I’m quite a traditional cook, but we’re adding a modern twist such as pancakes with coconut flour and ground almonds. We’ve been testing recipes and seeing what works.”

It’s six-and-half years since your Emmerdale character, Viv Hope, was killed off… Do you still get recognised for her? “Yes. It’s not always the case that people call me Viv, but they kind of look at me twice and ask where they know me from. I don’t mind at all. I loved playing Viv.”

Do you keep in touch with any of the Emmerdale crew? “I see quite a few of them around as several live in the Harrogate area like me. I was on the phone to Charlotte [Bellamy, who plays Laurel] just the other day, actually. But my closest friend from those days is Samantha Giles [who plays Bernice]. I see a lot of Sam.”