Emmerdale star Emma Atkins has admitted she was shocked to hear Deena Payne would be leaving the show.

Deena, who is the longest-serving female cast member as fiery Viv Hope, is bowing out after 18 years in the soap.

Emma, who plays Charity Tate, said: “I am very sad. It was a bit of a shock initially but I think it will be amazing for Deena to have a rebirth, and go out into the world and do her own thing.

“She’s very talented as a dancer and a singer as well so I think she’ll be very successful and I wish her all the luck.”

The actress, who was speaking at the launch of a new Emmerdale spin-off DVD, added that Deena is content with the move.

“It was a bit shocking to begin with but it’s just one of those things, and she’s happy.”

Earlier this month, Deena spoke of her own shock at learning she was to be written out.

“My first feeling was that a rope had been taken off, it was one of complete relief,” she told Hello! magazine.

“Then came the feelings of anxiousness – you worry about financial security – and then rejection, which wasn’t nice at all.”

The Dingles: For Richer, For Poorer is released on Monday November 15.

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