Viewers saw Viv Hope killed off last night, as the blaze started by DC Nick Henshall spread through the village. She perished alongside Terry (Billy Hartman), who bravely attempted to rescue her from the flat above the shop.
In an interview with The Mirror, Payne slammed her final episodes as an "anti-climax" after spending 18 years playing the character.
"I was very disappointed with my departure," she said. "And I think the viewers will be, too. Having followed Viv for so long and travelled with her on her ups and downs, I think they'd want a better build-up so they could really get into it and give her a good send-off."
She continued: "I was promised a big storyline. Instead it's probably the easiest exit in soap history because I didn't have to act at all. I wasn't even involved in the dramatic rescue scenes.
"Over my three last episodes I had one scene in each, with the house burning down without Viv knowing it - and that was my storyline."
The actress had no lines in her final two episodes, broadcast last night.
"I had to do nothing, which was a shame," she told the paper. "It's a bit of an anti-climax after being told that you're going to have one of the biggest storylines that soap has ever seen, but for my character it wasn't at all. The big storyline is the fire and how people get everyone out. And quietly, behind the scenes, Viv just gets burned to death. Without saying a word. The easiest acting I've done in 18 years!"
Payne confessed that she felt "let down" when she discovered that Viv would not be buried in the village graveyard.
"What did really hurt me - what did get me and is a bit disloyal to the fans and to Viv - is the fact that she isn't even buried in Emmerdale," she said. "If they had to kill me off, they could at least have given me a nice funeral befitting Viv, instead of being shunted out of the Dales. You can't be in a soap forever. But I feel let down by the way Viv's been written out.
"Viv was a strong character, central to village life in the post office, and it's a shame she's not being buried next to her ex-husband Vic in the graveyard and doesn't even have a headstone there."
She added: "It would have been nice, too, to have seen Donna, Scott and Kelly, Viv's kids and stepdaughter, just to have got a little bit of the past back into the now. They're losing the history of the village.
"They said they couldn't get them. But I was on the phone to them immediately and they said they hadn't even been asked and of course they'd come back. And Kelly, played by Adele Silva, is coming back in the show anyway! It is a shame for Viv and for everyone who's been watching her."
> Deena Payne: 'I'll miss playing Viv'