Claire gained notoriety early in her career by playing manipulative Kim Tate in Emmerdale for almost a decade from 1989 to 1998, winning numerous awards including Best Bitch in Soap at the Inside Soap Awards and an award for Best Exit in 1999 at the British Soap Awards. She is currently back there as Kim Tate. Breaking from type, she followed this with a guest appearance in the sitcom Babes in the Wood alongside Denise Van Outen. From 1999 -2004 she took the part of G-Wing Governor Karen Betts in prison drama Bad Girls for which she won Best Actress at the TV Quick Awards for two years in succession.
Claire has appeared in many other popular TV drama series including Hollyoaks, Doctors, Holby City, The Royal, Dalziel & Pascoe, The afternoon Plays, Courtroom, Hollyoaks I the City, Casualty & was famously partnered with Brendan Cole in BBC1’s hit reality series Strictly Come Dancing in 2006. In addition, Claire has lent her familiarly husky voice to a number of television & radio programmes as well as advertisements & listening books. Claire has starred on stage in the Vagina Monologues alongside Jerry Hall & Only Fools & Horses actress Sue Holderness, The Naked Truth & Fetish Knights. She appeared in the BBC 3 comedy The Gemma Factor playing a character called Betty – described as a cross between Patsy from Ab Fab & Lady Ga Ga! Most recently, Claire walked the famous cobbles of Coronation Street as Erica Holroyd for 2 1/2 years and has appeared as a guest panellist on Loose Women. She has also starred in the films A Reason to Leave released December 2016 & King of Crime released Autumn 2018. She has starred numerous pantomimes over the years.
Claire enjoys writing & released her autobiography “Confessions of a Bad Girl” in 2007 and has also written for several womens’magazines. Aside from acting & writing, Claire is also a keen horse rider. She held an amateur jockey’s license, owns two racehorses & used to ride out for a few trainers as well as taking part in a number of charity races. She presented a documentary for This Morning on the plight of the horses in Lesotho in aid of World Horse Welfare amongst other charities close to her heart.