Claire King

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For the English author, see Claire King (author).
Claire King
Born Claire Seed
(1963-01-10) 10 January 1963 (age 51)
Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
Occupation Actress
Years active 1989–present
Spouse(s) Peter Amory (m. 1994–2004) (Separated)

Claire King (born Claire Seed on 10 January 1963)[1] is a popular English actress, best known for playing the roles of Kim Tate in the ITV Soap Opera Emmerdale from 1989 to 1999 and Karen Betts in Bad Girls from 2000 to 2004.


King attended Harrogate Ladies College, and as a punk chose a career in the music business, as a disc jockey in a Leeds nightclub. She then joined the pop groups Fidea and later To Be Continued as lead singer.[2]

Her career moved her to London, where she lived with Geoff Bird, alias guitarist Cobalt Stargazer of the group Zodiac Mindwarp. After making her acting debut dancing in one of their videos, the relationship broke down and she became a Rock n Roll Groupie. After a series of short term relationships, she decided to become an actress, but when she tried to register with actors union Equity, she found there was already another Claire Seed, so changed her name to King in light of her love of horse racing (the sport of kings) and her favourite singer Elvis Presley.


Kim Tate was a classic soap character and had storylines including having an affair with Neil Kincaid in 1992. Remarrying Frank Tate again and then started an affair with David Glover in 1995 which the viewers loved and was the centre of attention for that year. She joined the show in November 1989 and left in January 1999. In her years on the show Kim Tate was one of soaps most popular characters being on front pages on most TV magazines and winning numerous awards including Best Bitch in Soap in the 1996 Inside Soap Awards and Best Exit in 1999 in the British Soap Awards. In 1997 Claire decided to leave the show but after she had finished her last scenes three days later she got a phone call from the producers asking her back on the show with more exciting storylines and a high pay rise that made her one of the most highest paid actresses in soap in ITV. After leaving in February 1997 she returned in May 1997. Kim Tate was presumed dead as her body was found in a river Frank was charged with her murder but was later released on bail. She returned in May 1997 to Home Farm where Frank was and he suffered a heart attack after he saw her. Kim left him there to die by not phoning for a doctor or ambulance and by leaning a compact mirror to his mouth to see whether he was still breathing or not. This scene was voted one of the most campest scenes on television. Kim later returned for Franks funeral a few days later much to the shock of her stepson and stepdaughter Chris & Zoe. After Frank had died Kim inherited all his shares from Home Farm and then married Steve Merchant.1998, when Kim and her new husband Steve Marchant fell on ill times, they planned to gain some money by stealing a horse and selling it, after replacing it with an older horse in the hope that no-one would notice the difference.

Whilst driving the horse-box, however, Steve happened to run Kathy Glover over. Kim managed (after narrowly preventing her husband from finishing Kathy off in the hospital) to talk to Kathy while she was alone, concussed and vulnerable. She persuaded her that Steve had not stopped his vehicle when he had hit her to make her husband seem like the sole villain of the piece - even though she had helped to plan the thievery of the horse.

On the day of trial in January 1999, with the solicitors questioning Kathy's validity as a witness for Steve's hit-and-run crime, Kathy herself came to question how true Kim's words had been. For this, and numerous other crooked tricks, the police were soon on her trail.

Needing to escape, Kim discovered that Chris had found the money from the robbery which Kim had buried in Frank's grave. She confronted Chris, tried to seduce him, and knocked him out savagely with a paperweight when he was not fooled. Then she confessed that she had indeed, as he speculated, killed his father; he had died of a heart attack while she looked on - in precisely the location Chris was now lying in. She left with her son in a helicopter. The pilot asked her if she was Kim Marchant, and with her final words on the show she replied, "No, Kim Tate". She has never been seen again. Kim is consequently one of the soap's few villains never to be punished for her crimes, or properly killed off. In 2005 Kim sent flowers to Emmerdale for Seth Armstrong's funeral.

In 2001 Channel 4 did a series of 100 greatest TV characters and Kim Tate was the only Emmerdale character in the category coming in at No. 81.

In her autobiography released in 2006 she revealed herself and Norman Bowler who played her husband Frank Tate were not best of friends off-screen and she would munch on raw garlic before she had any kissing scenes with him. She was very friendly with the late Emmerdale actors Stan Richards & Clive Hornby as they attended her wedding to Peter Amory. She was present both at Stan Richards funeral in 2005 and Clive Hornby's in 2008.

Bad Girls[edit]

Karen Betts was a fictional character in the award winning drama, Bad Girls. In 2000, Brian Park former producer of Coronation Street approached her with a role on Bad Girls as a prison officer who later turned governor. In Series 2 when Karen Betts arrived and was given the head job from Simon Stubberfield replacing Helen Stewart who resigns. She and Jim Fenner had slept together before but she was aware of how scheming he was. In Series 2 Karen acted as a good samaritian listening to problems from Shell Dockley who was sexually abused when she was a child and Zandra Plackett who was dying of a brain tumour. She also was held hostage by "Mad" Tessa Spall who had HIV and was going to infect Karen. Tessa was a prisoner in Karen's last prison where she was employed but kept her away from seeing her girlfriend.Jim Fenner saved Karen from Tessa. In Series 3 Karen started a relationship with Fenner much to the objection of Helen Stewart who was then working in a different role, concerned with the lifers at Larkhall. In Series 3 Karen & Jim got engaged. In Series 4 Karen ended her engagement with Fenner and started a relationship with Mark Waddle who was another prison officer. However their relationship finished after Karen went to visit Fenner at his house and she claimed he pushed her into having sex with him and reported it as rape but Mark didn't believe that and finished the relationship. She later started seeing Richie Atkins who was prisoner Yvonne Atkin's son. Karen didn't know that Richie was seeing another prisoner Snowball Merriman planning to have a bomb explode in the prison which did ended up killing Shaz Wiley in the blaze. In Series 5 Karen was kidnapped by Snowball Merriman but was later found. She then acted as a good samaritan by helping Julie Saunders over her battle with cancer and also having Christopher Biggins come to visit the prison and helping Buki Lester to see her son Baxter. However Karen wanted Fenner out of Larkhall and teamed up with Yvonne Atkins as they tried to get him out but failed. Karen got photographic evidence and statements to sink Fenner. He tried to attack her but she hit back saying "Your Balls Are Going On My Mantelpiece". However the plan didn't go wrong; before the end of Series 5 Jim broke into Karen's home and stole the evidence and dressed up as a woman wearing a blonde wig and red lipstick and pretended to be her. He stole her car and ranover a pedestrian. No evidence was there to support her and Karen was sent down. She played the G-Wing governor from series 2 to series 5 when she was set up for drunk driving by Fenner. She later returned in Series 6 to bring Fenner down for good by proving her innocence. She was last seen with Neil Grayling confronting Jim on his wedding day after she cleared her name.

Other roles[edit]

In 1999, King had a guest appearance role in Babes in the Wood. In 2006 King starred in Hollyoaks: In the City as a business woman who'd do anything for money and also in Hollyoaks as a solicitor to character Justin Burton. In 2006 she had a guest role in Mayo as Gina Harper.

King appeared in Series 4 of Strictly Come Dancing, partnered with professional dancer Brendan Cole. Claire and Brendan were knocked out of the competition at the end of the eighth show, and were the ninth couple to leave. She later revealed in The People that Brendan was very uneasy towards her as a dancing partner.[3]

In 2001 Claire took part in Star Lives presented by Carol Vordermann. In 2007 King took part in BBC Two reality show Safari School filmed in the South African bush. Also in 2007 Claire took part in the ITV quiz show All Star Family Fortunes. She also wrote weekly columns in the weekly magazine Best. Also that year she starred in pantomime alongside Katherine Kelly who was playing Becky McDonald in Coronation Street at the time, in Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs. In 2010 she acted in the sitcom The Gemma Factor. She also toured the UK & Ireland alongside Michelle Heaton on stage in 2010 with the comedy play The Naked Truth.

She was a guest panellist on Loose Women in October 2012, to celebrate 40 years of Emmerdale.

In March 2013 she joined the cast of long running BBC drama Casualty.

Personal life[edit]

King was once a rock and roll groupie, and when she published her autobiography she claimed that in her late teens she had an affair with Bob Geldof, as well as flings with footballer Vinnie Jones and the then little-known jockey Frankie Dettori and also Irish jockey Kieran Fallon. She also shared a flat in London when she was younger with singer Marc Almond.

King was married for 10 years to actor Peter Amory who played her stepson Chris Tate in Emmerdale. The marriage broke up in 2003 when Claire was living in London filming Bad Girls and it was reported that Peter Amory was seeing fellow co-star Samantha Giles who had played Bernice Thomas in Emmerdale.

King ended her engagement to fellow actor John Robson after disagreements over where they would be living. She currently lives in a converted barn near Harrogate, with her horses and Labrador dogs.[2]

Claire owns four racehorses & rides out for a few trainers as well as taking part in a number of charity races. She recently presented a documentary for This Morning on the plight of the horses in Lesotho in aid of The World Horse Welfare.


  1. ^ King, Claire, Confessions of a Bad Girl, John Blake Publishing, ISBN 1-84454-253-X
  2. ^ a b A really bad, bad girl — Article in The Northern Echo, first published Saturday 9th Jul 2005
  3. ^ "Claire: Truth About My Tryst With Cole". The People. 2006-11-26. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 

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