Claire King

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For the English author, see Claire King (author).
Claire King
Born Jayne Claire Seed
(1963-01-10) 10 January 1963 (age 52)
Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Occupation Actress
Years active 1989–present
Notable work Kim Tate in Emmerdale
Karen Betts in Bad Girls
Erica Holroyd in Coronation Street
Television Emmerdale (1989–1999)
Bad Girls (2000–2004)
Strictly Come Dancing (2006)
Safari School (2007)
Celebrity Big Brother (2014)
Coronation Street (2014–)
Spouse(s) Peter Amory (m. 1994–2004) (Separated)

Claire King (born Jayne Claire Seed on 10 January 1963[1])[2] is an English actress. She is best known for playing the role of Kim Tate in the ITV soap opera Emmerdale and Karen Betts in Bad Girls. She has appeared in the fourth series of Strictly Come Dancing in 2006, Safari School in 2007, and Celebrity Big Brother 14 in 2014. She currently plays Erica Holroyd in Coronation Street.


Early life and career[edit]

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.[3]

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 work[edit]

In 1987, King played Yuppie Bitch in the film Eat the Rich.

In 1998, King appeared in an episode of Wish Me Luck as a Cinema Usherette. In 1989, she appeared in the film Cold Light of Day as a Prostitute. Soon after she joined the cast of the ITV soap opera Emmerdale as Kim Tate a role she played for ten years before leaving the show in 1999. She had a role in an episode of Babes in the Wood as Angela.

In 2000, she joined the cast of Bad Girls playing bad girl Karen Betts. She left the program in 2004 after four years on the show. In 2002, she appeared in an episode of Doctors as Jenny Hennessey in the episode "Into The Shadows". In 2004, King had a role in an episode of the sitcom Down to Earth as Paula Wakeman and appeared in one episode of Dalziel and Pascoe as Louise Russell in the episode entitled: "Still Waters". Later that year, King played Madeline Jackson-Carter in four episodes of the hit drama TV show The Courtroom. In 2005, she appeared as Andrea Mason QC, a solicitor for Justin Burton in 6 episodes of the Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks. She later appeared as Janice Perry in an episode of Holby City called "Not Another Car Wreck". She appeared in The Afternoon Play in the episode "The Good Citizen" as Joanna Clay as well as Sally Parker in an episode of TV series Donovan. In 2006, King participated and appeared in the fourth series of the BBC reality show Strictly Come Dancing she finished overall in sixth place. King also appeared in 5 episodes of Hollyoaks: In The City as business woman Stella and as Gina in an episode of Mayo in Episode 1.7. In 2007, she was a contestant in the BBC Two reality-television show Safari School filmed in South African bush where she finished in third place overall. King also participated in an episode of All Star Family Fortunes on ITV. King appeared in two episodes of the TV show The Pyramid Game. Late in 2007, King appeared in the pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs alongside former Coronation Street actress Katherine Kelly in the role of the Evil Queen. In 2008, King appeared in an episode of the medical drama The Royal as Lucy Bayliss in the episode "Slings And Arrows". In 2008, King appeared as a panellist on the Channel 5 topical debate show The Wright Stuff for two episodes and on The Alan Titchmarsh Show. She appeared in the documentary Emmerdale 50000 promoting five thousand episodes of the TV Program. In 2009, she appeared again on The Alan Titchmarsh Show and in an episode of Hell's Kitchen.

She formerly wrote for magazines Best and Woman.

King, has appeared on lunch time chat show Loose Women several times in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2012 as a guest. She was a presenter in 2012 to mark 40 years of Emmerdale. She has also appeared on day-time TV Show This Morning several times in 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2012.

In 2010, King appeared and starred in the BBC 3 sitcom The Gemma Factor as Betsy. King appeared in the topical debate show The Wright Stuff on Channel 5 as a panellist for one episode. She later went on a UK and Ireland tour of the comedy play The Naked Truth along with Liberty X singer Michelle Heaton. In 2011, King voiced the characters of Coco Nebulon and S.U.S.I in the video game Awesomenauts. In 2012, she appeared as a Governor in an episode of Hollyoaks. She had a role in the film The Wedding Video as Gina. She appeared in the documentary Emmerdale at 40: The Headline Makers marking 40 years of the soap opera. In 2013, she appeared as Geraldine Worthing in an episode of the BBC medical drama Casualty and appeared in two episodes of Daybreak.

Claire has appeared in several pantomime productions including Jack and the Beanstalk and Snow White.

In 2014, King appeared in an episode of Pointless in a Soap-Star special edition.

She also appeared in the Channel 5 documentary presented by Actress and Author Joan Collins TV's Nastiest Villains.

King entered the Celebrity Big Brother house to compete in the fourteenth series on 18 August 2014 as a Housemate but left the show on Day 16 due to illness.[4] She appeared twice on Big Brother's Bit On The Side.

In October 2014, she appeared in an episode of Who's Doing the Dishes?.

In November 2014, she appeared in an episode of the E4 comedy show Drifters as Cath.

In December 2014, she joined the cast of the soap opera Coronation Street as character Erica Holroyd, a friend of Liz McDonald.


Year Title Type Role Notes
1987 Eat the Rich Film Yuppie Bitch Film
1988 Wish Me Luck TV Cinema Usherette 1 Episode, Episode: 1.2
1989 Cold Light of Day Film Prostitute Film
1989–1999 Emmerdale TV Kim Tate Series Regular
1999 Babes in the Wood TV Angela 1 Episode, Episode: 2.7
2000–2004 Bad Girls TV Karen Betts Series Regular
2002 Doctors TV Jenny Hennessey 1 Episode, Episode Titled: "Into The Shadows"
2003–2012 Loose Women TV Herself Guest, 8 Episodes
2003–2012 This Morning TV Herself Guest, 5 Episodes
2004 Down to Earth TV Paula Wakeman 1 Episode, Episode Titled: "Still Waters"
2004 Dalziel and Pascoe TV Louise Russell 1 Episode, Episode Titled: "The Price Of Fame"
2004 The Courtroom TV Madeline Jackson-Carter 4 Episodes
2005 Hollyoaks TV Andrea Mason QC 6 Episodes
2005 Holby City TV Janice Perry 1 Episode, Episode Titled: "Not Another Car Wreck"
2005 The Afternoon Play TV Joanna Clay 1 Episode, Episode Titled: "The Good Citizen"
2006 Mayo TV Gina Harper 1 Episode, Episode: 1.7
2006 Hollyoaks: In The City TV Stella 5 Episodes
2006 Strictly Come Dancing TV Herself Contestant, 6th Place
2007 All Star Family Fortunes TV Herself Contestant, 1 Episode
2007 Safari School TV Herself Contestant, 3rd Place, Eliminated Week 4 (Day 3)
2007 The Pyramid Game TV Herself 2 Episodes
2008 The Royal TV Lucy Bayliss 1 Episode, Episode Titled: "Slings And Arrows"
2008, 2010 The Wright Stuff TV Herself Panellist, 2 Episodes
2008, 2009 The Alan Titchmarsh Show TV Herself Guest, 3 Episodes
2009 Hell's Kitchen TV Herself 1 Episode
2010 The Gemma Factor TV Betty Regular Role
2011 Awesomenauts Video Game Coco Nebulon/S.U.S.I Video Game
2012 Hollyoaks TV Governor 1 Episode
2012 The Wedding Video Film Gina Film
2013 Casualty TV Geraldine Worthing 1 Episode, Episode Titled: "With And Without You"
2013 Daybreak TV Herself Guest, 2 Episodes
2014 Pointless TV Herself Participant, Soap-Star Special, 1 Episode
2014 TV's Nastiest Villains TV Herself TV Documentary
2014 Celebrity Big Brother 14 TV Herself Housemate/Contestant
2014 Big Brother's Bit On The Side TV Herself 2 Episodes, Former Housemate
2014 Who's Doing the Dishes? TV Herself Celebrity Guest
2014 Drifters TV Cath 1 Episode, Episode Titled: "Hen Don't"
2014– Coronation Street TV Erica Holroyd Regular Role
2015 A Reason to Leave Film Sarah Film Role

Personal life[edit]

King married actor Peter Amory who played her stepson Chris Tate in Emmerdale in 1994.[1] They broke up in 2003 when Claire was living in London filming Bad Girls.[citation needed] 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.[3]

Claire owns four racehorses and 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.


External links[edit]