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Claire Jane Sweeney (born 17 April 1971) is an English actress, singer and television personality, best known for playing the role of Lindsey Corkhill in the Channel 4 soap opera Brookside and playing the role of Roxie Hart in the musical, Chicago, in London's West End. She also starred opposite Patrick Swayze in Guys and Dolls, the musical.
Claire Jane Sweeney
17 April 1971
|Occupation||Actress, dancer, singer and broadcaster|
|Partner(s)||Tony Hibbard (2001–07) |
Daniel Riley (2013–15)
Sweeney was born in Walton, Liverpool, the daughter of a butcher who had a shop in Toxteth. She trained at the Elliott-Clarke Theatre School in Liverpool, and worked at weekends in her father's shop.
Her first singing gig, at the age of 14, was in the Montrose Club in Liverpool for which she was paid £25. She was then educated full-time at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London. In 1987, she was a member of the Southport Summer Youth Theatre Workshop's production of the musical Hair. Following this production, she auditioned for a part in the Southport Arts Centre's Centre Stage Company production of Chicago, but was turned down because she was considered too young; she later starred in a West End version of the same show.
After leaving stage school, Sweeney had many singing engagements before landing the role of Lindsey Corkhill in Brookside in 1991. She entertained on cruise ships for P&O as a singer for four years before returning to Britain. On her return, Sweeney reprised her role of Lindsey and remained on the show as a leading character until its demise in 2003.
Sweeney appeared on Celebrity Big Brother in 2001 in aid of Comic Relief. Her appearance on the show prompted her to greater fame amongst the British public. This directly led to appearing as Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago in London. She became the face of Marks and Spencers and an Ambassador for Fashion World. She was a Celebrity Ambassador for SlimFast.
In 2002, Sweeney released an album, Claire, on Telstar Records. This consisted of a mix of original material and cover versions of well-known songs, and peaked at No. 15 in the UK Albums Chart in July 2002. Also in 2001, she appeared on Lily Savage's Blankety Blank. In 2003, Sweeney returned to the stage to lead in the world tour of Fosse. Claire has also featured on the album Give Me A Smile, a compilation of songs with the legendary composer and conductor Carl Davis. In 2010, Claire performed in a series of concerts with Carl entitled Battle Of Britain - 70th Anniversary with three of the country's finest orchestras.
Sweeney then took a regular place on the panel of ITV's relaunched Loose Women from 2003 to 2005, and then left to pursue her stage career.
In 2005 and 2006, Sweeney appeared in pantomime productions of Snow White and Aladdin at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham. On 10 July 2006, Sweeney took over from Sally Ann Triplett in the role of Miss Adelaide in the British production of Guys and Dolls at the Piccadilly Theatre in London's West End for an eight-week run. Sweeney also played opposite Dirty Dancing star Patrick Swayze before touring the UK extensively in the same production.
She has presented a number of shows, such as Challenge of a Lifetime on ITV in 2001, BBC One's A Song for Europe in 2002 with Christopher Price, the fourth series of I'm Famous and Frightened! in 2005, BBC One's Here Comes the Sun and was the original presenter of the popular daytime show 60 Minute Makeover (2004–06). She has appeared in television programmes such as Merseybeat (playing the character Roz) and Clocking Off (playing the character Katrina). In addition to this Claire hosted Chef Vs Britain for ITV1 alongside Gino DeCambo.
In 2004, Sweeney appeared as a contestant on series one of the BBC One pro-celebrity ballroom dancing competition Strictly Come Dancing. She has most recently been seen as the host of the television series Chef vs Britain and as a regular panellist on Loose Women, both for ITV.
In 2005, the fitness DVD Claire Sweeney: The Perfect Fit with Weight Watchers was released. For a period, Sweeney was the holder of the Forces Sweetheart title and was the first entertainer into Afghanistan. In 2001, she won Rear of the Year alongside John Altman.
She starred in the pantomime Snow White at the Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent in December 2008. In 2008, she was the main figure in the documentary Claire Sweeney's Big Fat Diet on ITV in which she gained 2 stones (13 kilograms) in 6 weeks to prove that lack of eating and training habits can damage your health. She then starred in the touring production of the musical Shout! alongside Su Pollard. In March 2009, Sweeney appeared in adverts for Dulux paint, and became the face of Park Christmas Savings. In December 2009, she starred as 'Carrion the Wicked Fairy' in Sleeping Beauty alongside comedian Kev Orkian at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley.
Sweeney made several guest panellist appearances on ITV's relaunched Loose Women and was a commentator on The David Dickinson Show for ITV both in early 2010. In July 2010, she was the presenter of Chefs at Sea on GMTV. In October 2010, Sweeney launched her own range of jewellery on the shopping channel Bid TV.
Claire had the honour of performing at A Party To Remember broadcast live on BBC1 from Trafalgar Square in celebration of VE Day. She also mesmerised audiences at The Festival of Commemoration in Horse Guards Parade, performing live to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in the presence of HM the Queen.
Sweeney returned to musical theatre in 2011, both playing 'The Girl' in a national tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Tell Me on a Sunday, and replacing fellow Liverpudlian Liz McClarnon as Paulette in the first UK tour of Legally Blonde: The Musical. During April 2011, she also starred as Amanda in the BBC television series Candy Cabs. Sweeney additionally starred as Lindsey Kendal in the popular BBC series Holby City.
In 2012, Sweeney appeared in the UK tour of Educating Rita and made guest panellist appearances on Loose Women on 5 April and 15 November 2012. Prior to this, Sweeney played Paulette in the UK tour of the award-winning Legally Blonde.
Twelve years after starring in Celebrity Big Brother, Sweeney appeared again in a Comic Relief fundraising show, this time alongside Natalie Cassidy, Dean Gaffney and Ricky Groves on Let's Dance for Comic Relief in February 2013. They performed to "You Can't Stop the Beat" from Hairspray. In their heat, the group placed second after beating Ricky Hatton in the judges' vote by a score of 2 to 1. The group then took part in the Grand Final 9 March 2013, losing to winning finalist Antony Cotton.
She co-wrote the comedy musical Sex and the Suburbs with Mandy Muden. The show was staged from 9 May to 7 June 2014.
Sweeney took the role of Velma Von-Tussle in the Hairspray UK Tour 2015-2016.
Sweeney appeared in the final episode of the comedy TV series Benidorm as an abrupt, rude and sarcastic airline check in operator in May 2018 and starred in Derren Litten's latest comedy, Scarborough for BBC One alongside Jason Manford, Stephanie Cole, and Catherine Tyldesley.
Sweeney had a relationship with businessman Tony Hibbard for six years, until late 2007. Sweeney was engaged to Daniel Reilly from January 2013 until July 2015. Sweeney gave birth to her first child, a boy named Jaxon, in September 2014. In October 2014, Sweeney announced she was back with Reilly. Claire and Daniel split up again in July 2015.
- Claire (2002)
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- Smith, Ryan (19 August 2014). "Pregnant Claire Sweeney celebrates baby shower". Daily Mail. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- Buchanan, Sarah (16 June 2015). "Claire Sweeney splits from partner Daniel Reilly nine months after birth of their son". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
- Fahy, Colette (1 October 2014). "Claire Sweeney, 42, welcomes 'miracle baby boy' with former fiance Daniel Reilly". Daily Mail. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 June 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)