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May 15,2001 

BROOKSIDE stunner Claire Sweeney has quit the soap after being flooded with
job offers following her success in Celebrity Big Brother.

Claire, who joined the show in 1989, will soon film her final scenes as
bisexual Lindsey Corkhill.

She will shoot two more major storylines for Brookie.

Her soap contract runs out in September and she will appear on screen until
the autumn. TV bosses say Claire's character will not be killed off, leaving
the door open for her to return. Claire, who is dating theatre producer Adam
Kenwright, has already landed a lucrative 100,000 deal to host ITV's new
daredevil series, Challenge Of A Lifetime, which hits the screen in August.
She will jump out of planes and wire-walk across crocodile pits in the
12-part show.

Claire, who has signed up agent Jonathan Shalit, the brains behind singer
Charlotte Church, is also tipped to take Denise Van Outen's role in West End
musical Chicago.

It was her appearance in Celebrity Big Brother that impressed independent
telly bosses. The show won the Bafta for Innovation.

LWT chief Bob Massie said: "She has charisma and enthusiasm. We see her as
the next Cilla."

A source close to Claire said: "She has had loads of offers since Big
Brother - it's the best thing that's happened to her."

"She will really miss Brookside but she'd be letting herself down if she
didn't try other things."

Claire featured in Brookie's biggest stories. After ditching her violent
hubby for a neighbour, Lindsey was framed on a drugs rap, landed in a Thai
jail, got in with criminals, took a string of male lovers and ran a scam
with gangsters.

Broke, she took a job in a petrol station, fell for a posh lesbian,
Shelley - only to find her in bed with mum Jackie. Phew!