IC Berkshire Aug 22 2001
Suzi Muston talks to Brookside babe and Celebrity Big Brother star Claire Sweeney about her new TV show Do Us A Favour, in the unusual setting of Romford dog track.
I'm waiting for Channel Four's corker, Claire Sweeney, best known as Lindsay Corkhill, at an East End dog stadium with excited tipsy punters all around me shouting and jostling for a view of the track.
"Claire's taking a breather, she's just chased a greyhound around the track," an agent dutifully informs.
It's an odd location for Brookside's ballbreaking babe, who, as the gal with guts with no qualms about gunning down gangsters, is no stranger to odd moments with Phil Redmond's scripts.
The most recent was when she found out her lesbian lover had a liaison with screen mum Jackie.
Screen dad Jimmy, no stranger to controversy himself, having at one time been a heroin dealer and cocaine addict, couldn't take the news and insisted the family home divide, with him living on the ground floor and wife Jackie up top.
It's now 9pm and Claire's slumped in a chair in a tiny office above Romford Dogs stadium.
"I've just chased this greyhound around the track", Claire says breathlessly.
"I felt like Benny Hill, then I had to straddle the dog!"
It's another odd moment for Claire. "I'm so tired, I was up at 5.30am this morning filming a show for the BBC."
Claire has been filming a show called Do Us A Favourand it's all about encouraging people to pass on skills to others in their community - about giving time.
The show stars Claire, Geri Halliwell, Carol Smiley, Dermot O'Leary, Steps and Five, all of whom are passionately committed to the teaching ethos.
The ex-Big Brother (celebrity version), lively and very lovely brunette with ambition explained why she became involved with the show: "I was in a big room once when I was 14 and it was full of celebrities.
"Ken Dodd was hosting and chatting to them all.
"I then asked him about show business and he spent an hour with me, a whole hour - I was a nobody, and yet he took the time and trouble to explain everything to me about the business.
"I'll never forget that and so I am more than willing to do this for the BBC.
"I really believe that you reap what you sow in life."
She added: "What you give out comes back to you. This is all about putting in time for the good of others in anything that's your passion - just give some kids some time.
"We live in a very technological age now, and time is worth more than money.
"David Seaman is here today too - he is lending a hand with this too and so are loads of others.'
If you have a passion you could share, log on to www.timebank.org.uk