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This is an  interview with Claire from the unmissable tv web site. I believe this was done about a year or so ago.

Claire Sweeney in the chair with Jane Diamond

 

On keeping her mouth shut!

 

How do you see yourself?
I talk too much, I'm a shophaholic and I'm easy-going. When people get browned off about things, like silly things at work, I try to keep it in perspective, not let it get to me, and think, 'There's people starving in the world'.

Have you always been so easy-going?
Yes, although when I do worry I worry terribly. Silly things, like, 'Oh God, why did I say that?' I have a habit of opening my mouth and putting my size nines in it. I'm too straight-talking sometimes. I'm just too honest and say daft things I regret and I tell my business too much when people don't need to know it. I meet someone, think they're my best mate, tell them things, then realise they're not.

Has it been harder since you've been Claire Sweeney, Brookside star?
Yes. I'm always chatting to people, laughing, screeching and my boyfriend Alan (Miller, Blackburn's goalkeeper) is constantly saying, 'You've got to be careful what you're saying, they see you in a different light, they're taking you as Lindsey Corkhill'.

So you instinctively trust people?
Yes, but I'm getting better at it. Alan is great at sifting people out, whereas I think everyone's fabulous when I meet them.

What do you like best about yourself?
My honesty. But the thing is I then expect everyone else to be honest and get really hurt when they're not. It's also my worst quality. I'm my own worst enemy and should learn to keep my gob shut. I just tend to say what everyone else is thinking.

Any examples of this?
Recently it was a friend's birthday and his girlfriend was sneaking up behind him to surprise him with a birthday cake, but I went, 'Oh look what a lovely cake!' before he'd seen it. And if I buy Alan a present I'm a nightmare, I start rattling it in his face, wrapped, going, 'Have a feel, have a feel!'

Do you find it hard to keep secrets?
Not if someone says to me, this is confidential. And the last few years I've got better finding at keeping secrets. I don't want to betray people.

You like Friends. Which character do you most identify with?
Probably a bit of Phoebe sometimes, chatty and excitable! And I like Rachel, She's direct like me, but not in a thick way. Phoebe's a bit more thick - I'm probably somewhere in between!

Do you have a tougher shell than inner?
Definitely. When you crack the shell I'm pretty soft but people don't always see that.

What would people be most surprised to find out about you?
That I'm so different from Lindsey Corkhill - she's much tougher than me. I do have balls and edge, but I wouldn't run round with a gun waving it in peoples' faces.

 

Fate, Brookie and Love

You believe in fate. How has it influenced your career?
I'd been singing on the cruise ships for four years and thought now's the time to come off. I'd been in two episodes of Brookside before so I wrote to the producer and the morning he got the letter was the morning they were going into a future storyline meeting for the next year. If that letter had arrived a day later, this might not have happened, I might not have met Alan.

And initially you were sent to audition for the singer in Mike Dixon's rock band?
Yes, but I couldn't make it because I was on the ships. So my agent sent me along to Brookie, and said, 'You're not right for it, but just go along for it anyway and they might give you something else'. And I got it.

Would you like to sing professionally again?
Yes. I still do a bit of singing, the odd thing like Christmas and charity dos, and have singing lessons once a week. I'd love to do a West End musical, it's one thing I haven't done. Funny Girl would be great and my singing teacher says she'd like me to play Christine in Phantom of the Opera.

Is that the one thing that could one day tempt you from Brookside?
Yes, probably, but I'm really happy at Brookside and have no plans to move on at the moment. If a West End musical is meant to be, it'll be. I'll leave it to fate.

 

Just An Old Fashioned Girl

A Barbra Streisand album would be one of three things you'd take on a desert island. Are you quite romantic?
Yes, I'm dead romantic, I get touched by little things, a flower or just a little message from Alan on the answer machine, telling me he loves me when I least expect it. I fill up, I'm terrible, I love it. Alan's really thoughtful, he buys flowers and things and when he does, it always means something special. I also love an open fire, mind you, not because it's romantic, but because I'm always cold. When we get a house together we definitely want one.

What kind of romantic things do you like doing?
A few weeks ago we went out shopping and he saw these cufflinks he loved but we carried on shopping. Then suddenly I said I'd got to go to the chemists, but I ran back and got the cufflinks. I was going to try to keep them for Christmas but they were sitting there in my handbag over lunch and at the end I just couldn't keep hold of them and gave them to him.

What about saying soppy things?
No, we're not wordy. I love you, that does it. Oh God no, none of that 'Your eyes are like stars' stuff, I'd start laughing.

 

Outlandish Laddettes

Have you ever had a crush on a woman?
I think the closest thing to that is that when I was about 10, my mum took me to the cinema to see The Way We Were and I thought Barbra Streisand was the most fantastic thing I'd ever seen and I wanted to be like her. No one can touch her, she's the best and she just knocked me out, especially when she was singing. That's probably the closest thing, but I was like that with Robert Redford as well, I loved the two of them. I thought that film was fantastic.

What do you think is the sexiest thing about women?
Their sense of humour - they can laugh at themselves more than men can. And curves, it's so much sexier than a skinny woman. When you look at the Liz Taylors and Eva Gardners, they were lovely and voluptuous.

And what's the least attractive thing?
When women are raucous and crude. Women can be funny, clever, together and take no messing, but I don't like it when they're crude. Sassy with class, and still feminine, is how I think women should be.

You don't think it's sexy to be laddish like Zoe Ball and Ulrika Jonsson?
No, and I don't think there's any need. I think Ulrika's gorgeous and was really impressed when she did the Eurovision Song Contest and spoke all those languages - she looked beautiful and was clever and witty. I find that more attractive than when she's on Vic and Bob downing a pint - I wouldn't want to be that really. But Alan will laugh because I'm such a lad sometimes, especially when I'm watching football! I'm a nightmare on the terraces. I prefer men's company and I like their humour so I'm kind of contradicting myself.

What do you like most about being a woman?
Feeling protected. It's great being allowed to be vulnerable and emotional and protected by your partner, and not be judged by it. But guys still feel they have to put on their stiff upper lip.

What's the worst thing about being a woman?
Your monthlies! I get very clumsy. But I don't like talking about them, or seeing adverts on telly.

What's the worst thing about men?
That they can be a big baby sometimes, especially when they're not well.

And the best?
That manly instinct to protect, and their strength. I love chivalry in a man. I'm very old-fashioned like that. I'll stand there and wait for Alan to open the door, I love that! My Dad's always been like that and I think it's a nice quality in men and if ever I have a little boy I'm going to make sure he does that. I like a girl to be treated like a girl. And I could never propose to him either, that's a man's job. And to fix your car.

Do you still do all the girlie things, then, like the ironing?
No, get away! I go to football. I wouldn't go and visit him and do his washing and ironing for him. I'm a mass of contradictions and Alan's the first one who's understood that - and the first one who's pointed it out. One minute I want to be girlie and the next minute I'm quite feisty. I guess it keeps him on his toes.

 

Mums And Horses

One of the other great loves in your life is horses. You've got a racehorse haven't you?
Yes, I'm allergic to horses but I do love them. Alan's got three racehorses, but I've got a share in one of them with him, Busy Busy Bee. She's absolutely gorgeous. I wanted to call her Funny Girl, but was outvoted. With Alan it's a complete passion and I didn't like it at first but I've got into it now - not for the gamble, I don't put much money on. I prefer just going down the stables and giving her a cuddle much more than the horseracing.

How do you manage to do that if you're allergic to horses?
I take antihistamines before I go. I'd love to be able to ride but I'm too accident prone. I drop plates at certain times of the month. And I'm constantly walking into walls and bruising myself!

What makes a best friend, and who's yours?
My mum - she's always there for me and I can tell her anything. I speak to her every day and she gives me great advice, like never trust a man who says trust me. And if someone's bitching about me and saying horrible things, my mum always says to me, 'Look at the person saying those things, if you want to be like them and you look up to them, regard it as constructive criticism but if you don't want to be like them regard it as bitchiness'.

Have you ever had sticky patches in your relationship with your mum - did you rebel as an adolescent?
No, I was really good. She's always been my mate and I couldn't bear to upset her.

Do you like the idea of becoming a mother yourself?
Oh yeah. I do want children, but when I don't know. I'll leave it up to fate, too. What's meant to be will be.