Series three of Bad Girls sees Claire’s hair styled shorter, making her look even more glamorous, if that were possible – and she has obviously settled in to the role of Karen Betts. “It didn’t take too long. I don’t feel so much of a new girl now because there are a few more new girls in series three, so I feel settled in. It was like coming back to school this series!
“We’re all used to the long filming schedule again. It was something that I never really got out of after Emmerdale really. To a certain extent we film in much the same way as a soap schedule as we rehearse and immediately record - I don’t think many people in TV do have separate rehearsals now. Actually, I think it is more gruelling for the Bad Girls crew because they are actually locked in the “prison” as it were, all the time. Mind you, as I tell them, I have homework every night learning lines. You can’t just switch off at 7.00pm!”
So where is Karen Betts going this series? “I am still trying to fathom that out. But I think it is really more down the Jim Fenner line. How far that goes I am not quite sure. But there is definitely a more serious involvement there. And for an intelligent woman she seems to have this sort of blind spot as far as he is concerned. I know, I know, everyone will be sort of screaming at their TV‘s. “Don’t you know what a …… he is!”
Claire is still enjoying her character and still believes her to be “a firm but fair and decent woman. She is a good Governor but I think the twist could possibly come from an involvement with Jim Fenner. I think that could see the weak side of her... but I couldn’t possibly say!”
Karen Betts doesn’t seem to have an easy team of officers to run. “She’s certainly been thrown a few oddballs in to her team. The inmates obviously have their problems, otherwise they would not be in there, and I think it has got to have an effect on the people who work there. It is tough for Karen because she is dealing with peoples’ emotions, both with colleagues and inmates.
“The good thing about Bad Girls is that you still have time for a bit of a laugh. I think it is very important. It is to do with the people that are here – cast and crew alike – being a young cast generally and all working to the same end as part of a team – who know how to laugh.”
Born and bred in Harrogate, Claire King’s home is still up in North Yorkshire, where she lives in “the middle of nowhere” in a converted seventeenth century barn, with her husband and their labrador, Digger.
Claire met her actor husband Peter Amory (Christopher Tate in Emmerdale), on the set of Emmerdale, when she was playing Kim Tate. They have been married for five and a half years, and with their very busy filming schedules in separate parts of the country, time together is very precious.
Claire and her family have always been involved in horses, having been brought up with them. A few years back, a trainer whom she was riding out with persuaded her to take out her licence to race. CLAIRE has ridden races on courses at Redcar, Doncaster, Newmarket and “when I was in Emmerdale I rode the Newmarket Plate, which is the longest flat race – not very successfully but at least I’ve done it!” She has now joined a syndicate to part own some race horses so “we have a bit of fun with that. I don’t have time to ride out anymore - it’s something that you have to do constantly, but riding is my passion”.
Claire is best known for the nine years that she played super bitch Kim Tate in Emmerdale. Other television credits include Angela in Babes In The Wood, and many comedy shows including: Alas Smith and Jones, Robbie Coltrane Special and Hale and Pace.