Claire King: ‘I was hit over the head’ Emmerdale’s Kim Tate speaks out on fan reaction

Claire King, 57, has officially reprised her iconic role as Kim Tate on Emmerdale after 20 years away. The star swapped the cobbles of Coronation Street, where she played Erica Holroyd, for the Dales in a surprising return to her old stomping ground. However, Claire has recently revealed that the response from fans to her infamous Emmerdale character has not always been positive. Kim, who viewers love to hate, made a grand comeback in October last year to cause a stir on the farm.

In an interview with OK! Magazine, Claire confessed that she has come under fire when out and about due to her on-screen persona’s controversial behaviour.

The actress admitted that some fans of the show get so immersed in the storyline that they forget that Kim is not a real person.

In a particularly dramatic moment of confusion, Claire was physically attacked by an angry viewer who wasn’t very fond of Kim’s treatment of her husband Frank Tate, who was a fixture in the soap from 1989 to 1997.

She recalled: “Some people think I’m really Kim Tate because they forget the show isn’t real life.

“I was hit over the head with an umbrella in M&S by an old lady once because Kim had been cruel to Frank!”

The actress also spoke out about how she felt when she was asked to return to Emmerdale.

Claire said: “Kim is an iconic character and viewers remember her very fondly so I was nervous about doing the role justice again.”

She added that social media has introduced an element of criticism that she was previously unfamiliar with.

The star said: “A lot has changed since I’ve been away. Everybody’s a critic now thanks to social media and some of the comments can be very cutting but I try not to read what is written about me.”

Claire was then quizzed on what influenced her to divert from Coronation Street to Emmerdale. 

She explained: “I had a great time on Corrie but my character didn’t do an awful lot, so I think she was fairly forgettable.

“I loved working with Jimmi Harkishin [who plays Dev Alahan] though; we’re still in touch.”

In regards to her personal life, Claire has always aimed to keep her relationship with her partner of 11 years private.

The ITV soap favourite shared: “I know what it’s like to have a relationship that’s played out in public. It gets messy and I didn’t want that again.

“My partner has nothing to do with the showbiz industry and he has absolutely no interest in being part of it.

“It’s nice to keep my relationship separate to work, it creates a bubble for me, which I really appreciate.”

Read the full interview in this week’s OK! Magazine – out now.

Emmerdale airs weeknights at 7pm on ITV

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