Claire King tells TV Times she has plenty in common with her new Coronation Street character, Erica Holroyd – except when it comes to men!

Erica hooks up with toyboy Nick Tilsley pretty soon after arriving in Weatherfield. What attracts them to each other?

“Erica was married when Liz met her, and her husband was a bit handy with his fists. She’s got out of that relationship and now she just wants to live life to the full. She clicks with Nick and it’s good for him as well, because she brings him out of his shell… and his suits! Nick can see that Erica’s not some young, clingy person who could be trouble. He thinks, Wow, she’s got a great attitude to life and I want some of that!”

Would you have the confidence to go after a man the way that Erica does?

“It has to happen naturally – I don’t think I’ve ever chatted a man up, actually. I’d hate to go on a date now; it would be the worst nightmare, ever! Oh my god, I can’t imagine it! I was lucky that I met my current boyfriend in the local pub, and I’d known him before. It was the same with my ex-husband (actor Peter Amory, who played Emmerdale’s Chris Tate). We worked on Emmerdale and we didn’t like each other at first, but then we got to know each other and got married. I have always said that with friends you can probably have the best relationships because you’ve got so much in common.”

Would you say that you have anything in common with your new character?

“We both have a good sense of humour and are trying to enjoy life as we’re getting on, because what’s the alternative? Doom and gloom.”

Having been in Emmerdale for 10 years as Kim Tate, do you find that you still get recognised as her when you’re out and about?

“Other people call me Karen, though, after Karen Betts from Bad Girls, and then you’ll get Strictly fans saying, ‘Oh, you were great in that; you laughed your way through it.’ Had to, I was with Brendan Cole! No, he was all right, really.”

Coronation Street bosses have already decided to bring Erica back next year. What can we expect from her?

“I think we’ve got a great character, and I think Liz and Erica could be a real tour de force. Now that Deirdre’s gone off for a bit, Liz needs a mate and she’s got a playmate in Erica. I think that could be a really good story!”