Claire Sweeney ‘freaked out’ by ex-soldier brother’s 50th birthday gift

Claire Sweeney recalls Tony Maudsley feeding her son Yum Yums

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Former Brookside actress Claire Sweeney recently celebrated her 50th birthday in style after the lockdown restrictions across England began to ease. However, there was one aspect of her big day that left her completely shell shocked.

He was so excited to give me it and it freaked me out because my brother is not at all like that

Claire Sweeney

The actress became a household name in 1991, playing the role of Lindsey Corkhill in the Channel 4 soap opera, Brookside, set in her hometown of Liverpool.

Throughout her career, she has met some of showbusiness’ biggest names including Cilla Black, Jason Isaacs, Her Majesty The Queen, Prince Philip and Sir Ken Dodd.

Despite Claire’s glittering career, she has remained an avid fan of American actress and singer, Barbra Streisand.

In 2002, the Liverpool born star released her debut studio album featuring some of her favourite songs.

Originally released in 1976, Claire covered Barbara’s hit song, Evergreen, for the album and said that it was a “wonderful” experience.

Throughout her life, Claire has been a fan of Barbara, 79, even appearing on Stars In Their Eyes as the New York born star.

However, as Claire’s birthday approached, her brother had planned the perfect present for his superstar sister.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk following her BBC Radio Merseyside Claire Sweeney Meets series success, the mum-of-one said: “I mean, I’m a massive Barbara Streisand fan.”

She went on to say: ” It’s funny, my brother, no interest in showbusiness whatsoever I mean he’s an ex-soldier he’s straight you know, it’s my 50th birthday and he got this massive canvas made of me and it was a canvas portrait of Barbara Streisand.

“It was so beautiful and he was so excited to give me it and it freaked me out because my brother is not at all like that.”

Claire noted that Evergreen was her “favourite song ever” and knew she had to cover it for her album.

The blonde beauty oozed glamour as she celebrated her big day in London surrounded by her nearest and dearest, as well as celebrations with family in Liverpool.

Claire like many within the entertainment industry was hit hard when the world plunged into lockdown, with television sets and theatres closing their doors for the foreseeable future.

However, she believes BBC Radio Merseyside “saved” her by offering her a show.

Speaking of her radio programme, she told us: “Liverpool’s come and saved me, do you know, I mean, we’ve got all Scouse icons, because of lockdown, everyone was pretty available, I managed to get Malfoy from Harry Potter, Jason Isaacs, he’s a scouser, not many people know that.”

Claire was also joined by friends including actor Tony Maudsley of Benidorm fame and Lady Anne Dodd, the widow of later entertainer, Sir Ken Dodd.

She went on to say: “I mean, I was just so thrilled and for me, kind of like being at home, I love my boy to bits but being around with a six-year-old your conversation is limited you know, so to suddenly be sitting talking to friends having a really good talk and I’m playing music that they love.”

Despite recording the show via video calling apps and over the phone, she joked: “I did three shows back to back on the first day and it felt like the best night out ever.”

“I’m doing the show, I realised that I was coming out absolutely joyful and I was re-listening to albums that I hadn’t listened to, like John Barnes he chose Bob Marley’s album Exodus which is one of my favourite albums and I re-listened to it and the Marvin Gaye What’s Going On.

“Yeah, it was just wonderful revisiting music I hadn’t listened to for years.”

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