Emmerdale repeatedly turned down chances to bring back Kim Tate

Superbitches are the bread and butter of soap and Home Farm has never felt more right than with Kim Tate (Claire King) at the helm in Emmerdale. Ever since the villainous minx flew out of the village with son James in a helicopter after leaving Chris for dead, fans have been calling for a return.

It was beginning to look hopeless and a pipe dream that would never come true – but in actual fact, before Kim’s most recent comeback, the return idea was pitched repeatedly to Emmerdale bosses numerous times.

Her agent and close friend Melanie Blake, author of soap set based Sunday Times bestseller Ruthless Women, told Metro.co.uk that she had spoken with many bosses over the years about bringing Claire back to her throne.

Fearing that ageism might have been a factor at times, Melanie admitted it became a hard sell, although several producers came close to implementing it.
However, the big moment (and the campest return week of all time) finally came to pass after being green lit by producers Jane Hudson, Kate Brooks and Laura Shaw.

And it’s hard to imagine Emmerdale without Kim.

Melanie explained: ‘With Claire King and Emmerdale – producer after producer after producer turned it down, saying they didn’t want to tarnish a legacy. But if you ask me, it’s because she was older and had chosen not to have surgery. She was a femme fatale and in soapland, those women are not allowed to age.

‘Claire is a brilliant actress and confident in her own skin, she’d never bow down to that sort of pressure to try and recapture her youth just to win a role, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the moment Emmerdale was being run by three female producers there was interest in finally bringing her back.

‘Interesting that no man had brought her back – I’d had dialogues with Keith Richardson, Iain MacLeod and Stuart Blackburn, all who I have a lot of respect for, and showed interest but it never happened.

‘Stuart loved Claire though and instead created a character for her when he moved to Coronation Street, which she enjoyed as she loves comedy, but then Kate Oates arrived and ruined her character.

‘Erica was meant to be Liz’s best friend and move in with her. Kate threw all the storylines out – she obviously wasn’t a fan of the character.

‘Claire was not fired but they changed the character so much that she no longer wanted to play her, especially after the fantastic material she was initially given with having Nick’s baby and the tragic miscarriage story which had the audiences on her side but suddenly, the scripts had her being nasty to the children and stealing everyone’s men which turned everyone against the character.

‘She was so popular during her initial stint which was meant to be three months but turned into three years, but Kate definitely not a fan of the character – and this is no slight to Kate at all, she can do what she wants as she was in a position of power, but it was sad to see Erica’s character ruined, which was complained about online.

In my opinion the producer must always serve the audience not just your own personal tastes. I don’t think her record so far at EastEnders is great but she was absolutely fantastic at Emmerdale, she did a brilliant job, sometimes people are a better fit for some shows than another. At the end of the day, a producer’s job is to go to the audience, to work for the audience – but often they don’t do it.’

Melanie, who was also behind returns like Kathy Beale and Sam Mitchell and the creation of Gaynor Faye’s Megan Macey among others, is delighted that Claire once again wears the Home Farm crown as Kim.

But she added that it has become a huge staple in writing across the industry for a woman’s age to be to referenced – something she address in her book from the very first page.

She sighed: ‘Soaps are the holy grail and honestly, the hardest bloody work an actor will ever do. They also have to deal with the audience’s opinion constantly – and most of it is not down to them. They can’t even choose their clothes.
Beverley Callard hated many of the costumes they gave Liz and sometimes she really didn’t want to go out there but she forced herself – only for people to then give her flack for it online. Could they have been kinder? Yes. There are a lot of references to “granny this” and “granny that” with Claire King in Emmerdale – that’s not very Kim Tate isn’t it? There is an endemic ageism that runs rife through showbusiness, not just soaps

‘Women have an expiration date is the view. I pointed out to a network executive yesterday that there isn’t one woman in ITV primetime, not one plus sized woman, no female quiz shows or captains. The only two women in prime time are Tess and Claudia and that’s on BBC and sort of don’t count because they’re almost ageless. You’re not allowed to look your age.

‘The country is made up of all shapes and sizes and backgrounds – why do we only get one set of people?

‘It’s really good that racism is finally starting to be tackled and after that we really need to look at class – there is a serious issue with class in this industry. I’m from a lower working class background and I have experienced it – you’re allowed in the room but you’re not allowed to eat.

‘You’ll also know, if you have anything that is considered to be a “flaw” – and for me it’s that I have dyslexia – people will talk down to you and condescend you all the time. You have to be Teflon to work in showbusiness and that’s why so many soap stars are so massively unhappy, I guess that’s what made Ruthless Women so popular, although it’s fiction, it’s scarily similar to what actresses’ lives on a soap opera are like, and it’s not pretty’

You can buy Ruthless Women by heading to Amazon now.

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