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Sunday, 29 April, 2001, 13:39 GMT 14:39 UK
Sweeney offered ITV challenge
Clare Sweeney
Clare Sweeney was runner-up of celebrity Big Brother
Brookside star Claire Sweeney has been offered a deal with ITV to host her own primetime show.

She will front 12 episodes of Challenge of a Lifetime, a spin off from Don't Try This at Home, the Saturday evening challenge programme.

Actress Claire Sweeney leaving the Big Brother house
Sweeney: Talent spotted on Big Brother
The actress steps in for Davina McCall who is pregnant with her first child and could not be considered for the role which involves dangerous stunts.

London Weekend Television, the producers of the programme, said Sweeney had been granted "special leave" from soap Brookside, in which she plays single-mother Lindsey Corkhill.

Sweeney said she was really looking forward to becoming a presenter, adding she had enjoyed her first taste of the challenges ahead.

She said: "I whet my appetite yesterday by hanging off the edge of a cliff and paragliding from the top of the Alps.

Exotic locations

"I wasn't sure what my phobias were and I'm still not, but I know it's definitely not heights."

The star impressed programme makers during Celebrity Big Brother, when she was locked up in a house with five other celebrities as part of Comic Relief.

In the show Sweeney will be seen flying to exotic locations around the world, preparing to take the place of anyone who refuses to do the challenge.

Bob Massie, head of entertainment at LWT, said: "Everyone loves Claire. She proved during Celebrity Big Brother that she's got bags of personality and loads of charisma which makes her the perfect choice to present this ITV primetime show."

Davina McCall
Davina McCall: Her pregnancy forced ITV to find a new presenter

Sweeney added that she had no plans to quit Brookside.

She said: "They [Brookside] have given me time out to do this.

"Lyndsey will always remain in Brookside. It is being left open for me to go back. I would always like to go back and do some stuff with the other Corkhills."

Brookside creator and producer Phil Redmond said: "I am absolutely delighted that Claire has found another avenue to display the range of talents we could never fully explore in Brookside."

He added: "Everyone here wishes her well and is fully supportive."

Challenge of a Lifetime has been described by LWT as a completely new show, based around one element from Don't Try This At Home.

See also:

23 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
Sweeney 'offered ITV show'
16 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Big Brother's Craig still in spotlight
08 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Big Brother scores hat-trick
15 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Celebrity Big Brother launched
12 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Mel's Big Brother anger
15 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Turner next to leave Big Brother
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