Casualty hero Claire is undeniably a star

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As a Casualty star in the late Nineties, Claire Goose was a lads’ mag favourite, making it on to FHM magazine’s Sexiest Women In The World poll.

Now 39, and married with two daughters, it’s been a long time since Goose posed in her smalls, but the old pictures came back to haunt her recently, while touring with the play The Perfect Murder.

“You often get people coming to the stage door wanting you to sign things, and these pictures – which I haven’t seen for I don’t know how many years - are now coming back in my face,” she reveals, smiling.

“I don’t mind it, but it’s weird when I’m with other cast members. They’re like ‘Ooh, is that you?’, and I say, ‘Don’t look at that! I work with you; you don’t need to see me in my bikini’. It was a great thing to do at the time,” she adds.

Her latest TV role is in new two-part ITV thriller Undeniable. Goose plays Jane, a troubled woman who, aged seven, witnessed her mother’s murder.

More than two decades on, the mum-of-one comes face-to-face with the man she thinks is responsible, now a well-respected consultant at her local hospital, and sets out to bring him to justice.

Jane’s history of depression and instability places doubts in her loved ones’ minds, however, and her daily life begins to crumble as she refuses to let the accusation go.

“What I loved about the character was although she is quite vulnerable and fragile, she has this inner strength and determination that once she’s set her mind to something, she has to see it through,” says the petite, friendly star, looking smart in a grey blazer and black blouse.

“Being a mum (to girls aged four years and 18 months), I could relate an awful lot to the pain that this woman was feeling and place myself in her shoes.”

Goose – who has also starred in The Bill and Waking The Dead – filmed the Shropshire-set Undeniable in Dublin and County Wicklow last autumn. She admits that playing such a distressing role took its toll. I had endless nightmares,” she confesses. “I seemed to cry a lot. Even in scenes when I’m not talking, I tended to cry because I found all the words overwhelming.

“You really feel for her, because it’s consumed her life.”

The actress decided that her daughters should stay at home in London, with her husband, TV producer Craig Woodrow, during the taxing month-long shoot.

“My four-year-old was in nursery and also it was going to be such an intense period of filming that if they’d have come over, I wouldn’t have seen them anyway. It seemed silly to disrupt their routine, so I managed to get back halfway through filming to see them,” she explains.

Becoming a parent has affected Goose’s career choices. But, she adds: “It doesn’t mean you have to turn stuff down - it just has to fit in with everything else”.

The actress is away from home again this year, for a four-month tour with The Perfect Murder, in which she stars alongside Les Dennis and ex-Corrie star Gray O’Brien.

“It is hard,” she says of being away from her family. “But we are very lucky with technology these days, so we can FaceTime and Skype. It’s not quite the same as being there, but you get a good sense of what they’re up to in their day.”

And she still gets approached by Casualty fans who remember her performance as feisty nurse, Tina Seabrook.

“I am incredibly proud of my time on Casualty – it was an amazing start for me and I look on it with great fondness.

And if FHM came calling, asking her to grace their pages again?

“I’d be very surprised!” she says with a laugh. “I’m probably not quite in their age bracket now...”

n Undeniable, Monday, ITV, 9pm.