Claudia Irving (Georgia Zaris) 2001-2002
First Regular Appearance: 5.1 (#229) Passports Out Sunday 16th September 2001
Last Regular Appearance: 5.32 (#260) Forsaking All Others Sunday 5th May 2002
Duration: EP: 229 - 260 ½ SE: 5.1 – 5.32
Position: Personal Assistant / Marketing Director (2001-2002) / Chairwoman of Harchester United (2002; for a nice few hours at least!)
Last Seen: On board the doomed UEFA Cup-bound coach after being given the club by her father. Doesn’t survive the crash.
With a domineering businessman for a father in Samuel Irving, and two older brothers her father prioritised to follow in his footsteps, Claudia longed to be recognised for the brain for business she knew she had. When Sam bought Harchester United in July 2001, Claudia travelled with him from Australia and was largely unimpressed with the uneventful and dull location of her father’s new venture. But when her dad tells her he has a position she would suit, Claudia is excited for the opportunity to be a Premier League Chief Executive at just twenty two. But Sam doesn’t plan on giving Claudia that job, instead putting United queen Lynda Block ahead of his daughter whilst she gets the belittling role of PA to her father’s new love. Embarrassed by this, Claudia doesn’t let on to anyone that she is Irving’s daughter, using instead the psynodom Claudia Spence.
The boys in the team are impressed with Claudia’s other assets, and womanising duo Andrei Belanov and Stevie Shaw make a bet on which will sleep with her first. Stevie produces a pair of Claudia’s underwear, claiming he has won, but when she finds out what he is saying Claudia arranges a special meeting for the skipper - with both of Stevie’s fiancée’s present! Claudia has the honour of being at the centre of one of DT’s sexiest scenes ever (aside from the two-footballs-for-a-bra photoshoot). For when a backwards fall on the training pitch leads to her being covered in mud, Claudia takes the chance to use the team showers. Manager David Spears catches her, but Claudia isn’t uncomfortable, for she’s had her eye on David for some time. Married Mr. Spears cannot resist the beautiful Claudia, and an affair begins between the pair.
The two are caught at the Christmas party, with furious Sam sacking the man who dared to corrupt his little girl! David had fallen in love with Claudia, but she was just looking for a father-figure to devote attention to her, and with some regret she watches him leave. She probably would have been better to stick with him, for next came the attention of David’s embittered wife Dawn! Claudia was terrified when she began being stalked, with the culprit even breaking into the home she shared with best pal Nikki. Claudia became so desperate she even accused Stevie, who along with Fletch came to look out for her. Claudia has a close call when Dawn reveals herself as the two are alone in the house Dawn is due to be evicted from. Dawn knocks Claudia unconscious, ties her up and turns on the gas mains leaving Claudia to die. She is found in time by Lynda, Nikki and Linton Alexander.
Lynda appreciated Claudia more than she realised, but Claudia could never accept the latest woman in her father’s life. Determined to stop Lynda and her father marrying, she teams up with resident bitch Victoria Baptiste to expose Lynda’s affair with Karl Fletcher. She ends up not needing to, as Sam himself has seen the pair together and ditches Lynda the “two-timing, murdering slut” at the alter. Claudia is sad to see her father hurt, but is glad to be rid of Lynda, and the day gets better for her when Sam gives his daughter what she’s wanted all along – Harchester United. Because of this, Claudia takes her seat on the team coach destined for the UEFA Cup Final in Amsterdam (the unluckiest place for HUFC). The coach crashes on the M1 and Claudia is killed, leaving Nikki lost at losing her best friend, and Sam feeling bitter at having sent his only daughter to her death. He sells the club to Phil and Jacqui Wallis.
It is a shame we don’t see Claudia in her chairwoman role, although I could see the results being similar to what we saw with Donna Connelly during her stint in Season 7.