Claire King was attacked with a brolly by 'Emmerdale' fan angry at Kim Tate

(Press Association)
(Press Association)

It’s a common problem experienced by soap stars – fans get so invested in their favourite series that it can be easy to forget screen villains are just actors playing a role.

But things got a little out of hand for Emmerdale’s Claire King when one viewer was so incensed by her bad behaviour that she hit the actress over the head with an umbrella.

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King, who has made her return to the Dales as village terror Kim Tate, had been trying to enjoy a shopping trip when she had the run-in with a soap fan.

She told OK! magazine: “Some people think I’m really Kim Tate because they forget the show isn’t real life.

I was hit over the head with an umbrella in M&S by an old lady once because Kim had been cruel to Frank.”

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During her first run on the show from 1989 to 1999, Kim was renowned for her turbulent marriage to Frank, played by Norman Bowler, and eventually watched him die of a heart attack without stepping in to help.

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Now, the Emmerdale baddie is back on screen and said that she was delighted to feel at home on set – even if some fan comments had not been so kind.

She said: “I was nervous about doing the role justice again. A lot has changed since I’ve been away.

“Everybody’s a critic now thanks to social media and some of the comments can be very cutting.

“Everyone is still as friendly and welcoming as they’ve ever been though. I know it’s cheesy, but it felt like going home.”

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During her time away from the show, King joined rival soap Coronation Street as Erica Holroyd and took part in TV contests Strictly Come Dancing and Celebrity Big Brother.

But it seems that getting recognised is still a problem for her as she’s recently bought a new home in a remote part of Spain.

She said: “I do get recognised a lot, which is one of the reasons I chose a place so remote.”