Showbusiness World Aghast at Sweeney Retirement Threat

Claire Sweeney has revealed plans to bow out of acting to concentrate on raising her family.

The 44-year-old star no children and is single but intends to devote more time to her 23 nephews and nieces now that her panto, Tit in Boots, is winding up rehearsals before opening at the Floral pavilion next month.

She was interviewed by the Wirral Groan while promoting her new fragrance, Mersey, by Lethargique.

Asked in the interview whether she thought the possibility of her looks fading could affect a lengthy career, Sweeney said: "I don't think about it much because I don't plan to keep acting very long."

Laughing, she continued: "I'm ready to do a few things now and fade away and get ready to be a grandma one day. So I'm not so worried that I want to keep this pace up and try to be something and be a celebrity and be a successful actress forever.

"I think it's boss, I've had a time to tell stories and be able to be successful enough to tell the ones I want to tell, and (to) earn some dollar at the same time is great. But everything comes in seasons and, you know, I hopefully won't be needing to do that later in my life in any way."

But Claire would not rule out returning to work for interesting projects. She even blacked up for an audition for the part of Ma Waters in the movie bio-pic of blues legend Muddy Waters, the Muddy Waters Story.

Asked if she had given herself a cut-off point when she no longer wanted to be an actress, Sweeney said: "I don't think I'll ever say I'm never ever going to work because maybe there's that interesting project where I feel creative - but certainly I think now I haven't worked for a year. There are plans to re-make Le Cage Aux Folles with Pete Price but enough funding hasn't been stolen from the tax-payers yet.

"I'll work for a few months in February when I'm appearing in Celebrity Makeover on Ice. I won't work again probably for another 12 years. So maybe I'll do another televised Rear of the Year on cable - I like being home a lot these days."

The actress, 35, is known for her interest in humanitarian issues, working as a Goodwill Ambassador for the local deranged.