Early and personal lifeEdit
Aged 17 while within the Pollok Inn, a public house in Glasgow, she was a bystander when a fight broke out between several patrons. A broken bottle was hurled in her direction as she was fleeing, and she was left severely injured with a prominent scar on the left side of her face. Grogan states that her parents still find it hard to read about the incident. She began filming Gregory's Girl just three months after the incident.
Originally a member of Glasgow's Youth Theatre, she was originally obliged to appear as C. P. Grogan because there was already a member of Equity named Claire Grogan (the other Claire Grogan went on to become a photographer). She would later drop the i from her first name.
Whilst working as a waitress at the Spaghetti Factory restaurant in Glasgow, she was spotted by film director Bill Forsyth. This lead to her breakthrough acting role in 1981's Gregory's Girl as Susan. In light of her severe facial wound, despite objections from the producers, Forsyth refused to recast the role and Grogan was filmed mostly profile. When filmed in close up, makeup artists covered Grogan's scar with mortician's wax.
In 1984 she played Charlotte in Forsyth's Comfort and Joy. In 1985 she was the receptionist in the BBC Television version of Blott on the Landscape. She had a recurring role playing Dave Lister's would-be love-interest, Kristine Kochanski, in series 1, 2 and 6 of the TV show Red Dwarf. In series 7 she was replaced by Chloë Annett. Grogan has also appeared in Father Ted (episode "Rock-a-Hula Ted") as a feminist rock singer and in EastEnders as Ian Beale's love interest, Ros Thorne (1997–1998).
She has also been a talk show host in the UK. She played control-freak office manager Sandra Reeves in the 2006 film The Penalty King. She appears in the video for Peter Kay and Matt Lucas' charity single "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)", recorded for Comic Relief's Red Nose Day 2007. She also played Danny's mother in Legit.
Grogan appearred in the TV series Skins, as Shelley, the mother of Mini McGuinness.
Grogan played the part of Rita in a stage adaptation of Educating Rita at Dundee Repertory Theatre in 1987.