British Soap Awards 2011: EastEnders is Best Soap again

While Blue were being trounced in Dusseldorf at Eurovision on Saturday up in Manchester the soap-star elite were topping up their fake tans and piling on the hairspray for the British Soap Awards.

So who won what?

After a stunning 50th anniversary, which saw Coronation Street whittle down its cast members by crashing a tram onto the cobbles, it was surely the Street’s year. And it was… sort of.

They nabbed nine awards to EastEnders four – but the Square still picked up the big one walking off with Best British Soap for the fourth year running.

Why? Walford is a soulless place of drug addicts, alcoholics and murderers but, hey, it’s not dull. Janine and Ryan Malloy spent Christmas trying to bump each other off.

Stacey celebrated the festive season not at Her Majesty’s Pleasure but on board a plane to sunnier climes. (Who did she kill again? Who cares? By the time she left no one in Walford did).

The baby swap plot was meant to run and run but unfortunately ran into trouble when nearly 9,000 people complained. But no other soap dominated the headlines quite like EastEnders.

The pin up awards saw EastEnders’ Scott Maslen (Jack Branning) win Sexiest Male and Corrie’s Michelle Keegan (Tina McIntyre) bag Sexiest Female, a repeat of last year.

Great news for Hollyoaks in the best villain category as Emmett J Scanlan won as violent closet-case Brendan Brady. It was a no brainer; the competition couldn’t match him.

EastEnders‘ villainess Janine is a super-bitch one week and sympathetic the next. Lucas Johnson’s Walford killing-spree, which ended when he ‘murdered’ Denise and imprisoned her in a basement next door, was perhaps too far-fetched even for soap.

And the return of Corrie’s Tracy hasn’t really got going yet. Emmett also picked up the best newcomer award. Hard to believe he’s considered a newcomer. He feels like the centre of Hollyoaks – the equivalent of a Mitchell or McDonald, which is why he deserved the gong.

The Spectacular Scene went to Corrie for the stunt heavy tram crash – more disaster movie than tea-time show, it brought the whole cast together and knocked them down like skittles – sadly Molly and Ashley didn’t get up again.

EastEnders brought the whole cast together for the Queen Vic inferno, but everyone just ran out the front door like a chaotic fire drill.

Hard luck to Emmerdale – the train, which smashed into Jackson’s van was stunning and like all good stunts never got in the way of the storyline. Any other year, when Corrie wasn’t demolishing half the Street, it would have been theirs.

Best On-Screen Partnership went to Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie for Kat and Alfie. The pair, now running the Vic, reinvigorated the soap when some big names, like Barbara Windsor, bid farewell.

Their only real competition was Becky and Steve McDonald. Perhaps Becky, thieving cash while neighbours pulled each other from the tram wreckage, has been difficult to love lately.

In the Best Actor category Danny Miller deservedly triumphed as troubled teen Aaron Livesy. Aaron’s relationship with Jackson, now tetraplegic after being hit by a train last October, has given Emmerdale a slew of tragic moments and both actors have been excellent.

If there had been a supporting actor category Emmerdale would have bagged that too.

No arguments either with Enders star Jessie Wallace winning Best Actress. Jane Cox (Lisa, Emmerdale), Claire Cooper (Jacqui, Hollyoaks) and Katherine Kelly (Becky, Corrie) have all been on top form in tough storylines but Jessie took on soap’s most talked about (and criticised) plot and pulled it off.

Corrie’s live episode blew the rest of the competition out of the water in the Best Single Episode category. Nothing else was going to beat one whole hour of gripping TV, broadcast live and with no mistakes.

Jane Danson (Leanne Barlow, Corrie) won Best Dramatic Performance. Her star turn during the aforementioned episode meant she was a worthy winner.

Corrie also scooped Best Exit as Jack Duckworth met his maker. Greeted by Vera, the pair rushed off to catch a bus to the after life.

It was a legendary departure for a Street icon. Stacey Branning was an icon too but as she did a runner from the Square, in a plane rather than a bus, you couldn’t shake off the feeling there should be pay back for killing Archie Mitchell. Perhaps the loose ends will be tied up one day, but there’s too much unfinished business for a truly satisfying exit.

Best Storyline went to Corrie for the clunkily titled ‘End of the Line for the Websters and Dobbs’. Thankfully the plot was sharper particularly when Sally found out Kevin was the father of Molly’s baby just as Molly breathed her last.

It was chilling stuff. EastEnders’ ambitious baby swap was chilling too but finished early after complaints and as a result never hit its stride.

Other awards saw Patti Clare win Best Comedy Performance for her portrayal of Corrie’s Mary Taylor. Great news as all the characters in this category are intensely irritating. Mary, however, is the worst, and that alone deserves recognition.

Corrie also won Best Young Performance (Alexander Bain as Simon Barlow) and Bill Tarmey scooped a Lifetime Achievement Award. Emmerdale producer Gavin Blyth, who died last year, was remembered with a Special Achievement Award.

Only Doctors walked away empty-handed on the night.

So did the right people win? Should Corrie have bagged the Best British Soap award too – or is EastEnders still the best? Let us know.

NEW PICTURES British Soap Awards 2011 – the winners>>

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