With just a few days to go until this year’s British Soap Awards, what better time for a final rundown of the nominees and their chances of success on Saturday night.
Each soap has had very different journey this year: we’ve seen Emmerdale continue their incredible run of innovation and awards hauls, a remarkable turnaround in Corrie’s fortunes, a slow burning, mercurial approach being employed by EastEnders, explosive set pieces mixed with informative issue-led stories in Hollyoaks, and near-the-knuckle drama on the ever-solid Doctors.
But in each of the 14 categories decided by a mix of public and panel votes (plus two special achievement awards to be announced on the night), there can only be one winner – and here’s our take on who will walk off the stage of Manchester’s Lowry Theatre victorious…
NOMINEES: Coronation Street, Doctors, EastEnders, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks
OUR WINNER: Emmerdale. The Street has been re-energised in recent months and the current ‘event week’ proves it’s back to its best, but the drama in the Dales has been the most consistent of all the soaps over the last 12 months, kicking off this time last year when Emmerdale won the big one at the Soap Awards for the first time ever.
NOMINEES: Gregory Finnegan (Hollyoaks, James Nightingale), Jamie Lomas (Hollyoaks, Warren Fox), John Middleton (Emmerdale, Ashley Thomas), Danny Miller (Emmerdale, Aaron Dingle), Jack P Shepherd (Coronation Street, David Platt)
OUR WINNER: Danny Miller. It’s a tough one as it splits the vote with Emmerdale co-star John Middleton, but we’ll get to him later. Miller has had yet another year of tears and emotion as damaged Aaron Dingle married his beloved Robert then went to prison and spiralled into drugs, self harm and self loathing. Miller always delivers, and as this is a public vote don’t underestimate the loyal #Robron army.
NOMINEES: Charlotte Bellamy (Laurel Thomas, Emmerdale), Kym Marsh (Michelle Connor, Coronation Street), Lucy Fallon (Bethany Platt, Coronation Street), Anna Passey (Sienna Blake, Hollyoaks), Lacey Turner (Stacey Fowler, EastEnders)
OUR WINNER: Kym Marsh. Michelle Connor losing her son Ruairi to late miscarriage was a tough watch, made all the more emotional by the fact Marsh herself had been through a similar experience in real life. A tour de force performance that solidified Marsh as one of the Street’s great leading ladies after more than a decade on the cobbles.
VILLAIN OF THE YEAR
NOMINEES: Lucy-Jo Hudson (Doctors, Rhiannon Davis), Gillian Kearney (Emmerdale, Emma Barton), Connor McIntyre (Coronation Street, Pat Phelan), Persephone Swales-Dawson (Hollyoaks, Nico Blake), Jake Wood (EastEnders, Max Branning)
OUR WINNER: Lucy-Jo Hudson. Known for playing sweet-natured girls next door, Hudson’s chilling performance as a baby killer who fooled trained medics into believing her child’s death was an accident was a revelation. Surely it doesn’t get more villainous than that?
BEST COMEDY PERFORMANCE
NOMINEES: Nicole Barber Lane (Hollyoaks, Myra McQueen), Dominic Brunt (Emmerdale, Paddy Kirk), Tameka Empson (EastEnders, Kim Fox-Hubbard), Dolly-Rose Campbell (Coronation Street, Gemma Winter), Elisabeth Dermot Walsh (Doctors, Dr Zara Carmichael)
OUR WINNER: Tameka Empson. Corrie’s crackers Dolly-Rose Campbell is snapping at her heels, but in a year of transition for EastEnders, Empson has been a beacon of light and laughter with the always-reliable and frequently hilarious Kim. Even with the added depth as the character gets older and more responsible, the actress has funny bones – and criminally has never won this award. This should be her year.
NOMINEES: Rob Mallard (Coronation Street, Daniel Osbourne), Ritu Aryu (Doctors, Dr Megan Sharma), Zack Morris (EastEnders, Keegan Baker), Sally Dexter (Emmerdale, Faith Dingle), Duncan James (Hollyoaks, Ryan Knight)
OUR WINNER: Rob Mallard. Perfectly cast (and even styled) as a young Ken and immediately engaging from the off, the recent reveal of Daniel having pushed his dad down the stairs and the insight into the character’s troubled soul has really shown what Mallard is made of.
NOMINEES: The grooming of Bethany, Coronation Street, Rhiannon’s second chance, Doctors, Lee’s mental health, EastEnders, Ashley’s dementia, Emmerdale, Teenage cancer, Hollyoaks
OUR WINNER: Ashley’s dementia. Bravely played out over a long period of time and taking full advantage of soap’s continuous format, Ashley’s sad decline was a heartbreaking and realistic portrayal of a devastating disease and its impact on a family and a community.
BEST SINGLE EPISODE
NOMINEES: Kylie’s Death, Coronation Street, A Christmas Carol, Doctors, Lee On The Edge, EastEnders, Ashley’s Point Of View, Emmerdale, What Is Consent? Hollyoaks
OUR WINNER: Ashley’s point of view. It doesn’t always work when soaps go all risky and play with the format, but having an entire episode from Ashley’s viewpoint while in the grip of dementia was inspired. Casting different actors to play regular characters was a clever way of showing the world through Ashley’s eyes.
BEST MALE DRAMATIC PERFORMANCE
NOMINEES: Simon Gregson (Coronation Street, Steve McDonald), Ian Midlane (Doctors, Dr Al Haskey), Steve McFadden(EastEnders, Phil Mitchell), John Middleton (Emmerdale, Ashley Thomas), Kieron Richardson (Hollyoaks, Ste Hay)
OUR WINNER: John Middleton. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s another nod we’re calling for the Ashley plot, but Middleton’s committed performance was nothing short of amazing. Bringing to a close two decades of playing the character gave added emotional depth.
BEST FEMALE DRAMATIC PERFORMANCE
NOMINEES: Charlotte Bellamy (Emmerdale Laurel Thomas), Kym Marsh (Coronation Street, Michelle Connor), Dido Miles (Doctors Dr Emma Reid), Nadine Mulkerrin (Hollyoaks, Cleo McQueen), Diane Parish (EastEnders, Denise Fox)
OUR WINNER: Kym Marsh. Such was the power of her performance it’s likely Marsh will bag both the public best actress prize and this panel-voted award. Raw, uncompromising and utterly believable, the actress undoubtedly drew on her own tragic experiences, but as Michelle held her son for the first and last time viewers felt every single emotion.
BEST ON-SCREEN PARTNERSHIP
NOMINEES: Malcolm Hebden & Patti Clare (Coronation Street, Norris Cole & Mary Taylor), Matthew Chambers & Elisabeth Dermot Walsh (Doctors, Dr Daniel Granger & Dr Zara Carmichael), James Bye & Lacey Turner (EastEnders, Martin & Stacey Fowler), John Middleton & Charlotte Bellamy (Emmerdale, Ashley & Laurel Thomas), Richard Linnell & Kassius Nelson (Hollyoaks, Alfie Nightingale & Jade Albright)
OUR WINNERS: Richard Linnell & Kassius Nelson. Even the hardest of hearts were moved at the plight of teenage sweethearts Jade and Alfie (or ‘Jalfie’ as social media christened them) and their brave cancer battles, climaxing with Jade’s tragic death. Both young actors showed maturity beyond their years and made the audience truly care – keep your eyes on rising stars Linnell and Nelson.
BEST YOUNG ACTOR
NOMINEES: Elle Mulvaney (Coronation Street, Amy Barlow), Bleu Landau (EastEnders, Dennis Rickman), Isobel Steele (Emmerdale, Liv Flaherty). Ela May Demircan (Hollyoaks, Leah Barnes)
OUR WINNER: Isobel Steele. Sharp, gutsy and hugely talented, Steele is reminiscent of a young Charley Webb. Judging from her rounded performance so far as Aaron’s tough sister Liv Flaherty, she’s well on her way to becoming a future Emmerdale heroine.
SCENE OF THE YEAR
NOMINEES: Michelle’s Goodbye To Ruairi, Coronation Street, Haunted By His Voices, Doctors, Ronnie & Ronnie’s Exit, EastEnders, The Hotten Bypass Pile Up, Emmedale, Jade Says Goodbye to Alfie, Hollyoaks
OUR WINNER: Jade Says Goodbye to Alfie. One of the toughest categories (the breathtaking Emmerdale pile-up was a technical triumph), Jalfie’s tearjerking farewell was uniquely handled by Hollyoaks with fantasy sequences and a beautifully filmic quality that gave proceedings an epic yet intimate feel. Alfie’s silent cry glimpsed through the window is one of the most devastating moments of the year. Sorry, there must be something in our eye…
The British Soap Awards takes place on Saturday 3 June at The Lowry in Manchester, and is on Tuesday 6 June at 8pm on ITV.