As the soaps go head to head at the British Soap Awards this weekend, stars Charlotte Bellamy, Tina O’Brien and Tilly Keeper – better known as Emmerdales Laurel Thomas, Corrie’s Sarah Platt and EastEnders’ Louise Mitchell – share their thoughts on the big night, and reveal who they think shouldn’t go home empty-handed…

TILLY KEEPER







EastEnders’ Louise Mitchell





Who has been your favourite actor this year?

“Danny Dyer has done an incredible job and obviously, my lovely on-screen daddy, Steve McFadden. Phil’s alcoholism storyline has been incredible to watch.”

And your favourite actress?

“Lacey Turner, for her postpartum psychosis storyline. That was tough work and she did it beautifully. But I also think Tina O’Brien has done a smashing job. I used to watch Corrie when I was younger and Sarah Platt was always my favourite character, so I carry a little torch for her.”

What has been your favourite storyline?

“Phil’s alcoholism. It has been a sensitive storyline and handled with a lot of care.”

Have you been to the Soap Awards before?

“No, it is my first one! It will be lovely to celebrate everyone’s achievements and have a night out with all the cast.”

Do you know what you are wearing?

“I have a new dress and a pair of heels.”

Is there an unsung hero at EastEnders who deserves a trophy?

“Everyone behind the scenes. All the girls in make-up are lovely; Ange on the help desk is always full of joy, and the people who work in our tea bar are always smiling.”

If you were to give yourself an award, what would it be for?

“Either for being the tallest Mitchell or the clumsiest person ever. The other day, I walked into a door on set. I will probably smash a glass in the Vic one day; I can feel it looming.”

At the aftershow party, who from the EastEnders cast will be the first on the dance floor and who will be last to leave?

“I’m really good friends with Jasmine Armfield who plays Bex Fowler, and whenever we’re at a party, it is me and her up there first. But I am going to try and hold back at the Soap Awards, as there will be people I don’t know around, and I don’t want to embarrass myself. I will probably be the last to leave. At the NTA’s, it was me, Harry Reid [Ben] and Jamie Borthwick [Jay].”

Why does EastEnders deserve to win best soap?

“The drama that has been produced this year is unreal and everyone has worked so hard. The dedication that goes into making the show the best that it can be is off the chart. To win would be so lovely for everyone, and really well deserved.”



CHARLOTTE BELLAMY



Emmerdale’s Laurel Thomas

Who has been your favourite actor this year?

“Danny Miller (Aaron Dingle) has been fantastic, but I also have to mention John Middleton for Ashley’s dementia storyline. I have so much admiration for how much he has researched it, and how heartfelt his performance is.”

And your favourite actress?

“Lucy Pargeter, who plays Chas, is consistently brilliant.”

What has been your favourite storyline?

“I thought Aaron’s abuse story was really brave, and it was handled and performed brilliantly.”

The Soap Awards – fun or faff?

“I feel very proud of our soap when I am there, but I don’t enjoy these things as much as I did when I was young. I like watching things from the comfort of my living room – I think that just comes from being in your 40s. These days, it’s all about the practicalities. What will I wear? What about the train journey?”

What are you wearing?

“I used to get very stressed about that, and think I had to spend loads of money, but now I know it doesn’t matter. I will be in something off the high street that is already in my wardrobe.”

How do you feel about being nominated for Best Female Dramatic Performance?

“I’m very proud and honoured and quite humbled really, as there are so many other fantastic women in our show. And the competition in that category is fierce, so just to be nominated is enough for me.”

If you win, who would you most like to present the award to you?

“Lena Dunham from Girls, who is the best thing in the world and an inspiration.”

What award would you give yourself?

“Best juggler – for raising three kids, running a house and working.”

Is there an unsung hero at Emmerdale who deserves a trophy?

“Our costume department. They are in before us and then they have to pick up everyone’s sweaty clothes at the end of the day. Can I just add, I always hang my costumes up!”

At the aftershow party, who from the Emmerdale cast is first up on the dance floor, and who is the last to leave?

“The young girls are always first on the dance floor and the last to leave. I’m the first to leave!”

Why does Emmerdale deserve to win best soap this year?

“We are all really committed and have a passion for the show. I also think that Emmerdale has been very brave in the way it has tackled some difficult storylines like Laurel’s alcoholism and Aaron’s childhood sexual abuse. This has been done with great sensitivity and, as a result, we’ve had very positive responses from our viewers.”



TINA O’ BRIEN





Coronation Street’s Sarah Platt





Who has been your favourite actor this year?

“Sean Ward who plays Callum. He scared the life out of me in the live ep, to the point where I was like ‘Hang on, this is meant to be acting!’”

And favourite actress?

“Always Paula Lane, who plays Kylie. Her performance is based purely in reality. Everything comes from a real place and I believe her emotion.”

What has been your favourite storyline?

“Callum’s reign of terror, that culminated in the live ep. Debbie Oates wrote an amazing hour of drama. Even though there were big things happening, it was all character-driven.”

The Soap Awards – fun or faff?

“Once I’m there, I’m glad I’m there and it’s fun. But beforehand, it’s a faff. I’m not a girly girl, and I find it a hassle getting a dress. I’ve just had one sent to me and I went ‘That fits, I’ll wear it!’ I’ve had a few fashion disasters. One year, me, Nikki Sanderson [who played Candice] and Samia [Ghadie, aka Maria] wore matching jeans and pink tops. And one time, I wore a silver dress that looked like tin foil.”

How do you feel about being nominated for Best Female Dramatic Performance?

“I don’t rate my chances; I’m up against Lacey Turner and she’s wonderful. I’ll have to work on my disappointed face, won’t I?”

If you win, who would you most like to present the award to you?

“Leonardo di Caprio.”

If you could give yourself an award, what would that be for?

“It would be the Most Talkative award. I’m annoyingly chatty.”

Is there an unsung hero at Corrie who deserves a trophy?

“All the people who work in our canteen. It’s so much better than the old place. There’s 4 or 5 different choices of main meal, a big deli bar where you can have paninis and sandwiches, and a massive salad bar.”

At the aftershow party, who in the Corrie cast is first up on the dance floor, and who is the last to leave?

“It’s usually the younger ones – Tisha Merry [Steph], Katie McGlynn [Sinead] and Lucy Fallon [Bethany]. Paula will probably be first out of the door with her baby bump and last to leave will be Katie, Kym Marsh [Michelle], and Brooke Vincent [Sophie].”

Why does Corrie deserve to win best soap?

“Because the year has had lot of different moments of high drama and really good character driven stories, and there’s been moments of humour alongside the more serious stuff.”


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