Emmerdale has won best soap for the first time in the 18-year history of the British Soap Awards.
The ITV show beat off competition from last year’s winner EastEnders, as well as Coronation Street, Doctors and Hollyoaks, for the public-voted prize.
There was further victory for Emmerdale’s Danny Miller, who plays Aaron Livesy, as he won both best actor and best male dramatic performance.
Emmerdale’s Danny Miller at the British Soap Awards (Matt Crossick/PA)
At the ceremony at the Hackney Empire in London, Danny said: “Soap actors and soap actresses, we’re the hardest working bunch of actors in the business as far as I’m concerned, we come in at seven, we go home at seven and we do 60 pages a day. And we’re paid sh**e.”
EastEnders actress Lacey Turner had similar success, bagging the awards for best actress and best female dramatic performance – as well as being recognised for her character Stacey Branning’s postpartum psychosis storyline.
But her cast mate Danny Dyer left empty-handed, despite three consecutive nominations for best actor.
EastEnders’ Danny Dyer at the British Soap Awards (Matt Crossick/PA)
Speaking earlier on the red carpet at Hackney Town Hall, he told the Press Association: “If I don’t win I’ll be gutted. I’ll be absolutely gutted, I ain’t going to lie to ya. Everyone will say they’ll be fine with it, but I will be really upset and I will sob me heart out.”
Emmerdale’s cast and producers were presented with their award by Dame Joan Collins, who starred in 80s American soap opera Dynasty.
She said: “It is a real, real honour to be here because having worked on a few soaps myself, I really know not only how hard you work, but how truly talented you all are.”
Joan Collins attending The Vogue 100 Gala Dinner (Ian West/PA)
“And I also know how difficult it is to be able to turn on the waterworks at the drop of a hat, and most of you do that so brilliantly, so it’s really, really impressive.”
EastEnders actor Steve McFadden, who has played Phil Mitchell for 26 years, received an outstanding achievement award.
Appearing in a pre-recorded message, he said: “Wow, wow. What can I say. I don’t know what to say, because I don’t really get awards – but I’ve got one now.” After thanking his parents and the cast and crew of the BBC soap, he gave a special mention to Dame Barbara Windsor.
Steve McFadden as Phil Mitchell in EastEnders (BBC)
Dame Barbara played his on-screen mother Peggy Mitchell until earlier this month, when her character died of cancer.
He said: “Last but not least, I must mention Barbara Windsor, who has been an absolute pleasure to work with, and a wonderful, wonderful person and friend in my life. Thank you Barbara for everything.”
Sally Dynevor at the British Soap Awards (Matt Crossick/PA)
Others to win awards included Coronation Street’s Connor McIntyre (Pat Phelan) and Patti Clare (Mary Taylor), along with Sally Dynevor and Joe Duttine (Sally Webster and Tim Metcalfe) for best on-screen partnership, EastEnders’ Bonnie Langford (Carmel Kazemi) and Hollyoaks’ Ruby O’Donnell (Peri Lomax).
The British Soap Awards screens on Sunday May 29 at 8pm on ITV.