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EastEnders cleans up at soap awards

EastEnders was the big winner at the Inside Soap Awards, picking up the prestigious Best Soap gong as well as three other cast prizes.

The BBC One series fought off competition from rivals Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks to be crowned the favourite by readers of the magazine who voted in each category.

One EastEnder with plenty of reason to celebrate at the awards, held at the DSTRKT club in London's Piccadilly, was Danny Dyer, who won Best Actor for his portrayal of Queen Vic landlord Mick Carter after joining the show at Christmas, and Best Family along with his Carter co-stars who include Kellie Bright (Linda), Sam Strike (Johnny) and Maddy Hill (Nancy).

Dyer said: "I've been in this game for a long time and had nothing, so winning this has been a strange feeling for me.

"I think I've found my calling, this is my game."

He said of his Best Family co-stars: "I'm nothing without this little mob - you're only as good as the person in front of you - so I'm blessed."

Dyer added of EastEnders: "I grew up watching this, so to join it after it had lost its way for a while ... I feel like the new signing in a football team."

The drama's fourth award was for Sexiest Female, won by Jacqueline Jossa, who plays Lauren Branning, following the departure from soapland of Coronation Street's Michelle Keegan, who had taken the crown for the last five years.

Jossa said: "It's quite nice to have that kind of label considering I'm pregnant, it's fabulous."

Over at Channel 4, Hollyoaks bagged a big award with Nikki Sanderson getting Best Actress for her role as Maxine Minniver, as well as helping to bring home Best Storyline for her domestic abuse plot with Jeremy Sheffield as Patrick Blake, and Danny Mac picked up Sexiest Male for the third time as Dodger Savage.

Sanderson said: "I can speak for England - everyone knows I talk loads and loads - but I really don't know what to say.

"I'm eternally grateful, just give me more awards and I'll be quiet on set."

She added of being entrusted with the winning storyline: "It's scary. I've always been seen as the comedy glamorous character, so to be entrusted with this storyline for Maxine is huge."

Her co-star Sheffield agreed: "Hollyoaks has put together a long-running, serious, subtle storyline that took a long time to develop. It's an exciting thing to have as an actor so we wanted to do our best with it.

"We were both excited and a little scared about being given this opportunity."

ITV's Coronation Street also had plenty to celebrate - both Best Bad Boy and Best Bitch were awarded to Marc Baylis and Kate Ford, who play couple Rob Donovan and Tracy Barlow, while long-serving cast member Simon Gregson won Funniest Male as Steve McDonald.

Corrie's channel mate Emmerdale was recognised for its rising stars, winning Best Newcomer for Michael Parr, who plays Ross Barton, and Best Young Actor for Amelia Flanagan as April Windsor, with Funniest Female going to Laura Norton as Kerry Wyatt.

The winners in full are:

Best Soap - EastEnders

Best Actor - Danny Dyer (Mick Carter, EastEnders)

Best Actress - Nikki Sanderson (Maxine Minniver, Hollyoaks)

Best Bad Boy - Marc Baylis (Rob Donovan, Coronation Street)

Best Bitch - Kate Ford (Tracy Barlow,Coronation Street)

Funniest Male - Simon Gregson (Steve McDonald,Coronation Street)

Funniest Female - Laura Norton (Kerry Wyatt, Emmerdale)

Best Newcomer - Michael Parr (Ross Barton, Emmerdale)

Best Young Actor - Amelia Flanagan (April Windsor, Emmerdale)

Sexiest Male - Danny Mac (Mark "Dodger" Savage, Hollyoaks)

Sexiest Female - Jacqueline Jossa (Lauren Branning, EastEnders)

Best Family - The Carters (EastEnders)

Best Storyline - Maxine and Patrick: Domestic abuse (Hollyoaks)

Best Daytime Soap - Neighbours

Best Daytime Star - Lincoln Younes (Casey Braxton, Home And Away)

Best Drama - Waterloo Road

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