Page last updated at 09:43 GMT, Sunday, 4 May 2008 10:43 UK

Hollyoaks scoops six soap awards

Hollyoaks actress Emma Rigby
Hollyoaks star Emma Rigby has been involved in a hard-hitting storyline

Hollyoaks has scooped six trophies at the British Soap Awards, more than Coronation Street or EastEnders.

Chris Fountain and Emma Rigby won best actor and actress for the Channel 4 programme, with other wins including best on-screen partnership.

But EastEnders won four prizes, including best soap, with Coronation Street taking a total of five awards.

Liz Dawn, who played Vera Duckworth until her exit earlier this year, was given the lifetime achievement award.

Accepting her honour, she said: "I wish I was young again, I could do it all over again. It's only when you leave that you realise what a lovely life you've had. It's been fantastic."

Maggie Jones, another of the ITV soap's veteran actresses, won best comedy performance for her portrayal of Blanche Hunt.

EastEnders cast, led by Barbara Windsor (front)
The EastEnders cast celebrated their victory in the best soap category

Michelle Keegan, who recently arrived as Tina McIntyre in the show, was named best newcomer, while Rob James Collier, who plays Liam Connor, scooped sexiest male for the second successive year.

EastEnders' slow-burning storyline about Max Branning and Stacey Slater's affair scooped best storyline, with best dramatic performance for Jo Joyner, the actress who plays Max's wife Tanya.

Another Albert Square winner was actor Jamie Borthwick (Jay Brown), who won best dramatic performance from a young actor or actress.

EastEnders actress Barbara Windsor, who plays Peggy Mitchell, said: "We actually came third in the number of awards and we're going to have to up our game. Hollyoaks is coming up and we will have to do better next year."

Hollyoaks' other awards included most spectacular scene of the year and best exit for Clare Cunningham, played by Gemma Bissix.

The actress has since rejoined EastEnders as Clare Tyler, a role she first played from 1993 to 1998.

Liz Dawn
Liz Dawn played Vera Duckworth for 34 years

Roxanne McKee, who plays Louise Kennedy in the Channel 4 show and was named sexiest female, said the show was finally getting the recognition it deserved.

"This year we have tackled anorexia, incest and I have been in a murder case," she said. "We tackle those issues in a 6.30pm slot which is very hard for the writers who do a brilliant job."

Emmerdale won two awards, including best single episode, which dealt with the sudden death of Ashley and Laurel's baby son Daniel.

BBC One's Doctors, the other soap eligible for the awards, failed to win any prizes.

The ceremony was held at BBC Television Centre in west London, and the winners were determined by a mixture of panel and viewer voting.

The British Soap Awards will be broadcast on ITV1 on Wednesday at 2000 BST.

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