28 MAY 2007

The residents of Weatherfield had plenty to celebrate on Saturday night after Coronation Street cleaned up at the British Soap Awards. The popular ITV drama - which recently hit the 12 million viewers mark with its ratings - took home seven gongs at the glitzy London ceremony, including the coveted best soap award. Meanwhile rival show EastEnders earned only one trophy.

Former Hear'say singer Kym Ryder proved she had successfully made the transition from pop star to soap star when she scooped the gong for best newcomer. "This really does mean a lot to me, not coming from an acting background," she said. The 30-year-old actress dedicated her award to husband Jack - who used to play Jamie Mitchell in EastEnders - "for being my constant support".

Further Corrie triumphs included the best actor prize, which was picked up by a tearful Anthony Cotton, who plays Sean Tully. And the coveted best actress award went to Kate Ford, aka Tracy Barlow, who left the Street earlier this year when viewers saw her locked away for murder. "I have had the best four years of my life at Coronation Street and I am so grateful for that," she said. "I miss everybody."

Ensuring that EastEnders didn't go home completely empty-handed was Lacey Turner, who won the best dramatic performance gong for her portrayal of Walford rebel Stacy Slater.

Soap veteran Wendy Richards, who left the BBC show last Christmas after 22 years as long-suffering Pauline Fowler, was honoured with a lifetime achievement award. Presenting her with the gong, Todd Carty - who played her on-screen son Mark Fowler - hailing Wendy as an inspiration to everyone in Albert Square.

Other winners at the bash, which is to be screened on ITV this Wednesday at 8pm, included stunning Emmerdale actress Jo Stiles - named sexiest actress. And Gemma Bissix took home villain of the year for her role as conniving Claire Cunningham in Hollyoakes - the only soap to be nominated in every single category.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
The Street's Kim Ryder, who plays barmaid Michelle Connor, took home the best newcomer trophy at the BBC TV Centre galaClick on photos for gallery
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Scooping EastEnders' only gong was Walford wild child Stacy Slater, aka Lacey Turner, who won best dramatic performance
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Wendy Richards was presented with a lifetime achievement award by her former co-star Todd Carty

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