Well the winners of the 2008 British Soap Awards are now announced – and there are some surprises in the list – Soapzone takes a closer look at these awards and examine whether or not they were deserved or not..

Thank god it's not the same old story with the Big Three dominating the awards and Hollyoaks not getting a look in. Having said that this year, rather disappointingly, Doctors didn't pick up a single gong. The under appreciated daytime soap has been drawing the viewers in, with a mix of short and long running storylines, for several years now. It's detractors blast it for being a 'daytime' soap but this is a grave injustice for the Birmingham soap as it is, often or not, better in quality than the so called 'big three'. ITV obviously like what they saw in Doctors when they tried – and rather failed – to launch The Royal: Today, a daytime medical soap branded with a franchise name in the hope of attracting big audiences – which it didn't. It seems viewers only want Doctors to be their daily daytime slice of medical life. If they want an ITV drama set in a hospital they'll watch the real Royal. So Doctor's failure to pick up a single award is disappointing and a real surprise as it usually manages to win at least one award.

Another soap that failed to pick up many awards, which was less surprising, was Emmerdale. The yorkshire soap managed a mere two awards – quite humiliating given it's desire to knock EastEnders off its “second soap” stool. In a year when Emmerdale has gone head-to-head with EastEnders in a regular Tuesday night slot, it only picking up two awards will hit the soap hard. But ratings aren't healthy and its clashes with EastEnders aren't helping matters, viewers are more often than not choosing Enders over Dale. Further woes for Emmerdale come in the form of string of stories claiming that morale is low at the soap after a new producer has taken the helm. Stars are reportedly lining up to quit the cast – which may not be a bad thing. The problem with Emmerdale is it doesn't realise its fans aren't overwhelmed by it at the moment. It's going through a rough patch and needs to quickly turn itself around because with six episodes a week it'll start to shed viewers faster than Gordon Brown if its not careful.

The big success story of the night was Hollyoaks which managed to bag an impressive six awards. For a soap that is so often shamelessly disregarded as a 'teen' soap, six awards is a real achievement. How has Hollyoaks managed it? By balancing storylines out that's how, hard hitting storylines have been complimented by lighter, every day, style storylines that continues to attract its main audience – young adults/teenagers. The biggest storyline of the past year, arguably, has been the relationship between Craig and John-Paul though Clare Cunningham's reign of terror, Warren's misdeeds and Hannah's eating disorder all have been popular storylines that attracted, and retained, audiences. The Who Pushed Clare storyline proving Hollyoaks could do as Dallas style plot [Who Shot JR] and attract plenty of attention from the press. The rising popularity of Hollyoaks has also seen its stars appear in other shows on television, such as Chris Fountain. While the John-Paul/Craig storyline didn't win any awards this time – it bloody well deserved to – the eating disorder storyline, and Clare's exit, did gain Hollyoaks it's gongs. And good on Hollyoaks for bagging six awards. It's a soap that is turning itself around and proving its critics wrong and we at SoapZone love it.

Lets be glad Antony Cotton didn't win any awards but sadly we can't say the same about the rest of Coronation Street. Many people confess to watching the soap purely out of habit and admit they aren't enjoying it right now. Is it the pointless Mortons, the annoying Connor family [with the JET BLACK hair] or the time-wasting Bookies that's driving the street down? Or the boring, strung out storylines? The continuity errors? The amount of screen-time given to bad characters [Sean Tully/The Connor Family, with JET BLACK hair]? Or is it all of the above? For us it's all of the above and more – we just can't list it all because we've got limited space.

And finally we come to the capital soap, EastEnders, which won the crowning glory of the ceremony – Best Soap. No doubt Antony Cotton's face was a picture when this was announced – a mixture of gobsmacked and sulky/stroppy teenager. The soap also won several other well deserved awards because it, like Hollyoaks, has turned itself around over the past few years. It has a brilliant array of characters, a real good mix, and is delivering the goods week after week. It's a soap that's revitalized itself and Corrie and Emmerdale could learn a lot from it.

Send us your views on this year's British Soap Awards email us today.

Written by Doug Lambert
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