Coronation Street was the big winner at the British Soap Awards with the show’s grooming storyline earning actress Lucy Fallon two prizes.
The ITV soap also saw the villainous Pat Phelan, played by Connor McIntyre, recognised with a gong after the character met his grisly exit on Friday night.
In total Corrie hauled in six prizes at the ceremony at the Hackney Empire in east London, including the coveted best soap award, as its decision to take on harrowing storylines was recognised.
Fallon’s character, Bethany Platt, was groomed by the evil Nathan Curtis who forced her and a number of other girls to have sex with his friends during a series of sordid episodes.
Meanwhile McIntyre’s Phelan has conducted a murderous reign of terror across Weatherfield before being halted by his nemesis Anna Windass (Debbie Rush) in Friday night’s episode as she plunged a knife into his chest.
McIntyre beat EastEnders Jake Wood who lost in five of the six categories he was nominated for.
Another Coronation Street win went to Fallon’s on-screen uncle Jack P. Shepherd, whose character David Platt has been at the centre of a male rape storyline.
He collected the best actor prize while Fallon took home the best actress and best female dramatic performance prizes.
Channel 4’s Hollyoaks collected four prizes, including best male dramatic performance for Ross Adams category and the best storyline for Lily’s self harm.
Adams beat strong contenders including Wood, McIntyre, Emmerdale’s Jeff Hordley and Doctors’ Chris Walker.
He told the crowd: “Oh my word, this is really, really unbelievable. I think Hollyoaks does issue-based storylines really well, and I’m hugely proud of them for telling this story as well as they did.”
He added: “I love soap, I love all of the soaps. Years ago when I sat working as a PA to the producer of Coronation Street, I never thought I’d be stood here collecting an award and this is just the icing on the cake.”
Wood, who plays Max Branning, had his sole win in the scene of the year category where the prize was split for the first time in British Soap Award history.
Taking to the stage, Wood sent a special message to his former co-star, Dame Barbara Windsor.
He said: “Can I send a big EastEnders’ hug out to Barbara Windsor and her husband Scott. I speak for everyone here when I say we love you very much.”
Dame Barbara and Scott recently revealed the 80-year-old Carry On star was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in April 2014.
EastEnders shared the best scene prize with fellow BBC soap Doctors who had been nominated for their Bollywood proposal scene.
Wood was nominated alongside his on-screen daughters Lauren and Abi Branning for the EastEnders Christmas Day episode in which the two youngsters fell from the roof of the Queen Vic pub.
Emmerdale – the big winner last year – picked up two awards including the one-off greatest moment in soap history prize for their 2016 scene, the Hotten by-pass crash.
Meanwhile EastEnders star Rudolph Walker, 78, who has portrayed Patrick Trueman since 2001, was handed the outstanding achievement award while the BBC soap’s Lorraine Stanley, who plays Karen Taylor, won the best newcomer award.
Doctors actor Ian Midlane won the best comedy performance prize for his role of Dr Al Haskey.
Anti-sexual harassment movements Time’s Up and Me Too – staples of award shows in 2018 – were referenced by Hollyoaks actress Lysette Anthony who had Me Too scrawled on her wrist while Doctors actress Elisabeth Dermot Walsh sported a Time’s Up badge as she walked the red carpet.