Life In The Fast Lane
EastEnders' Alfie, Coronation Street's Carla, Emmerdale's Debbie and Hollyoaks' Brendan don their glad rags and hit the road. Destination The British Soap Awards
Shane Richie is standing outside the dressing rooms where Coronation Street's Alison King is trying on glamorous party dresses for TV Buzz's very special British Soap Awards shoot. "Ali, are you naked?' hollers the EastEnder, mischievously. "I'm coming in!"
This time of the year is always the most fun for the stars of soap land. The BSAs is the night when the cast of Britain's best-loved continuing dramas get together to glam up, celebrate their work and party into the early hours.
And it's been a huge 12 months for all four of our cover stars. From Carla Connor's [Alison] harrowing rape storyline in Corrie and Debbie Dingle's [Charley Webb] donor-baby drama in Emmerdale to EastEnders' Alfie Moon [Shane] strugling to cope with Kat's infidelity and Hollyoaks' Brenden Brady [Emmet J Scanlan] terrorising the villiagers like never before.
But while there's long been a rivalry between the soaps, our fab four are getting along famously in the back of an old-school limo. Though that may not last when talk turns to the awards themselves...
Emmerdale's Charley Webb
When it comes to the British awards season, Charley is first to admit that Emmerdale doesn't have the best luck. "We rarely win," she says, "which is why is was so nice that Danny Miller [Aaron Livesy] win Best Actor last year".
This year, it's Charley's character Debbie who has shone in a storyline that began with her trying to conceive a 'savior sibling' with her ex, Andy, for her sick daughter Sarah - and resulted in her boyfriend seeking comfort in the arms of none other that than her own aunt. "It's been an ongoing story rather than one massive dramatic week, which is great," says the 24-year-old actress. "But Cameron having an affair with Chas is not going to go down well."
What is a hit, however, is the stunning strapless dress Charley is sporting for our photoshoot. Yet surprisingly the actress says she hates shopping for fancy gowns to wear to awards ceremonies. "I'm the most last-minute person ever," she says. "One year it got to three o'clock and I realised I didn't have anything to wear. I didn't like the dress I had so I just grabbed a T-shirt and put a belt around it. "I hate the red carpet. It's intimidating having cameramen shout at you and standing there smiling is so not me."
Charley is flying solo at this years BSAs as her other half, Matthew Wolfenden [Emmerdale's David Metcalfe], will be in Birmingham for the Dancing On Ice tour. "There's no holiday for us at the moment either," she laments. "We were both straight back to work after he won."
Charley is, however, grateful that she no longer has to make the long journey to London with her two-year-old son Buster to support Matthew in DOI. ''I took him on the train for the first week, but it was absolute hell'' she recalls. "He got under the seats - I couldn't strap him in his pram for the whole journey." People look at you like you're a really bad parent. Before I had Buster I used to think: "God, can you not shut that child up?" But actually you can't."