Shayne Ward choked back tears as he thanked viewers for supporting Coronation Street’s suicide storyline and urged soaps to keep tackling the subject of mental health.
The former winner of The X Factor scooped two gongs at the British Soap Awards 2019 in Manchester last night - Best Single Episode and Best Storyline - for his portrayal of Corrie’s Aidan Connor. Aidan took his own life in the ITV soap last year in a storyline supported by CALM and the Samaritans to help raise awareness of mental health and male suicide.
Ward, 34, broke down in tears as he told the audience: “This is amazing, thank you. But it's a collective effort, never a solo effort, told with heart and truth.
“The impact that suicide has is ongoing. Guys don’t talk enough. We need to use this platform to tackle this.”
He added: “I just want to say thank you so much to you guys at home for championing the storyline. [Soaps] are great at what [they] do. Let's continue to use that platform and let's keep breaking down that taboo.”
Coronation Street and Hollyoaks were the big winners of the night, with Corrie taking home five awards which included an Oustanding Achievement award for Sue Nicholls who has played Audrey Roberts on the cobbles for 40 years.
Hollyoaks were awarded four gongs, including the much coveted Best British Soap, which is voted for by viewers.
EastEnders won three awards and Emmerdale was awarded two gongs, including Best Actress for Lucy Pargeter who plays Chas Dingle. Sarah Moyle who plays Valerie Pitman in daytime soap Doctors bagged the Best Comedy Performance award.
Read more: All the winners at the British Soap Awards
It was a difficult night for EastEnders star Danny Dyer, who lost out on the Best Actor award to Hollyoaks Gregory Finnegan. Collecting his trophy Finnegan said winning made it “worth missing the football” in reference to the Champions League Final, which was taking place at the same time.
Earlier in the ceremony Dyer snubbed host Phillip Schofield when the presenter made a joke at his expense live on air.
After speaking to Corrie’s Jack P. Shepherd about his character's new barbershop Trim Up North, Schofield said: "We've also been joined by EastEnders' Danny Dyer, who I'm told is a big fan of the Trim Down South.”
Schofield added: "Isn't that right Danny?" but the actor refused to raise a smile and simply turned to speak to the person sitting next to him.