EastEnders legend Letitia Dean had a bittersweet moment at The British Soap Awards as she was honoured with Outstanding Achievement - but tearfully dedicated the win to her father, revealing he had died just a week earlier.
The long-serving soap star has played Sharon Watts on the BBC One series for more than 30 years and was recognised for her incredible achievement on Saturday at the ceremony, which has been absent for the previous two years because of COVID restrictions.
She was welcomed on stage by her on-screen mum Anita Dobson who played Angie Watts and joked "hello Mum!" as she stepped forward to receive the trophy, but was in tears during her acceptance speech.
— British Soap Awards (@SoapAwards) June 11, 2022
Dean wiped away tears as she told the audience of fellow soap stars: "I lost my daddy a week ago so this is for him. I hope he is proud.
"This is for my daddy and my darling mummy, I hope you're enjoying your fish and chips."
Paying tribute to Dean as she announced her as winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award, Dobson said: "She has been in 2,000 episodes, she has had 237 'doof-doof's', and she has also been landlord of the Queen Vic six times.
"She has had amazing storylines, the death of her son, return from the grave of her father, and her affair with Phil Mitchell which brought in 23.5 million viewers. She is quirky, funny, talented, glamorous, and iconic."
EastEnders picked up a number of other awards on the night, including Best Comedy Performer for Tameka Empson as Kim Fox, Best Newcomer for Ross Boatman as Harvey Monroe, and Best On-Screen Partnership for Lacey Turner and Gillian Wright as Stacey and Jean Slater.
But it was Emmerdale that won the coveted Best Soap award and many of the other biggest categories, too.
The ITV soap won Best Leading Performer for Paige Sandhu as serial killer Meena Jutla, Best Family for The Dingles, and Best Dramatic Performance for Mark Charnock as Marlon Dingle who has featured in a stroke storyline.
Coronation Street got fewer trophies than its rivals but saw Maximus Evans win Villain of the Year as Corey Brent, Best Young Performer for Millie Gibson as Kelly Neelan and screenwriter Jan McVerry got The Tony Warren Award.
Hollyoaks won Best Storyline and Scene of the Year, both for Misbah Maalik's (Harvey Virdi) historic rape, while Doctors surprised by winning Best Single Episode with 'Three Consultations and a Funeral'.
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