BRITISH SOAP AWARDS 2016: THE WINNERS REVEALED 120

Here are the winners of the British Soap Awards 2016.

BEST BRITISH SOAP (PRESENTED BY DAME JOAN COLLINS): Emmerdale
BEST ACTOR (PRESENTED BY BRENDA BLETHYN): Emmerdale’s Danny Miller aka Aaron Dingle
BEST ACTRESS (PRESENTED BY PATRICK BALADI): EastEnders’ Lacey Turner aka Stacey Fowler
VILLAIN OF THE YEAR (PRESENTED BY STEVE PEMBERTON): Coronation Street’s Connor McIntyre aka Pat Phelan
BEST COMEDY PERFORMANCE (PRESENTED BY AL MURRAY): Coronation Street’s Patti Clare aka Mary Taylor
BEST NEWCOMER (PRESENTED BY VICKY PATTISON & GEORGE SHELLEY): EastEnders’ Bonnie Langford aka Carmel Kazemi
BEST STORYLINE (PRESENTED BY KAY BURLEY): Stacey’s Postpartum Psychosis (EastEnders)
BEST SINGLE EPISODE (PRESENTED BY JOHN PRESCOTT): The Heart Of England (Doctors)
BEST MALE DRAMATIC PERFORMANCE (PRESENTED BY AMANDA MEALING): Emmerdale’s Danny Miller aka Aaron Dingle
BEST FEMALE DRAMATIC PERFORMANCE (PRESENTED BY JASON WATKINS): EastEnders’ Lacey Turner aka Stacey Fowler
BEST ON-SCREEN PARTNERSHIP (PRESENTED BY GOGGLEBOX’S STEPH & DOM PARKER): Coronation Street’s Sally Dynevor & Joe Duttine aka Sally Webster & Tim Metcalfe
BEST YOUNG PERFORMANCE (PRESENTED BY REGGIE N BOLLIE): Hollyoaks’ Ruby O’Donnell aka Peri Lomax
SCENE OF THE YEAR (PRESENTED BY NADIYA HUSSAIN): Val’s death (Emmerdale)
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD (PRESENTED BY ADAM WOODYATT): EastEnders’ Steve McFadden aka Phil Mitchell
THE TONY WARREN AWARD (PRESENTED BY CHARLIE LAWSON): James Bain (Coronation Street)

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LISA LINKE TALKS CURRENT PROJECTS, DREAM ROLES & FUTURE PLANS 35

With roles in Modern Family and This Is Us among others already under her belt, as well as her regular appearances on the webseries Successful People, Lisa Linke has earned herself praise from fans and critics alike in recent years, and earned every positive word that’s been spoken or written about her. While her career shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, ThisIsTheLatest caught up with Lisa to chat first auditions, dream roles and her advice for aspiring actors.

TITL: When did you first realize that you wanted to make performing a career? Was there any particular show or film you watched that made you think: “That’s who I want to be…that’s what I want to do?”

Lisa Linke: I think I realized I wanted to make it a career after I was already living in Chicago, studying improvisation and seeing people perform on stages and actually make a living doing it. I don’t have any artist role models in my family – everyone is business or education (or both) and so the idea of being an artist was really scary and challenging. So, until I saw people doing it and doing work that I found fun and engaging, then I could allow myself to really entertain that as a possibility. I don’t think it was as much as a particular show or film, but more being surrounded with people that I knew and liked and saw them doing this awesome thing.

TITL: Whose careers are you most inspired and influenced by? How do their careers impact your own?

LL: I’m always inspired by people who create their own content. They really take ahold of their own path and just start making art that demonstrates their style and voice. I like doing that. I think whenever anyone makes a successful series that is specific and authentic, it gives permission for everyone else to try and do that, too. And when it’s successful, it shows studios and networks that people are craving that kind of content, so they go looking for it to buy.

TITL: Can you recall your first audition?

LL: Ever? Nope. I always did plays in school growing up. I can remember my audition to join the improv group in grad school, which made me fall in love with improv. I knew nothing about improv, but I’d seen a show in Atlanta before I moved back to Illinois to go to grad school, and I absolutely loved it and wanted to learn how to do it! We did this warm up game and I was so excited, I physically pushed the person next to me, and the woman leading the exercise jumped in and was like “don’t do that”. But in a nice way, because she hadn’t said we couldn’t, and I was legit so excited.

TITL: Which of your auditions are you most proud of and why?

LL: I’m most proud of auditions where I did what I wanted to do in the room. It’s really easy to get thrown off throughout the day, traffic sucks or you can’t find parking, people are rude or it’s hot or you didn’t get the material as early as you wanted or whatever happens – life happens – but your job is to get in the room and deliver. The job is booking the job, and when I do a good job, and get good feedback in the room, or get a pin or check avail or a booking then I feel really good about what I did. I can feel good about what I did in the room even if I get zero feedback, too. I know what I did in the room and what I wanted to do.

TITL: Prior to auditioning for a part, how much research/background do you do in terms of the broadcast company/the show itself/other members of the cast, and do you find that such research helps?

LL: Oh, it helps immensely! You have to know your stuff. You have to know what show you’re going in for – what network it is on, what tone the show has and what the writer has written before. All that stuff just makes your audition more accurate. I didn’t know any of this before I started studying out here in LA, but I am a real research geek now the minute I get an audition.

TITL: You’ve starred in hit shows including This Is Us, Modern Family and the Netflix series LOVE. Of all the roles and characters you’ve played so far, do you have any particular favourites and do you have any fun memories you can share from time on the sets?

LL: Well, Modern Family was really amazing because it was a special day on set. They were on location, and Chris Martin was on set that day. All the crew was kind of twitterpated with him and it was easy to see why – he is literally the nicest person on earth. He was so cool to talk to in the hair/makeup trailer, and then so kind and funny on set. He entertained everyone in between takes with his guitar. Everyone was having a great time! For me, being on This Is Us was amazing because they moved so fast and it was being directed by Ken Olin and I’ve always been a fan of his, from way back in thirtysomething days. So, to see him direct was just fantastic. LOVE was incredible because Nisha Ganatra, the director, loved to improvise and I got to improvise a ton on set. That was wonderful, and to work with Gillian Jacobs, Paul Rust, Ed Beagley, Jr. and Kathy Baker was a total dream! I love working, period. Everything else on top of that is gravy.

TITL: What’s your dream role and which TV show would you most like to star/guest star in? Are there any actors or actresses you really want to work with?

LL: I do comedy and love it, but I watch a ton of drama! I think I’d love to be on something super tense like The Americans or Homeland. I get so hooked watching it and the acting on those shows is amazing. I love working with everyone because I like learning from everyone – but to work with someone who has made their own content, like Melissa McCarthy, Issa Rae, or Amy Schumer would be amazing.

TITL: What made you want to be a part of the web series Successful People, and do you think there will be many other such series being made in the coming years, due to the boom in and power of technology and the internet?

LL: Yes! There are so many series being made right now, it’s so easy to create content on a small scale.  I did the first season because Artie & Theresa – the creators & stars – asked me to, and then when they invited me back with a series regular role for the second season, I was thrilled! That character is seriously the most obnoxious in the world. I loved playing her!

TITL: You’ve won a number of awards including Lead Actress at LAWebfest and overall web series winner at the Chicago Comedy Film Festival. How much do accolades like that mean to you, and would you say you’re more of an individual who cares more strongly about what your fans/followers think and that you can and do take on projects you feel passionate about?

LL: Thank you! It’s always nice to take a piece of work you’ve created and have it be recognized. Festivals are a great part of online content life. I like making content I’m proud of and want to do. It’s a lot of work to do – so usually I have to be really interested in the project and want to make it and get it out there in the world, or be asked to work with people that I adore and have a blast working with.

TITL: The entertainment business is cut-throat and competitive. With that in mind, and given your impressive resume, what advice would you give to those just starting out? What three traits would you say people need in order to survive in this fickle industry?

LL: Ah! You’re very kind. I’ve been told that you need two of the following three: luck, talent and perseverance. You can’t work on luck, but you can work on the other two. I say get your butt in a class and stay there! And create your own content.

TITL: Finally then, are there any projects or plans in the pipeline you can tell me about? What’s next for you and what are your goals for the remainder of the year?

LL: Yes! I just released Dog Therapist with my friend Gwen, and it’s a super short web series – all episodes are under a minute! We had a blast and I hope we do some more like it. I have a guest star on a Disney show coming out sometime this spring/summer, so I can’t wait for that to be announced! And of course, I’m creating more content. Do you sense a theme!?

For more information on Lisa Linke, visit her website or you can follow her on Twitter. Header photo credit: Birdie Thompson.

ALL CHANGE BEHIND THE SCENES ON CORRIE & EMMERDALE 38

ITV today confirmed Iain MacLeod had been appointed as the new Producer of Coronation Street, following Kate Oates’ decision to leave the soap and move into drama series production.

Kate is moving to work with ITV Studios owned label Tall Story Pictures, where she will produce the forthcoming second series of Bancroft, starring Sarah Parish.

ITV also announced that former ITV Drama Commissioner Jane Hudson has been appointed Emmerdale’s Executive Producer responsible for the future editorial and creative direction of the award-winning soap. Assistant Producer Kate Brooks becomes Producer alongside current Series Script Producer Laura Shaw who also becomes a Producer. Kate and Laura will produce blocks of episodes on a rotational basis and take responsibility for the day to day running of the programme. The Emmerdale appointments will take effect from the beginning of June, to coincide with Iain taking the helm at Coronation Street.

Kate and Iain leave their respective soaps in strong form, as each is up +5% year-on- year for volume, on both consolidated and overnights ratings. In 2018 to date, Emmerdale has increased its average audience in the consolidated ratings, pulling ahead to become the UK’s second most popular soap.

Coronation Street continues to be the UK’s most popular soap, with Good Friday’s 8:30pm episode scoring the highest rating in this slot in more than 4 years when 9.4m viewers tuned in to see Phelan confess his string of crimes to Eileen at the lighthouse. Across that week, Coronation Street delivered an impressive 40% share among 16-34s, the soap’s highest share for this demographic since just before the tram crash in 2010.

ITV Studios Creative Director for Coronation Street and Emmerdale, John
Whiston, said: “There’s a lot to praise here! Kate Oates has transformed Coronation Street during her tenure. This has been reflected both in the huge critical acclaim the show has been getting and in the ratings. We are now used to opening the overnights and seeing Coronation Street has delivered its highest ratings for many years, a herculean achievement in this box set era.

Kate has done this whilst putting on screen some groundbreaking and socially important stories such as the Bethany grooming story and David’s rape story. It is a testament to her brilliant editorial touch that these stories, though difficult, have been both credible and engaging.

Meanwhile, Kate has unleashed on us one of the finest villains in soap history with Pat Phelan and his dastardly deeds. And the show has continued day in day out to provide the viewer with top notch Corrie humour from Liz to Moira, from Steve to Tracy, from Sally to Tim. Doing all this while taking the show from 5 episodes to 6 episodes a week is a phenomenal achievement by Kate and something of which those who work on the show and those who watch it are hugely appreciative.”

On Iain MacLeod’s time at Emmerdale, John commented: “Meanwhile, over the Pennines, Emmerdale has been going through its own golden period under Iain MacLeod’s aegis. It too has built its audience volume and share. And it has delivered some truly memorable storylines. Ashley’s dementia was notable not just for the strength of the story, but for the way it was told with some soap defining drama, such as the episode all seen through Ashley’s point of view.

Equally hard hitting, though in a different way, was the multi car pile up on Hotten bypass. Emmerdale has a reputation for delivering big stunts and this one wasthe biggest and most spectacular, as well as the most intricately plotted and it came from the perfect soap brain of the supremely talented Iain MacLeod. It is no wonder Emmerdale has won pretty much a clean sweep of the awards in the last year, a run interrupted only by Coronation Street’s RTS Award.”

On Jane Hudson’s appointment John said: “Jane Hudson was the ITV Commissioner for the soaps during their recent renaissance, leaving last summer. She is the ideal person to take on the leadership of Emmerdale as she has soap running through her veins and understands and loves the genre like no other. She is also forthright and humane, both qualities needed to lead a soap these days. She has a brilliant story mind which makes me excited to see where Emmerdale will go next.”

Iain MacLeod moves to Coronation Street following his successful tenureas Producer of Emmerdale which has seen the Yorkshire based soap tackle a range of notable storylines including the recent acid attack inflicted on Ross, the reuniting of Robron following an acrimonious break up after Rebecca gave birth to Robert’s son, Seb, the realisation
that Faith Dingle has suffered a double mastectomy and Emma Barton’s demise following the death of James.

Emmerdale has also received a remarkable string of awards during Iain’s time as Producer including a BAFTA for Best Continuing Drama in 2017, the RTS Award for Continuing Drama in 2016 and 2017 and the National Television Award for Serial Drama for consecutive years in 2017 and 2018.

Prior to Iain taking his position at Emmerdale in 2015 he was Series Producer at Hollyoaks, a role he held since 2013. A former Coronation Street researcher and Story Editor from July 2009 until 2013, Iain left the programme in 2013 to join Hollyoaks and was promoted to Series Producer shortly afterwards.

Iain MacLeod added: “Working on Emmerdale at a time when it’s enjoyed such success hasbeen a total joy and I will miss the people and the place immensely – it’s a special show full of huge talent. Only Corrie could have tempted me away. It gave me my first job in TV asan assistant researcher many years ago and to be returning as producer is the fulfilment of a longstanding dream. It’ll be like a reunion with an old friend and I look forward to continuing the amazing work already being done by everyone connected with the show.”

Jane Hudson began her television career as a storyliner for Coronation Street before progressing to Script Editor. She moved to Casualty where she worked as Series Editor and Producer from 2004-2007. Jane is also a former producer of Law & Order: UK, Hustle, Waterloo Road and Robin Hood. Most recently Jane spent four years as an ITV Drama
Commissioner overseeing Coronation Street and Emmerdale from the network’s perspective. Jane joins Emmerdale from the independent television production company, Eleven, where she has been working as Executive Producer, Drama.

Jane Hudson, on her appointment as Executive Producer of Emmerdale commented: “I’m delighted to be returning to my Yorkshire roots and becoming partof the nation’s much loved soap, Emmerdale. I can’t wait to be back around the story table working with the writers on ideas that will have our audience laughing, crying, suspecting and occasionally hiding behind a cushion. I want to continue to give our loyal audience the drama they love whilst also bringing new viewers to the Dales, because believe me, there really is no better place.”

A former Producer of Radio 4’s The Archers from 2003-2010, Kate Oates has successfully produced Coronation Street since 2015. Prior to taking up the reins at Corrie, Kate produced Emmerdale from 2013-2015. She had previously worked as Coronation Street’s Assistant Producer following a stint as Emmerdale’s Story Editor. Kate leaves Coronation Street in an exceptionally good place after seeing the iconic soap transition from five to six episodes each week in September 2017.

Kate has also recently overseen an array of significantly memorable storylines including Eva and Maria’s infamous catfight following Aidan’s admission on his wedding day that he’d been in love with both women, Bethany’s grooming story, the realisation Zeedan’s wife Rana was in love with Kate, the return of Carla Conner to Coronation Street and Phelan’s reign of terror on the Weatherfield community.

Kate has also been responsible for the powerfully compelling story of David Platt’s rape, which has recently won huge praise for the soap from the audience and critics alike for tackling such difficult subject matter and raising awareness of such a devastating sexual assault. During Kate’s time as Producer Coronation Street also achieved theprestigious BAFTA Best Soap and Continuing Drama Award in 2015 and the RTS Award for Continuing Drama earlier this year.

Speaking today, Kate explained: “Being a part of Coronation Street has quite simply been one of the best experiences of my life. I am proud of the stories we have told and the impact they have had – and I’ve had a ball working with one of the best and most talented teams in television. I’ll be forever grateful for this opportunity and all it has given me; but I’m also excited to try something new. I can’t wait to make a start on Bancroft, working with the brilliant Sarah Parish and Tall Story Pictures – and I’ll continue to love watching both ITV soaps from the comfort of my sofa.

Catherine Oldfield, Creative Director at Tall Story Pictures says: “Kate Brooke and I are delighted that Kate has chosen Bancroft 2 as her first production after her fantastic run at Corrie. Kate has shown how brilliantly she delivers stories that thrill and surprise ITV audiences. We can’t wait to work with her.”

On Kate Brooks and Laura Shaw’s appointments as Emmerdale Producers John Whiston said: “Kate Brooks and Laura Shaw are both exceptional at what they do. Whilst they’ve worked on Emmerdale the show has been its best ever. They are both really good people who foster a supportive working atmosphere in which people who work for them thrive. Their appointments are a tribute to them and to the show for being the sort of place where good people do good and prosper. All in all, a top new team for Britain’s top soaps.”