Corrie's Shayne Ward among early winners at British Soap Awards

He played the role of Aidan Connor on the ITV1 soap, who committed suicide in a powerful storyline.

Shayne Ward and Gillian Wright were among the early winners at the British Soap Awards as they were both celebrated for gripping performances.

Coronation Street secured the first award of the night, with Aidan Connor’s suicide and the aftermath earning the ITV soap the best single episode gong.

Ward, who played Connor, said: “I just want to say thank-you so much to you guys at home for championing this storyline.”

Speaking to other actors, he added: “Please continue to do what you do, keep telling these stories. Let’s keep breaking down that taboo.”

Wright earned the gong for best female dramatic performance after her EastEnders character Jean Slater faced one of her toughest storylines yet, being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

The 59-year-old worked closely with Macmillan Cancer Support on the storyline, which won plaudits for its sensitive portrayal of Slater’s diagnosis and subsequent treatment.

Handed the award by Line Of Duty star Maya Sondhi, Wright said: “Thank-you very much. Loads of people’s work has contributed to this award, far too many to mention now, but thank-you to everybody. Every department. Every team.

“A special thanks to [producer] Kate Oates for giving me some responsibility. To the Slater ladies, this is yours as well.

“Just quickly, my mum and dad for their unfailing support, and my dear sister Lois who keeps my feet on the ground, pointing in the right direction.”

EastEnders and Hollyoaks lead the nominations with 14 nods each.

The cast of Corrie were big winners at the event last year, taking home the award for best British soap.

The ceremony is being hosted by Phillip Schofield on ITV1.

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