29/04/2012 02:49 BST | Updated 28/06/2012 06:12 BST

British Soap Awards: Corrie And Eastenders See Dead Heat

Coronation Street and EastEnders shared the honours with seven prizes each at the British Soap Awards.

The Albert Square show took the coveted Best British Soap prize at last night's glitzy bash, but Corrie seized the award for Best Single Episode for Becky's Final Farewell.

Katherine Kelly, who played Becky McDonald until she left the cobbles earlier this year, also took the award for Best Exit. The character left for Barbados with a new man.

Kelly accepted the gongs in a full-length, mink-coloured gown with black bow belt.

The actress, who went on to triumph with a starring role in She Stoops To Conquer at the National Theatre, said: "I've just come along this evening to say hello to all my Corrie colleagues, thank you to the Soap Awards for this, thank you to the nation for watching, and goodbye."

Alison King, Coronation Street's Carla Connor, took the Best Actress award for her portrayal of the factory owner raped by her fiance.

King, dressed in a figure-hugging black gown, said filming the storyline had been gruelling.

"It's been hard but it's been a great year," she said. "It's been really emotional, I got a lot of letters from people who could relate to the story."

Best Actor went to Emmerdale's Danny Miller for the second year in a row, for his portrayal of Aaron Livesy who reluctantly helped his partner, Jackson, to die.

EastEnders and Corrie also shared the awards for sexiest stars, with EastEnders' Scott Maslen (Jack Branning) and Corrie's Michelle Keegan (Tina McIntyre) taking home the trophies for the fourth year running.

But Maslen insisted winning the accolade was not an entirely joyful experience.

"As a 40-year-old man I go fishing and I have to live with the stick. Every year, people put me through that pain," he said.

"There are many sexy men out there and they deserve recognition - Shane Richie (EastEnders' Alfie Moon) is much sexier than me."

Fellow EastEnders Jo Joyner and Jake Wood were presented with the Best On-Screen Partnership award for their portrayal of Albert Square's on-off couple Max Branning and Tanya Jessop.

Joyner, who also picked up the best dramatic performance award for her depiction of Tanya's battle with cervical cancer, exchanged banter with Wood when they took to the stage.

"We'll make a speech but we're not talking to each other," joked the star, who was wearing a blue polka-dot tea dress.

Wood - who returned to the stage to present the special achievement award to EastEnders' series consultant writer Simon Ashdown - added: "I honestly feel like I deserve this after working with Jo Joyner for six years."

Emmerdale's Jackson's Choice was named best storyline and the ITV1 soap took a third award for spectacular scene of the year for John and Moira's Car Accident.

Picking up the award for Villain of the Year, actor Andrew Lancel - whose depiction of Carla Connor's evil fiance Frank Foster left Corrie viewers gripped - said he was "absolutely flabbergasted" by his win.

"Coronation Street is the best place to work in the world and the worst place to live," he quipped.

Pam St Clement, who played EastEnders stalwart Pat Butcher for 25 years, earned a standing ovation when she was given the lifetime achievement award.

After a video montage of archive clips and messages from co-stars, she took to the stage with tears in her eyes.

"It's not often I'm at a loss for words but I really am. This has come as such a surprise," she said.

"I have so much to owe to EastEnders - for keeping me stimulated as an actor for 25 years and for giving me a wonderful exit."

Meanwhile, Coronation Street's Stephanie Cole, who stars as Sylvia Goodwin, was unable to collect her award for Best Comedy Performance in person.

Co-star Philip Lowrie, who plays Dennis Tanner, read a message from the veteran actress which said: "A rogue gall bladder prevents me being here tonight but I want to say how honoured I am. For me, this is the icing on the Corrie cake."

Shane Richie took to the stage with the entire EastEnders cast to pick up the best soap prize before the stars went on to the afterparty at London's Television Centre.