Emma Samms

My night on the red car­pet at the Bri­tish Soap Awards

Cotswold Life - - INSIDE - Emma Samms con­tact @Em­masamms1

Last night I was down in Lon­don for the 2018 Soap Awards. I was there as part of the team rep­re­sent­ing the BBC drama Doc­tors, which I’ve been ap­pear­ing on for the past six weeks. I’d had such a lovely time work­ing with all the won­der­ful peo­ple there so I was re­ally pleased to be in­cluded on the Doc­tors team for the Soap Awards, even though I’d only held the ti­tle of Guest Artist.

As you can imag­ine, a ma­jor el­e­ment of that sort of oc­ca­sion is what I de­scribe as a Glam-off, with ac­tors and ac­tresses dress­ing to make an im­pact on the red car­pet. Be­ing a Woman Of A Cer­tain Age I wasn’t go­ing to even try to com­pete with the many gor­geous, young ac­tresses there so I wore a dress that kept me well-cov­ered but sparkled nicely un­der the lights.

I was soon re­gret­ting the cov­er­age and se­quins though, as after we had done the oblig­a­tory walk and se­ries of poses down the red car­pet, we were guided into a room to await the live broad­cast that can only be de­scribed as sti­fling. It was a beau­ti­fully de­signed space, a court­yard be­tween two old build­ings, now cov­ered in glass, thus mak­ing it the quin­tes­sen­tial sun­trap. The weather yes­ter­day was of­fi­cially deemed a ‘scorcher’, so the room at 5pm was un­re­lent­ingly hot.

For­tu­nately, for the hour-and-a-half that we spent in the pre-show hold­ing pat­tern, there were nu­mer­ous wait­ers drift­ing amongst us with a seem­ingly un­end­ing sup­ply of cold Prosecco. Call me cyn­i­cal, but I won­dered if the pro­duc­ers were hop­ing that by the time we were live on air, any­one get­ting on­stage to ac­cept an award would be to­tally ham­mered. Any stum­bles, swear­ing or in­ap­pro­pri­ate con­fes­sions would be guar­an­teed to gar­ner con­sid­er­able press cov­er­age. A dramatic wardrobe mal­func­tion would be use­ful and a punch-up even bet­ter.

Fi­nally we were herded (what do you call a group of soap ac­tors?) into the theatre and, to the re­lief of the ladies high-heeled feet, we were in­structed to sit down in our seats.

As I watched the tele­vi­sion pro­duc­tion crew scur­ry­ing around mak­ing last minute prepa­ra­tions and the preter­nat­u­rally calm host Phillip Schofield ca­su­ally greet­ing mem­bers of the au­di­ence like old friends ar­riv­ing at his house, I was re­minded the two oc­ca­sions that I’d at­tended the Acad­emy Awards in Los An­ge­les. Be­ing an ac­quain­tance of the di­rec­tor had af­forded me an in­vi­ta­tion into the pro­duc­tion truck dur­ing the broad­cast and I was fas­ci­nated to wit­ness the safe­guards they had in place to stop Os­car re­cip­i­ents gush­ing be­yond their al­lo­cated 30 sec­onds of ‘thank yous’. As I looked over the shoul­der of the di­rec­tor and as he switched be­tween the dif­fer­ent cam­era an­gles and barked in­struc­tions into the cam­era op­er­a­tor’s head­sets, I also saw what the win­ner was see­ing in front of her as she made her speech. The large au­tocue screen that usu­ally dis­played the words read out by the hosts was now show­ing a nu­mer­i­cal count­down from 30 sec­onds. When it reached zero, in large, un­mis­tak­able let­ters, it flashed the words “WRAP IT UP” re­peat­edly. And then, as the win­ner of that year’s Best Ac­tress Acad­emy Award was cel­e­brat­ing the high­light of her ca­reer and thank­ing her hus­band and chil­dren, the screen start­ing flash­ing “GET OFF”, GET OFF, GET OFF’. They don’t mince their words on a live tele­vi­sion broad­cast.

Hap­pily my show, Doc­tors, won two of the 16 awards given out last night. As the only soap that airs dur­ing the day, with fewer cast mem­bers and a smaller bud­get than the oth­ers, it still man­ages to de­liver en­gag­ing, heart-warm­ing, hu­mor­ous and in­for­ma­tive drama ev­ery week­day lunchtime. As you can tell, I’m proud to have been a part of it. And our win­ners made dig­ni­fied, timely speeches.

In fact, the en­tirety of the Soap Awards went very smoothly. No­body suc­cumbed to the ef­fects of the preshow in­un­da­tion of al­co­hol. No­body tripped, no­body swore, the speeches went with­out in­ci­dent and no one made a fool of them­selves.

I’m sure the pro­duc­ers were fu­ri­ous.

Emma Samms at­tend­ing the Bri­tish Soap Awards 2018 held at The Hack­ney Em­pire, Lon­don.

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