All eyes were on EastEnders actress Lorraine Stanley on Saturday night as she stepped out to the 2018 British Soap Awards. Best known for her portrayal of the feisty Karen Taylor, the 41-year-old looked worlds apart from her alter-ego as she glammed up for the annual awards show. In the BBC One soap, Lorraine styles her hair in a messy bun and wears minimal makeup to portray Karen, but for the evening, the star wore her long, blonde hair down in a bouncy blow-dry, and opted for a glamorous makeup look. Lorraine also replaced her character's trademark vest tops for a stylish black midi dress, which she teamed with a pair of metallic gold heels.
Fans of the popular show couldn’t believe how different Lorraine looked, and took to social media to share their views. One Twitter user wrote: "Wow! Her who plays Karen Taylor in #EastEnders looks so different in real life. She scrubs up well. #SoapAwards," while another said: "Omg Karen Taylor brushed up well!!!!!" A third added: "Karen Taylor looks so lovely!!! Scrubs up well #SoapAwards20th."
EastEnders star Lorraine Stanley looked worlds away from her alter-ego Karen Taylor
It was a successful night for Lorraine, who picked up the Best Newcomer award, beating the likes of Emmerdale's Andrew Scarborough and Coronation Street's Nicola Thorp. Taking to the stage to accept her accolade, Lorraine said: "Thank you. I just want to say a big thank you to EastEnders for having me. It’s an iconic show I’ve grown up watching, it’s brilliant. I want to thank the Soap Awards for nominating me and my mum for being the most inspiring mum ever – thank you."
EastEnders picked up a total of three awards during the evening. Rudolph Walker, who plays Patrick Trueman, was awarded the Outstanding Achievement award for all his years on the show. The 78-year-old was given the gone by his friend Baroness Floella Benjamin, who told the audience: "He's a truly inspirational figure and one of the first leading black actors to appear on British television. He's a charismatic actor equally at ease with drama and comedy." Rudolph took to Twitter after his win to thank everyone for their kind words. "Wow what an amazing evening! A big thank you to @SoapAwards Stunned and truly humbled. Thank you all for your lovely messages. Bless you all," he wrote.
Lorraine as Karen Taylor - who won Best Newcomer at the British Soap Awards
The show also won the Best Scene prize – making history by becoming the first ever winners to share a prize with another soap – Doctors. Jacqueline Jossa and Jake Wood went to pick up the award for Lauren and Abi's rooftop fall, while Doctors were recognised for the Bollywood proposal storyline. Poignantly, Jake paid tribute to Barbara Windsor in his speech, after it was announced recently that she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He told the audience: "Can I just send a big EastEnders hug out to Barbara Windsor and her husband Scott? I know I speak for everyone here when I say, we love you very much."