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MAL V PHIL FOR TV AWARD; MERSEYSIDERS BATTLE FOR SOAP OPERA GLORY.

Byline: PETER GRANT

MERSEYSIDE'S soap masters are battling it out for one of TV's top honours.

Phil Redmond's Hollyoaks and BBC drama chief Mal Young's EastEnders have both been nominated as best soap in this year's Royal Television Society Awards.

Doctors, Mal's BBC daytime success story, is also in the running.

Phil Redmond's Hollyoaks, now in its sixth year, is made by his Childwall-based Mersey TV company for Channel 4.

St Helens star Johnny Vegas has been nominated in the Network Newcomer On Screen section for his debut acting role in BBC2copyrights comedy drama Happiness.

The awards will be presented at a black tie gala evening at London's Grosvenor House hotel in Park Lane.

But the annual TV industry event on March 19 will not be broadcast on television.

It will be compered by the multiaward-winning Graham Norton who has also been nominated for the Best Entertainment Performance, taking on Jonathon Ross and Alistair McGowan.

More than 25 awards will be presented during the star-studded evening, including Best Drama series, Best Male and Female actors and Best sit-com.

Johnny Vegas, currently recording rugby league voiceovers in London, took a break from the studio to tell he ECHO today: "I suppose I'll have to blag a black tie now."

Hollyoaks producer Jo Hallows said:

"It is our passion to make an enjoyable drama that tackles real life issues and so it makes it even more rewarding for Hollyoaks to be nominated for a Royal Television Society Award in recognition of our efforts."

Mal Young said: "Every nomination you receive is a recognition of an overall team effort."

The industry awards recognise programmes which have made a material and positive contribution and set standards which other programmemakers can emulate.

CAPTION(S):

TROUBLE AND STRIFE: Geri (Joanna Taylor) heads to her Hollyoaks wedding. Below, EastEnder Little Mo hits Trevor with an iron MAL YOUNG PHIL REDMOND
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 28, 2002
Words:313
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