The Red Dahlia By Lynda La Plante Review!

24-year-old Louise Pennel has been murdered and her body has been found by the River Thames. The press become interested in covering the case and call the case The Red Dahlia due to it’s similarities to the unsolved 1940s murder of another young woman called Elizabeth Short. Detective Anna Travis is on the case to find the killer in this Lynda La Plante thriller The Red Dahlia (Published in 2006, Simon & Schuster).

The book is excellently written with a variety of very different personalities all thrown into the mix. There is also an element of romance running alongside the main thriller plot with Travis and Chief Inspector James Langton as they try to unravel the case. There is many twists and turns to keep readers interests engaged throughout. The killer becomes very obvious quite a while before the end of the book which is the one flaw I did find but there is still many twists and turns as to the question of whether or not the killer will be brought to justice and the ending is brilliant because it’s not a typical ending. But I won’t spoil it on you.

La Plante’s writing style throughout is excellent. It is very down-to-earth, matter of fact and earthly. She writes it very naturally. The way she writes about how the press quite often make sensational headlines even out of tragedy is very true of so much press that surrounds us in real-life.

A brilliant read. Unputdownable.

The British Soap Awards 2014!


Oh The British Soap Awards! One of my TV highlights of the year! So many fit men! Oh yeah and great actors of course!

I was very pleased for both Julie Hesmondhalgh and David Neilson who won numerous awards for their roles of Hayley and Roy Cropper in Coronation Street. Earlier in the year they broke all our hearts as Hayley left the soap in dramatic and emotional circumstances when her husband Roy helped her take her life after her struggle with cancer while I was also really happy for Hollyoaks in their win of the big award for Best Soap. I haven’t got to see it as much as I used to because I haven’t Channel 4 but I watched a lot of Hollyoaks growing up and I’ve watched some of the newer scenes online and it’s really good. It’s one of my favourite soaps. I was delighted that Kieron Richardson who plays Ste Hay in the Soap was nominated for Best Actor because I’ve admired him as an actor for years and he totally deserved that nomination. I’m a huge fan. And then of course Kieron did the speech for Hollyoaks when they won which I thought was fitting because he is so long with the soap.

Julie Hesmondhalgh and David Neilson were big winners on the night winning many awards including Best Actress, Best Actor and Best On-Screen Partnership!

Kieron Richardson was nominated for Best Actor on the night!

Hollyoaks won Best Soap!

Phillip Schofield reprised his role as presenter at The Hackney Empire for the 2014 Soap Awards and our Terry Wogan presented the first award of the night to Corrie for Hayley’s death for Best Single Episode beating off major competition from John Paul’s rape ordeal in Hollyoaks, Daniel’s depression in Doctors, Lucy’s death in Eastenders and Cameron’s Woolpack episode in which he inflicted torture on Chas and Debbie in Emmerdale.

David Seaman and David Weir were next up to present the next award. This time the award was for Spectacular Scene Of The Year with Emmerdale been triumphant for The Flood. It beat off stiff competition from the Hollyoaks blast (In which I must say the special effects were amazing), Johnny comes out to Mick in Eastenders and Nick and David’s crash in Corrie.

Ashley Roberts and Myleene Klass presented one of my favourite awards of the night – Sexiest Male. This year’s winner was Danny Mac from Hollyoaks who beat off stiff (ahem) competition from his Hollyoaks’ co-star Ashley Taylor-Johnson, Corrie’s Ryan Thomas, Eastenders’ Danny Dyer and Emmerdale’s Matthew Wolfenden. 

Dani Harmer and the very sexy Joey Essex presented the award for Best Young Performance to Ellis Hollins from Hollyoaks while soap legend Barbara Windsor presented the award for Outstanding Achievement (Off-Screen) to Carolyn Weinstein who is the company manager of EastEnders which was clearly well-deserved. I think I would be dizzy having to deal with that many people on a regular basis.

The award for Sexiest Female went to Michelle Keegan, who was accompanied by her fiance Mark Wright on the night, for the sixth year running. Michelle, who has already filmed her exit scenes in Coronation Street for her character Tina McIntyre which are currently been shown in the soap, beat off competition which included Jorgie Porter, Jacqueline Jossa, Jennifer Metcalfe and Georgia May Foote.

Vic Reeves presented the award for Best Comedy Performance with the adorable bulldog from Eastenders in tow. The winner was Simon Gregson for his role of Steve MacDonald in Corrie but he couldn’t be there so Charlie Lawson, who previously played his father in the soap, accepted the award on his behalf. He beat off stiff competition which included Sarah Moyle from Doctors and Laura Norton from Emmerdale.

Best Dramatic Performance went to David Neilson who bet off stiff competition from Lindsey Coulson from Eastenders and Charley Webb from Emmerdale. He is very witty and he thanked casting director Sue Pritchard who cast him in the role of Roy Cropper in 1995 “From the bottom of my mortgage.” He also spoke about how he had been on a flight and the air stewardess had given him what he was buying on the house because of all the years of joy he’d given via his role as Roy so he didn’t add the Kit Kat he’d been planning on getting too. David later won Best Actor in one of the strongest Best Actor categories in years and was presented with the award by writer Lynda La Plante. He beat off very stiff competition from Kieron Richardson from Hollyoaks, Danny Dyer from Eastenders, Jeff Hoardley from Emmerdale and Jeremy Sheffield from Doctors. Usually I feel there is three, maybe four great actors in the category but this year you could make a case for any of the five nominated actors on why they should win. Maybe it’s just a question of taste. They are all very natural actors and that is the kind of acting I love. There is quite a lot of great actors in soaps right now that that category could easily have had ten nominees but I must mention James Sutton who I definitely think should have got a nomination. Could they not have made it six for one year? 🙂 He’s an incredibly natural actor. Very gifted. David spoke about how he was working on a play in Bristol with Daniel Day-Lewis in a supporting role and his late mother asked him if he regretted leaving the Gas Board. That reminded me of my own mum. 🙂

Best Actress went to Julie Hesmondhalgh who played Roy’s On-Screen wife Hayley. Julie received the award from Colin Salmon and won ahead of other amazing actresses Hollyoaks’ Stephanie Davis, Lindsay Coulson, Lacey Turner and Nikki Saunders. She spoke about the encouragement her mum gave her and also thanked Lancashire County Council in her speech for the “Full Grant” which made me smile. My life story! 🙂

Julie and David also won Best On-Screen Partnership and Julie admitted it had been the one that they had most wanted.

The Outstanding Achievement Award went to Helen Worth who has played Gail McIntyre for four decades in Corrie and she was presented with the award by former On-Screen husband Brian Capron and casting director for Corrie Judi Hayfield.

Best Soap went to Hollyoaks and was presented by the legend that is Ian McKellen. Their speech was given by Kieron Richardson who told how one of thepress officer in Hollyoaks came and asked him to do the speech if they won this year and he was like “Oh whatever.” because they are always seen as the “underdog”. He said this was why he “had nothing except that team Hollyoaks have the best fans out there that have voted.” Brian Kirkwood, the executive producer also spoke. It was unexpected but I am so happy for them. It was very much deserved.

Richard Throp who played Alan Turner in Emmerdale was also remembered. He died earlier last year. May he rest in peace.

There was also a lot of fantastic style which there is every year. Notable looks on the style front came from Michelle Keegan, who wore a casually perfect monochrome outfit for the awards. Every detail ran through the outfit completely perfectly from her amazing blazer down to her monochrome heels. Her hair was also long, wavy and perfect. Best Actress winner Julie Hesmondhalgh also won in the style stakes in an amazing black dress with amazingly detailed floral sleeves. I also loved how she matched her red heels to her red lipstick and black and red are two colours which always go well together. Helen Worth also looked amazing for her big night with a beautiful light blue dress which was dainty and feminine and really suited her. She teamed the dress with simple matching heels and a clutch as well as a beautiful, glittering bracelet. But lads were not ready to be outdone with Kieron Richardson donning  a dark green jacket and black trousers combo. The black elements running through his outfit in the form of his tie and handkerchief ensured he looked very sophisticated and stylish. Eastenders’ Sam Strike also looked really on the night in a casual look with indie rock style elements such as the jacket, trousers and belt. The black shirt with whit dots also looked very stylish in the outfit while James Sutton looked fabulous on the night in a very understated suit. Other impressive style came from Keith Rice, Danny Dyer, Joe Gill, Jacqueline Jossa, Giorgia May Foote  and Ashley Roberts.

Michelle Keegan wowed in monochrome!

Helen Worth went for a demure, feminine look!


James Sutton and Keith Rice looked very dapper on the night!

Sam, Danny and co looking stylish!

Georgia May Foote wore a stunning flowing dress with fabulous detailing around the neck!

Here is the full list of winners on the night:

Best Actor – David Neilson as Roy Cropper

Best Actress – Julie Hesmondhalgh as Hayley Cropper

Best On-Screen Partnership – David Neilson and Julie Hesmondhalgh as Roy and Hayley Cropper

Sexiest Male – Danny Mac

Sexiest Female – Michelle Keegan

Villain Of The Year – Anna Passey as Sienna Blake

Best Young Performance – Ellis Hollins as Tom Cunningham

Spectacular Scene Of The Year – The Woolpack Flood & Siege

Best Comedy Performance – Simon Gregson as Steve McDonald

Best Newcomer – Maddy Hill as Nancy Carter

Best Dramatic Performance – David Neilson as Roy Cropper

Best Single Episode – Hayley’s death

Best Storyline – Hayley’s cancer

Outstanding Achievement Award – Helen Worth

Outstanding Achievement (Off-Screen) – Carolyn Weinstein (The Company Manager of EastEnders)

Best British Soap – Hollyoaks