Ally Randell - Picture editor, Inside Soap and All About Soap


With four days to go until the ninth annual Inside Soap Awards,
there’s a definite change of atmosphere today. We haven’t seen our
editor all day as he’s holed up in his office, helping to put together
the winners’ showreel to be shown on Monday night. The rest of us are
being driven to distraction by the theme music – “Don’t Stop Me Now” by
Queen – played over and over again… Spend most of my morning ringing
various prop houses looking for five large glitter balls for our
photoshoot area at the awards – not sure how many more times I can ask
strange men on the phone what size balls they have on offer!

My desk is the place the guys want to be this afternoon.

be something to do with a set of unedited shots from the new Hollyoaks
Babes calendar. Wonder how much airbrushing there’ll be before the
official pics hit the stores?


Hurrah! A very helpful chap called Terry has come through with a
‘buy four, get one free’ offer on glitter balls. He’s going to get them
couriered to the venue on Monday.

A sneak preview of the awards showreel. With EastEnders’

Dean winning the Outstanding Achievement award this year, there’s a
great montage of early ‘Enders episodes and 1980s fashion – should
raise a laugh!

Picture researcher Sarah has been working hard
putting together a mugshot handout for the photographers of all the
celebrities attending. We end up with five pages of pictures to check…
I just hope they can all make it!

Shopping this afternoon for
beaded curtains, and then meet the rest of the team at our awards
venue, Floridita, for a final briefing from our co-ordinator, Michelle
– and a notso- little sampling of the cocktails on offer on Monday


Awake at 6am from a nightmare in which no photographers show up
tonight. Get to work to take several calls from picture agencies still
wanting access to the press room – seems the opposite of my dream may
come true.

A change of pace, though, for the rest of the morning.

features meeting with our sister magazine, All About Soap, for which
I’m also picture editor. There are some fantastic ideas, but, of
course, they want everything to be a lot more picture-led. It seems my
team will be busier than ever.

Arrive at the awards venue at 4pm,
but – shock horror – no sign of Terry’s balls. Several panicked phone
calls later and a frantic search of the venue reveals the balls being
stored in the kitchen by the chefs. Where else?

Having treated
myself to various pampering treatments over the weekend, and a new
dress for tonight, I get changed in the venue’s toilets – it’s all
glamour in this job! My main duty for tonight is running the
photographers’ pen in the press room. My colleagues tell me they find
it funny that
a 5ft 3in blonde manages to control 25 rowdy blokes, but I have learned
to give as good as I get. There is, of course, a complete meltdown as
soon as any of the sexy soap ladies do the press run, but I keep them
under control and I don’t think anyone finds it too much of an ordeal.

8.30pm the press room is clear, and I head downstairs to find my three
official photographers – two out on the party floor and another doing
set-ups, complete with Terry’s balls.

We wrap the photography at
10pm and then I can relax and have a drink. The party carries on late,
and we end up back at the artistes’ hotel. I call it a night just as a
well-known soap actress decides to demonstrate that she can do the


Having got to bed at 4.15am, I still have to be at my desk for
9.30am. However, there’s no time for hangovers and gossipswapping, as
we have 22 pages to get to press by tomorrow.

Am thrilled to see pictures from the awards in every redtop, as well as coverage on GMTV and This Morning.

I’m not so pleased to receive an e-mail from an irate picture agency
stating that as they were denied access to the press room, they’re now
going to stop supplying us with pictures. May need to carry out some
swift PR treatment.

By lunchtime I have received all our own
fantastic picture coverage, as well as more than 500 pictures from all
the other photographers there. Looking forward to getting good coverage
in the celebrity magazine titles next week, as well as this week’s

With all our exclusive pictures and gossip, it’s a
tough job fitting it all in. By 7.30pm we’re flagging, so decide to
call it a day and finish the job tomorrow. However, as I am out at a
shoot, I brief my fantastic deputy, Kate, on what is left to do.

my weary body home to where my flatmate wants to know all the gossip.
My brain is too tired to function, so I placate her with a fabulous
Inside Soap goodie bag.


A two-and-a-half-hour train journey to Manchester gives me a chance
to relax and reflect, but also feel rather guilty that I have left them
to finish off back in the office.

I’m up at Corrie today for a ‘Through the Keyhole’ photoshoot,
touring the homes of the nation’s favourite street – it makes a change
not to have to deal with any actor types.

After meeting my
photographer, Matt, and the Coronation Street press officer, Stuart,
we’re taken on set. Even after having worked in TV land for many years,
I still get a buzz when walking into the most famous houses in Britain.
I even get to pull a pint in the Rovers’ Return. Photographing six sets
and their contents takes us almost six hours. But it’s all worthwhile
as this is a long-running feature. Just another six soaps to get shot!
“Hello, is that the EastEnders press office?”

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