Empty-handed at the Emmys: Downton out with the serial losers

  • @lukeblackall

The pre-Emmy awards hype for Sherlock and its stars was met with disappointment on Sunday night, when it picked up nothing from 13 nominations. Added to last year's total, the show has won none from 17 tries and may soon face added competition from a new US twist on the classic tale, out later this year, with Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes and Lucy Liu as Watson.

Downton Abbey, featuring Joanne Froggatt and Michelle Dockery, meanwhile, won just three from 16 this year, and only one of those (Dame Maggie Smith, Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series) was for acting.

The shows were, nevertheless, in fine company, as Mad Men – the media's favourite TV show – won nothing from the 17 categories it was up for. The result took the show's star Jon Hamm's record to no wins from eight noms, a similar one to that of Steve Carell.

Both lag far behind Angela "Murder, She Wrote" Lansbury. Between 1983 and 2005 the British-born actress was Emmy-nominated 18 times, but never picked up the golden gong.

But, as is often the case with awards shows, hindsight suggests that it's not always the best ones that win. Despite several "goes", the original Star Trek series never won an Emmy, while The Wire, a show regularly included in round-ups of the "best-ever TV series", was only nominated twice and claimed neither.

The person with perhaps reason to feel most aggrieved, however, is Bill Maher. Over his career, the acerbic talk show host has picked up no fewer than 28 nominations (including two more this year) but has won precisely none. Still there's always next year, or the year after, or the year after that…