Game of Thrones actor Sean Bean wins International Emmy for role in BBC drama

Moone Boy won best comedy and Rhys Thomas took best arts programming

Britain was victorious at the 41st International Emmy Awards last night after Sean Bean took home the best actor prize, Irish series Moone Boy won best comedy and a UK documentary was honoured for best arts programming.

Past years have seen Britain swept the board  but the 2013 International Emmys, which honour television produced outside the United States, saw a wider range of nationalities claiming accolades.

Bean, 54, won his award for playing a transvestite teacher accused of murder in acclaimed BBC crime drama Accused.

"I've never actually won anything," he said. "Thank you. I really am so happy."

The first series of Accused won best drama in 2011 and saw Christopher Eccleston take best actor.

Writers Chris O'Dowd and Nick Vincent Murphy then went on to prove that Brits do have a sense of humour with Moone Boy's success. The comedy follows the life of an Irish boy with an imaginary adult friend.

"Even in the wildest imaginations of our imaginary friends we never imagined we'd win an International Emmy," said actor and co-creator O'Dowd.

"We've been focused on drinking tonight," a surprised Murphy admitted.

Rhys Thomas' British documentary Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender about the Queen frontman won for best arts programming in a tie with South Korean classical music documentary Hello?! Orchestra.

British comedian John Oliver from The Daily Show entertained the New York Hilton audience with a series of dry cultural observations, including a jibe at the domination of American TV by "adaptations of English shows, adaptations of Israeli shows or adaptations of English versions of Israeli shows".

Among a range of other international winners, the Founders trophy was awarded to JJ Abrams for successfully crossing cultural boundaries to reflect common humanity. The American film and TV producer's most famous work includes Lost and Star Trek.

Abrams joked the only reason he had won the prize was because of a family connection, saying that he felt "unworthy". "I feel genuinely grateful. It's a privilege to work in the television medium," he said.

Past British winners at the awards have included Ben Whishaw, Julie Walters, David Suchet, Jim Broadbent and Helena Bonham Carter. Comedies Little Britain and The I.T Crowd have also taken home trophies.

The International Emmy Awards winners

Best performance by an actor: Sean Bean, Accused, Britain

Best performance by an actress: Fernanda Montenegro, Sweet Mother, Brazil

Best comedy: Moone Boy, Britain

Best documentary: 5 Broken Cameras, France

Best drama series: Les Revenants, France

Best arts programming: Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender, Britain and Hello?! Orchestra, South Korea

Best reality entertainment: Go Back To Where You Came From, Australia

Best telenovela: Side By Side, Brazil

Best TV movie: A Day For A Miracle, Germany

Founders award: J.J Abrams

International Directorate: Anke Schaferkordt

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