America gives Brit TV the flickering prize

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The Independent Online
The successor to Britpop could be Brit TV. Indeed, British television programmes look like doing rather better than contemporary British rock music in conquering America.

The short-lists for the international Emmy Awards - known as the Oscars of the small screen - were announced yesterday and are dominated by British programmes.

The lists come only two months after a night of triumph for the United Kingdom at the main Emmy awards, in which American programmes competed.

In the light entertainment category all three nominations are for UK programmes. For the international awards American programmes are excluded. But in competition with the rest of the world, Britain has 10 out of the 18 nominations. The programmes range from Men Behaving Badly to The House - the behind-the-scenes documentary on the Royal Opera. Seven were produced by or in conjunction with the BBC.

The three programmes nominated in the category for light entertainment, which the American organisers of the competition call "popular arts", are Wallace and Gromit's A Close Shave by Aardman Animations and BBC Bristol, Father Ted by Hat Trick for C4 and Men Behaving Badly, produced by Hartswood Films for the BBC.

In the arts documentary section, two out of three are British: Children of the Revolution, an Illuminations production for the BBC, and The House by Double Exposure, also for the BBC.

Recognition for People's Century, the enthralling history series told largely through the lives of ordinary people, is given in the nominations. People's Century - 1933: Master Race, produced by the BBC and WGBH is nominated in the documentary section, with Eleven Men Against Eleven produced by Hat Trick for C4, and The Precious Blood by BBC Northern Ireland short-listed in the drama category.

British children's programmes rank highly: Wise Up by Carlton for C4 and Newsround Extra: War Child by the BBC are two out of the three nominations in that category.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "We are delighted at this success in the nominations. These are prestigious awards in which Britain has by no means always done well."

Momentum has been building for British programmes in the United States over the past two years. Absolutely Fabulous, Drop The Dead Donkey and The Politician's Wife have all been successful in the US.

Britain already scored a big success at the annual Emmy awards ceremony in September (where the Americans do compete) when Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman won the best actress and actor awards, and Gulliver's Travels won five award statuettes.

Of the other nominated programmes for the international Emmys, three are from France, two are from Sweden and one each from Canada, Holland and Mexico. A record number of entries, 330, were received.

The winners will be announced at the International Emmy Awards Gala on 25 November at the New York Hilton.