Media: British talent scoops four Emmy awards

British television programmes picked up four top prizes at the International Emmy Awards in New York. David Lister reports on another winning night for the Brits.

The BBC, Channel 4 and Carlton Television were all celebrating yesterday after America paid tribute to British television talent.

With 50 per cent of the 18 nominations at the International Emmy Awards in New York, Britain scooped the top prize in four of the main categories - Drama, Arts Documentary, Children and Young People, and Performing Arts - in Monday night's ceremony.

Dancing for Dollars: The Bolshoi in Vegas, produced by NVC Arts for Channel 4, won the Arts Documentary award for tracing the Russian troupe's disastrous 1996 trip to Las Vegas.

The Drama Emmy went to Crossing the Floor, a Hat Trick Production shown on BBC2 which starred Neil Pearson and Helen Baxendale, about a prominent Conservative politician who switches to Labour.

A separate award for an art performance, the Performing Arts Emmy, went to Enter Achilles, a play about fantasy and reality adapted for the BBC. Wise Up, which was produced by Carlton for Channel 4, won the Children and Young People's Emmy. "I'm thrilled to pieces," said its producer, Mick Robertson. "Children should have a voice as part of the television experience."

The four winners were among 18 finalists selected from 370 entries for the awards for which only programmes made outside the US are eligible.

In all the UK had nine nominations, which was more entries than any other nation.

One strongly tipped programme which missed out was Granada Television's hard hitting account of the Hillsborough tragedy, Hillsborough, which starred Christopher Eccleston. It had a profound effect on viewers and had been nominated in the drama category but was pipped at the post by Crossing the Floor.

Canada's Gerrie and Louise, about the relationship between a South African colonel and a journalist investigating the hit squads he ran during apartheid, won the Documentary Emmy.

The production, by Blackstock Pictures, and Eurasia Motion Pictures, in association with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, is set against the background of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which is currently hearing testimony for amnesty pleas by those responsible for brutalities during the apartheid era.

Libert Zappt a show about a travelling pianist who coughs and jokes his way through performances around Europe - in different languages, costumes and personalities - won the Popular Arts Emmy for the Netherlands' NOS- TROS-Ivo Niehe Productions.

The ceremony was hosted by Sir Peter Ustinov and the presenters included the actor Armand Assante, the dancer- choreographer Savion Glover, and the actress Marilu Henner.

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