For real. Ali G, massive in Staines, is da hot contender for an Emmy (stateside!)

Booyakasha! Staines is about to make its first foray into the world of serious showbusiness with the news that spoof star Ali G is up for one of America's most prestigious international TV awards.

Booyakasha! Staines is about to make its first foray into the world of serious showbusiness with the news that spoof star Ali G is up for one of America's most prestigious international TV awards.

The comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's hip-hop hero of indeterminate ethnic origin and noisy dress sense, whose trademark patois continues to confuse parents up and down the country, has been nominated for an Emmy.

Da Ali G Show, which also features another of Baron Cohen's comic creations - the Kazakh TV reporter Borat - is up against another Channel 4 programme, Smack The Pony, in the category of popular arts in this year's International Emmy Awards.

Reflecting the increasing "invasion" of American awards, this year's Emmys are dominated by British-made television programmes. Of the 21 shows from around the world nominated for the awards, which will be presented on 20 November, 12 of them are UK productions.

Da Ali G Show has won a string of awards since being shown earlier this year and Cohen's character even ended up in Madonna's latest video for her chart-topping "Music".

Ali G's last awards performance took place at the Brit Awards for pop music, when he presented the award for "Best International 'Punani'". At the awards, he announced: "I watched all those videos while polishing my own trophy."

Smack The Pony, headed by the female comedians Fiona Allen, Doon Mackichan, and Sally Phillips, features a more surreal kind of humour, such as a sketch in which a woman tries to grab a barman's attention by inflating her breasts.

Other homegrown shows up for the awards include the epic historical drama Longitude, shown on Channel 4, which is up against BBC1's Warriors in the drama category.

Channel 4 has five of the British programmes that have been shortlisted for the awards, while the BBC has six. An ITN news report for ITV has also been shortlisted.

A record number of 549 programmes were entered for the 28th International Emmys.

Also nominated are Masterworks (BBC) and Gloriana (BBC) for the performing arts category. Correspondent Inside Chechnya (BBC) and ITN's report on the Mozambique floods are both up for awards in the news category.

Playing the China Card - Nixon And Mao (Channel 4) is competing for the documentary award. Howard Goodall's Big Bangs (Channel 4) and Tell Me The Truth About Love (BBC) are up for the arts documentary award, while The Magician's House (BBC) is up for the children and young people award.

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