Henry VIII rules at awards as British TV makes history

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The Independent Online

British Television enjoyed a night of triumph at the International Emmy awards in New York, beating competition from around the world to all but sweep the board.

British Television enjoyed a night of triumph at the International Emmy awards in New York, beating competition from around the world to all but sweep the board.

Programmes made in Britain won six out of the seven prizes, with Channel 4 winning three, the BBC taking home two and ITV earning a single honour at the ceremony, compered by Graham Norton, which honours television outside the United States. "It was a great night for Britain," Norton said after the show.

The BBC1 hit Waking the Dead, which stars Trevor Eve, collected the drama prize for episodes about a high-street massacre and a man who undergoes memory therapy to recall being abused as a child.

ITV1 triumphed in the TV movie/mini-series category with Henry VIII, which starred Ray Winstone and a cast including Helena Bonham-Carter, David Suchet and Emilia Fox.

A BBC2 programme, George Orwell: A Life in Pictures, collected the arts programming award. There are no known film or recordings of the writer so the programme created a pseudo-archive using actors.

Channel 4's honours spanned several categories. Its moving film about the final years of Jonny Kennedy as he succumbed to a terrible skin disease, The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off, took the documentary prize. Brat Camp, which followed the fortunes of loutish teenagers at an American reform camp, won the best non-scripted entertainment award.

The Illustrated Mum, a version of Jacqueline Wilson's award-winning story of two girls and their alcoholic mother, played by Michelle Collins, secured the children and young people award.

Bruce Paisner, president of the International Academy of Arts and Sciences, which organises the awards, apparently ignoring last year's tally of five top prizes, said: "In recent years, British programmes have been winning fewer International Emmys than in the early years of the awards. This year they made a major comeback."

More than 500 jurors from 38 countries helped to judge the awards, in which the only non-British winner was Germany, for comedy.

Jana Bennett, the BBC's director of television, said that to have two programmes acknowledged was wonderful.

A Channel 4 spokesman said: "This is a resounding endorsement of an outstandingly creative year at Channel 4."John Whiston, of Granada television, which made both Henry VIII and The Illustrated Mum, said it was great to have been able to produce wins for both ITV1 and Channel 4.

And with Henry VIII, he added: "It's great when you can square the quality and the popular circle of being interesting to people who are into period drama but with the populism of having, in tabloid terms, a top star [Winstone]."

Nick Elliot, the drama controller at ITV, commented: "I'm thrilled."


Arts programming George Orwell: A Life in Pictures - BBC2

Children and young people The Illustrated Mum - Channel 4

Comedy Berlin, Berlin - Studio Hamburg, Germany

Documentary The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off - Channel 4

Drama Waking the Dead - BBC1

Non-scripted entertainment Brat Camp - Channel 4, right

Movie/mini-series Henry VIII - ITV1