Reborn Laurie heads British Emmy charge

He sent audition tapes for a film set in Africa to win the part of the acerbic doctor, Gregory House, and has turned in a potentially career-changing performance with a flawless American accent.

Laurie, 46, educated at Eton and Cambridge, where he was president of the Footlights theatre company, had been most closely associated with quintessentially English roles such as P G Wodehouse's Bertie Wooster. He will find himself facing stiff competition in the Emmy category for best lead actor in a drama from James Spader, Kiefer Sutherland and fellow Briton, Ian McShane.

McShane, 63, still best known to UK audiences as the dodgy antiques dealer Lovejoy, similarly reinvented himself as cowboy saloon-owner Al Swearengen in the dark drama series Deadwood for which he has already won a Golden Globe.

Another British success story in the American television honours is the film The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, a co-production between the BBC and the US company HBO, which makes The Sopranos.

The film, which starred the Australian Geoffrey Rush as the British comedy genius Sellers with a cast including Emily Watson, Peter Vaughan, Stephen Fry and Alison Steadman, was premiered at the Cannes film festival last year. And despite mixed reviews it has won 16 Emmy nominations, matched only by another made-for-television film, Warm Springs, about the US president, Franklin Roosevelt played by Kenneth Branagh.

Branagh has himself been nominated for his performance and will face competition from another British actor, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who played Elvis Presley in a CBS mini-series.

Desperate Housewives, the sex-in-suburbia show which became a cult hit in Britain on Channel 4, secured 15 nominations. Three of its stars, Marcia Cross, who plays an uptight perfectionist, Teri Hatcher, the divorced single mother, and Felicity Huffman, the former career woman with four children, will go head to head in the category for best lead actress. Their co-star Eva Longoria, who plays Gabrielle Solis, a scheming former model, has not been chosen for the competition. Best drama contenders include several series familiar to British audiences, including the espionage thriller 24, the American political saga, The West Wing, the funeral parlour drama Six Feet Under and Deadwood.

The West Wing has already won best drama four times though last year's victor, The Sopranos, was sidelined for not having enough qualifying episodes this year. Dramas to have lost out included Nip/Tuck, featuring the British actress Joely Richardson, and The Shield, although Glenn Close, its star, was shortlisted for best actress. Her rivals will include Patricia Arquette, who receives an Emmy nomination for the first time for a psychic whodunnit series, Medium.

In the comedy categories, Desperate Housewives will face competition from the long-running Will and Grace; Arrested Development, which has been screened on BBC4, and Everybody Loves Raymond, which has ended after nine seasons on US TV.

A special edition of The Office is also nominated as a made-for-TV movie against Warm Springs and Peter Sellers, as are its creators, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.

The 57th Emmys will be presented in Los Angeles on 18 September.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Database Executive - Leading Events Marketing Company - London

£23000 - £25000 per annum + 25 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Databas...

Recruitment Genius: Publishing Assistant

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a...

Guru Careers: Graduate Account Executive / Digital Account Executive

£20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Digital Account Exec ...

Guru Careers: Print Project Manager

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: A Print Project Manager is needed to join one...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk