British stars shine at Emmys

 

British TV shows have dominated this year's International Emmys, while Julie Walters has won best actress.

The US ceremony saw British TV productions scoop five awards, including best drama series for Accused, penned and created by Jimmy McGovern, and best actor for one of its stars, Christopher Eccleston.

Nigel Lythgoe, the British executive producer of American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance?, was presented with the Founders Award, with a surprise appearance from Lady Gaga.

Walters, 61, won best actress for her portrayal of the late Mo Mowlam in the Channel 4 biopic Mo.

The actress scooped the gong despite asking her agent to get her out of the role in the ITV Studios production.

She had feared that she would not be able to play the Northern Ireland Secretary, who was battling a brain tumour.

Eccleston, 47, who has appeared in several McGovern dramas, has previously said of his award-winning role as an adulterous plumber in Accused: "Scripts like this are 'actor-proof' .... any actor with half a brain would get it, all us actors have to do is not get in the way of the words".

Each episode of the BBC1 series followed a different character who finds themselves in the dock for a crime they may or may not have committed.

One of the episodes, which was set on the front line, was criticised by Gulf War veteran Colonel Tim Collins as irresponsible and a "desperate" attempt to "shock".

Another British winner, in the arts category, was Gareth Malone Goes to Glyndebourne, a BBC2 show which followed untrained teenagers appearing at the opera house.

X Factor boss Simon Cowell picked up the Founders Award last year, and was the butt of Lythgoe's jokes this time around.

"I now call Simon Lord Voldemort because he must not be named because every time I name him the press say that we're enemies and we're fighting each other," Lythgoe said.

"That's not true at all. Simon has no enemies whatsoever in the world. He just has a lot of friends who hate him," he quipped.

Lady Gaga, dressed in a tattoo-revealing floor-length black gown, split to the thigh, and wearing oversized sunglasses, paid tribute to Lythgoe.

The singer said the producer had "always helped to nurture and foster my ideas, no matter how crazy or demographic-unfriendly they may have been".

"He always spoke poetically about the pursuit of widening the boundaries of love and acceptance in TV," she said at the ceremony at the Hilton New York Hotel.

The Emmy for non-scripted entertainment went to The World's Strictest Parents, which was broadcast on BBC3, and sees unruly British teenagers sent abroad to spend 10 days with a strict family.

Forty nominees from 20 countries competed for the 10 prizes, honouring excellence in TV programming outside the US, at the ceremony hosted by former Beverly Hills 90210 star Jason Priestley.

The TV Movie/Mini-Series award at the 39th Annual International Emmy Awards ceremony went to Sweden's Millennium, based on the late Stieg Larsson's best-selling trilogy.

Best documentary went to Canada's Life With Murder, about parents struggling to decide how to relate to their son after he is accused of killing his younger sister.

PA

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