Dame Maggie and Damian Lewis honoured at Emmys

Dame Maggie and Damian Lewis honoured at Emmys
Dame Maggie and Damian Lewis honoured at Emmys (Image credit: JORDAN STRAUSS/INVISION/AP)

One of the country's most famous actresses and one of its newer stars brought home gongs as part of a large British pack who were nominated for Emmy Awards. At a glitzy ceremony in Los Angeles, Dame Maggie Smith picked up an award for her portrayal of the grand Dowager Countess of Grantham in country house series Downton Abbey, while Damian Lewis hailed a 'golden age' of television as he scooped a gong for his role in espionage thriller Homeland, which counts Barack Obama as a fan. Dame Maggie saw off competition from her co-star Joanna Froggatt, who plays domestic servant Anna, Mad Men star Christina Hendricks and The Good Wife actress Christine Baranski to win the outstanding supporting actress in a drama series Emmy. Damian won the outstanding actor in a drama series for his role as US soldier Nicholas Brody, who is saved from a hostage situation in the Middle East, but sparks the suspicions of the FBI who think he may have been 'turned' and could present a terrorist threat on home soil. His award kicked off a golden night for the series, which beat Downton Abbey, Mad Men and others to win the best drama Emmy. Damian's co-star Claire Danes won the award for outstanding actress in a drama series for her portrayal of mentally disturbed FBI agent Carrie Mathison, beating competition from Downton's Michelle Dockery among others. Damian, who saw off challenges from fellow Brit Hugh Bonneville for his role in Downton, Hollywood veteran Steve Buscemi and Jon Hamm, who plays Don Draper in Mad Men, among others, said: "I'm one of those pesky Brits, I apologise. I don't really believe in judging art, but I thought I'd show up just in case." "What an extraordinary honour to be in a category with these golden actors setting a gold standard in acting in a golden age of TV." Accepting Homeland's award for best drama, executive producer Alex Gansa praised its "irresistible" lead actor. But there was disappointment for a host of other Brits up for awards. Downton Abbey actors Brendan Coyle, who plays valet John Bates, and Jim Carter, who plays the butler Carson, both missed out, while Sherlock stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman were surpassed for the acting gongs in the mini-series of movie categories.

Patrick McLennan

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 

An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.