Emmys: 'Fleabag' Leads Charge as Brits Dominate Winners

Phoebe Waller-Bridge accepts the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series award -Emmys 2019 - Getty - H 2019
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Jodie Comer, Ben Whishaw, John Oliver, Harry Bradbeer, Jesse Armstrong, Charlie Brooker, Annabel Jones ensured a U.K. invasion Sunday night, not forgetting the Brit-produced multiple winner 'Chernobyl.'

If there was one general theme among Sunday night’s Emmy winners, it was the sheer number of British accents being served up during the acceptance speeches.

The U.K. staged something of an invasion at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards, with Phoebe Waller-Bridge leading the charge of winners from across the Atlantic.

The Fleabag creator emerged as the evening’s major victor, with her Amazon/BBC favorite scooping the best comedy series, plus lead actress in a comedy series and writing for a comedy series awards. The lead actress win also pipped an Emmys darling and some presidential prowess, preventing Julia Louis-Dreyfus from claiming her record-breaking seventh win-in-a-row for playing Selina Meyers in the final season of Veep (also created by a Brit, Armando Iannucci).

“This is getting ridiculous,” Waller-Bridge said as she collected her third award of the night.

“Phoebe is a fearless, unique and extraordinary talent and we knew Fleabag was something special from the very first time we saw the original stage play,” said Harry Williams and Jack Williams of the comedy's Brit production banner Two Brothers Pictures.

“For the second series to have been recognized at the Emmy awards this year is a monumental event and it’s wonderful to be part of the love story that is Fleabag. The opportunity to take her words and turn them into something that resonates so fiercely with audiences across the world, has been a complete joy.”

Elsewhere, fellow Brit Jodie Comer won the lead actress in a drama series for her villainous Villanelle in the (Waller-Bridge created) BBC America series Killing Eve, while Ben Whishaw earned the award for best supporting actor in a limited series for A Very English Scandal (its lead, Hugh Grant, missed out in his category to When They See Us’ Jharrel Jones).

Now something of a regular, John Oliver won his fourth consecutive Emmy for best variety series for Last Week Tonight.

Behind the camera, there was no shortage of Brits either. Giving Fleabag four wins, Harry Bradbeer won best director for a comedy series for helming the opening episode of the show’s second season. Elsewhere, Jesse Armstrong — best known in the U.K. for co-creating much-loved comedy series Peep Show — claimed the best drama writing for HBO’s dark media satire Succession, while Charlie Brooker earned his third Emmy for Netflix’s groundbreaking choose-your-own-episode Black Mirror film Bandersnatch.

Brooker beat HBO’s Brexit — starring Benedict Cumberbatch and directed by Toby Haynes — and poked fun at the U.K.’s European referendum result while collecting his award alongside producer Annabelle Jones.

“Being British, I think we were preconditioned for 52 percent of the Academy to vote for Brexit,” he joked.

But that wasn’t all for British involvement. HBO’s acclaimed Russian nuclear fallout drama Chernobyl — which came away with the best limited series award, director for Johan Renck and creator Craig Mazin for writing, making it 10 alongside its craft wins — was a co-production with the now Comcast-owned U.K. broadcaster Sky and had a major U.K. presence in the production.

“We are thrilled to see Chernobyl get the recognition it deserves with 10 Emmy wins,” said Zai Bennett, director of Sky Atlantic. “The level of details and passion that went into making this show from everyone involved makes it no surprise that this has been Sky’s most popular original drama ever.”

Jane Featherstone, Chernobyl exec producer and head of the U.K.’s Sister Pictures, said that creator Mazin wrote the series with “so much humanity and passion” and that it “always about” honoring those who sacrificed so much and still suffer the consequences.

“I’m thrilled for and immensely proud of the whole production team, under the direction of Johan, whose extraordinary dedication to telling those stories on screen with such authenticity has been recognized by the Academy."