Britannia rules the TV airwaves

U.K. shows win six awards at International Emmys

The Union Jack held sway during the 34th International Emmy Awards, with the British taking six statues at Monday's ceremony in New York.

The U.K. took all but three of the awards, which were handed out at a star-studded gala at the New York Hilton in midtown Manhattan. They included best actor to Ray Winstone as the title character in "Vincent," a Granada dramedy about a private investigator; and best drama series to "Life on Mars" (Kudos Film & TV Ltd. for BBC Wales), about a present-day police detective who awakens to find himself in 1973 and tries to solve crimes without the aid of the 21st century technology he is used to using. Best actress honors went to Maryam Hassouni, who played Laila in "Offers" from the VARA Broadcasting Organization in the Netherlands.

Steven Spielberg received the International Emmy Founders Award honoring his long television career. Receiving the International Emmy Directorate Award was Central European Media Enterprises and founder-chairman Ronald S. Lauder for his work in developing independent TV in central and Eastern Europe.

"Sugar Rush," a series about a 15-year-old lesbian who is infatuated with her school's most popular girl, won in the children/ young people category. "Sugar Rush" is a Shine production for Channel 4, based on the novel by Julie Burchill. Best documentary went to "Hiroshima," about both the Japanese and Allied side of the first use of the atomic bomb in August 1945. It's a BBC/TFI/ZDF/Discovery Channel co-production in association with the Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. BBC Comedy's "Little Britain" won best comedy for its third season, while "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares" — a four-episode series starring U.K. chef Gordon Ramsay produced by Optomen Television for Channel 4 — won in the nonscripted entertainment category.

"Knowledge Is the Beginning" (EuroArts Music International in co-production with ZDF/ARTE Germany) won for best arts programming. "Nuit Noire, Oct. 17, 1961" (Ciprango, France), about the arrest and deaths of hundreds of Algerian protesters in France near the end of the Algerian War, won for best TV movie/miniseries.