Helen Mirren picked up a best actress gong for Elizabeth I today, as the British drama romped home at the Emmys.
The show, made by Channel 4 and HBO, won the mini-series category at the 58th annual awards in Los Angeles.
Jeremy Irons got a supporting actor award for his role in the historical drama, which also earned a statuette for direction.
Mirren, who stars as the infamous monarch, provoked roars of laughter as she arrived on the stage and announced: “A great triumph was not falling arse over tit as I came up those stairs. If you saw the shoes I’ve got on you’d understand.”
The 61-year-old actress, whose Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a mini-series was her third, thanked Channel 4 and HBO for their “incredibly important” contributions and said she wanted most of all to talk about writing.
“Without the writing we can’t do it, especially us women,” she said. “Every one of these great performances by these great actresses in this category were revealed to us by some wonderful writing.
“Women are 50% of the world’s population, maybe more. And I know there are many many more brilliant performances by women of all ages and all races waiting to be revealed by some great writing so let’s look forward to that.”
Irons, who won best supporting actor in a miniseries or movie, said: “All we ask for is great writing, great roles and working with great colleagues. To get a great prize at the end of it is the icing on cake.”
As she left the stage, Mirren muttered: "I'm going to take my bloody shoes off now."
Richard Curtis’ film The Girl In The Café was also a hit, picking up three Emmys – including best made-for-TV movie.
Scottish actress Kelly MacDonald won best supporting actress in a mini-series or movie for her role, and the film also got a writing award.
“This is going to kill me,” the Trainspotting star joked as she accepted the award. “I’m so proud to have been a part of the film The Girl In The Café. This is for Richard Curtis, who is a very clever and kind man. He wrote a wonderful part for me so thank you very much.”
But the success of Elizabeth I came largely at the expense of the BBC’s acclaimed Bleak House, which had also been nominated for a range of awards including best mini-series, but went home empty-handed.
Mirren's success meant Gillian Anderson missed out on a gong for her role in the Charles Dickens adaptation.
Scotsman Denis Lawson lost out to Irons, as did Hugh Dancy, who had also been nominated for Elizabeth I.
The best mini-series actor award, for which Charles Dance had been shortlisted for Bleak House, went to US actor Andre Braugher.
Simon Cowell’s American Idol talent show was beaten to the award for reality competition programme by The Amazing Race.
Accepting his award, Elizabeth I director Tom Hooper paid tribute to Mirren, who wore a flowing white gown, as an "absolute marvel".
With a total of four Emmy awards and five Creative Arts Emmys awarded last week for behind-the-scenes work in areas such as casting and costumes, it easily scooped the most gongs.
Hit US series 24 managed three Emmys, including best drama series and best directing in a drama.
Its star, Kiefer Sutherland won best actor in a drama.
“Every once in a while you’ll have an evening that just reminds you that you’re given too much and this is that evening,” he said. “This experience on 24 has been nothing but remarkable for me.”
The American remake of The Office was honoured as best comedy, although its star, Steve Carell, missed out on the award for best comedy series actor.
The creators of the original British hit, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, were in the audience and were applauded at length as the cameras lingered on them.
Medical drama Grey's Anatomy, which had been seen as a front runner, failed to get any awards.
Several US shows that have now been cancelled, including The West Wing and Huff, were honoured.
Alan Alda’s gong for best supporting actor in a drama for his role as a Republican presidential candidate was the 26th Emmy for the White House drama, a drama series record.
The ceremony also included a tribute to legendary producer Aaron Spelling, who died in June aged 83.
Some of his one-time stars, including Jaclyn Smith, Farrah Fawcett and Kate Jackson of Charlie’s Angels, and Joan Collins and Heather Locklear of Dynasty, took to the stage to speak tearfully of his contribution to television.
Bleak House had won two Creative Arts Emmys, for cinematography and make-up.
Ellen Burstyn, who had earned a much-discussed best supporting actress nomination for a 14-second cameo in the TV movie Mrs Harris, did not attend the ceremony.
List of Emmy Awards winners:
Drama Series: “24”, Fox.
Comedy Series: “The Office”, NBC.
Mini-series: “Elizabeth I”, HBO.
Variety, Music or Comedy Series: “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart”, Comedy Central.
Made for TV Movie: “The Girl in the Café”, HBO.
Reality-Competition Program: “The Amazing Race”, CBS.
Actor, Drama Series: Kiefer Sutherland, “24”, Fox.
Actor, Comedy Series: Tony Shalhoub, “Monk”, USA.
Actor, Mini-series or Movie: Andre Braugher, “Thief”, FX Network.
Actress, Drama Series: Mariska Hargitay, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”, NBC.
Actress, Comedy Series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “The New Adventures of Old Christine”, CBS.
Actress, Mini-series or Movie: Helen Mirren, “Elizabeth I”, HBO.
Supporting Actor, Drama Series: Alan Alda, “The West Wing”, NBC.
Supporting Actor, Comedy Series: Jeremy Piven, “Entourage”, HBO.
Supporting Actor, Mini-series or Movie: Jeremy Irons, “Elizabeth I”, HBO.
Supporting Actress, Drama Series: Blythe Danner, “Huff”, Showtime.
Supporting Actress, Comedy Series: Megan Mullally, “Will & Grace”, NBC.
Supporting Actress, Mini-series or a Movie: Kelly Macdonald, “The Girl in the Café”, HBO.
Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Programme: Barry Manilow, “Barry Manilow: Music and Passion”, PBS.
Directing for a Drama Series: “24”, 7:00 – 8:00 AM”, Fox.
Directing for a Comedy Series: “My Name Is Earl: Pilot”, NBC.
Directing for a Mini-series, Movie or Dramatic Special: “Elizabeth I”, HBO.
Directing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Programme: “78th Annual Academy Awards”, ABC.
Writing for a Drama Series: “The Sopranos: Members Only”, HBO.
Writing for a Comedy Series: “My Name Is Earl: Pilot”, NBC.
Writing for a Mini-series, Movie or Dramatic Special: “The Girl in the Café”, HBO.
Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Programme: “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart”, Comedy Central.