Emmy wins for Lewis and Homeland

Watford Observer: British actor Damien Lewis with his outstanding lead actor in a drama series Emmy (AP) British actor Damien Lewis with his outstanding lead actor in a drama series Emmy (AP)

Damian Lewis and Dame Maggie Smith have been awarded top honours at the Emmy Awards - TV's biggest ceremony - for their roles in Homeland and Downton Abbey.

British actor Damian, 41, who plays US soldier and former hostage Nicholas Brody in Homeland, scooped Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series at a glitzy ceremony in Los Angeles.

The US thriller enjoyed a golden night, with star Claire Danes, who plays FBI agent Carrie Mathison, winning Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series.

Homeland landed the coveted award for Outstanding Drama Series, beating ITV1 show Downton Abbey and US advertising series Mad Men, which was in the running to take the title for a record fifth time.

Despite having been the most nominated British show ever at the Emmys, it was a night of disappointment for many Downton Abbey stars, including supporting actor nominees Brendan Coyle, who plays valet John Bates and Jim Carter (butler Carson).

Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crawley) lost out to US actress Danes, while Hugh Bonneville (the Earl of Grantham), who joked before the ceremony that he would "eat my own toe" if he wins, was beaten by Lewis to the lead actor gong.

Lewis, who also beat Mad Men's Jon Hamm and Boardwalk Empire's Steve Buscemi to his award, said he was "one of those pesky Brits, I apologise", on accepting the award. "I don't really believe in judging art, but I thought I'd show up just in case," he added.

He said that the award was "an extraordinary honour" and called his fellow nominees in the category "golden actors... in a golden age of TV".

He paid tribute to the two "ladies who've suffered me the most, Claire Danes and Morena Baccarin" (Jessica Brody) and to his actress wife, the "leading lady of my life Helen McCrory," adding: "I adore you darling, thank you for being here."

Dame Maggie, who was not at the ceremony, saw off competition from Mad Men star Christina Hendricks, The Good Wife actress Archie Panjabi and her own co-star Joanne Froggatt to win Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series for her role as the Dowager Countess of Grantham.

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