Seven of the ten awards on offer at the International Emmys were taken by British recipients in New York last night.

David Suchet and Lucy Cohu took the top acting prizes, for their work in Maxwell and Forgiven, respectively.

Suchet - best known for his long-running role as Hercule Poirot - was rewarded for his portrayal of the late newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell.

He described the honour as "unbelievable".

"I'm absolutely thrilled to bits, I can't believe it's really true," he added.

"This is my first Emmy ever, and I can't tell you what it feels like to win for England because it's international, and to represent my acting community as well."

Cohu took the best actress prize for her portrayal of a wife who gives up her abusive husband to the police in Channel 4's Forgiven.

She commented: It was absolutely fantastic. I can't believe it.

"This is the first award I've won. You don't do this for awards, but they do open doors."

The BBC's Shaun the Sheep was victorious in the best children and young people's programme category while Life on Mars was named best drama series.

Channel 4's The IT Crowd, which recently began its third series, was named best comedy.

The arts programming and documentary prizes were also claimed by Brits, with Strictly Bolshoi and The Beckoning Silence taking the glory, respectively.

The other winners included Dutch hoax-reality show The Big Donor Show, Jordanian soap Al-Igtiyah (The Invasion) and Argentinean drama Television Por la Identidad.

Competition for the International Emmy Awards takes place over six months with three rounds of judging involving over 600 judges in 50 countries.

25/11/2008 10:32:32