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Last Updated: Monday, 28 August 2006, 13:26 GMT 14:26 UK
C4 Elizabeth drama sweeps Emmys
British stars of Channel 4's mini-series Elizabeth I are revelling in their triumph at this year's Emmy Awards.

Helen Mirren as Elizabeth I
Mirren cut a stern figure as the so-called Virgin Queen
The show scooped four awards to add to the five Creative Arts Emmys it won last weekend.

Although it was co-financed by US TV network HBO, it still marks a major coup for British broadcaster Channel 4 and its predominantly home-grown cast and crew.

These include Dame Helen Mirren and Jeremy Irons, who both won acting prizes, and Tom Hooper, recipient of best directing prize for a mini-series or TV movie.

Dame Helen's triumph in the title role feels particularly apposite. Indeed, playing members of the Royal Family is becoming something of a habit for the 61-year-old star.

'Great writing'

Having played the first Elizabeth on television, she will shortly be seen as the second in Stephen Frears' film drama The Queen.

While collecting her best actress Emmy, however, her deportment was anything but regal.

Helen Mirren
But she was in happier mood as she celebrated her Emmy win
She joked that she had almost fallen over as she climbed the stairs, adding: "If you saw the shoes I've got on you'd understand."

The actress, collecting her third Emmy in 10 years, went on to thank Channel 4 and HBO for their "incredibly important" contributions.

"Without the writing we can't do it, especially us women," she told the audience.

"Women are 50 per cent of the world's population, maybe more.

"And I know there are 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 - recognised for his performance as Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester - echoed his co-star's sentiments as he collected his award for best supporting actor in a mini-series.

'Absolute marvel'

"All we ask for is great writing, great roles and working with great colleagues," said the 57-year-old, who won an Oscar earlier in his career.

"To get a great prize at the end of it is the icing on cake."

Elizabeth I film-maker Hooper, who previously worked with Mirren on Prime Suspect 6, is currently working on Longford, a Channel 4 drama about prison campaigner Lord Longford and his relationship with Moors murderer Myra Hindley.

Jeremy Irons and Tom Hooper
Co-star Jeremy Irons and director Tom Hooper were no less jubilant
Accepting his award, the director described Dame Helen as an "absolute marvel".

The show's best mini-series award was collected by its producer Barney Reisz and its executive producers Nigel Williams, George Faber, Suzan Harrison and Charles Pattinson.

Last week the programme won Creative Emmy awards for its casting, art direction, editing, costumes and hair styling.

Set in the latter half of the monarch's reign, Elizabeth I explores her relationships with both the Earl of Leicester and the Earl of Essex, played by Hugh Dancy.

Anne-Marie Duff played the queen in a rival BBC mini-series that was also broadcast last year.

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27 Jan 06 |  Entertainment

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