Page last updated at 15:34 GMT, Thursday, 17 July 2008 16:34 UK

Cranford Dames join Emmy hopefuls

Dame Eileen Atkins (l) and Dame Judi Dench
Dame Eileen beat co-star Dench to the best actress Bafta in April

Dame Judi Dench and Dame Eileen Atkins have both received Emmy nominations for their roles in BBC drama Cranford.

Dame Judi is a contender for the best actress in a mini-series category. It is her second Emmy nomination.

Dame Eileen's first Emmy nomination, for supporting actress, follows her Bafta win earlier this year.

Historical drama John Adams tops the shortlist with 23 nominations. The Primetime Emmy Awards will be handed out in Los Angeles on 21 September.

John Adams follows the life of one of America's founding fathers and stars Sideways star Paul Giamatti in the title role.

Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney in John Adams
Paul Giamatti plays the second US president in John Adams

Nominated in the best actor in a miniseries or movie category, Giamatti will compete against Hollywood's Kevin Spacey, for Recount, and three British stars: Ricky Gervais, for The Extra Special Series Finale; Ralph Fiennes for Bernard And Doris; and Tom Wilkinson in Recount.

Wilkinson receives a second nomination, playing yet another US politician, for his supporting role in mini-series John Adams.

Leading ladies

Dame Judi, whose only previous Emmy nomination was for Last of the Blonde Bombshells in 2001, goes head to head with some of America's leading ladies including Susan Sarandon, for Bernard and Doris; Laura Linney, in John Adams; and Catherine Keener in An American Crime.

Phylicia Rashad's perfomance in A Raisin In The Sun completes the line-up.

30 Rock, which took best comedy at last year's awards, leads the comedy nominees with 17 nods, while Mad Men, the acclaimed drama set in the world of advertising in the 1960s, has picked up 16 nominations.

A spoof comedy about life in network television, 30 Rock vies with the US remake of British hit The Office, Two and a Half Men, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage.

Jon Hamm
Jon Hamm stars as Don Draper in advertising drama Mad Men

Mad Men will compete against Emmy stalwarts House and Lost, as well as serial killer drama Dexter, and Damages - which also earns nominations for stars Glenn Close and Ted Danson.

However long-running hits Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives failed to make a showing in the best series categories.

It proved a strong year for the US cable channels, although Emmy favourite HBO - home of previous winners such as The Sopranos and Deadwood - had no nominees in the best drama series category for the first time since 1998.

Funny men

Britain's Hugh Laurie receives his third nomination for best actor in a drama series for his role as Dr Gregory House.

Glenn Close in Damages
Damages, starring Glenn Close, was shown on the BBC earlier this year

He goes head to head with Mad Men's John Hamm, Boston Legal's James Spader, Michael C Hall in Dexter, Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad and Gabriel Byrne in In Treatment.

30 Rock's Alec Baldwin, Charlie Sheen, of Two and a Half Men, The Office star Steve Carell and Monk's Tony Shalhoub compete for best actor in a comedy, alongside newcomer Lee Pace in Pushing Daisies.

Glenn Close is joined by fellow Hollywood stars Holly Hunter, for Saving Grace, and Sally Field, for Brothers and Sisters in the best actress in a drama category. Kyra Sedgwick, a two-time nominee for The Closer and former winner Mariska Harigitay complete the line-up.

Ugly Betty's America Ferrera receives her second nomination for best actress in a comedy for the hit series, following her win last year. Rivals include Mary-Louise Parker in Weeds, Tina Fey in 30 Rock, Christina Applegate in Samantha Who? and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the The New Adventures of Old Christine.

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