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Monday, 11 September, 2000, 08:56 GMT 09:56 UK
The West Wing sweeps Emmys
The West Wing cast: Bradley Whitford, Janel Moloney, John Spencer, Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Dule Hill, Allison Janney and Richard Schiff
Yes, Mr President: The West Wing's cast toast their success
Political drama The West Wing has won a record nine awards, including best drama series, at the Emmy awards in Los Angeles.

The series, which stars Martin Sheen and Rob Lowe, focuses on turmoil amongst staff at the White House.

It beat off the challenge of Mafia drama The Sopranos, which was nominated for 18 awards, but won only one - a best actor prize for James Gandolfini.

James Gandolfini of The Sopranos
One for the mob: The Sopranos' James Gandolfini with his best actor prize
The West Wing's success is the first time a series has taken nine awards in a single season. The previous record of eight was held by ER and Hill Street Blues.

The series' creator, Aaron Sorkin, won an award for his writing.

"There's going to be no living with me now," he joked.

The West Wing's victory is also being seen as a major triumph for the NBC network over rival broadcaster HBO, which transmits The Sopranos.

Popular vote

The major star of the Emmys was Spin City star Michael J Fox, who picked up the best comedy actor award to a standing ovation.

Michael J Fox and Jennifer Aniston
Michael J Fox accepts his prize from Jennifer Aniston
Fox retired from the comedy set in the New York mayor's office last season, after he revealed he was suffering from Parkinson's disease.

"Thanks. It's been a great ride and stay tuned," he said as he left the stage.

British comedian Eddie Izzard scooped two awards for writing and performing in his one-man show, Eddie Izzard: Dress to Kill.

Filmed for HBO in September 1998 at a San Francisco theatre, Izzard's rambling monologues beat rivals including The Late Show with David Letterman and Late Night With Conan O'Brien.

But he missed the awards as he was away working in Venice.

Eddie Izzard
Dressed to Kill: Eddie Izzard floored the jury
Another British winner was Vanessa Redgrave, who took the prize for the most outstanding supporting role in a TV mini-series or movie, for If These Walls Could Talk 2, about lesbian experiences in three different decades.

The BBC's documentary Walking With Dinosaurs won awards for best animated programme of more than 60 minutes, special visual effects for a mini series, sound editing and achievement in a non-fiction programme.

Yellow ribbons

Performers including Jack Lemmon, Martin Sheen, Kelsey Grammer, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer donned yellow ribbons to back commercial actors who are on strike.

Jack Lemmon won outstanding lead actor in a mini-series or TV movie for Tuesdays With Morrie
Jack Lemmon was one of the stars who donned a ribbon
Two unions walked out in May to protest against the proposed abolition of residual fees which are paid each time a commercial is shown on a major network. Advertisers want to pay performers a flat fee instead.

The issue was a major talking point backstage at the Emmys, with winning director Charles S Dutton - who was recognised for his work on TV movie The Corner, lashing out at those who had broken what has become Hollywood's longest strike.

"All of the athletes and politicians who do commercials, and are scabs... should all be kicked in their respective you-know-whats," he said.

The West Wing's Richard Schiff, who won a best supporting actor prize, said the dispute was the "precursor to a long and painful strike" - referring to potential walkouts by actors and writers during contract talks next year.

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See also:

11 Sep 00 | Entertainment
The Emmys: In pictures
24 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Crowds mob Sopranos auditions
20 Jun 00 | Entertainment
Grammer sunk by Macbeth
13 Sep 99 | Entertainment
Legal shows scoop top Emmys
19 Jan 00 | Entertainment
Fox quits Spin City
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