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British success at the Emmys

Dame Maggie Smith has won an Emmy for the popular ITV1 series Downton Abbey, while Damian Lewis hailed a "golden age" of television as he scooped best actor for his role in espionage thriller Homeland.

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Downton Abbey competes for Emmys success

Downton Abbey has been nominated for 16 Emmy Awards Credit: ITV

British period drama Downton Abbey is being tipped for success in the Emmy television awards in Los Angeles on Sunday night.

Industry pundits say the hit ITV1 show, about the lives of aristocrats and their servants, has a good chance of snatching the award for best drama, the Emmys' most prestigious prize.

Six members of the show's large cast have acting nominations, with Maggie Smith seen as a front-runner in the supporting actress category for her acid-tongued dowager countess Violet Crawley.

Maggie Smith has been nominated for best supporting actress Credit: ITV1

Among Downton Abbey's main rivals for best drama is 1960s-era advertising show Mad Men, which is aiming for a fifth straight win in the category.

Other British actors are also expected to do well, with Benedict Cumberbatch tipped to take home the miniseries actor Emmy for his modern twist on fictional detective Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock.

The Emmy Awards start at 0100 BST and will be hosted by comedian Jimmy Kimmel.

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