The U.K.’s film and television bodies celebrated their compatriots’ winning streak at the Emmy Awards on Sunday evening, with British talent taking home dozens of gongs, including Michaela Coel’s win for best writing in a limited/anthology/TV movie for “I May Destroy You” and Josh O’Connor’s Emmy for lead drama actor for “The Crown,” along with wins for Ewan McGregor, Kate Winslet, Peter Morgan, Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies, Hannah Waddingham, Brett Goldstein and John Oliver.
So over-represented were British talent on the podium that on social media, Twitter users nicknamed the event the “British Emmys.”
That’s despite the fact that the show was not even broadcast live in the U.K. Audiences who wanted to watch the 73rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards from the British Isles were forced to either livestream it via the official Emmy website or Facebook page in the middle of the night (due to the 8-hour time difference with Los Angeles) or wait until Monday evening, when it will be broadcast on SkyMax.
Variety understands there are no current plans in place for Sky, which broadcasts the Oscars live, to take the same route for the Emmys, with one source at the Comcast-backed pay-TV operator deeming the event a “very American affair” to date.
On Sunday, of course, most of the night’s major winners were anything but American, with 8 out of the 12 acting categories dominated by talent from Blighty.
In a statement shared exclusively with Variety, the U.K.’s new Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Nadine Dorries said: “It was absolutely brilliant to see so much exceptional British talent recognized at last night’s Emmys. Our film and TV sectors are booming and this is yet another fantastic example of the U.K.’s creative industries achieving richly deserved global success.”
Adrian Wootton, chief executive of the British Film Commission, added: “The great recognition of U.K. talent at this year’s Emmy Awards is a powerful testimony to the sheer talent of our workforce and the ongoing strength and creativity of our industry. It is truly a golden era for U.K. film and high-end TV right now, with demand for content at an all-time high and significant studio and stage space expansions in the pipeline across the country.”
John McVay, chief executive of Pact, which represents Britain’s indie production companies, added: “Seeing so many awards for so many U.K. talent clearly shows that the U.K. is one of the most important AV cultures and economies in the world.”
Katie Bailiff, CEO of Women in Film and Television, said: “It’s just fantastic to see women from the British film and television industry shine so brightly at last night’s Emmys. How inspiring to see Michaela Coel trailblazing as the first Black woman to win an Emmy for limited series writing, and Kate Winslet and Olivia Colman as they continue to serve as incredible ambassadors for women in the industry, not just in Britain but all over the world.”
Bailiff reminded, however, that the event also presented an opportunity to recognize the work left to do in “recognizing female talent and reflecting their stories on screen.”
“We’ve got to keep pushing for female directors to get their hands on those big budgets,” said Bailiff. “Embracing diversity in filmmaking is not only the right thing to do, it’s the exciting, creative and commercial thing to do — the sooner, the better.”
The U.K.’s winning streak came less than a week after then media minister John Whittingdale told the Royal Television Society’s Cambridge conference that, going forward, public service broadcasters will be “required” to make television that is “distinctively British” despite admitting to his audience that the very concept of “Britishness” was “nebulous.”