Kate Winslet and Downton Abbey win Emmy awards

Accepting the award, Kate Winslet said she wanted to share the award with her mother

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ITV1 drama Downton Abbey has won four prizes and Kate Winslet the best actress in a mini-series honour at the annual Emmy Awards in Los Angeles.

Winslet won the Emmy for her role in Mildred Pierce, a drama about a woman who bakes her way out of poverty.

Downton Abbey's gongs included best mini-series and best supporting actress for Dame Maggie Smith.

1960s period piece Mad Men won best drama for a fourth year running but took just two prizes from 19 nods.

Modern Family, ABC's "mockumentary" about three couples and their children, won five awards including best comedy.

And Martin Scorsese was named best director for a drama series for his pilot episode of Prohibition-era drama Boardwalk Empire.

In HBO's Mildred Pierce, Winslet, 35, plays a divorced single mother who decides to open a restaurant business during 1930s Depression-era California.

The role was famously played by Joan Crawford in a 1945 film noir.

Accepting her award, Winslet said she wanted to share the honour with her mother.

Julian Fellowes: ''I would like to thank you, the American industry''

"It doesn't matter how old you are or what you do in your life, you never stop needing your mum and I will never stop needing mine, so thanks mum, thank you so much," she said.

Downton Abbey's writer, Julian Fellowes, was honoured for outstanding writing in a mini-series, movie or dramatic special.

Accepting his award, Fellowes said: "When we were in the hotel a bit earlier, my wife said to me, 'I think we should just relax and enjoy the evening, because I don't think we're going to win'. Well, we're going to enjoy the evening now."

Referring to the academy award he won for writing the film Gosford Park in 2002, he added: "At the risk of sounding grandiloquent, I would like to thank you, the American industry. Ten years ago you kick-started my second career with an Oscar, tonight you have nurtured it, I am very grateful, thank you."

Top Emmy Award winners

  • Drama Series: Mad Men
  • Actress, Drama Series: Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
  • Actor, Drama Series: Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights
  • Directing, Drama Series: Martin Scorsese, Boardwalk Empire
  • Comedy Series: Modern Family
  • Mini-series or Movie: Downton Abbey
  • Variety, Music or Comedy Series: The Daily Show With Jon Stewart

Brian Percival also scooped an award for directing the hit period drama, which celebrated its successes on the night the show's second series began in the UK.

Elizabeth McGovern, who plays the Countess of Grantham in the series, was beaten by Winslet in the best actress in a mini-series category.

Jean Marsh was also shortlisted in the category for her portrayal of parlour maid Rose Buck in the BBC's Upstairs, Downstairs remake.

Marsh, who co-created the series, played the same part more than 40 years ago and was nominated for an Emmy in 1974, 1975 and 1976.

Downton Abbey also picked up two technical awards for costume and cinematography at the Creative Arts Emmys, held last week.

British Luther actor Idris Elba lost out to Barry Pepper, of The Kennedys, for lead actor in a mini-series.

Jane Lynch The show was hosted by Glee star Jane Lynch

And Pepper's co-star in The Kennedys, Briton Tom Wilkinson, was beaten to best supporting actor in a mini-series by Winslet's Mildred Pierce co-star Guy Pearce.

Other nominated British actors who missed out included The Good Wife's Alan Cumming and Kelly MacDonald, for Boardwalk Empire.

And Hugh Laurie, star of US show House, lost out to Kyle Chandler, of Friday Night Lights, in the lead actor in a drama series category.

The awards were hosted by Glee's Jane Lynch, herself shortlisted for best supporting actress in a comedy series.

Comedy programmes took the early Emmys, with Melissa McCarthy taking the best actress in a comedy series and Jim Parsons of Big Bang Theory being honoured best actor in a comedy.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart won the Emmys for best variety, music or comedy series as well as best writing in that genre.

Julianna Margulies won best dramatic actress, for her role in The Good Wife, while Kyle Chandler won best dramatic actor for playing a football coach in Friday Night Lights.

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