NEW YORK (Reuters) - The United Kingdom won five International Emmy Awards on Monday as “American Idol” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe received an honorary prize presented by Lady Gaga, who made a surprise appearance.
The Emmys, which honor television produced outside the United States, extended their reach at its 39th annual awards.
While the United Kingdom dominated, winning five of 10 competitive categories including best actress for Julie Walters and best actor for Christopher Eccleston, it was not a sweep as in recent years when it won as many as eight awards.
Belgium, Chile, Portugal, Canada and Sweden each won one award, with Chile winning its first-ever Emmy, for children’s programing for “What Is Your Dream?”
Belgium won best comedy series for “Benidorm Bastards,” a hidden camera show in which elderly people play tricks on younger folk.
The U.K. series “Accused,” which chronicles the stories of suspects awaiting trial verdicts, was named best drama.
Eccleston won for his role on “Accused” while Walters triumphed for her performance as British Labour MP Mo Mowlam. Neither was on hand to accept their awards.
But the show got an injection of Hollywood glamour when Gaga took to the stage in an unannounced appearance to present the Founders Award to Lythgoe, who also executive produces “So You Think You Can Dance,” calling him her favorite executive in the business.
Lythgoe returned the warmth, saying that Gaga, who wore a relatively understated black gown and sported a long blond wig and dark glasses, “certainly is, for my money, the most creatively talented woman in show business right now.”
Among other honors, Sweden’s “Millennium,” a crime-solving drama that pairs an investigative journalist with an anti-social female computer hacker, won best TV movie or miniseries, while Canada won for its documentary, “Life With Murder,” about a man accused of murdering his sister.
The arts programing and non-scripted, or reality, Emmys were both won by the U.K.’s Twenty Twenty Television for the opera-world set “Gareth Malone Goes to Glyndebourne,” and “The World’s Strictest Parents,” in which wild teenagers are sent to live with families run by strict parents.
Subhash Chandra, the media magnate behind India’s Essel Group of companies and Founder of ZEE TV, India’s first Hindi satellite channel, received the Directorate Award.
Portugal won its second consecutive Emmy for telenovela, winning for revenge drama “Blood Ties,” about two sisters, one long presumed drowned in an accident survived by the other.
Other presenters at the ceremony, hosted by actor Jason Priestley, included Ally Sheedy, journalist Dan Rather and Tony award winner John Larroquette.