Downton Abbey claims Golden Globe
High class costume drama Downton Abbey was among a clutch of British winners at this year's Golden Globes, scooping the award for best television mini series.
Titanic star Kate Winslet and London-born actor Idris Elba also bagged gongs on a night that saw Ricky Gervais host the prestigious ceremony for a third consecutive year.
The English comic ruffled feathers at past shows with controversial gibes aimed at Hollywood's elite, but he seemed to tone down his close-to-the-knuckle jokes for the 69th annual Globes ceremony.
In his opening gambit, the funnyman said organisers had warned him that were he to insult anyone on hand, or "offend any viewers, or cause any controversy whatsoever - they will definitely invite me back next year as well".
Downton Abbey, ITV1's hit saga about the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants, has proved a huge success in the UK and its latest achievement showed it had also captivated audiences across the Atlantic.
Accepting the award at the Beverly Hills ceremony, the show's creator, Oscar winner Julian Fellowes, said: "How fabulous this is. The whole Downton adventure has been an extraordinary one. Like spotting a promising child and waking up to find they've have won the Olympics - and that's what we've lived through."
Berkshire-born Winslet took best actress in a mini series for her performance in HBO's Mildred Pierce, while Elba triumphed in the male version of the category, scooping best actor for his role in BBC One's crime drama Luther.
Elsewhere, black-and-white silent film The Artist was the big winner of the night taking gongs including best musical or comedy and best actor in a musical or comedy for Jean Dujardin.
Family drama The Descendants claimed two awards, as best drama and dramatic actor for George Clooney, while Meryl Streep won best dramatic actress for her portrayal of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher in the film The Iron Lady.
The awards, presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, are seen as a pointer for possible Oscar success. During the ceremony, Gervais joked that the Globes "are just like the Oscars, but without all that esteem. The Globes are to the Oscars what Kim Kardashian is to Kate Middleton. A bit louder, a bit trashier, a bit drunker and more easily bought. Allegedly. Nothing's been proved".