British TV stars had a disappointing night at the 60th annual Emmy Awards.

Tom Wilkinson and Dame Eileen Atkins were honoured for their supporting roles, but many others, including Ricky Gervais and Dame Judi Dench, were left empty-handed at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

Wilkinson, 59, won best supporting actor in a mini-series or movie for his role as Benjamin Franklin in the presidential mini-series John Adams.

And Dame Eileen won the award for best supporting actress for her portrayal of Deborah Jenkins in the costume drama Cranford.

The 74-year-old actress beat fellow Brit Ashley Jenson, 39, who was nominated for her role as Maggie Jacobs in Ricky Gervais’s Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale.

Dame Eileen’s co-star Dame Judi Dench was put forward as outstanding lead actress in a mini series or movie for her role as Matty Jenkins in Cranford, but lost to Laura Linney for John Adams.

The 19th-century drama Cranford, Britain’s best hope for success at the Emmys, also missed out on the awards for best mini-series and best writing, costumes, casting and art direction for a mini-series.

British stars Wilkinson, Gervais, and Ralph Fiennes all lost to Paul Giamatti, for his title role in John Adams, in the best actor in a mini-series or movie category.

And Hugh Laurie, who plays Dr Gregory House, missed out on the best actor in a drama award, which went to Bryan Cranston for Breaking Bad.

The sleek 1960s drama Mad Men made Emmy history as the first basic-cable show to win a top series award, while the sitcom 30 Rock and its stars Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin were the night’s top winners.