Downton Abbey and Sherlock are among the big British TV shows hoping for success at the presigious Emmy Awards on Sunday night.

However the pair will face stiff competition from the likes of Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire at the awards, which are regarded as the TV equivalent of the Oscars.

Downton is leading the way, having picked up an impressive 16 nominations including one in the best drama category.

Michelle Dockery is nominated for best drama actress while Joanne Froggatt and Maggie Smith will go head to head for the best supporting actress prize.

And the male cast members have also fared well, with Hugh Bonneville up for best drama actor, and Jim Carter and Brendan Coyle competing to win the best supporting actor award.

Sherlock, meanwhile, is hoping for success in the best miniseries category, where the episode A Scandal In Belgravia has made the shortlist.

Both Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are also nominated for awards for their roles as Sherlock and Watson.

However Downton will face some stiff competition from Mad Men, which has 17 nominations – including one for best drama series, an award it is hoping to take for a fifth time.

Bonneville, meanwhile, will face a challenge in the best actor category from Bryan Cranston, who has taken the award three times for his role in the acclaimed drama Breaking Bad.

Other shows hoping to win big on Sunday night include Luther – whose star Idris Elba will rival Benedict Cumberbatch for best actor in a miniseries – Homeland and Game Of Thrones.

The awards will be handed out during a star-studded ceremony at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.