It was a great night for the Brits as two of our favourite stars picked up gongs at the annual Emmy Awards in Los Angeles.

Ricky Gervais was named best comedy series actor for Extras and Oscar-winning Helen Mirren scooped the best actress award for Prime Suspect: The Final Act.

Dame Helen, who won an Oscar earlier this year for The Queen, said: “You know, you Americans are wonderfully generous people.

“You’re a lot of other things as well – some good, some bad – but you know if I was to categorise your natures it’s generosity above all.”

Presenter Jon Stewart announced: “Ricky Gervais could not be here tonight. Instead we’re going to give this to our friend, Steve Carell.”

Carell, a nominee for the US version of The Office, bounded on stage, sharing a group hug with Stewart and his co-presenter Stephen Colbert. Supporting honours went to stars of Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, Entourage and My Name is Earl.

“My own mother told me I didn’t have a shot in hell at winning tonight,” said Katherine Heigl of Grey’s Anatomy, who won a supporting actress gong. “This is my dream come true. I’ve been doing this for 17 years.”

Terry O’Quinn, who plays the mysterious John Locke in Lost, was named best supporting actor in a drama.

“Sometimes when we’re rolling around in the jungle in the mud, hitting each other and stabbing each other, I wonder what it would be like to bake up a sheet of cookies on Wisteria Lane and get one of their cheques,” Terry said, referring to Desperate Housewives.

“Then I think about my castmates and crewmates, and I realise why I have the best job in the world.”