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BAFTA TV Awards shocker: 'Sherlock' beats 'Downton Abbey'

May 23, 2011 | 11:20 am

Sherlock Downton Abbey BAFTA TV Awards news"Sherlock," the BBC update of Arthur Conan Doyle's classic detective tales, won the BAFTA TV Award for best drama series over last year's champ "Misfits" and the program that was the toast of the British tube this past year: "Downton Abbey."

The star who portrayed sleuth Holmes, Benedict Cumberbatch, lost best actor to Daniel Rigby ("Eric and Ernie"), but his Watson, Martin Freeman, triumphed in the supporting category.

Freeman gave one of the most noteworthy acceptance speeches at London's Grosvenor House on Sunday, telling the audience he planned to put his trophy "on the pillow next to me and talk to it as if it were my partner."

Freeman beat "Downton Abbey" star Brendan Coyle. "Abbey" lost the YouTube audience award to "The Only Way Is Essex." Thus the TV show that has reaped the highest British audience (12 million) for a new drama series in more than a decade was totally shut out.

"Downton Abbey" and "Sherlock" will square off again soon at the U.S. prime-time Emmys where they are set to cause much confusion. They'll compete as miniseries instead of drama series.

Meanwhile, other U.S. Emmy contenders competed at the BAFTA TV Awards in the category for international series. "Boardwalk Empire," "Glee" and "Mad Men" lost to the original Danish version of "The Killing." However, its producer, Piv Bernth, didn't hold on to her prize very long. After the ceremony, she accidentally left "her BAFTA mask in a black cab near Marble Arch just after midnight," reports the Guardian.

See a full list of other winners at the BAFTA site.

-- Tom O'Neil

Photos: "Sherlock," left; "Downton Abbey." Credits: BBC; ITV