THE BBC yesterday celebrated the triumph of its TV programmes in the

United States with five international Emmy Awards -- more than any

broadcaster has won in a single year.

Comedy shows Absolutely Fabulous and Red Dwarf led the way at the

glittering prize-giving ceremony in New York.

Other winners were David Jason's film, The Bullion Boys, Sir David

Attenborough's Life In The Freezer documentary, and a puppet version of

Peter and the Wolf, narrated by rock star Sting.

TV's equivalent of the Oscars also gave a special prize to Channel 4

for 12 years of Film On Four, which was collected by Mr Michael Grade,

the chief executive, and Mr Jeremy Isaacs, the station founder.

Mr Grade used the occasion as a platform to appeal for more film

investment. ''At the moment, we spend #10m a year but that should be

#20m. I am currently fighting the Government for this and we must get it

or the wonderful talent we have in Britain will go to waste.''

The award, presented by comedy star Bill Cosby, was for more than 260

films including Four Weddings and a Funeral, the box-office smash

regarded as Britain's most successful film.

Other films funded by Channel 4 range from The Crying Game to Letter

to Brezhnev, and My Beautiful Laundrette.

But the evening belonged to the BBC. It was a twice-in-a-row win for

the hugely popular Absolutely Fabulous, starring Joanna Lumley and

Jennifer Saunders, which shared the same award -- for best popular arts

-- last year. The comedy returns to BBC1 in the new year.

It shared its prize with BBC2's cult sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf, starring

Craig Charles and Chris Barrie.

''This is a resounding tribute to British talent and creativity in

what has become a year of unprecedented international recognition for

the range and ambition of BBC Television's work,'' said Mr Will Wyatt,

the network television managing director.

Only Fools and Horses star David Jason's Screen One BBC film, The

Bullion Boys, won a best drama prize at the star-studded event.

The Bullion Boys is based on the true story of an attempt by dockers

to steal Britain's gold reserves when they were moved to Liverpool for

safe-keeping during the Second World War.

Sir David Attenborough's BBC1 Life in the Freezer won best documentary

for The Big Freeze, a film about a three-man Antarctic expedition.

BBC2's innovative Peter and the Wolf -- won performing arts prize for


Sir Peter Ustinov hosted the ceremony at a Manhattan hotel.