Now Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, the Scottish author’s iconic creations, have helped Britain claim glory at one of the world’s biggest showbusiness events.
BBC drama Sherlock, which follows the exploits of a modern day Holmes and Watson, pulled off a string of surprise wins at the Emmy awards.
Stars Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Holmes, and Martin Freeman, Doctor Watson, won the respective honours for best actor and best supporting actor in a mini-series.
The show’s co-creator and writer, Steven Moffat – the Scot behind the current Doctor Who – won the award for best writing in a mini-series.
Sherlock’s success made up for the snub to British drama Downton Abbey, which failed to win a single Emmy despite 12 nominations, including nods for best drama and costume design.
However, British director Colin Bucksey collected the best mini-series honour for the TV adaptation of the cult film Fargo, for which Freeman had also been nominated.
Other big winners at the Los Angeles ceremony included hit US drama Breaking Bad, which claimed five awards including best lead actor for Bryan Cranston, who plays teacher-turned-drug kingpin Walter White.
Cranston fought off the twin challenge of True Detective stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey in the lead actor category, along with House of Cards star Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm of Mad Men, and The Newsroom’s Jeff Daniels.
Cranston told the audience at the Nokia Theatre: “I will only say I have gratitude for everything that has happened.”
Downtown Abbey lost out to Breaking Bad – which ended last year after five series – in the best drama category, for which Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Mad Men and True Detective were also nominated.
Neither Freeman nor Cumberbatch were at the awards ceremony. However, Paisley-born Moffat, who was in attendance, said he was “very shocked and surprised” at the BBC1 show’s success. He said: “I didn’t think to prepare a single word because I didn’t think we could win.
“We’re delighted that we’ve made it here and hopefully this will get more people watching.”
Sherlock has already been commissioned for a fourth run next year, with shooting on a special due to get under way in January. Moffat said he and co-creator Mark Gatiss had “devastating” plans for the show’s return next year.
He said: “Mark [Gatiss] and myself are so excited with what we’ve got coming up, probably more excited than we’ve ever been about Sherlock.”
Downton Abbey stars Jim Carter, Dame Maggie Smith, Joanne Froggatt and Michelle Dockery all missed out at the Emmys, while other British contenders left empty-handed, included Ricky Gervais, for the comedy series Derek, and Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey, in the best supporting actress category.
The event finished with a tribute from Billy Crystal to fellow comic Robin Williams, who died this month. He said: “It is very hard to talk about him in the past because he was so present in our lives. He was the brightest star in the comedy galaxy.”