NEW YORK -- British shows won three of the five International Emmy awards Monday night in ceremonies that presented special honors to Latin American broadcast pioneer Goar Mestre and Italian director Vittorio Boni.
Thirty countries submitted a record 197 programs for the 16th annual International Emmys awarded at the Sheraton Center by the International Council of the National Academy of Television, Arts and Sciences.
Fifteen of the shows were nominated in five categories: drama, performing arts, popular arts, documentaries and children and young people.
Mestre, the Argentinian broadcaster born in Cuba, was honored with the special Founder's award, and the special Directorate award was presented posthumously to Boni, who died last year.
The drama award went to the United Kingdom for 'A Very British Coup' by Skreba Films, Channel 4 Television.
'A South Bank Show -- Ken Russell's ABC of British Music' by London Weekend Television, LWT, won the performing arts category.
Britain also won the popular arts award, for 'The New Statesman' by Yorkshire TV.
The documentary award went to TROS Television in association with BRT Belgian TV and AVA Belgium-Holland for 'The Last Seven Months of Anne Frank.'
Australia won the award for programs for children and young people, for 'Touch the Sun: Capt. Jahnno' by Australian Children's Television Foundation.
Boni, who headed international relations at RAI Radio-TV Italiana, was honored for his lifelong broadcast work, including responsibility for the first broadcast of the Olympic Games in Rome.
Mestre, recognized for his lifetime accomplishments in television development in Latin America, was the unanimous choice of the Council's board of directors for the coveted Founder's award.
The distinguished broadcast pioneer, who began his 50-year career in Cuba, 'devoted tremendous amounts of time and effort to defending, preserving and promoting free, privately owned radio and TV broadcasting in the Western Hemisphere,' the Council said. 'His experiences in Cuba and Argentina are significant chapters in the history of television.'
Mestra, a Yale University graduate who turns 76 on Christmas Day, bought Cuba's No. 2 radio network, Circuito CMQ, in 1943, then led the network to top position in sales and audience and in 1949 opened Cuba's first television station, CMQ-TV.
Mestra, who served as head of the International Council of NATAS in its first year of operation, has won many awards, including the gold medal of the city of Havana for his defense of free speech in America, the Diploma al Merito by the Konex Foundation of Buenos Aires and the Gold Donatello by RTH Institute of International Relations in Rome.