The Handmaid's Tale triumphs at The Emmys

The Handmaid's Tale triumphs at The Emmys

TV series "The Handmaid's Tale", based on Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel of the same name, has scooped five gongs at this year's Emmy Awards, including for best drama series.

The dystopian TV show triumphed over other series including "The Crown" and "House of Cards" to win the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series, making Hulu the first streaming service to win that award. 

Writer and executive producer Bruce Miller, who accepted the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series on Sunday night (17th September), thanked Atwood "who created this world for all of us". 

Elisabeth Moss, who plays protagonist Offred in the series, took home the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. The Emmy is Moss' first after she was nominated six times for playing career-focused Peggy Olsen in "Mad Men", having received an Emmy nomination for consecutive years between 2009 and 2013. 

Ann Dowd, who plays Aunt Lydia, beat her co-star Samira Wiley to the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress. The award is Dowd's first Emmy win too.

The TV show aired in the UK with Channel 4 between May 2017 and the end of July, with publisher Vintage marking its finale with a publicity stunt in which six handmaids, clad in trademark red cloaks and white bonnets, descended on London. Sales of the book rocketed during the UK airing of the show and by the time it ended were up 932% against the same period in 2016, across all editions including e-books.

Nielsen figures for the 1996 edition showed a 274% boost in volume over the eight-week period the show ran (from 28th May-22nd July) versus the eight weeks before. Sales have been trending upwards all year, after the Trump bump in January and excitement for the TV adaptation mounted ahead of its first broadcast. Across all editions, in print, it has sold 160,307 copies since the start of the show, and, since it ended, it has sold 58,678 copies, with the TV tie-in edition surpassing the 1996 edition to shift a total of 31,406 copies.

Beth Coates, editorial director for Vintage, commented: "We’re thrilled that the outstanding Hulu/ MGM adaptation of 'The Handmaid’s Tale' was recognised with five Emmy Awards last night. It has been a joy to see Margaret Atwood’s classic become a cultural phenomenon all over again, and we’re looking forward to taking it one step further: we publish a gorgeous hardback gift edition, masterminded by creative director Suzanne Dean with artwork by prize-winning illustrator Noma Barr, this autumn."

"Big Little Lies", based on the novel by Liane Moriarty, also had a good night in the limited series categories. It won the Emmy for Outstanding Limited Series, while cast members Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern and Alexander Skarsgard picked up trophies for best lead actress, best supporting actress and best supporting actor, and director Jean-Marc Vallee won the Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special.