Stephen Fry Steps Down as BAFTA Film Awards Host

Posted January 5, 2018 4:16 p.m. EST

Stephen Fry, the actor and comedian who has hosted the BAFTA film awards ceremony 12 times, is stepping down this year, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts announced Friday.

In a statement, Fry expressed his affection for the BAFTA show and his colleagues there: “Over the last two decades I have especially loved watching the emergence of new young film talent behind and in front of the camera. But after so long a time I felt it only right to stand down and let others take the BAFTAs on to new heights and greater glories.”

Fry served as host from 2001 to 2006, and from 2012 to 2017. The comedian and television presenter Jonathan Ross hosted in the intervening years.

What fun it will be to watch BAFTA 2018 without my heart hammering, mouth drying and knees trembling,” Fry said, in reference to the pressure awards show hosts must endure.

In 2016, when some viewers were offended by Fry’s joking comment during the ceremony that the costume designer Jenny Beavan, a friend of his, was dressed like a “bag lady.” A Twitter backlash ensued and eventually Fry temporary deactivated his account. In a blog post explaining his decision to leave Twitter, Fry said that the platform had become “a stalking ground for the sanctimoniously self-righteous.”

The new host will be announced Tuesday along with the nominees for the 2018 awards. This year’s ceremony will take place Feb. 18 at the Royal Albert Hall.

On Friday, Ladbrokes, the British betting company, ranked Graham Norton as the favorite to replace Fry. Claudia Winkleman and Jonathan Ross were also listed as strong contenders.