Stephen Fry quits as BAFTAs host after 12 years

Stephen Fry has stepped down as host of the BAFTAs after 12 years.

The comedian and TV host announced today that he would not be returning to host this year’s British Academy Film Awards after more than a decade in the role.

The out celeb has presented the Awards 12 times previously, but confirmed he would be stepping down as the host of the ceremony.

Stephen Fry said: “Every one of the twelve BAFTA film award ceremonies that I had the privilege of hosting has a place in my memory.

“The mixture of glamour, glory, drama and – occasionally – embarrassment and hiccup holds a unique place in the British film calendar.

“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.

“I want to thank all the production staff, Amanda Berry and her wonderful BAFTA colleagues, the BBC and all those who helped make every year so enjoyable. I reserve especial gratitude and imagination for Ivor Baddiel and Phil Kerr, whose work on the scripts was so skilful it made people think I’d written every line myself.

“What fun it will be to watch BAFTA 2018 without my heart hammering, mouth drying and knees trembling.”

Stephen Fry (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)

Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive of BAFTA, said: “On behalf of everyone at BAFTA, I would like to sincerely thank Stephen Fry for making each and every one of the Film Awards that he’s presented such memorable and joyous occasions.

“We will miss him tremendously. We will reveal who our host for the 2018 Awards will be on Tuesday 9 January at our nominations press conference.”

The 2018 host will be announced at the BAFTA nominations press conference next Tuesday.

The event will feature entertainment company Cirque de Soleil, and take place at the Royal Albert Hall.

Lucy Noble, Artistic and Commercial Director at the Royal Albert Hall, said “It was an honour to host BAFTA’s 70th anniversary ceremony in 2017, and we are delighted to welcome the biggest stars of the silver screen back to the Royal Albert Hall in 2018 for this year’s celebration of cinema.

“The Hall is frequently transformed into Europe’s largest cinema for our Films in Concert series, and our audience’s enduring love of great movies makes us the perfect venue for the glorious celebration of film that is the BAFTAs.”

Stephen Fry (Photo by Steve Finn/Getty Images)

Fry has scaled back his commitments in recent years, most notably stepping down from panel show QI.

He announced in 2016 that he would be leaving the quiz show after 13 years, with comedian Sandi Toksvig stepping into the host chair for the most recent series.

Regular panellist Alan Davies revealed that Fry had struggled to keep up with the gruelling work schedule.

He said:  “For budget reasons, they ended up making him do three shows in 24 hours.

“Sometimes he’d go upstairs and have a vodka and tonic and a lie down, then come back and say, ‘I don’t want to do this’.

“I sympathise, because I felt exactly the same way. It’s not fair.

“It’s absolutely right he’s stepped down. He didn’t want to do it any more. It’s a new era.

“We have a really good replacement. There’s a good atmosphere around the show. Sandi Toksvig is really good at it.

“I had a great time making the show [with Sandi]. I was funny. I actually have a bit more room.”

Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry

He added: “I’d be an idiot to jump ship… it’s one of the best jobs on the telly.

“I offered to go if they wanted a total clearout and I’m sure they thought about it, but they kept me there.”

Paying tribute to his former colleague, he said: “People have no idea just how good he was.

“You see what a mess other shows are, how long they take to record and how the audience is in torment.

“Then you go to a QI recording with Stephen in the chair and the two hours fly by – there are no pauses, barely a fluff on the autocue. Up-tempo, funny, sharp.”

Fry tied the knot in 2015 to husband Elliot Spencer.

Last year the pair made an appearance in a singer’s music video celebrating love.

Fry recently opened up about how his husband helps him manage his mental health.

He said: “My best friend of all, my husband Elliot, he’s become very expert in detecting when my moods are more than just being annoyed because I’ve locked myself out of the house to a genuine fall in mood.”

The performer was diagnosed with bipolar disorder some years ago, and has been candid about struggling with depressive thoughts and attempting suicide.

He said of attempting suicide in 2012: “It had been very tough and something had been building up inside of me.

“I can recall talking out loud; ‘It’s pointless, it’s pointless’. Everything about my life had come to it’s end.

“I find it very very difficult to look at myself. There are times when, having done the amount of TV and stuff I’ve done, there are times when I’m watching television and my ugly mug will pop up and I can see how unhappy I am.”