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Stephen Fry stepping down as host of British Academy Film Awards

Stephen Fry in The Kingdom

Story by Jack Foley

STEPHEN Fry is to step down as host of the EE British Academy Film Awards.

The news was announced on the same day as BAFTA confirmed that this year’s ceremony will be held at London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall on Sunday, February 18, 2018 and broadcast on BBC One.

Having presented the Awards 12 times previously, Fry said in a statement that he felt the time was right to step down and pass the responsibility for hosting the event to someone new.

His replacement will be revealed at the nominations press conference on January 9.

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.”

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, January 9 at our nominations press conference.”

BAFTA has also announced that, for the second year, the EE British Academy Film Awards will feature entertainment company Cirque de Soleil, which will be in residence at the Royal Albert Hall at the time of the Awards with its latest touring show to debut in UK, OVO.

Cirque de Soleil will perform a piece especially created for the ceremony.

Lucy Noble, Artistic and Commercial Director at the Royal Albert Hall, commented: “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.”