Absolutely Fabulous star to be the new host of film awards

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After presiding over the BAFTA Film Awards 12 times, Stephen Fry is stepping down as the ceremony’s presenter and handing the job over to actress Joanna Lumley.

Lumley has had an illustrious career in film and television, but is most famous for portraying Patsy in the television sitcom Absolutely Fabulous, alongside co-star and series creator Jennifer Saunders.

Lumley has also starred in several movies, one of which, Paddington 2, is nominated for three BAFTAs this year. The favourite, with a massive 12 nominations, is The Shape of Water – a romance by Guillermo Del Toro. All are hoping to take home their share of the coveted engraved awards, which is a bronze mask sitting on a marble base, designed by Mitzi Cunliffe.

Upon accepting the role of host, Lumley said:

“Honestly, how exciting is this? It’s just so unbelievably thrilling. Who’d thought I’d turn into Stephen Fry? I want to thank BAFTA so much for asking me to do this. I said ‘yes’ indecently quickly.”

The 71-year-old actress was honoured in the 2017 BAFTA Awards when she received the BAFTA Fellowship to rapturous applause. It is 16 years since the awards last had a female presenter, which was Mariella Frostrup, who co-presented in 2001 with Stephen Fry, and Lumley commented on how appropriate it was that the job was falling to a woman again in the year that marks the 100th anniversary of woman obtaining the vote.

The awards ceremony is scheduled to take place on Sunday, February 18 at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

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