Joanna Lumley is the new host of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Film Awards.
The Absolutely Fabulous star is taking over from long-time host Stephen Fry, who presented from 2001 to 2006 and then from 2012 to 2017.
Speaking after her unveiling as the ceremony’s new presenter on Tuesday (09Jan18), Joanna said, “It’s just so unbelievably thrilling, I always thought of just looking at the BAFTA films with just Stephen Fry there forevermore, so who thought I’d turn into Stephen Fry? Thrilling!”
After thanking BAFTA bosses for choosing her, she added, “I said yes indecently quickly.”
A veteran star of the small screen and cinema, Joanna has appeared in films including the James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Corpse Bride, The Wolf of Wall Street, and most recently, Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.
Last year (17), she was honored for her career achievements with the BAFTA Fellowship Award.
The reveal of Joanna as host coincided with the announcement of the nominees for this year’s (18) event, with Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water leading the way with 12 nods.
After bowing out as BAFTA host, Stephen said in a statement, “Every one of the 12 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.”
The 71st BAFTA Film Awards will be held at London’s Royal Albert Hall on 18 February.