Joanna Lumley has been confirmed as this year's BAFTA Film Awards host, replacing Stephen Fry who has stepped down after 12 years at the helm. The Absolutely Fabulous actress, 71, will be the first female host since Mariella Frostrup co-presented the annual awards show with Stephen in 2001. Joanna, who received the BAFTA Fellowship in 2017, shared her excitement over the new appointment: "Honestly, how exciting is this?" she said. "It's just so unbelievably thrilling. Who 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."
Joanna Lumley is this year's Bafta Film Awards host
READ: Stephen Fry confirms he's stepping down as BAFTAs host after 12 years
Joanna appears to be a fitting choice, having won three BAFTAs for her work in BBC comedy Absolutely Fabulous. She also received a special award for The Avengers as well as last year's Fellowship Award in recognition of her on-screen career, which has spanned 50 years. Last week, Stephen revealed that it was time to let someone else "take the BAFTAs on to new heights and greater glories." The 60-year-old said in a statement: "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."
Stephen Fry has stepped down after 12 years
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He added: "What fun it will be to watch BAFTA 2018 without my heart hammering, mouth drying and knees trembling." The national treasure first hosted the awards in 2001, and swiftly went on to become a much-loved fixture thanks to his infectious personality. Stephen had a break from hosting duties between 2007-11, with chat show host Jonathan Ross taking over. This year's film awards ceremony will take place at London's Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 18 February.