Stephen Fry is to step down from as the host of the annual BAFTA Film Awards after a total of 12 years of compering the ceremony.

The 60 year old presenter and comedian has enjoyed two lengthy periods of hosting the BAFTAs – from 2001 to 2006, following a break during which it was presented by Jonathan Ross, and then from 2012 to 2016.

“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,” Fry said in a statement on Friday (January 5th).

Stephen FryStephen Fry is quitting as BAFTA host

“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.”

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

Fry has been a regular fixture of the annual ceremony’s news round-up, regularly receiving good press for his good-natured and occasionally risqué style – though he was criticised for a remark about costume designer Jenny Beavan two years ago, joking that she looked like “a bag lady”.

The 2018 BAFTA Film Awards will be held on Sunday February 18th, at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The producers of the awards ceremony are set to announce the host of this year’s awards at the nominations press conference next Tuesday.

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