Graham Norton to host film Baftas: ‘It will be the biggest sofa I’ve ever faced’

By Sherna Noah, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Graham Norton will take over from Joanna Lumley as host of the film Baftas.

The chat show host, 56, has made his mark presenting the TV Baftas several times in the last 15 years.

But the comedian will now host the film ceremony for the first time.

He takes over from Lumley, who fronted the show for two years, and her predecessor Stephen Fry.

Joanna Lumley at the TV Baftas (Ian West/PA)

Lumley drew mixed reviews from viewers at this year’s ceremony and some criticism for a quip about the Ku Klux Klan while referring to the film BlacKkKlansman.

The overnight TV audience dropped by half a million viewers.

Norton said: “I’m delighted to be taking the helm of the biggest night in British film, the audience at the Royal Albert Hall will be the biggest sofa I’ve ever faced.

“I’m honoured to be following in the fabulous footsteps of Stephen Fry and Joanna Lumley.”

Stephen Fry attending the EE British Academy Film Awards (Ian West/PA)

Bafta chief executive Amanda Berry said Norton “will bring his brilliance and unique brand of humour to the role”.

She added: “The film awards is transmitted around the world, and those audiences know him too.

“With Graham as our host I have no doubt we will deliver a very special celebration of the very best in film, and pay tribute to the most talented and creative people both in front of and behind the camera.”

Controller of BBC entertainment Kate Phillips said: “Graham’s wit and charisma has made him one of the UK’s most successful television show hosts and I could not think of a better person to pick up the baton from the absolutely fabulous Joanna Lumley.”

Nominations for the EE British Academy Film Awards will be revealed in January.

The ceremony will be held at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday February 2, with a performance from Cirque du Soleil, and broadcast on BBC One.