Stephen Fry's Bafta performance fails to impress BBC veterans
Stephen Fry, who hosted the Bafta awards, is criticised by broadcasting veterans including Sir Terry Wogan and Maureen Lipman.
The BBC’s increasingly bewildering obsession with Stephen Fry — the man who saw fit to make a leering reference to “water-soluble lubricant” as he compered the Baftas — was the talk of corporation veterans at The Oldie’s annual awards at Simpson’s-in-the-Stand, in London.
“I was actually the second choice to host this event,” joshed Sir Terry Wogan as he addressed the gathering. “But, mercifully, Stephen Fry was unavailable.”
Maureen Lipman blamed Fry’s peculiarly ill-judged performance at the Baftas on the BBC top brass for allowing him too free a rein. “Who upstairs was checking the scripts?” she asked.
“It’s like everything else at the BBC: someone ought to have taken responsibility. The lubricant line was ill-judged. It was based on the mistaken belief that we all know so much about Stephen that we would find that funny. It would be like me making jokes about my mother.
"The Baftas had, however, an international audience whose members don’t necessarily know all that much about him. And that was why it was so ill-judged.
“I don’t wish to upset Stephen, as he can be a sensitive flower, but we do have to get a bit more professional. That just wasn’t world-worthy.”
Ronnie Corbett, for his part, talked about how Max Miller and Bob Hope could be vulgar, too, but their routines had charm. “Stephen is very wordy,” added Corbett, with understatement.
“He loves words and is generally very good with them. Mandrake is, too, of course, but, happily, he doesn’t feel the need to use quite as many of them as Stephen does.”
Tim Walker Telegraph.co.uk