Monday 18 February 2019

'Truly painful' - Joanna Lumley BAFTAs opening monologue went down like a lead balloon

People watching the Bafta broadcast were unimpressed with Lumley’s monologue.

Joanna Lumley attends the BAFTA Film Gala at the The Savoy Hotel, ahead of the EE British Academy Film Awards this Sunday, on February 08, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/WireImage)
Joanna Lumley attends the BAFTA Film Gala at the The Savoy Hotel, ahead of the EE British Academy Film Awards this Sunday, on February 08, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/WireImage)
Joanna Lumley (PA)

By Julia Hunt, Press Association Entertainment Correspondent

Television viewers have shared their shock after Bafta host Joanna Lumley made a joke about the Ku Klux Klan during her opening monologue.

The Absolutely Fabulous star began the ceremony with a series of gags about the nominated films and stars, but some viewers were shocked at her quip about the film BlacKkKlansman.

Welcoming the movie’s director Spike Lee and star Adam Driver to the ceremony, Lumley said: “It’s an incredible film, it has already won many awards.

“I’m surprised it did so well at the Klan Film Festival.”

People watching the broadcast were stunned at the star’s gag.

“Ooh, that Klan joke was an absolute clunker,” said one person on Twitter,

“Joanna Lumley’s Klan Film Festival joke was ill advised. Lowlight of a cringeworthy opening to #BAFTA,” said another.

One person posted: “@BAFTAs we’re off to a cracking start right up until Joanna Lumley lost her damn mind and mad a Klan Film Festival joke.”

“The Klan film festival”?! Imagine…someone actually got paid for writing Lumley’s script. Shocking stuff,” said another.

Lumley also made a joke about Viola Davis’s heist film Widows, saying it was great to see parts that are normally played by men given to women as “it is important for female bank robbers to have role models too”.

And she used a description of Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali’s Green Book to warn winners to keep their speeches short.

“They were just sublime in Green Book, undertaking a perilous journey around America’s Deep South and hoping to get home in time for Christmas, which we should just about manage ourselves, as long as you keep your speeches short,” she told the audience.

Discussing how long Richard E Grant had waited for a part such as his role in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, she referred to a recent story about the actor receiving a reply to a letter he sent Barbra Streisand 47 years ago.

Lumley said: “An actor can wait decades for a role like that, just slightly less time than you have to wait for a reply from Barbara Streisand wasn’t it darling? Was that 44 years?

“But it is lovely to see Babs getting around to doing her correspondence. Well done sweetheart. It makes me feel like a saint actually.”

Viewers were unimpressed with the entire monologue, calling it “painful” and “cringeworthy”.

“These. Jokes. Are. Dire. Joanna Lumley deserves better,” said one person.

“Rumours of an arrest warrant out for the writer of Joanna Lumley’s jokes at tonight’s BAFTAs. Some of those lines were criminal,” joked another.

One said: “Joanna Lumley is terrible. Poor jokes. Dead silence twice there from the audience.”

“Can we just not hear it, or is no one laughing at Joanna Lumley’s “jokes”? Cringe,” posted another.

One person said Lumley’s joked were “too painful”.

The Baftas took place at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

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