Joanna Lumley replacing Stephen Fry as BAFTA host after months of talks

THE EE Baftas have made an Absolutely Fabulous choice as their new host – JOANNA LUMLEY.

I can reveal the actress has been in secret talks over the past few months to replace STEPHEN FRY who claimed he stepped down last week after hosting for a total of 12 years.

And Joanna will finally be unveiled tomorrow morning by bosses, who will no doubt be breaking out the Bolly in celebration.

A source said: “Joanna is exactly what the Baftas needs.

“She’s classy, witty and a huge name which will be recognised around the world.

“The ceremony had gone stale under Stephen and it clearly needed a revamp.”

When asked by my reporter yesterday if Joanna was replacing Stephen, Bafta boss Amanda Berry said: “I can’t comment on that. All will be revealed tomorrow.”

Joanna was honoured with a special Bafta TV ­Fellowship last May in recognition for her screen career, which has spanned 50 years.

The award is the highest ­accolade bestowed by Bafta on an individual performer and has previously been won by DAME JUDI DENCH, DAME JULIE WALTERS and SIR DAVID ATTENBOROUGH.

Speaking about the     award, she said: “To be counted among the greatest talents and stars of our industry is an awesome gift.”

Joanna has also bagged three Baftas for her performance as the incredible Patsy Stone in Ab Fab, plus a special award for The Avengers.

I can reveal GRAHAM NORTON and JAMES CORDEN were also considered for the hosting job before bosses plumped for Joanna.

She’ll become the awards’ first female presenter since since ­MARIELLA FROSTRUP co-hosted with Stephen in 2001.

LENNY HENRY, RORY BREMNER, ANGUS DEAYTON and JONATHAN ROSS have all fronted the show previously.

I think Bafta chiefs have made an inspired decision which will signal a new era for the ceremony, to be held at London’s Royal Albert Hall this year.

The bash has dragged on in recent years and is plagued by the fact Bafta and BBC bosses refuse to screen it live for some reason.

But Joanna will make me sit through the ultimate luvvie fest again for another year.

Don’t miss tomorrow’s Bizarre, when I’ll bring you all this year’s Bafta nominees.


BRITS’ Critics Choice Award winner JORJA SMITH has revealed she was mugged over the weekend. The hotly tipped West Mids singer warned on Instagram: “Whoever robbed me on these streets will receive karma.”

Kids' party ed-liner

MOST kids are happy with a balloon and a slice of cake – but not artist DAMIEN HIRST’s son Cyrus.

The lad marked his birthday with a performance from ED SHEERAN.

Ed accepted his pal’s request to sing at his boy’s lavish bash in London.

The singer even managed to wangle one of the extravagant party bags that were given to each of the 20 guests. They included an Xbox One worth more than £200 a pop.

A pal said: “Ed and Damien have become close friends over the years.

“Cyrus is a huge fan of Ed so Ed agreed to perform at his 12th birthday party to a group of his best friends.

“And the event proved to be one of the most glamorous gigs Ed has performed at. Damien went all out with decorations and party favours at a venue in Chelsea. Ed was pretty chuffed that he got a brand new Xbox out of it too, and he got to watch as magician DYNAMO performed some tricks for the kids.”

Damien designed a polka dot cast for Ed’s arm after he broke it in a cycling accident in October.

Ed also used Damien’s paint-spinning machine to create the mathematical symbol on the front of his hit album Divide.

Ed, who featured in The Simpsons on Sunday playing jazz piano to impress Lisa Simpson said: “I went down to his studio and he strapped on a big canvas and let me go wild with a load of paint.

“I still have the original, I don’t know if it’s classified as a Damien Hirst or a me or a collaboration.”

It will be in the Louvre before he knows it.


LADY GAGA’s Joanne World Tour is the most in-demand ticket for ­February, says resale site StubHub. Her UK jaunt kicks off in ­Birmingham on January 31, with seats going faster than KENDRICK LAMAR’s Damn Tour.

Still Havana ball

CAMILA CABELLO’s solo smash hit Havana spent five weeks in pole position in the UK charts – and it’s doing even better in the US.

It has just spent a seventh week at No1 on US pop radio, tying with KATY PERRY’s California Gurls, KESHA’s Tik Tok and TAYLOR SWIFT’s I Knew You Were Trouble as the second longest-running solo female chart-topper this decade. Only ADELE’s Hello has beaten them.

It bodes well for her debut album Camila, out on Friday.

Should be worth the wait.


PINK will cap an incredible 12 months by belting out the national anthem at this year’s Super Bowl. The game takes place on February 4 and JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE will perform in the half-time show. He has a tough act to follow.

Shades of red

THE third Fifty Shades blockbuster is still weeks away but RITA ORA is intent on channelling the raunchy film.

The popstar stripped down to some skimpy red underwear in yet another revealing snap on her Instagram page.

Lamenting the end of the festive season, Rita wrote: “I’m still in the holiday spirit with my @tezenisofficial bra. I don’t want it to be over yet!”

It comes just days after she released For You, her tune with LIAM PAYNE for the Fifty Shades Freed soundtrack. I revealed in November how the pair laid down the vocals for the track the day after the MTV EMAs.

Rita stars as Christian Grey’s sister Mia in the film, alongside JAMIE DORNAN.

She’s clearly gunning for her own spin-off movie.

Gwyneth is engaged

GWYNETH PALTROW has confirmed she is engaged to US TV producer Brad Falchuk.

After months of rumours, the couple, who have been together for three years, formally revealed in the latest issue of Gwyneth’s Goop magazine that Brad had proposed.

In a joint statement, they said: “We feel incredibly lucky to have come together at this juncture in our lives when our collective successes and failures can serve as building blocks for a healthy and happy relationship.”

Gwyneth met the producer on the set of Glee just months after announcing her “conscious uncoupling” from COLDPLAY’s CHRIS MARTIN after ten years of marriage.

Given they’re still close, Chris will probably perform at the wedding.


SAVED By The Bell is one of America’s finest TV exports. And it’s now returning to the UK as a musical.

The production, which goes by the name of Bayside after the fictional school in the teen drama, will make its debut in March at London’s The Other Palace, after becoming a hit on Broadway.

Original characters including Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski all feature, as well as Principle Belding.

Its producer Michael Neri said: “Nostalgia of the Eighties seems to be a trend, with so many reboots and one-off reunions on our screens, so being able to present Bayside in a musical format is a wonderful way of remembering what once was.”

The series was one of my favourites growing up.

A musical version gives fans the licence to belt out that amazing theme tune.

S Club selling

S CLUB 7 fans can buy a piece of history, with PAUL CATTERMOLE flogging his 2000 Brit Award for British Breakthrough Act.

His gong is up for auction starting at £650. The buyer will get to meet Paul who wrote in the description: “Paul can meet you, greet you and take photos, distance depending.”



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Paul landed a second Brit in 2002 for Don’t Stop Movin’ – just weeks before quitting the band.
Hopefully his gong can find a good home.

Dan Wootton’s Bizarre jukebox

THERE are loads of tunes out this week – and I bring you the best of the bunch.My Bizarre Jukebox Spotify playlist is updated every Tuesday with 15 tracks from my top artists and the best new ­talent.

Here are four from this week’s list.

  • Finesse (Remix) –  BRUNO MARS is still working his way through releasing every single song on his 2016 album 24K Magic and this one is a certified hit. He has recruited ­rapper CARDI B to add a new verse to this dance- able tune, which will shoot up the charts in no time.
  • Filthy –  There’s been a long wait for new JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE music and it certainly wasn’t what I expected. His electronic dance tune, released on Friday, is the complete opposite of the rest of his album, Man Of The Woods, out February 2.
  • This Is Me – It won the Best Original Song award at Sunday’s Golden Globes – and deservedly so. The empowering ­ballad about acceptance is taken from the soundtrack of new HUGH JACKMAN movie The Greatest Showman and is currently at No18.
  • My Way – NOAH CYRUS would have had the ­perfect soundtrack to her 18th birthday yesterday thanks to this dance tune she recorded with UK duo ONE BIT. The floorfiller ­samples MYLO’s iconic club anthem Drop The Pressure.

If you've got Spotify, subscribe to Dan's Bizarre Jukebox here.

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