Joanna Lumley may be something of a national treasure, but whoever was writing her jokes as she presented last night’s BAFTAs truly and wholly let the side down.
Things started badly for the Ab-Fab star, who was presenting the ceremony for the second time, and gradually went downhill from there.
She took a dig at the Oscars not having a host (Kevin Hart pulled out due to some homophobic jokes in his past stand up sets), crediting the fact that she’s ‘not on Twitter’ for still having job.
It seemed to imply that Hart’s downfall had something to do with Twitter. Which it didn’t, really. So far so good!
She went on to quip about The Favourite being handily entitled for awards season, Claire Foy needing to take a ‘small step and one giant leap’ to reach the stage (she’s in space drama First Man), and the sequel to The Wife being called ‘The Second Wife’ (does that even count as a joke, strictly speaking?).
Steve Coogan was seen visibly flinching as the gags landed with thump and after thump.
But the most notably terrible gag, however, came as she name-checked Spike Lee’s latest movie BlacKkKlansman.
“It’s an incredible film,” she said. “It’s already won many awards. If I’m honest I’m surprised it did so well at the Klannes film festival.”
Like a grossly misjudged gag found in a cracker, the audience at the Royal Albert Hall responded with a stoney, embarrassed silence. The same could not be said for Twitter.
Unsurprisingly, Piers Morgan weighed into the melee too, calling the performance ‘a train wreck’.
For once, he has a point.
Come back, Stephen Fry. All is forgiven.