BBC defends Stephen Fry's Bafta remarks: 'Strong language was after the watershed'

(Image credit: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment)

It wasn't exactly Viz magazine's 'profanisaurus', but the BBC has defended its coverage of Sunday's Baftas after some viewers complained about host Stephen Fry's bad language.

The comic and actor, who is the regular host of the film awards, made a series of risque remarks including telling the audience it was 'p***ing down with stars' inside the ceremony.

He also introduced Tom Cruise as 'Tom f***ing Cruise' when the Mission Impossible star came on stage to present an award.

A statement on the Beeb's complaints website said: "We received complaints from viewers unhappy with some of Stephen Fry's language while presenting the Baftas."

It went on: "The Baftas is not a BBC event, but during our coverage of the awards ceremony we try to find a compromise between presenting the events of the night as they happened, while remaining within the expectations of the majority of the viewers at home - which saw over 5.5 million people tuning in to watch. Attitudes to strong language vary enormously and we considered very carefully how to reflect this.

"Stephen, whose irreverence and style is extremely well-known to viewers, has presented the Baftas for several years. Any strong language was used after the watershed, and there was a presentation announcement at the start of the programme warning viewers that the broadcast would contain language of this nature.

"We accept that some viewers disagreed with this approach, and this feedback has been noted."


Patrick McLennan

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 

An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.