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David Tennant on How the Golden Globes Informed His BAFTAs Hosting Stint: ‘Don’t Diss’ Taylor Swift



Since only recently opting to have a new host each year, the BAFTA Film Awards have had various big names on master of ceremonies duties including Joanna Lumley, Graham Norton, Rebel Wilson and Richard E. Grant. While all popular figures, none managed to get the public reaction of this year’s host: David Tennant.

According to sources at the British Academy, the announcement that David Tennant would be overseeing the U.K.’s biggest night for film on Feb. 18 was met with an overwhelmingly positive response that even they weren’t expecting. Whatever the “Doctor Who” legend’s fanbase may be called (even he says he’s not sure and is “open to suggestions”), they certainly took the news well, and he says he’s “grateful for anyone who thinks it’s a good idea.” But he admits that he’s still somewhat “bewildered” by BAFTA’s decision.

Speaking to Variety ahead of the ceremony, Tennant discusses keeping things friendly on stage, how the interest in what he’s going to wear has matched the excitement about his first “Doctor Who” outfit and why he won’t be aiming any jokes at the biggest name in pop (whether she’s in the room or not).

Are you excited about hosting the BAFTAs?

I am! But I’m a bit bewildered. I don’t know what to expect, if I’m honest with you. The whole thing just feels like one of those experiences you say “yes” to because it would be churlish not to. But what an amazing thing to be asked to do. What a privilege.

What’s your approach going to be when it comes to hosting? Warm and cuddly, nice with a little bit of snark or all-out Ricky Gervais?

I think the BAFTA mood is supportive and friendly. Ricky Gervais is brilliant at what he does, but that wouldn’t be my style. I don’t think I’ve quite got that sort of approach, so I think you just have to kind of be who you are, really. But we’ve got some good material that won’t leave anyone feeling got at.

I imagine you’ve been to a few in your time, but do you enjoy awards ceremonies?

On one level, they’re dazzling and exciting and giddy-making and then the other version is rather dull and rather repetitive. So it’s about trying to edge toward the former rather than the latter. But there are some fantastic films in the running. It’s a competitive year. So I think that will give the awards company itself a bit of pep, because I think it’s quite unpredictable. Very often, by the time you get to this stage of awards season, you kind of know who’s going to win what. But I when I look at the categories, I can’t actually guess many of them. I think they’re all quite wide open. And there’s a lot of incredibly talented people doing incredibly remarkable things in each category. So I think that, more than anything else, actually is the engine to a good awards show.

At the recent Golden Globes ceremony, one of the main talking points from the evening was how host Jo Koy bombed on stage. Did this spark any fear of jokes falling flat or you being met with a silent room?

Not being a comic I feel gives me slight cover. I’m not really expected to be good at any of that stuff. I’m just there to hold it all together. And don’t diss Tay Tay, I think is the lesson to be learned. I live in a house of Taylor Swift fans, so I know better.

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