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David Tennant divides Bafta viewers with dry opening monologue

Donald Trump, artificial intelligence, and Greta Gerwig’s ‘Barbie’ all featured in the actor’s joke-filled speech

Annabel Nugent
Monday 19 February 2024 12:34 GMT
David Tennant's jokes about Trump in 2024 Baftas opening monologue

David Tennant divided viewers with his opening monologue at the Baftas.

As Jo Koy’s disastrous turn at the Golden Globes proved last month, successfully hosting an awards show is no easy feat, but Tennant has managed to win over at least some viewers.

The 77th British academy film awards took place on Sunday evening (18 February) at Royal Festival Hall in London, with Hollywood stars including Margot Robbie, Claire Foy, and Ryan Gosling in attendance.

You can find a full list of winners from the 2024 Baftas here…

Following on from Richard E Grant in 2023, Tennant, 52, took on hosting duties for this year’s ceremony.

The Doctor Who star charmed his way through the two-hour ceremony, with an opening monologue that was full of gags.

It didn’t take long for Tennant to make a reference to Greta Gerwig’s 2023 blockbuster Barbie, which was up for five nominations on the night. The actor cracked a joke about the plastic doll’s hairless torso.

“Tonight is going to go smoother than Ken’s chest,” quipped Tennant in a hopeful indication of the evening to follow.


Elsewhere the subject matter became political when Tenannt appeared to made a joke connecting Yorgos Lanthimos’s 11-times nominated film Poor Things to former US president and current presendtial candidate Donald Trump.

Poor Things is nominated,” said Tennant. “When a child’s brain is put in an adult’s body and later this year one of those might be elected president.”

The surreal film, which stars Emma Stone opposite Mark Ruffalo and William DaFoe, sees DaFoe’s mad scientist character implant a child’s brain into an adult woman’s body (played by Stone).

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Artificial intelligence also made an appearance in Tennant’s monologue, with the star joking: I’ve been chatting to Bafta and asking them if the future for acting and screenwriting is looking rosy, and they say, ‘AYE!’ Did they spell that AI…’”

Viewers appeared divided by the jokes, with some praising the actor’s charisma and others declaring the opposite.

“I blooming love awards season and so far so good with the delightful David Tennant,” wrote one person.

Another added: “The first 10 minutes have already been better than all the other bafta openings in the last years.”

“Watching Bafta and what a brilliant monologue from David Tennant,” said someone else. “Hope [Oscars host] Kimmel is watching.”

Another wrote that Tennant is “crushing his Bafta monologue”, joking that “Jo Koy could never” in a reference to the American comedian’s poorly received monologue at the Golden Globes in January.

Others, however, were less impressed. “I like David Tennant but every year since Stephen Fry stopped doing it BAFTA get it so wrong,” said one person.

“The links and the chummy celeb chats in the audience are utter cringe. Just show the bloody award presentations. That’s all people want to see.”

“Why on earth did David bloomin’ Tennant get the bafta gig?” asked another viewer.

A third person did not mince their words when they wrote: “Good lord David Tennant is bloody painful. @Bafta if you want someone funny hosting, get a comedian.”

Follow along with live updates from the ceremony here…

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