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Stephen Fry ‘rushed to hospital in a wheelchair’ after falling ‘two metres’ from London stage

Golden Globe-nominated actor, author and TV presenter, who usually shares regular posts from his social media accounts, has been silent since the incident

Tom Murray
Wednesday 20 September 2023 17:46 BST
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National treasure Stephen Fry was reportedly rushed to hospital after falling “two metres” from the stage at the O2 in London, where he was delivering a speech on Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The Golden Globe-nominated actor, author and narrator, 66, was speaking on the final day of the CogX Festival technology conference where tickets are priced as high as £495 – on 14 September, when he took a tumble as he was exiting the stage.

Eye witnesses claimed the Blackadder star fell two metres from the stage to the ground below and sustained injuries to his ribs and leg. He was then rushed to hospital for treatment.

“It looked like it was too dark and there didn’t look like there was a handrail,” a source told the Daily Mail. “He looked to have been hurt as he had to leave in a wheelchair.”

It is unclear whether Fry who rose to fame during the late Eighties as one half of the comedy double act Jeeves and Wooster, formed with his best friend and fellow actor Hugh Laurie remains in hospital.

A formerly prolific tweeter who has since moved to Instagram’s Threads, Fry has not posted anything from his account since the incident took place.

The Independent has contacted Fry’s representatives for comment.

A spokesperson for CogX told the Mail: “We were deeply concerned to hear of Stephen’s accident after giving his inspirational speech on the impact of AI.

“We are thinking of him and wishing him a swift recovery. We have opened our own enquiry and until then we are not able to share any further details.”

A spokesperson for Greenwich Council added: “The council has received an accident report following an event last week at the O2, and is considering whether any further investigations are needed.”

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Stephen Fry (PA)

During his speech, Fry had cautioned against the dangers of AI, playing the audience a clip of what appeared to be his voice narrating a historical documentary.

“I said not one word of that – it was a machine,” Fry revealed, according to Fortune. “Yes, it shocked me. They used my reading of the seven volumes of the Harry Potter books, and from that dataset, an AI of my voice was created and it made that new narration.”

He continued: “What you heard was not the result of a mash-up. This is from a flexible artificial voice, where the words are modulated to fit the meaning of each sentence. It could therefore have me read anything from a call to storm Parliament to hard porn, all without my knowledge and without my permission. And this, what you just heard, was done without my knowledge.”

Fry added: “So I heard about this, I sent it to my agents on both sides of the Atlantic, and they went ballistic – they had no idea such a thing was possible.”

“Tech is not a noun, it is a verb, it is always moving,” he concluded. “What we have now is not what will be. When it comes to AI models, what we have now will advance at a faster rate than any technology we have ever seen. One thing we can all agree on: It’s a f***ing weird time to be alive.”

Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry in their hit Nineties comedy series, ‘Jeeves and Wooster’ (REX FEATURES)

As well as his many roles in films and TV series over the years, including his Golden Globe-nominated performance in the 1997 Oscar Wilde biopic, Wilde, Fry served as the host on the BBC’s popular quiz show, QI, from 2003 until 2015, when he was replaced by Sandi Toksvig.

Alan Davies, Bill Bailey, Stephen Fry, John Hodgman, Sean Lock and Sandi Toksvig on the set of ‘QI’ in 2009 (Brian J Ritchie/Talkback Thames/Shutterstock)

He has starred in blockbuster franchises including Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy, Guy Ritchies’ Sherlock Holmes films opposite Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law, and Tim Burton’s adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.

His warm, plummy voice has also lended itself to a number of audiobooks, including all seven books in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, and the Paddington Bear novels.

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