Joanna Lumley's opening monologue at the 2019 Baftas has been criticised online, with many viewers taking issue with the Absolutely Fabulous actor’s joke about the Ku Klux Klan.

Welcoming the team behind BlacKkKlansman, director Spike Lee and star Adam Driver, to the ceremony, Lumley said: “It’s an incredible film, it has already won many awards.

“I’m surprised it did so well at the Klan Film Festival.”

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She also joked about the current state of the Oscars – the American awards ceremony will have no official host for the first time in 30 years, after Kevin Hart stepped down after a number of old tweets resurfaced in which the comedian expressed homophobic views. 

“Thank goodness Bafta has a host,” she said, “though I suspect that has to do with the fact that I’m not on Twitter.”

She also lightly mocked A Star is Born director Bradley Cooper who – as director, star, producer, and screenwriter – Lumley declared was a “multitalented genius” who “needs to learn how to delegate”.

While referencing Alfonso Cuarón’s nominations in six different categories, Lumley then turned to Cooper and added: “Pull your finger out, sweetheart.”

Lumley also noted the irony that this year’s Bafta favourite is named The Favourite, adding: “Next year there’ll be a film called ‘And the Baftas Go To’.”

This year’s Baftas opened with a now-traditional performance from Cirque du Soleil, who this year’s paid tribute to First Man and the 50th anniversary of the moon landings with their own imaginative interpretation of the historic event. 

The night’s biggest winner was The Favourite, with the film taking home seven awards in total. However, the period drama did not achieve a sweep, as Roma managed to win Best Film. See the full list of winners here.

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