STEPHEN Fry is to step down as host of BBC Two quiz show QI after 13 years in the role.
The 58-year-old actor and presenter said it was “one of the best jobs on television” but felt “it was time to move on”.
Fry will be replaced by writer and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig, who has often sat on the panel as a guest star. She has described it as her “dream job”.
Toksvig currently presents Channel 4 quiz show Fifteen To One. She stood down as chair of BBC Radio Four’s The News Quiz earlier this year after a 10-year run.
Resident panellist Alan Davies will remain on the show.
Each series of QI is named after a successive letter of the alphabet. The upcoming series will be Fry’s last.
Described as the world’s most seemingly impossible quiz, the award-winning show launched on BBC Two in September 2003.
With Fry at the helm, QI quickly became a favourite with viewers thanks to its unique blend of wit and obscure trivia, all embodied in its knowledgeable presenter.
Fry said: “For 13 years I had one of the best jobs on television. Behind the camera squadrons of quite extraordinarily brilliant researchers, programme makers and uniquely curious (in both senses of the word) people making that job so much easier.
“In front of the camera generations of lively minds and above all of course the wonder of nature that is Alan Davies. After passing the alphabetical halfway mark I thought it time to move on, but I will never cease to be grateful to John Lloyd for devising QI and for everyone else for making it such fun.”
Toksvig said: “QI is my favourite television programme both to watch and to be on, so this is absolutely my dream job. (My Nordic background also makes me keen to spend time with the Elves).
“Stephen has been utterly brilliant with the first half of the alphabet. Now I look forward to picking up the baton, mixing my metaphors and sailing towards the Land of Nod (i.e. Z). Who knows what lies ahead? It should all be quite interesting.”
QI creator and producer John Lloyd added: “Stephen’s departure is the end of an era. It’s been a thoroughly delightful experience. After more than 40 years in broadcasting, QI has been by far the most enjoyable show it has been my privilege to produce, and Stephen has been its big, beating heart.
“Though we are all very sad he’s decided to move on, I am confident that we have found the perfect person to occupy his gigantic shoes.”