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Creator / Stephen Fry

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Thou shalt not question Stephen Fry.
Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, "Thou Shalt Always Kill"

A man of intense intelligence and great coolness, Stephen John Fry (born 24 August 1957 in Hampstead, London) served as the host of QI for its first 13 series and starred in Kingdom (2007), about the life of a rural lawyer. He has also written and contributed to several books, namely The Liar, The Stars' Tennis Balls.,The Hippopotamus. and Making History (a time travel story about erasing Hitler from existence), as well as three autobiographies Moab Is My Washpot, The Fry Chronicles and More Fool Me, and The Book of General Ignorance. He is very much the modern day Oscar Wilde (though he's English, and played the man himself in a biopic) and is generally considered a British national treasure.

A Cambridge graduate and a personal friend of J. K. Rowling (he won a Talkie for his reading of the UK edition of the Harry Potter unabridged audio-books)note , he has appeared as several Melchetts in Blackadder, played Jeeves in Jeeves and Wooster, portrayed Oscar Wilde in Wilde, and starred as Fry in A Bit of Fry and Laurie. Not only is his voice acting superb, the sheer breadth and convincingness of the accents he puts on for various characters is stunning. Excellent accents are a particular quality of his.

He is openly gay (or as he says, "90%") and open about having bipolar disorder. His early life resulted in him doing three months in prison for credit card fraud. On his release, he got a scholarship to Cambridge and joined the Cambridge Footlights, where he met Hugh Laurie through a mutual friend; said mutual friend is one he has actually seen naked on more than one occasion, though nothing untoward happened.

It is a sign of how well liked he is that when he vanished from a stage production he was a part of, literally missing his cue, and couldn't be found in the building, the British Tabloids published concerned articles asking him to come home, rather than the usual cruel mockery an actor would have got for such highly advanced stage fright. He only got a token mocking when he turned up in Belgium, where he had fled after a particularly bad episode of depression.

He also had a recurring role in Bones. He appeared in V for Vendetta (as Gordon Deitrich, a comedy television show host), as the title character in the satirical series This Is David Lander, as the Guide in the film version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005) (mostly as a favor to the family of his late friend Douglas Adams) in which he also displayed his musical talents in the soundtrack with the bonus techno-rap song "Reasons to Be Miserable", is the narrator of the LittleBigPlanet video game series (reprising the role in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale), and voiced the narrator in Pocoyo, Hedonistic Sociopathic Hero Reaver in the Fable games, and played the main character of Absolute Power (BBC). He made his directorial debut in 2003 with the film Bright Young Things, for which he also wrote the screenplay, adapted from Evelyn Waugh's 1930 novel Vile Bodies.

He's produced and hosted three very personal documentaries, HIV and Me, The Secret Life of the Manic-Depressive, and Wagner & Me which concern the result of the aforementioned disappearance to Belgium, eventual diagnosis of bipolar disorder and his difficulties dealing with being Jewish on his mother's side, having lost family in the Holocaust, and being a fan of Richard Wagner, a notorious anti-Semite who inspired Hitler. note  He was scheduled to write an episode of Doctor Who, but the idea fell through due to time constraints on his part.

In addition, he has a lovely, comforting voice. He is also known for his distinctive crooked nose as a result of breaking it at the age of six, and refused to undergo corrective surgery because he sees it as his trademark.

He has featured on Top Gear (UK) as the "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car", having lost about seven stone before the episode, as he went on a diet, prompting Jeremy Clarkson to ask where the rest of him was.

He played Mycroft Holmes (Sherlock's older, cleverer, but indolent brother) in Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes sequel. This was something of a Promoted Fanboy moment for him, as he says in his autobiography Moab Is My Washpot that he's been a fan of Sherlock Holmes since he was a small boy. This promotion was taken to its logical conclusion when, in 2017, he was commissioned by Audible to narrate the entire Holmes literary canon.

He stars in the American TV sitcom The Great Indoors, playing a retired explorer and adventurer trying to get to grips with the fact the magazine he founded is about to die as a print edition, but lives on as a website.

He's claimed that Douglas Adams once told him in confidence "exactly why 42." Apparently, "The answer is fascinating, extraordinary and, when you think hard about it, completely obvious." However, he has vowed to take the secret with him to the grave.

A self-confessed techie, averaging about a dozen Tweets per day (before leaving the site after Elon Musk's takeover and moving to a Mastodon instance), he is also a vocal supporter of Free Software while still being a diehard Apple fanboy, famously purchasing the third Mac sold in the UK after Douglas Adams bought the first two (Adams always insisted it was the other way round but appears to have lost the argument by dint of dying first). He's also been known to use an Android phone as well, and is generally quite adept at social media.

In January 2024, his most recent project involves being host of the latest British incarnation of the game show, Jeopardy!.

He has his own theme song, courtesy of the good people known as Weebl & co.

Selected performances:

Tropes related to Stephen Fry's career:

  • Cluster F-Bomb: Despite his genteel demeanor, he holds the UK record for most uses of the F-word in a live broadcast — about 70 within a minute and a half.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Both on screen and in real life, you can always rely on him to bring the snark.
  • Formerly Fat: He was rather stout through the 1980s and into the 90s, but then lost about 6 stone. Still quite tall, though.
  • Large and in Charge: He plays a lot of authority figures and stands at an impressive 6'5.
  • Large Ham: He's a pretty accomplished Thespian when he wants to be, but when the mood takes him he can give BRIAN BLESSED!!!!! a run for his money. See his performance as Wellington and as General Melchett ("BAAAAAH!"), both from the Black Adder franchise, as proof.
  • Loophole Abuse: In the BBC Radio 4 quiz show Just a Minute, he's known to challenge himself (which is not explicitly forbidden by the rules) when he makes a mistake.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: In his writing, usually through Description Porn. For instance, in The Fry Chronicles, he devotes the better part of three pages to the preparation, lighting, and use of a Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe.
  • Sad Clown: He has been quite open about his mental health struggles, including the television documentary Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive. He has also discussed multiple suicide attempts, with the most recent in 2012.
  • Sequel Hook: His second autobiography The Fry Chronicles ends in 1987 with what is effectively a stinger referring to his first experience of taking cocaine.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Recorded a podcast series devoting an episode to each sin, reflecting on their effects on people in the present day.
  • Take That!: Was on the receiving end of a playful one from J. K. Rowling. When Fry was recording the audiobook for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, he had trouble pronouncing the phrase "Harry pocketed it." Finally he phoned Rowling to ask if she could revise the book to say "Harry put it in his pocket." Rowling considered a moment and replied "No"— and then included the phrase "Harry pocketed it" word for word in each of the next four books of the series.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Panelists on QI loved it whenever he let slip little details of his privileged background — such as not knowing what beer goggles are or that there's a shop called Primark — as it allowed them to riff mercilessly while Stephen had no choice but to bear it until they ran out of steam.
  • Verbal Tic: "Baah!" (sometimes written as "M'aaah!") - actually General Melchett's, but it's used in impressions of Stephen himself so often that you'd be forgiven for thinking it was his, and Stephen frequently makes reference to it.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: He and Emma Thompson are the best of friends. This does not, of course, stop either of them from taking the absolute piss out of the other whenever they can get a shot to do so. And there's never any hard feelings for the piss taking since they can both give it as good as they can take it.


Video Example(s):


Scottish accents

A discussion about Scottish cuisine leads to Stephen Fry telling two anecdotes about Scottish people being unaware of their own accents.

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