QI's  Alan Davies, Stephen Fry. Image: BBC/Talkback/Brian Ritchie
QI’s Alan Davies, Stephen Fry. Image: BBC/Talkback/Brian Ritchie
Stephen Fry is to step down as the host QI after helming 180 episodes of the BBC Two comedy quiz show.

The final series hosted Fry, who was originally cast as a team captain opposite Alan Davies before taking over hosting duties at short notice, will air this month after which he’ll be replaced by former QI guest panellist Sandi Toksvig.

Under Fry’s stewardship QI has moved from BBC Four to BBC Two and is now shown on BBC One.

Show creator John Lloyd described Fry’s departure as “the end of an era” and described working with the comic, writer and presenter as “a thoroughly delightful experience.”

He added: “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. Sandi will be the first female host of a mainstream comedy panel show on British television – an appointment that is well overdue.”

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.”

Former News Quiz host Toksvig described QI as “my favourite television programme both to watch and to be on” and said taking over the show was “absolutely my dream job”.

“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 (ie Z). Who knows what lies ahead? It should all be quite interesting.”

Stephen Fry’s final series begins on BBC Two at 10pm on Friday 16 October.