On BBC2 they were celebrating a very British icon as Bafta presented a look back over Stephen Fry's multi-faceted career. This sort of thing tends to get a bit smug and certainly there was little fresh ground covered as the likes of Hugh Laurie, Michael Sheen and the producer John Lloyd paid tribute.
Yet Fry, like Beckham, is oddly appealing and this tribute worked best when he spoke for himself, talking illuminatingly about his early life - "I was incredibly disruptive and a bad influence on others" - honestly about his breakdown post-Cell Mates and movingly about his experience making the 1997 Oscar Wilde biopic, Wilde.
In recent years Fry has been so swept up in hosting quiz shows and award shows and chattering on Twitter that it's easy to forget that he is also an actor of great charm and skill. This film went some way to reminding viewers of that. Despite the backslapping, job done.Sarah Hughes, The Independent, 30th December 2015
A big evening for Britain's favourite Really Clever Bloke. BBC Two is offering an opportunity to relive some of Fry's magic moments, with the man himself on hand to provide anecdotage throughout. Fry has come a long way since early roles as an uncredited extra in Chariots of Fire or even as a fresh-faced University Challenge, even if nothing since has topped his outstanding 1997 portrayal of Oscar Wilde. For fans of at least quasi-Wildean wit, a new edition of QI/c] follows.Mark Gibbings-Jones, The Guardian, 29th December 2015
"You can't live your life without Stephen Fry," we're told, but I'd disagree. Nonetheless, those who find Stephen Fry pompous these days might actually like this documentary as it reminds you of the days when he appeared in brilliant comedies like Blackadder and The Young Ones. He wasn't always a luvvie BAFTA host or a dabbling TV presenter. This tribute takes us back to his great days, but also tells his difficult personal story, which is far more interesting than anything he's done on screen.
The story starts in Hampstead in 1957, but his family soon moved to Norfolk and he says it was "agony to be so remote" as the cool London kids were going to cinemas and milk bars and he was stuck in flat old Yokeltown.
There followed some youthful brushes with the law but education brought him back into civilisation, and it was at Cambridge in the 1970s where he met his first comedy partner, Hugh Laurie.
There is lots of luvvie emotion and glowing contributions from Laurie, Michael Sheen, Alan Davies and John Lloyd but Fry's discussions about his battles with bipolar disorder offset all of that frilly nonsense.Julie McDowall, The National, 29th December 2015
Stephen Fry says he would have killed himself if he had not been able to vanish when starring in a West End play became too much for him. The actor and TV host, 58, went AWOL three days into the run of Cell Mates at the Albery Theatre.Mark Jefferies, The Mirror, 29th December 2015
Stephen Fry has been the face of the Bafta Film Awards for many years now and the British Academy is behind this glowing tribute to the writer, raconteur, actor and wit. There will be contributions from Fry's friends and colleagues Michael Sheen, Hugh Laurie, Alan Davies and John Lloyd. But in the main, Fry himself waxes lyrical on his love of meeting film stars at the awards, his early passion for drama and comedy and the bathroom encounter with Alan Bennett that prompted him to play Oscar Wilde in the 1997 film.
This may be a little luvvieish for some tastes, but the goo will have a dose of savoury in the form of his reflections on his various private struggles over the years, including his battle with depression.Ben Dowell, Radio Times, 23rd December 2015