David Ryall dead: Harry Potter, The Village and Outnumbered actor dies at 79

The actor played Elphias Doge, a contemporary of Dumbledore’s, in 2010 film The Deathly Hallows Part 1

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The Independent Online

Friends and contemporaries have paid tribute to English character actor David Ryall who died on Christmas Day aged 79.

Ryall will be familiar to viewers as Elphias Doge in the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 as well as for a variety of theatre and TV roles including as the dementia-sufferer "granddad", Frank, in Outnumbered.

In a career that spanned five decades he also appeared as Dervla’s father Eric in Goodnight Sweetheart, more recently as the narrator ‘Old Bert’ in The Village and as Mr Hall in Dennis Potter's The Singing Detective.

Sherlock writer and actor Mark Gatiss described him as a “twinkling, brilliant, wonderful actor I was privileged to call a friend. RIP.”

Gatiss directed Ryall in TV movie The Tractate Middoth in 2013.

His daughter Charlie Ryall, wrote on Twitter: “Thank you to @Markgatiss and everyone who has sent kind words of love & encouragement about my Dad, the brilliant David Ryall.”

Adding: “Please take a moment to remember his huge five-decade-spanning career outside of the more well-known TV & film. Not just Harry Potter.”

He also appeared in Sky1 comedy Trollied. His co-star Lorraine Cheshire tweeted: “@charlie_ryall So sorry to hear about your dad Charlie. He was such a lovely man when he came to work on Trollied and a brilliant actor.”

David Brown, a TV writer, tweeted: "RIP David Ryall - one of the best Inspector Morse baddies. Derek Whittaker - driving test psycho who tried to knife Morse."

Actor Clive Merrison wrote: "I'm so sorry to hear David Ryall has died. He was a wonderful actor and a dear colleague."

Ryall was born in 1935 and won a scholarship to Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1962 during which time he won the Caryl Brahams Award for a Musical.

He worked with Laurence Olivier's company with the National Theatre at the Old Vic from 1965–73, during which he was involved with many new and influential plays, including Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

In 1994 he played Feste in Sir Peter Hall's production of Twelfth Night – a performance which was praised highly by Sir Alec Guinness in his autobiography.

Ryall, who appeared numerous times at the National Theatre, continued to perform onstage until later in life. He was in Patrick Marber's Don Juan in Soho at the Donmar Warehouse in 2007.

Last year he appeared briefly on screen as an old soldier in BBC drama Our Girl starring Lacey Turner.