Friday Night Dinner, Chernobyl and Bond: Paul Ritter's best performances

Paul Ritter death: Friday Night Dinner star dies of brain tumour

Actor was a familiar face on British TV but also starred in blockbuster films such as Quantum of Solace

Roisin O'Connor@Roisin_OConnor
Tuesday 06 April 2021 17:03
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Actor Paul Ritter, known for his starring role in Friday Night Dinner, has died aged 54.

His agent said he died of a brain tumour at home, surrounded by his wife and two sons.

“It is with great sadness we can confirm that Paul Ritter passed away last night,” his agent said. “He died peacefully at home with his wife Polly and sons Frank and Noah by his side. He was 54 and had been suffering from a brain tumour.

“Paul was an exceptionally talented actor playing an enormous variety of roles on stage and screen with extraordinary skill. He was fiercely intelligent, kind and very funny. We will miss him greatly.”

Ritter was arguably best known as the family patriarch, Martin Goodman, in Channel 4’s Friday Night Dinner, opposite co-stars Tamsin Greig, Simon Bird and Tom Rosenthal.

Writer and co-creator of Friday Night Dinner, Robert Popper, said he was “devastated”.

“Paul was a lovely, wonderful human being. Kind, funny, super caring and the greatest actor I ever worked with,” Popper wrote on Twitter.

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Tom Rosenthal, Ritter’s co-star on Friday Night Dinner, paid tribute to the actor on Twitter: “Thank you for all your messages, they’re a testament to how great an actor Paul was and how many lives he touched.

“He was the most devastatingly intelligent and conscientious person with an unmatched crossword acumen and an incredible memory.”

“If he met you once I swear he knew your name for life. Luckily for us he turned such a wonderful mind to bringing life to Martin Goodman for whom he would do whatever it took to make us laugh.”

Actor Stephen Mangan said he was “trying to find a way to talk about Paul Ritter and struggling”.

“My friend since we were students together”.

“So much talent and it shone from him even as a teenager,” Mangan tweeted.

“I was so lucky to know him and lucky too to work with him many times over the years. Wonderful man. RIP.”

Though he was famous for his television role, he also appeared in blockbuster films including Quantum of Solace, and Harry Potterand the Half-Blood Prince, and the critically acclaimed 2019 series Chernobyl, as Anatoly Dyatlov.

He was nominated for an Olivier award in 2006 for his performance in Coram Boy, and a Tony award for 2009’s The Norman Conquests, which also starred Stephen Mangan and Jessica Hynes.

Ritter will appear posthumously in the Friday Night Dinner 10th anniversary retrospective, set to air on Channel 4 later this year.

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