Martin uses fish to cool down on Friday Night Dinner

Paul Ritter: Stephen Mangan and Nicola Coughlan lead tributes to Friday Night Dinner star

Actor died on Friday after being diagnosed with a brain tumour

Isobel Lewis
Tuesday 06 April 2021 14:20
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Tributes have flooded in for Friday Night Dinner star Paul Ritter, who has died aged 54.

The actor died at home on Friday (2 April) after being diagnosed with a brain tumour, his agent announced on Tuesday (6 April).

The news prompted an outpouring of love from Ritter’s friends and fans, with Friday Night Dinner creator Robert Popper saying that he was “devastated” by the comedic actor’s death.

“Paul was a lovely, wonderful human being,” he tweeted. “Kind, funny, super caring and the greatest actor I ever worked with... He was a man who touched so many hearts. My thoughts go out to his lovely family.”

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

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“He was my friend,” This Country actor Paul Chahidi wrote. “We met at University when I was just 18. He was a superb actor, even then - all of us looked up to him. He had a brilliant mind, the driest wit imaginable and was just so kind. He made all our lives immeasurably richer by his presence. I’m just so very sad.”

Derry Girls star Nicola Coughlan wrote: “So, so sad to hear this. I was such a fan of Paul Ritter he was absolutely magic, RIP.”

Catastrophe star Rob Delaney wrote: “Knocked it out of the PARK in Chernobyl. Watching it I consciously thought, ‘Oh, we have a new movie star.’ Between that & how funny he was in Friday Night Dinner... just unreal talent. Rest in peace, Paul Ritter.”

“Paul Ritter, one of the nicest and best actors you’ll ever meet,” Russell Tovey tweeted. “I had the absolute pleasure of a first play at 19 with him, he called me a ‘Plonker’ when I left him hanging on stage once at a missed entrance cue - I’ve never forgotten it and never did it again - RIP mate.”

Eddie Marsan said: “Just out of drama school I saw a production of 3 Sisters. A young actor playing Tuzenbach, did the monologue before the duel. I’d heard it every week at DS. But when he did it, I forgot I’d heard it before. He went on to be one of our greatest actors. RIP Paul Ritter.”

Ritter was best known for his role as family patriarch Martin Goodman in Channel 4’s Friday Night Dinner, which he starred in opposite Tamsin Greig, Simon Bird and Tom Rosenthal.

The sitcom celebrated its 10-year anniversary in February, with a special episode due to be released later this year.

Ritter also appeared in blockbuster films including Quantum of Solace and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. He also had a leading role as Anatoly Dyatlov in the critically acclaimed 2019 HBO mini-series Chernobyl.

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