Friday Night Dinner's Paul Ritter dies at 54 | Actor had a brain tumour © C4

Friday Night Dinner's Paul Ritter dies at 54

Actor had a brain tumour

Friday Night Dinner star Paul Ritter has died of a brain tumour at the age of 54.

The actor, who played dad  Martin Goodman in the long-running Channel 4 comedy, died  at home yesterday with his family by his side.

In a statement, his agents Markham, Froggatt & Irwin said: ‘It is with great sadness we can confirm that Paul Ritter passed away last night.

‘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.'

Friday Night Dinner creator Robert Popper was quick to pay  tribute, saying: 'Devastated at this terribly sad news. Paul was a lovely, wonderful human being. Kind, funny, super caring and the greatest actor I ever worked with.'

Ritter's friend Stephen Mangan, who appeared alongside him on stage in The Norman Conquest and in his Channel 4 comedy Hang Ups, 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.'

Comedian and writer Sanjeev Kohli said: 'Paul Ritter was one of the most versatile & brilliant actors that has ever drawn breath. If Paul Ritter was in something, it made it good. This is horrendous news.

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

Meanwhile, Catastrophe co-creator Rob Delaney focussed on his dramatic impact, saying: '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.'

Ritter's TV credits also included Cold Feet, Vera, No Offence and Lovesick; while in the cinema he appeared in Harry Potter And the Half-Blood Prince,  Quantum of Solace and the forthcoming war drama Operation Mincemeat. 

He also played Dave, a man Bob Dylan accidentally pays a visit to expecting musician Dave Stewart, in Sky’s Urban Myths in 2017; Eric Sykes in the 2014 Tommy Cooper biopic Not Like That, Like This; and Dad’s Army co-creator Jimmy Perry in We’re Doomed! The Dad’s Army Story, which aired in 2015.

On stage, he was nominated for an Olivier award in 2006 for his performance in Coram Boy. In 2012, he appeared  in the stage version of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the National Theatre, in 2013 he was John Major in Peter Morgan's The Audience and in 2016 appeared alongside Tim Key and Rufus Sewell in a revival of Art.

Ritter is due to appear in the Friday Night Dinner 10th anniversary retrospective, which will air on Channel 4 later this year. alongside his co-stars Tamsin Greig, Mark Heap, Simon Bird and Tom Rosenthal.

Here are some of his finest moments from the comedy:

Published: 6 Apr 2021

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