Paul Ritter. Friday Night Dinner star dies at 54.
- Published on Apr 6, 2021
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Actor Paul Ritter, who played dad Martin Goodman in the popular Channel 4 comedy Friday Night Dinner, has died after a brain tumour at the age of 54.
He also starred in Sky drama Chernobyl, played Eldred Worple in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and was in James Bond film Quantum of Solace.
His other TV credits included Vera, Belgravia, Cold Feet and No Offence.
His agent said on Tuesday: "It is with great sadness we can confirm that Paul Ritter passed away last night."
They said he died peacefully at home with his wife Polly and sons Frank and Noah by his side.
The statement added that he was "an exceptionally talented actor playing an enormous variety of roles on stage and screen with extraordinary skill", describing him as "fiercely intelligent, kind and very funny."
"We will miss him greatly," it said.
Friday Night Dinner writer Robert Popper tweeted his 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 x"
The sitcom also starred Tamsin Grieg, Simon Bird, Tom Rosenthal and Mark Heap. Ritter played Martin, who was loosely based on Popper's father, who apparently often walked around the house with his shirt off.
Actors paying tribute included Derry Girls' Nicola Coughlan, who tweeted that Ritter "was absolutely magic", while Eddie Marsan said he was "one of our greatest actors".
Catastrophe's Rob Delaney said Ritter had an "unreal talent" that spanned comedy and drama, and fellow actor Sanjeev Kohli described him as "one of the most versatile & brilliant actors that has ever drawn breath".
Radio Times executive editor Morgan Jeffrey remembered him as "a fantastic, magnetic actor" and said Martin was "one of the most brilliant and memorable comedy characters of the past several decades".
Friday Night Dinner focused on the British Jewish Goodman family, whose sons returned home each Friday night for a meal, which usually involved eating "crimble crumble" for dessert, and ended in some kind of disarray after the appearance of their unusual neighbour Jim, played by Heap.
Martin would regularly joke about the meal's main course being "a lovely bit of squirrel".
In the 2019 drama Chernobyl, which was produced by HBO and Sky UK, Ritter played Anatoly Dyatlov, the deputy chief engineer at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.
TV drama Chernobyl: 'So chilling, it spares you nothing'
The show, which also starred Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård and Emily Watson, won awards including two Golden Globes and 10 Emmy awards, including three from the Primetime Emmys.
- Film & Animation