Beloved actor Paul Ritter died on Monday at the age of 54 from a brain tumour. Ritter was best known for playing the patriarch Martin in Channel 4’s hugely successful Friday Night Dinner, with Tamsin Grieg, Simon Bird and Tom Rosenthal. Alongside his comedic work, Ritter also appeared in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Vera, Quantum of Solace and Sky’s acclaimed drama Chernobyl.
His co-star and onscreen son, Tom Rosenthal, said the news was “incredibly sad” on Twitter, with sitcom creator Robert Popper adding that he was “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.”
Stephen Mangan, who’d known Ritter since he was a student, said that he had “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.” Many actors echoed Mangan’s sentiments, while fans took to sharing their favourite catchphrases, quotes and memes of Ritter’s from Friday Night Dinner.
In a statement, Ritter’s agent wrote: “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.”
“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 is expected to appear in Friday Night Dinner 10th anniversary, which will be aired on Channel 4 later this year.
Words by Jess Bacon