Friday Night Dinner star Paul Ritter dies age 54 of brain tumour

By Rhona Shennan
Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 11:55 am
The actor will appear posthumously in the Friday Night Dinner 10 year anniversary retrospective (Photo: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
The actor will appear posthumously in the Friday Night Dinner 10 year anniversary retrospective (Photo: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Actor Paul Ritter, who starred in Channel 4 comedy Friday Night Dinner, has passed away due to a brain tumour at the age of 54.

In a statement issued by Ritters agent, it said that the actor died at home with his family by his side.

‘We will miss him greatly’

His agent said: “It is with great sadness we can confirm that Paul Ritter passed away last night.

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    “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 funny. We will miss him greatly.”

    Ritter is best known for his role as Martin Goodman in the Channel 4 comedy Friday Night Dinner, where he starred alongside Tamsin Greig, Simon Bird, Tom Rosenthal and Mark Heap.

    Ritter appeared in all six seasons of the programme since it started airing, and will star posthumously in the Friday Night Dinner 10th anniversary retrospective that is set to broadcast later this year on Channel 4.

    Ritter is also known for a variety of other roles, including starring as Anatoly Dyatlov in award winning mini-series Chernobyl.

    He also appeared in the likes of six-part series The Trial of Christine Keener, John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy, Quantum of Solace, and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. He also starred alongside his Friday Night Dinner co-star Tamsin Greig in the 2020 drama Belgravia.

    As well as appearing in both film and television, Ritter was also a celebrated theatre actor, where he was once nominated for an Olivier award for his performance in Coram Boy, and nominated for a Tony for his leading performance in Norman Conquests on Broadway.

    ‘Rest in peace Paul’

    As news of the actor's death made its way across social media, fellow entertainment industry workers and fans alike took to sharing their condolences online.

    Robert Popper, creator and writer of Friday Night Dinner, Tweeted: “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”

    TV critic Scott Bryan Tweeted: “Paul Ritter was one of the finest comedy actors, but also a terrifying force in Chernobyl (arguably one of the best TV series of all time). This news is gutting.”

    Actor Shaun Dooley, who starred alongside Ritter in 2014 mini-series The Game, wrote: “Awful, awful news. Paul was an incredible actor and more importantly an absolutely lovely man. An honour to have known and worked with you sir. Rest in peace Paul. Sending love to his family.”

    Sanjeev Kohli, best known for his role as Navid in Still Game, Tweeted: “Paul Ritter was one of the most versatile and brilliant actors that has ever drawn breath. If Paul Ritter was in something, it made it good. This is horrendous news.”

    Vera star Kenny Doughty wrote: “Shocked and upset to hear about the passing of Paul Ritter. Wonderful actor who I had the privilege of sharing the stage with. Gone too soon. Will be dearly missed. Thoughts and prayers to family.”

    A version of this article originally appeared on our sister site National World