Paul Ritter: late actor’s most memorable roles - from Eldred Worple in Harry Potter to Martin in Friday Night Dinner

Ritter, who passed away earlier this year at 54 from a brain tumour, also starred in Chernobyl, Quantum of Solace and The Game
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Actor Paul Ritter, best known for his role as Martin Goodman in Channel 4’s Friday Night Dinner, passed away in April from a brain tumour at the age of 54.

This is a look back at Paul Ritter’s most memorable roles and career highlights.

Friday Night Dinner - Martin Goodman

Friday Night Dinner grew from being a small Channel 4 comedy, to a UK cult classic (Channel 4)Friday Night Dinner grew from being a small Channel 4 comedy, to a UK cult classic (Channel 4)
Friday Night Dinner grew from being a small Channel 4 comedy, to a UK cult classic (Channel 4)

Centering around the regular dinner experience of a middle-class British Jewish family, Friday Night Dinner grew from being a small Channel 4 comedy, to a UK cult classic.

Ritter played Martin Goodman, father of Johnny and Adam Goodman, and the husband of Jackie Goodman.

His performance became instantly iconic due to his notoriously bad hearing, heartwarming “hello bambinos” welcome, and his tendency to wander around the house shirtless..

The character was loosely based on the show’s writer Robert Popper’s real father, who often walked around the house with his shirt off.

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Chernoybl - Anatoly Dyatlov

Amongst the host of breathtaking performances in HBO’s Chernoybl, arguably none were more frightening than Ritter’s portrayal of deputy chief-engineer Anatoly Dyatlov.

Amidst the chaos of Chernoybl’s nuclear power reactor collapsing, Ritter’s character remained steadfast and loyal to the Soviet’s regime, despite its crumbling infrastructure.

The character would go on to spend a decade in prison after being found guilty of criminal negligence following the worst nuclear disaster in history.

Ritter was responsible for one of the miniseries’s most memorable scenes, which showed the brutal bullying tactics Dyatlov employed on the young, terrified team on the night of the explosion.

Speaking about his character, Ritter said: “On the night of the disaster Dyatlov, who was a terrible workplace bully, was at a very high level meeting with his immediate bosses and corralled his team into working from a manual. Many of the team were rookies and they failed to shut it down.”

Quantum of Solace - Guy Haines

Ritter made an appearance in the Bond franchise, starting as Guy Haines in Quantum of Solace.

Haines is a fictional special adviser to the British Prime Minister, whilst also working as a high ranking member of the criminal organisation, Quantum.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - Eldred Worple

Ritter also made an appearance in the Harry Potter films, portraying Eldred Worple in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

Worple attends a Slug Club Christmas party at Hogwarts, bringing vampire Sanguini as a guest. Worple goes on to tempt Harry to let him write a biography on him, citing the vast sums of money to be made.

Belgravia - Turton

The actor starred opposite his Friday Night Dinner co-star, Tasmin Grieg, in Belgravia.

The historical drama, set in the 19th century, follows the Trenchard family, and the servants, as audiences get a glimpse at the life of the emerging nouveau riche in London.

In the series Ritter played Turton, who was butler to the Trenchards. The butler has been with the family for many years, although, throughout the show audiences get a glimpse at his occasional money-making schemes with Mrs Babbage.

The Game - Bobby Waterhouse

Ritter starred alongside Brian Cox and Tom Hughes in the Cold War spy thriller, The Game.

The Game followed some of the invisible wars fought by MI5 during the Cold War.

Ritter played Bobby Waterhouse, the arrogant, louche and ambitious Head of K Branch. The character was memorable for his trademark confidence, wit and impressive address book that led to every corner of the British Establishment.

The Norman Conquests - Reg

Ritter was nominated for a Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play at the 2009 Tony Awards for his role as Reg in The Norman Conquests.

The trilogy of plays depicts the same six characters over the same weekend in a different part of a house.

Ritter shared the stage with Amelia Bullmore, Jessica Hynes, Stephen Mangan, Ben Miles and Amanda Root in the 2008 revival.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Ed

Ritter starred in Marianne Elliott’s award-winning stage production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Ritter played the role of boiler engineer, and single parent Ed Boone. Boone lives alone with his son Christopher, who has Asperger syndrome. The play tracks their relationship after Christopher discovers his father had been lying about his mother’s death.

The show was broadcast live to cinemas worldwide in 2012 through the National Theatre Live programme.

The play went on to win seven Olivier Awards and six Tony Awards.

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