Tributes to Friday Night Dinner star Paul Ritter have poured in from across the acting world, with colleagues describing him as “devastatingly intelligent” and “a lovely, wonderful human being”.
Ritter, who appeared in the recent Chernobyl mini-series and installments of the Harry Potter and James Bond franchises, died of a brain tumour on 5 April, aged 54.
In a statement, his agent said he passed away at home surrounded by his family.
Ritter was best known for his portrayal of Martin in the Channel 4 comedy, Friday Night Dinner.
‘The greatest actor I ever worked with’
The show’s creator Robert Popper said he was “devastated” at the news of Ritter’s passing.
On Twitter, he wrote: “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.”
Responding to messages of support he received after news of Ritter’s death, Friday Night Dinner co-star Tom Rosenthal said he would be “forever thankful” to have worked with the star.
He tweeted: “Thank you for all your messages, they’re a testament to how great an actor Paul was and how many lives he touched. He was the most devastatingly intelligent and conscientious person with an unmatched crossword acumen and an incredible memory.
“If he met you once I swear he knew your name for life. Luckily for us he turned such a wonderful mind to bringing life to Martin Goodman for whom he would do whatever it took to make us laugh.
“Anyone who’s seen Friday Night Dinner knows the amount of shit we put him through and I never once heard him complain. I’ll be forever thankful for working with someone who was so supportive and who taught me so much about professionalism and humility in acting.”
‘So much talent’
As an experienced actor across TV, film and stage, tributes to Ritter have come from across the entertainment industry, particularly among British television comedy actors.
Actor Stephen Mangan said he was “struggling” to find a way to discuss Ritter’s death.
Mangan worked with Ritter on 2009’s The Norman Conquests, for which the latter was nominated for a Tony Award.
Mangan 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.”
‘One of our greatest’
Will Mellor, Reece Shearsmith and Shaun Dooley were among those to pay tribute to Ritter on social media.
Eddie Marsan said Ritter was “one of our greatest actors” and described seeing one of the actor’s early performances.
He tweeted: “Just out of drama school I saw a production of 3 Sisters. A young actor playing Tuzenbach, did the monologue before the duel. I’d heard it every week at DS. But when he did it, I forgot I’d heard it before. He went on to be one of our greatest actors. RIP Paul Ritter.”