Friday Night Dinner Star Paul Ritter Dies Aged 54

by : Cameron Frew on : 06 Apr 2021 10:54
Friday Night Dinner Star Paul Ritter Dies Aged 54Channel 4/PA Images

Paul Ritter, star of Friday Night Dinner, has died aged 54. 

The actor, who starred in the Channel 4 sitcom alongside Tamsin Greig, Simon Bird and Tom Rosenthal, passed away on Monday, April 5, after suffering from a brain tumour.


Ritter also starred in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Quantum of Solace and, particularly memorably, as Anatoly Dyatlov in HBO’s Chernobyl mini-series.

In a statement, Ritter’s agent told The Guardian: ‘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. He was 54 and had been suffering from a brain tumour.’

Ritter was just as talented on stage as he was on screen, attracting an Olivier nomination for his 2006 performance in Coram Boy and a Tony nomination for his 2009 role in The Norman Conquests.


His agent added: ‘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 will appear in You Look Nice: The True Story of Friday Night Dinner later this year, a 90-minute documentary celebrating 10 years of the beloved sitcom.


Paying tribute to the actor on social media, Radio Times executive editor Morgan Jeffery wrote: ‘What awful news about Paul Ritter. Such a fantastic, magnetic actor in Chernobyl, No Offence, The Hollow Crown and much more. And of course, Martin Goodman is one of the most brilliant and memorable comedy characters of the past several decades.’

NME‘s Nick Reilly wrote: ‘This is so desperately sad. Martin Goodman was by far the best character in FND because Ritter so perfectly captured the absurdity that is present deep down in all dads across the land. Sh*t on it.’

Black Mirror star Michael Smiley wrote: ‘Really sad news, a hero in our house, a brilliant actor, just flawless performances. Friday Night Dinner will never be the same. RIP Paul Ritter. Sending prayers and thoughts to his loved ones.’


Another user wrote: ‘Not Paul Ritter. This is unbelievably sad. Entire family individually cried ‘no’. Extraordinary actor – watch an episode of Friday Night Dinner then immediately watch the 1st episode of Chernobyl to see his range. No age to go.’

Among the posts pouring in online, many also quoted his ‘sh*t on it’ catchphrase, alongside the classic, ‘Lovely bit of squirrel.’

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Film and TV, Chernobyl, Now