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Tamsin Greig Remembers Friday Night Dinner Co-Star Paul Ritter In Emotional Tribute

by : Cameron Frew on : 07 Apr 2021 15:05
Tamsin Greig Remembers Friday Night Dinner Co-Star Paul Ritter In Emotional TributePA Images/Channel 4

Friday Night Dinner star Tamsin Greig has paid tribute to her co-star Paul Ritter, who recently passed away. 

The beloved actor, who also starred in HBO’s Chernobyl mini-series, died on Monday, April 5, at the age of 54 after suffering from a brain tumour.

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The news sparked an outpouring of messages from fans and others in the entertainment industry, with many fondly writing about his performance as Martin Goodman in the Channel 4 sitcom.

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In a piece for The Guardian, Greig wrote, ‘Paul Ritter will be remembered as a brilliantly inventive chameleon of an actor, as much at home in the guise of a mendacious Soviet nuclear engineer as of a comedic Jewish father to his two childish bambinos.’

Greig plays Jackie Goodman in Friday Night Dinner. Later this year, the cast will appear in a 90-minute documentary titled You Look Nice: The True Story of Friday Night Dinner, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the show. It will be dedicated to the actor.

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The star wrote about first seeing Ritter perform in Alan Ayckbourn’s Norman Conquests trilogy in 2008, for which he earned a Tony nomination. When the producers on Friday Night Dinner said they wanted him to play Martin, she said, ‘You get him and I’m in.’

Greig added, ‘Not only did Paul deliver in the role, he far surpassed everyone’s expectations – surprising, versatile, oddball, rooted in the clearest truth and always utterly, heart-stoppingly hilarious.’

She wrote, ‘I am eternally grateful that our paths crossed. His kindness, attention to detail and phenomenal memory, his passion for music and football, his devotion to his beautiful family, his complete inability to accept a compliment, and his quiet, loyal, compassionate friendship will stay with me for ever. The world is a less brilliant place without Paul in it. Go lightly, my friend. You are deeply beloved.’

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Tom Rosenthal, who plays Jonny, also wrote on Twitter that the sheer amount of messages testified ‘how great an actor Paul was and how many lives he touched… 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’.

He added, ‘Anyone who’s seen Friday Night Dinner knows the amount of sh*t 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. It was a total pleasure [and] honour.’

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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

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The Guardian
  1. The Guardian

    Tamsin Greig: ‘Without Paul Ritter, the world is a less brilliant place’