Respects paid to Friday Night Dinner star Paul Ritter, who dies aged 54

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Respects paid to Friday Night Dinner star Paul Ritter, who dies aged 54

Robert Popper, the creator of the Channel 4 comedy about a Jewish family, and co-star Tracy-Ann Oberman, join flood of tributes to the actor

Paul Ritter, who played Martin Goodman in Channel 4's Friday Night Dinner
Paul Ritter, who played Martin Goodman in Channel 4's Friday Night Dinner

The Friday Night Dinner star Paul Ritter has passed away aged just 54, his agent has said.

The TV star, known for his role as the father Martin in the popular Channel 4 series, as well as playing  Anatoly Dyatlov in the critically-acclaimed Chernobyl, had been suffering from a brain tumour.

“It is with great sadness we can confirm that Paul Ritter passed away last night,” said a statement.

“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 very funny. We will miss him greatly.”

The actor was best known for playing Martin Goodman in the long-running sitcom, which centres around Shabbat dinner at the Goodman household, a secular Jewish family from north London.

Co-star, Tracy-Ann Oberman, who played Auntie Val in the series, paid moving tribute to Paul as “the most brilliant clever and truthful actor.”

“Some of the funniest times of my life was working on night shoots with him on Friday Night Dinner shoving a fox in a car, or watching him stand on a dustbin trying to get a plastic bag off a tree top,” she said.

She added: “He was a true artist and a true mentor.”

The sitcom’s creator, Robert Popper, said he was “devastated by this terribly sad news”. 

Paying tribute to Ritter, he said: “Paul was a lovely, wonderful human being. Kind, funny, super caring and the greatest actor I ever worked with.”

The actor also had roles as Eldred Worple in Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince and as Guy Haines in James Bond film Quantum Of Solace.

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