The British actor also had a memorable role in HBO's Chernobyl mini-series.
The beloved star of Friday Night Dinner, Paul Ritter, has sadly passed away at the age of 54. The late actor had risen to prominence starring in the Channel 4 sitcom alongside Tamsin Greig, Simon Bird and Tom Rosenthal, before an untimely demise on Monday, April 5. He suffered from a brain tumour. Ritter also had roles credited to him in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Quantum of Solace, Hannibal Rising and more significantly as Anatoly Dyalov in HBO's hit mini-series Chernobyl.
We are so saddened to hear of the loss of one of our favourite actors Paul Ritter. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues. pic.twitter.com/M2c3imSdRf— Channel 4 (@Channel4) April 6, 2021
According to The Guardian, Ritter's agent had shared a statement citing: "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 a talented actor on stage just as he was on screen. He had received an Olivier nomination for his 2006 performance in Coram Boy and a Tony nomination for his 2009 role in The Normal Conquests.
Everyone is rightfully praising Paul Ritter for his performance in Friday Night Dinner. But to fully appreciate just how good of an actor he was, watch Chernobyl. The amount of people I've spoken to who didn't realise it was the same actor speaks volumes about his range. RIP pic.twitter.com/a5gzCg5O8p— Jordan Paterson (@ImpoliteDoodle) April 6, 2021
His agent went on to add: "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 posthumously in You Look Nice: The True Story of Friday Night Dinner later this year, which is a 90-minute documentary that celebrates 10 years of the cherished sitcom. Before his acting career, he had gone to the German National Theatre in Hamburg, Germany before returning to the UK, taking up the German-based stage name Ritter. Ritter had married his wife, Polly Radcliffe, a research fellow at King's College London in 1996. They lived in Faversham, Kent, and had two sons, Frank and Noah.
Knocked it out of the PARK in Chernobyl. Watching it I consciously thought, "Oh, we have a new movie star." Between that & how funny he was in Friday Night Dinner... just unreal talent. Rest in peace, Paul Ritter. pic.twitter.com/nw8HnRZxRd— Rob Delaney (@robdelaney) April 6, 2021
Many notable personalities took to social media to offer their heartfelt tributes to the late actor. 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." Meanwhile, NME's Nick Reilly said: "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."
Rest in peace Paul Ritter 🖤— boohoo (@boohoo) April 6, 2021
Friday Night Dinner’s won’t be the same without you. pic.twitter.com/Karp0BHcwE
Black Mirror actor Michael Smiley shared: "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." Meanwhile, another user added: "Not Paul Ritter. This is unbelievably sad. The 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.". There were many posts and comments that soon poured in after the news hit social media. Most of the commenters had quoted his iconic "Sh*t on it" catchphrase along with the other classic, "Lovely bit of squirrel".