Friday Night Dinner has confirmed that the show’s upcoming 10th-anniversary celebration will be dedicated to Paul Ritter, after news that that the actor had died of a brain tumour.
Ritter played the role of Martin Goodman in all 37 episodes of the popular sitcom, and the documentary – which will air on Channel 4 later this year – will now pay tribute to him.
A statement from Big Talk, the production company behind the show read, “We were incredibly sad to learn that Paul Ritter passed away last night.
“He was a brilliant, kind and talented man much loved by everyone who was lucky enough to know and work with him, and Paul will forever be part of both the Big Talk and Friday Night Dinner families.
“Our thoughts are with his own family at this time and following their wishes we will be making a donation to the Old Vic Impact Fund – https://www.oldvictheatre.com/support-us/donate.”
Series creator Robert Popper led the tributes to Ritter, writing: “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. My heart goes out to Paul’s wonderful family at this tragic time”.
Meanwhile, a host of stars from the worlds of TV and comedy paid their respects to Ritter on social media, including Friday Night Dinner co-star Tom Rosenthal who wrote: “Incredibly sad and thoughts are with Polly, Frank and Noah.”
Tracy-Ann Oberman, who played Auntie Val on the Channel 4 series added: “I loved Paul. He was the most brilliant clever and truthful actor. Some of the funniest times of my life were 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, or sitting in a cage watching him topless trying to saw through solid metal.
“He was the most humble yet brilliant actor. And his legacy to help younger actors is pure Paul Ritter. He was a true artist and a true mentor. Love to all his family . Such a terrible loss x”
Incredibly sad and thoughts are with Polly, Frank and Noah. x— Tom 🅡øsenthal (@rosentweets) April 6, 2021
Paul Ritter: Friday Night Dinner star dies of brain tumour at 54 https://t.co/oJkS6A4lVQ
Derry Girls and Bridgerton star Nicola Coughlan wrote that she was “so, so sad to hear this,” and added that Ritter was “absolutely magic” while Catastrophe’s Rob Delaney described him as “an unreal talent.”
Meanwhile, Mark Gatiss tweeted that he was “shocked and saddened by this awful news” and Helen Mirren said: “Paul was a deep and thoughtful actor who was truly wonderful to work with. Sensitive, intelligent and generous, he will be terribly missed by all the fraternity who make drama.”
Stephen Mangan wrote: “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.”
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.— Stephen Mangan (@StephenMangan) April 6, 2021
Meanwhile a tweet from the official Channel 4 Twitter account read: “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.”