Harry Potter, The Village and Outnumbered star David Ryall has died

Sherlock writer and star Mark Gatiss leads tribute to his friend who died on Christmas Day aged 79

David Ryall, the English character actor who was a familiar face in an array of TV favourites, has died.


The actor played the grandfather in the hit BBC comedy Outnumbered but was a well-known presence in a variety of other small-screen hits such as The Singing Detective, Goodnight Sweetheart and The Village.

Sherlock writer and actor Mark Gatiss paid tribute to his friend on Twitter, writing:

Born in 1935, Ryall earned early success with his stage work before becoming a familiar face to TV viewers in a career spanning more than five decades.

He appeared in the first two series of BBC1 comedy Outnumbered as Frank, the grandfather who suffers from dementia. He later reprised his role for the 2009 and 2011 Christmas specials of the show.

Other roles included the part of Old Bert, Britain’s oldest man who recounts his long life through a series of flashbacks as narrator of the BBC series The Village (see main pic).

He also played the Ministry of Magic jurist Elphias Doge in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (see pic below).

Ryall enjoyed a cameo part as an old soldier in BBC1 drama Our Girl and was popular with fans of Sky 1 comedy Trollied as Vic.

His performance as Mr Hall – a fellow patient of Michael Gambon’s lead character in Dennis Potter’s seminal 1980s TV drama series The Singing Detective – was also highly regarded.

The drama’s producer Kenith Trodd told RadioTimes.com what made Ryall’s performance so special. He said: “He was cast as the old pro lynchpin in a trio of bantering cardiac and skin habitues in a dynasouric NHS ward. David’s aggrieved, prurient Mr Hall grounded the itchy desperation of the place in a heavenly patina of comic excess and total reality.” 

Another familiar role that won him the affections of TV fans was his turn as the staunchly patriotic Eric, the father of Dervla Kirwan’s Phoebe in the Nicholas Lyndhurst time-travelling comedy Goodnight Sweetheart.

Fans of the actor took to Twitter to pay tribute.

One wrote:



Another added: