TAMSIN Greig has revealed the heart-breaking reason she signed up to Friday Night Dinner after Paul Ritter’s death.
Tamsin Greig has revealed why she signed up to Friday Night Dinner with Paul RitterCredit: Channel 4
A number of cast members have paid touching tributes to the actor, including Tamsin, 54, who played his wife Jackie.
Writing in The Guardian, Tamsin said: “I first saw Paul on stage in Alan Ayckbourn’s Norman Conquests trilogy at the Old Vic in 2008. I couldn’t take my eyes off him.
“When I was told that they wanted him to play Martin Goodman in the pilot episode of Friday Night Dinner, I said: ‘You get him and I’m in.’
“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.
Paul’s friends and former co-stars remembered him on social media in light of his passing from a brain tumour aged 54Credit: Channel 4
She concluded: “The world is a less brilliant place without Paul in it. Go lightly, my friend. You are deeply beloved.”
Meanwhile Tom Rosenthal, who played Jonny on the comedy, thanked fans of the show for their messages of support and shared his condolences with the actor’s family.
He penned in the first of a series of heartfelt tweets: “Incredibly sad and thoughts are with Polly, Frank and Noah. x”
Paul died on Monday leaving his co-stars and fans devastatedCredit: Channel 4
Tom then continued: “Thank you for all your messages, they’re a testament to how great an actor Paul was and how many lives he touched.
“He was the most devastatingly intelligent and conscientious person with an unmatched crossword acumen and an incredible memory.
His on-screen son Tom Rosenthal (front right) paid tribute to RitterCredit: Mark Johnson/Channel 4
“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 s**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.”
The actor honoured Ritter in several tweetsCredit: Twitter
Creator of the series Robert Popper said he was “devastated” by the news and remembered Ritter as the “greatest actor” he ever worked with.
Popper wrote: “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 x.
“Thank you to everyone for sending mesages about Paul Ritter. Much appreciated. He was a man who touched so many hearts. My thoughts go out to his lovely family” (sic).
Creator of Friday Night Dinner Robert Popper said he was ‘devastated’Credit: Twitter
Ritter’s Chernobyl co-star Jared Harris paid tribute attributed much of the limited series’ success to Paul’s talent.
He shared: “A wonderful actor. His unsentimental performance in ‘Chernobyl’ was a big part of the success of that series.
“One of my favourite memories from that shoot is laughing around the dinning table listening to his stories. Condolences to his wife and family.”
Some of Ritter’s fellow acting colleagues and pals paid tribute to him after his death.
Ritter’s Chernobyl co-star Jared Harris credited his talent for making the seriesCredit: Twitter
Ritter played Anatoly Dyatlov in miniseries Chernobyl
Actor Eddie Marsan tweeted: “Just out of drama school I saw a production of Three Sisters. A young actor playing Tuzenbach, did the monologue before the duel.
“I’d heard it every week at DS (drama school). But when he did it, I forgot I’d heard it before. He went on to be one of our greatest actors. RIP Paul Ritter.”
Actor Rob Delaney also shared an emotional message, writing: “Knocked it out of the PARK in Chernobyl. Watching it I consciously thought, ‘Oh, we have a new movie star.
“Between that and how funny he was in Friday Night Dinner… just unreal talent. Rest in peace, Paul Ritter.”
Rob Delaney praised Ritter’s actingCredit: Twitter
Eddie Marsan branded Ritter ‘one of our greatest actors’Credit: Twitter
Russell Tovey shared on Twitter: “Paul Ritter, one of the nicest and best actors you’ll ever meet…
“I had the absolute pleasure of a first play at 19 with him, he called me a ‘Plonker’ when I left him hanging on stage once at a missed entrance cue – I’ve never forgotten it and never did it again – RIP mate x”.
While Stephen Mangan, who had been friends with Ritter since they were students, said he was “struggling” to find a way to talk about his dear pal.
“Trying to find a way to talk about Paul Ritter and struggling,” he wrote on Twitter. “My friend since we were students together.
Russell Tovey reflected on working with the late actorCredit: Twitter
Stephen Mangan called his close friend a ‘wonderful man’Credit: Twitter
“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.”
He shared: “Paul Ritter. What an actor. What a presence. So shocked and saddened by this awful news. RIP.”
Will Mellor said Ritter was a “fantastic actor”.
The League of Gentleman creator Mark Gatiss branded his ‘a presence’ in the acting worldCredit: Twitter
Will Mellor remembered the starCredit: Twitter
Bridgerton star Nicola Coughlan called Ritter ‘magic’
“I’m so shocked to hear about Paul Ritter! I can’t believe it!,” he wrote on Twitter. “Great man and fantastic actor, My heart goes out to his family, Such a sad day. RIP Paul. X #RIP #heartbreaking. “
In a statement, the agent said the actor died at home with his family by his side.
It read: “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 also appeared in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Quantum of Solace
A rep for the actor confirmed he passed away at home surrounded by his family on Monday
“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 also appeared in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the James Bond film Quantum of Solace and in the acclaimed miniseries Chernobyl.
He was nominated for an Olivier award in 2006, and for a Tony in 2009.
He is due to appear in a 10th anniversary retrospective of Friday Night Dinner – alongside co-stars Tamsin Greig, Simon Bird and Tom Rosenthal – which will air on Channel 4 later in 2021.
Ritter often appeared shirtless apart from an apron as Martin on Friday Night Dinner.
He told the Radio Times: “The topless idea was explained to me quite early on and like a fool I said ‘Yeah, fine’.
“One leaves one’s dignity at the door, I guess. There’s a great quote from Bert Kwouk talking about the Pink Panther films.
“He said: ‘Always take the work seriously but not yourself’. That’s what I’ve tried to do.”