Friday Night Dinner stars lead tributes to Paul Ritter after he dies of a brain tumour at 54

FRIDAY Night Dinner star Tom Rosenthal led the social media tributes to actor Paul Ritter who sadly passed aged 54 of a brain tumour.

Ritter, who starred as Martin Goodman on the Channel 4 show, died on Monday at home, a rep for the actor confirmed.

Remembering his on-screen dad, Tom, 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"

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.

"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."

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).

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.

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."

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.

"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."

Actor and co-creator of The League Of Gentlemen Mark Gatiss also remembered Ritter fondly on Twitter today.

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".

"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.

“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."

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