Actor Paul Ritter dead at 55: Harry Potter, James Bond and Friday Night Dinner star dies of brain…

Friday Night Dinner star Paul Ritter has died of a brain tumour, aged just 55.

Mr Ritter starred as the father Martin in the Channel 4 hit, alongside Tamsin Greig, Simon Bird and Tom Rosenthal.

He died on Monday, according to his agent who released a statement on the actor’s passing.

While he was known by modern viewers for comedy in Friday Night Dinner he also had a history in critically acclaimed heavyweight roles.

He was in films including Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Quantum of Solace, as well as the critically-lauded Chernobyl mini-series.

His final role in Operation Mincemeat as Bentley Purchase is understood to have been completed but the film has not yet been released.

Friday Night Dinner with Paul Ritter as Martin, alongside his co-stars in the hit Channel 4 show

Friday Night Dinner with Paul Ritter as Martin, alongside his co-stars in the hit Channel 4 show

Friday Night Dinner with Paul Ritter as Martin, alongside his co-stars in the hit Channel 4 show

The actor died peacefully at home with his wife Polly and sons Frank and Noah by his side

The actor died peacefully at home with his wife Polly and sons Frank and Noah by his side

The actor died peacefully at home with his wife Polly and sons Frank and Noah by his side

A spokesman for the actor said: ‘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 55 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.’

The role of Martin in Friday Night dinner required him to be topless for many of the episodes

The role of Martin in Friday Night dinner required him to be topless for many of the episodes

The role of Martin in Friday Night dinner required him to be topless for many of the episodes

He was almost unrecognisable playing former PM John Major in the Audience in 2013

He was almost unrecognisable playing former PM John Major in the Audience in 2013

He was almost unrecognisable playing former PM John Major in the Audience in 2013

Until today it had not been known that Mr Ritter had been suffering from a brain tumour.

As Martin, he would be frequently seen topless except for an apron covering his modesty.

He once told the Radio Times: ‘The topless idea was explained to me quite early on and like a fool I said “Yeah, fine”.

‘One leave’s one 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.’ 

He also played Anatoly Dyatlov in the acclaimed drama Chernobyl and Eldred Worple in Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince.

Other notable roles were as Guy Haines in James Bond film Quantum Of Solace, in period drama Belgravia, as Billy Cartwright in Vera and Sir John Seymour in Wolf Hall.

His performance in Chernoble saw him nominated alongside the cast in 2019 Online Film & Television Association Best Ensemble.

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