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Tamsin Greig 'couldn't take her eyes off' co-star Paul Ritter the first time she saw him

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Tamsin Greig 'couldn't take her eyes off' co-star Paul Ritter the first time she saw him
Tamsin Greig, 54, addressed the passing of her on-screen husband and late actor Paul Ritter, who tragically died at his home on 5 April after battling a brain tumour. She celebrated his life and career in an overflow of loving words, applauding his legacy and courage for continuing to work despite his illness as she looked back at their friendship over the years.
In an article for The Guardian dedicated to Paul, the actress revealed she couldn’t take her eyes off him the first time she saw him perform.

“I first saw Paul on stage in Alan Ayckbourn’s Norman Conquests trilogy at the Old Vic in 2008,” she recalled.

“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.'”

Successful in the casting, Tamsin believed Paul “far surpassed” everyone’s expectations, bringing life to the “surprising, versatile oddball” that was heart-stoppingly hilarious.

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READ MORE: Paul Ritter dead: Friday Night Dinner co-star Tom Rosenthal speaks out

Weeks before his untimely death the pair, who played Martin and Jackie, on the Channel 4 comedy, collaborated once again for a BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Anne Youngson’s novel Meet Me at the Museum.

“It took enormous courage and effort for him to record the drama remotely from his home when he was so ill, and I am honoured that he so willingly agreed to do it,” Tamsin gushed.

“It is a fine legacy and tribute to his artistry, and a gift of time and experience that I will treasure.”

She went on to say: “I am eternally grateful that our paths crossed.

“His kindness, attention to detail and phenomenal memory, his passion for music and football, his devotion to his beautiful family, his complete inability to accept a compliment, and his quiet, loyal, compassionate friendship will stay with me for ever.”

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The actress added: “The world is a less brilliant place without Paul in it. Go lightly, my friend. You are deeply beloved.”

Paul was also well known for his parts in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and the Sky and HBO show Chernobyl, but his successful career began back in 1992 on stage.

He was next due to appear later this year in a retrospective of Friday Night Dinner, which is set to pay tribute to the star in the upcoming series.

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As the father of the central family in the show, The Goodmans, Paul appeared in every episode and the show’s bosses have now confirmed an upcoming programme about the series will honour his memory.

A statement from production company Big Talk, which produced the series, said: “We were incredibly sad to learn that Paul Ritter passed away last night.

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“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.”

Tom Rosenthal, who played Paul’s son Jonny on the show, wrote: “Anyone who’s seen Friday Night Dinner knows the amount of shit we put him through and I never once heard him complain.”

He added: “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.

“It was a total pleasure and honour.” Many others from the comedy world and beyond posted messages of support.

Paul’s family wishes any tribute donations to be made to https://www.oldvictheatre.com/support-us/donate. The forthcoming 10th anniversary celebration of Friday Night Dinner on Channel 4 will be dedicated to Paul.

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Tamsin Greig 'couldn't take her eyes off' co-star Paul Ritter the first time she saw him
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