Entertainment & Arts

Harry Potter actor David Ryall dies aged 79

David Ryall
Image caption David Ryall had a long and wide-ranging career across film, TV and theatre

Actor David Ryall, known for playing Elphias Doge in the Harry Potter Deathly Hallows film, has died aged 79.

The actor passed away on Christmas Day but no more information has been given.

Ryall had a five-decade career across film, TV and theatre, including in movie The Elephant Man and on TV, The Village and Outnumbered.

Daughter Charlie Ryall said: "Please take a moment to remember his huge five-decade-spanning career outside of the more well-known TV & film."

In a tweet, Sherlock writer Mark Gatiss called Ryall "a twinkling, brilliant, wonderful actor I was privileged to call a friend. RIP".

Gatiss directed Ryall in TV movie The Tractate Middoth in 2013.

Image caption David Ryall played the grandfather in Outnumbered

Ryall replaced Peter Cartwright as Elphias Doge in 2010's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.

His character was a close friend of Albus Dumbledore in addition to being a Ministry of Magic jurist and an Order of the Phoenix member.

His other film roles included parts in 2004's Around the World in 80 Days, 1990's Truly, Madly, Deeply and 1980's The Elephant Man.

On TV, character actor Ryall appeared in many well-known shows including The Singing Detective, Holby City, Casualty, Midsomer Murders, Goodnight Sweetheart and the Andrew Davies version of House Of Cards.

Most recently, he was perhaps best known as Frank, the grandfather who suffers from dementia, in BBC comedy Outnumbered.

He is also recognisable to TV viewers as Britain's oldest man Old Bert, the narrator of BBC One's The Village, who recalls his life through a series of flashbacks.

He also appeared in the Sky One comedy Trollied and in BBC drama Our Girl.

Image caption He played alongside Diana Rigg in 1977's TV drama Celluloid Dreams

On Twitter, fans and colleagues of the actor paid tribute.

"So very sad to read of the death of actor David Ryall may he RIP," said Colette Mayer.

TV writer David Brown said: "RIP David Ryall - one of the best Inspector Morse baddies. Derek Whittaker - driving test psycho who tried to knife Morse."

Actor Clive Merrison added: "I'm so sorry to hear David Ryall has died. He was a wonderful actor and a dear colleague."

Ryall began his career on the stage before becoming a familiar face on British TV.

He received a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1962, during which time he won the Caryl Brahams Award for a musical.

Ryall went on to join Laurence Olivier's company with the National Theatre, during which time he was involved in several well-known plays, such as Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

His work at the National Theatre also included Guys and Dolls, The Beggar's Opera and Animal Farm, Coriolanus, The School of Wives, Democracy and The UN Inspector.

Ryall continued to be a regular face in the theatre, with appearances in Patrick Marber's Don Juan in Soho at the Donmar Warehouse in 2007.

Ryall is survived by his son, music manager Jonathan Ryall, and two daughters, singer Imogen Ryall and actress Charlie Ryall.