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David Ryall in 'Outnumbered' (Pic: BBC)
David Ryall in 'Outnumbered' (Pic: BBC)
David Ryall in Outnumbered. (Pic: BBC)

Some sad news from the weekend just past, as it’s been announced that the British actor David Ryall, best known for playing Elphias Doge in the Harry Potter films, passed away on Christmas Day. He was 79 years old.

Ryall had a long and distinguished career as a character actor in both film and television, appearing in such varied productions as The Elephant ManTruly Madly DeeplyThe Singing Detective and the original BBC version of House of Cards. But probably his two most beloved roles came towards the end of his career, as he replaced Peter Cartwright to play the role of Dumbledore’s close friend Elphias in the penultimate Potter film, The Deathly Hallows: Part One in 2010.

In addition, David made several memorable appearances as “Grandad” in the hit BBC sitcom Outnumbered, from its first season in 2007 up until his last appearance in the 2011 Christmas special. His performances as the character began to suffer from dementia were highly acclaimed for being both funny and touching in equal measure. Here’s a clip from the first season:

Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss, who directed Ryall in the 2013 TV movie The Tractate Middoth, tweeted in tribute:

David’s daughter Charlie Ryall is also an actor, and appeared with him in a London production of King Lear earlier this year.

Which of David’s roles do you remember best?

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By Seb Patrick