Simon Bird Says He’ll ‘Always Aspire To Be Like’ On-Screen Dad Paul Ritter In Tribute

by : Cameron Frew on : 08 Apr 2021 10:30
Simon Bird Says He'll 'Always Aspire To Be Like' On-Screen Dad Paul Ritter In TributeChannel 4/PA Images

Simon Bird says he’ll ‘always aspire’ to be like Paul Ritter, his Friday Night Dinner co-star who passed away this week.

The acclaimed actor, who played Martin Goodman in the Channel 4 sitcom alongside Bird, Tom Rosenthal and Tamsin Greig, died at the age of 54 after suffering from a brain tumour.


His death has seen a wave of tributes from fans, peers and many, many others. Following on from Greig’s emotional tribute, Rosenthal has shared a message from The Inbetweeners star.

Bird’s message opens, ‘Not even going to touch the acting. That goes without saying. He was the best in the business.’

It continues, ‘What’s less well known is that he was also the Platonic ideal of a green room companion: unfailingly generous (with praise, snacks, the Guardian Sport section); unendingly thoughtful (he would set up shop on the floor if he knew there were going to be more actors than chairs in that day); and undeniably cool (calm and collected in his flat cap, but an absolute coiled spring if there was a game in the offing).’


It adds, ‘He was such a peaceful presence but throbbing with intelligence and – let’s not beat around the bush – entirely capable of a hilariously indiscreet and filthy broadside when in the mood.’

The tribute concludes, ‘I think I’ll always aspire to be like Paul. I guess that’ll happen when someone pretends to be your Dad for 10 years. I feel unbelievably fortunate to have spent so much time in that green room and hope his real bambinos know how much his fake bambinos loved and looked up to him.’

Rosenthal, who plays Jonny alongside Bird’s Adam, earlier wrote, ‘Anyone who’s seen Friday Night Dinner knows the amount of sh*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.’


For a piece in The Guardian, Greig also wrote, ‘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.’

She added, ‘The world is a less brilliant place without Paul in it. Go lightly, my friend. You are deeply beloved.’

The cast will appear in You Look Nice: The True Story of Friday Night Dinner later this year, a documentary celebrating 10 years of the show, which will now be dedicated to Ritter.


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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Film and TV, Now


The Guardian
  1. The Guardian

    Tamsin Greig: ‘Without Paul Ritter, the world is a less brilliant place’