Friday Night Dinner's Simon Bird pays tribute to Paul Ritter

Catherine Earp
·2-min read
Photo credit: John Phillips
Photo credit: John Phillips

From Digital Spy

Friday Night Dinner's Simon Bird has paid tribute to his co-star Paul Ritter, who sadly passed away this week at the age of 54 following a brain tumour.

On co-star Tom Rosenthal's Twitter, a statement said: "Simon's not on Twitter but [he] wanted to get a message out about Paul so here it is:

"Not even going to touch the acting. That goes without saying. He was the best in the business.

Photo credit: John Phillips
Photo credit: John Phillips

Related: Friday Night Dinner anniversary special will be dedicated to late star Paul Ritter

"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).

"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."

He added: "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.

Photo credit: Dave J Hogan - Getty Images
Photo credit: Dave J Hogan - Getty Images

"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."

Ritter's agent confirmed the sad news that he'd passed away, saying: "He died peacefully at home with his wife Polly and sons Frank and Noah by his side. He was 54 and had been suffering from a brain tumour."

Alongside roles in Chernobyl, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and James Bond movie Quantum of Solace, Ritter was best known for his time on the Channel 4 comedy Friday Night Dinner where he played family patriarch Martin.

He starred alongside Tamsin Greig, Simon Bird and Tom Rosenthal in the popular show that's been running since 2011. A retrospective special is due to air on Channel 4 later this year to celebrate the show's 10th anniversary, and will be dedicated to the star.

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