'Friday Night Dinner' star Simon Bird pens moving tribute to screen dad Paul Ritter

·2-min read
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: Paul Ritter, Tom Rosenthal, Simon Bird and Tamsin Greig attend the
Simon Bird, Tom Rosenthal, Tamsin Greig and Paul Ritter at a Friday Night Dinner in March 2020. (Getty Images)

Simon Bird has penned an emotional tribute to his Friday Night Dinner co-star Paul Ritter, saying he would always aspire to be like him.

Ritter passed away on 5 April at the age of 54, after battling a brain tumour.

Bird is not on Twitter himself but shared his heartache at the loss of his screen dad in messages then posted by Tom Rosenthal, who plays his brother.

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Rosenthal tweeted: “Simon’s not on Twitter but wanted to get a message out about Paul so here it is.”

Paul Ritter has died aged 54 from a brain tumour. (Getty Images)
Paul Ritter (Getty Images)

Bird started: “Not even going to touch the acting. That goes without saying. He was the best in the business.

Screengrab from Tom Rosenthal Twitter
Screengrab from Tom Rosenthal Twitter

“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).”

Paul Ritter, Tom Rosenthal, Simon Bird and Tamsin Greig attending a screening of Friday Night Dinner, at the Curzon Soho in London. Picture date: Monday March 9, 2020. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/Empics
Paul Ritter, Tom Rosenthal, Simon Bird and Tamsin Greig (Matt Crossick/Empics)

“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,” added the Inbetweeners star.

“I think I’ll always aspire to be like Paul.

Screengrab from Tom Rosenthal Twitter
Screengrab from Tom Rosenthal Twitter

“I guess that’ll happen when someone pretends to be your Dad for 10 years."

Simon Bird attending The Festival world premiere at Cineworld Leicester Square, London. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS
Simon Bird (Doug Peters/EMPICS)

The actor said he feels "unbelievably fortunate" to have spent so much time in that green room with Ritter and that he hopes his "real bambinos know how much his fake bambinos loved and looked up to him".

Ritter played Martin Goodman in Friday Night Dinner, with Bird and Rosenthal as his sons Adam and Jonny. Mum Jackie is played by Tamsin Greig.

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The actor was also a regular in ITV crime drama Vera, Channel 4 cop show No Offence and appeared in hit HBO series Chernobyl and acclaimed BBC drama The Trial Of Christine Keeler last year.

Watch: Paul Ritter dies aged 54

His films included Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince and Quantum Of Solace.