Friday Night Dinner's Simon Bird pays tribute to Paul Ritter after his sudden death in emotional message

FRIDAY Night Dinner star Paul Ritter was "the best in the business" and "throbbing with intelligence" says his on-screen son, Simon Bird.

The Inbetweeners actor paid an emotional tribute to his former co-star who died this week from a brain tumour.

Ritter had played Martin, dad to Simon’s Adam since 2011 in the show and the pair shared a wonderful bond with Simon admitting he aspires to be like the talented actor.

“Not even going to touch the acting. That goes without saying. He was the best in the business,” Simon said in a statement released via his co-star Tom Rosenthal’s Twitter account (Jonny in the show).

"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," Simon went on.


"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," he added.

The pair were expected to get together later this year to film a 10th anniversary Friday Night Dinner documentary special.

Paul's other co-stars have also paid tribute, with Tamsin Greig who played his screen wife Jackie calling Paul “deeply beloved”.

"It took enormous courage and effort for him to record the drama remotely from his home when he was so ill, and I am honoured that he so willingly agreed to do it. It is a fine legacy and tribute to his artistry, and a gift of time and experience that I will treasure."

She added: "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 forever.

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

Paul died at home on Monday night with his family by his side, aged 54. He leaves wife Polly and sons Frank and Noah.

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