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Simon Bird: 'I'm unbelievably fortunate to have known Paul Ritter'

Simon Bird: 'I'm unbelievably fortunate to have known Paul Ritter'
© Channel 4
Simon Bird pays tribute to Friday Night Dinner co-star Paul Ritter following his death from a brain tumour.

Friday Night Dinner star Simon Bird has paid tribute to TV dad Paul Ritter following his untimely death earlier this week.

The actor - patriarch Martin Goodman in the Channel 4 comedy - passed away at the age of 54 on Monday following a battle with a brain tumour.

Bird, who played eldest son Adam, does not have his own social media account but posted a tribute to Ritter via co-star Tom Rosenthal.

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

"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.

"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."

Ritter will be honoured by Channel 4 with a special night of Friday Night Dinner programming to mark the show's 10th anniversary later this year.

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Paul Ritter in Friday Night Dinner
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Friday Night Dinner star Paul Ritter dies, aged 54
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