Comedian Simon Bird pays emotional tribute to on-screen dad Paul Ritter

Comedian Simon Bird has paid a heart-breaking tribute to Paul Ritter, his on-screen dad, who sadly died this week.

The Inbetweeners star worked with Paul on Friday Night Dinner and has been left saddened by his co-star’s tragic death from a brain tumour aged 54.

Simon is not on social media, but his on-screen brother from the show, Tom Rosenthal, revealed that his co-star wanted to get a message out to pay tribute to Paul.

“I think I’ll always aspire to be like Paul,” penned Simon, on Tom’s Twitter page.

“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.”

“[And] not even going to touch the acting. That goes without saying. He was the best in the business.

“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)."

Simon’s message continued: “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.”
Actor Tom paid a heartfelt tribute when news of Paul’s untimely death broke, as he noted Ritter’s family, wife Polly and sons Frank and Noah.

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And in an additional Twitter message he wrote: “Thank you for all your messages, they’re a testament to how great an actor Paul was and how many lives he touched.

“He was the most devastatingly intelligent and conscientious person with an unmatched crossword acumen and an incredible memory.

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“If he met you once I swear he knew your name for life. Luckily for us he turned such a wonderful mind to bringing life to Martin Goodman for whom he would do whatever it took to make us laugh.

“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.”

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Friday Night Dinner first aired in 2011 and last year aired its sixth series.

During his career, Paul, who played Martin Goodman in the hit comedy show, achieved success in The Hollow Crown and built up an impressive list of acting credits including the critically-acclaimed series Chernobyl as well as Cold Feet, Vera, The Game and Plebs.

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