Simon Bird: Paul Ritter was 'irreplaceable' on Friday Night Dinner

Simon Bird felt 'really sad' that Friday Night Dinner came to an end credit:Bang Showbiz
Simon Bird felt 'really sad' that Friday Night Dinner came to an end credit:Bang Showbiz

Simon Bird felt "really sad" that 'Friday Night Dinner' came to an end following Paul Ritter's death, but insists he is "irreplaceable".

The 38-year-old actor was left "heart-broken" when Paul passed away in April 2021, aged 54 from a brain tumour, and a month later it was confirmed the sitcom was to end.

But Simon believes nobody else could've played Paul's part of patriarch Martin Goodman.

He said: "It was heart-breaking news and a real shock. And it's really sad that 'Friday Night Dinner' has come to an end as well."

When it was suggested the show couldn't go on without Paul, Simon said: "No way. He's irreplaceable. Nobody could come and do that part."

Simon admits Paul was an "inspiration" to him, and felt like a "father figure".

Speaking on 'This Morning', he added: "He was an inspiration for me, both as an actor but also just as a guy. It's weird, because he was literally and figuratively a father figure to me."

As well as starring in 'Friday Night Dinner' as Martin's son Adam Goodman, Simon is also well known for portraying awkward teen Will McKenzie in 'The Inbetweeners'.

But the star admitted this week he doesn’t think the 00s E4 comedy - which also featured Joe Thomas, Blake Harrison and James Buckley - would've been commissioned nowadays.

He said: "I honestly think it wouldn’t be commissioned today."

After being questioned if this was because of sexism and other jokes, Simon said: "Yeah, and the casual homophobia."

But the ‘Days of the Bagnold Summer’ director justified the show's legacy, saying the series - which spanned three seasons between 2008 and 2010 and spawned two movies - was supposed to be "an accurate representation" of teen life.

Simon said: "I rationalise it to myself by saying that at the time it was an accurate representation of the way teenagers talk to each other. Is that still the case now? I assume not.

"Although the programme was set in the 2000s, it was based on a pilot set in 1990, so even in the 2000s it wasn’t really an accurate reflection of how teenagers spoke."