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'I'll always aspire to be like him': Friday Night Dinner star Simon Bird pays tribute to late co-star Paul Ritter after his death from a brain tumour aged 54

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Daily Mail
Daily Mail
 2021-04-08

Simon Bird has paid tribute to his late co-star Paul Ritter, following his death from a brain tumour on Monday, aged 54.

The Inbetweeners actor, 36, shared a touching message via his onscreen sibling Tom Rosenthal's Twitter on Thursday, writing that he will 'always aspire to be like' Paul and went on to heap praise on him.

Simon, who played Adam on the Channel 4 comedy, wrote: 'Not even going to touch the acting. That goes without saying. He was the best in the business.

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'I'll always aspire to be like him': Friday Night Dinner star Simon Bird (R) paid tribute to Paul Ritter on Thursday, after his death from a brain tumour aged 54 (pictured with Tom Rosenthal)

'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).'

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High praise: Simon, who played Adam on the show, wrote: 'Not even going to touch the acting. That goes without saying. He was the best in the business' (pictured with Tamsin Greig)
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Tribute: The Inbetweeners actor shared a touching message via his onscreen sibling Tom Rosenthal's Twitter, writing that he will 'always aspire to be like' Paul

The actor went on: '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.'

Paul, who passed away at home with wife Polly and sons Frank and Noah at his bedside, was best known to thousands of TV viewers as the affable father Martin Goodman in the Channel 4 sit-com, alongside Tamsin Greig, Simon and Tom.

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Sweet: He gushed, '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'

On Tuesday, a spokesman for the actor said of his passing: 'It is with great sadness we can confirm that Paul Ritter passed away on Monday night.

'He died peacefully at home with his wife Polly and sons Frank and Noah by his side. He was 54 and had been suffering from a brain tumour.

'Paul was an exceptionally talented actor playing an enormous variety of roles on stage and screen with extraordinary skill.

'He was fiercely intelligent, kind and very funny. We will miss him greatly.'

Paul's chilling turn in HBO drama Chernobyl saw him as one of the Ukrainian disaster's villains, deputy chief engineer Anatoly Dyatlov, a world away from the light-hearted patriarch in Friday Night Dinner.

The two roles encapsulated an actor who was today widely praised for his huge range and versatility on stage and screen, balancing comedy roles with heavyweight parts in critically-acclaimed dramas.

He was in films including Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Quantum of Solace, as well as the lauded mini-series about the Ukranian nuclear power station meltdown.

His final role in WWII film Operation Mincemeat as Bentley Purchase is understood to have been completed but has not yet been released.

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Rest in peace: Paul passed away at home on Monday with wife Polly and sons Frank and Noah at his bedside (pictured in 2019)

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