Comedian and actor Tom Rosenthal has discussed the future of classic British sitcom Friday Night Dinner, which came to an end with its sixth season in 2020.
Rosenthal played Jonny Goodman in the series, which detailed the calamitous weekly Friday-night dinners of a Jewish family in suburban north London, alongside his on-screen brother Simon Bird (Adam), Tamsin Greig (who played mum Jackie) and Paul Ritter (dad Martin). Ritter died from a brain tumour in 2021 at the age of 54.
A special 10th anniversary special aired in May last year, consisting of a 90-minute documentary called Friday Night Dinner: 10 Years And a Lovely Bit of Squirrel followed by three back-to-back episodes chosen by viewers. At the time, creator Robert Popper confirmed there were no plans to write any more episodes, but fans have continued to speculate online about a return.
“Robert loves making the show and he loves writing for us,” said Rosenthal. “A lot of people who have watched the show have been like ‘oh isn’t there a way it could work?’ but for us it doesn’t feel the same and I don’t think that will ever change.
Tamsin Greig and Paul Ritter in ‘Friday Night Dinner’. CREDIT: Mark Johnson/©Channel 4 Television / Alamy
“Robert really liked writing the show, we all liked making it. In these interviews you always say stuff like ‘oh we’re a family’ but we are a family. If we did make any more I think it would be tinged with sadness. It would feel, to an extent, wrong… The reunion show was a very nice way of finishing the show.”
Rosenthal also reflected on attending Ritter’s memorial, held at the Old Vic Theatre in London and organised by Greig.
“It had an incredible turnout,” he said. “He was a very well-loved man and basically filled the Old Vic with well-wishers.”
This week Rosenthal is set to star in the finale of Plebs, another much-loved British sitcom that began in the 2010s. The show, which first broadcast in 2013, follows the exploits of three young men in Roman times as they chase romance, try to hold down jobs, and climb the social ladder in the ancient civilisation’s capital. After five seasons, Plebs will end with a special feature-length episode on December 8.
“The one-sentence pitch is that we go to war,” said Rosenthal about the series’ final bow. “It starts like a classic episode of Plebs: the army is about, it’s clear there’s something going on and we don’t really wanna be a part of it. But when it becomes evident that Grumio could get some food, Jason could get some girls and Marcus could get some money they’re like ‘well let’s just join the army then!’ Obviously they’re thinking there’s not going to be a war – and then, it’s Plebs, there’s obviously a war.”
‘Plebs: Soldiers Of Rome’ will premiere on ITV’s streaming service ITVX on December 8