Friday Night Dinner's Simon Bird and Tom Rosenthal: ‘Embarrassment is part of the job!’

Tom Rosenthal, Simon Bird
Tom Rosenthal, Simon Bird (Image credit: Mark Johnson)

Tom Rosenthal and Simon Bird give us an inside guide to Channel 4’s Friday Night Dinner...

One wedding, a ‘for sale’ sign, and many, many wedgies. What’s on TV get an inside guide to series four of Friday Night Dinner. Stars Tom Rosenthal, who plays Jonny, and Simon Bird, who plays Adam, reveal all – sometimes literally…

There are wedding bells for Jonny during the new series. What can you reveal? Tom: "Jonny comes home with a girl called Lisa and it transpires they went to Las Vegas and got married! Mum Jackie (Tamsin Greig) is absolutely furious and Jonny’s like, ‘Why? It’s just something that you do.’ The episode is a long process of trying to, first of all, get into the house as Jackie banishes them to the car. Then trying get Jonny’s new wife into Jackie’s affections..." Simon: "Lisa, played by Skye Bennett, is American so there’s talk of Jonny moving to America."

How does dad Martin react to Jonny’s news? Tom: "There is a very sweet moment when Jonny makes a big announcement and, where dad (Paul Ritter) is normally calling them all sorts of names/abuse/morons, you realise he does actually love Jonny. He’ll miss him if he moves to the US and won't be able to come back for Friday night dinners."

Friday Night Dinner

Martin (Paul Ritter), Jonny (Tom Rosenthal), Adam (Simon Bird), Jackie (Tamsin Greig) (Image credit: Mark Johnson)

Are there a lot of sweet moments among the chaos? Simon: "There are some quite sweet moments in the series generally. In the final episode Jackie puts the house up for sale, and people come to look round while they’re having dinner. The boys implore her to take it off the market, as they want the family home to remain the family home. It’s a nice ending for the series."

There’s relentless rivalry and pranks between brothers Jonny and Adam. Do you ever really hurt each other? Simon: "We did one scene this series where, Tom, you were incredibly brave when I was stabbing you with that fork. You were quite up for it!" Tom: "I prefer it, as you don’t have to act when you’re in pain. It was in the thigh and it did hurt. I like the method...

"It’s like a Rules of Engagement type thing. You can have a war and do things that are good and bad, so they’re always having a go, but would never cross a line. I wouldn’t cut his hand off."


Friday Night Dinner

Jonny (Tom Rosenthal) and Adam (Simon Bird) (Image credit: Mark Johnson)

Do you ever say ‘no’ to anything you’re asked to do? Tom: "No, I think we’d get fired." Simon: "Between us we’ve had to do worse stuff in other shows we’ve been in. It seems relatively tame. There’s a bit of nakedness from me in this series, which is very funny…" Tom: "Adam is sick, so he’s gone back home for mum to look after him. He gets in his pyjamas and calls her mummy! Jonny comes home from work and sees Jackie cutting Adam’s toenails on the sofa and is like, ‘What’s going on?’ So Jonny constantly gives Adam wedgies in his PJs!"

Do you ever get embarrassed by the things you’ve done on screen? Simon: "Filming is such an embarrassing thing anyway, you sort of get used to it. Stuff like getting naked for this series is water off a duck’s back now." Tom: "Embarrassment is a permanent thing, part of the job. Once in Plebs you could see the outline of my penis in my toga…"

Do you get the giggles on set? Simon: "Because we know each other so well now there’s more corpsing every series. It’s such a claustrophobic set, we film it all in this house and there are so many people in there. Everything’s filmed in tight hallways or toilets so it does lead to a lot of corpsing – it’s mainly us but Tamsin does lose it once in a while!"


Jim Rosenthal

Tom's father is sports commentator Jim Rosenthal (Image credit: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment)

Jonny shocks his parents a lot, have you ever shocked your parents in real life? Tom: "The thing that shocked my parents the most was when I faked my A level results. I photoshopped a really convincing failure and I gave it to my mum and just walked away. There was about a half an hour where my dad was shouting and my mum was crying. Also, when my dad turned 60 I got an email address for him from Age Concern, asking him to be an ambassador. I’m a terrible son!" Simon: "Your parents are up for a laugh. Tom’s dad is in everything he does now. He’s in Plebs and this series of Friday Night Dinner…" Tom: "Yes, keep an eye out!"

Friday Night Dinner

The new series of Friday Night Dinner kicks off on Friday 22nd July at 10pm on Channel 4 (Image credit: Mark Johnson)


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Elaine Reilly
Writer for TV Times, What’s On TV, TV & Satellite Week and What To Watch

With twenty years of experience as an entertainment journalist, Elaine writes for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and covering a variety of programs from gardening and wildlife to documentaries and drama.


As well as active involvement in the WTW family’s social media accounts, she has been known to get chatty on the red carpet and wander into the odd podcast. 

After a day of previewing TV, writing about TV and interviewing TV stars, Elaine likes nothing than to relax… by watching TV.