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Friday Night Dinner could look completely different if it was made today

Friday Night Dinner could look completely different if it was made today

It's a perfect show to many so the thought of it being different wouldn't go down too well

The idea that our favourite TV shows could look different feels almost offensive to the ears.

Just take a look at The Inbetweeners pilot for one, where James Buckley was originally cast to play Neil and not Jay.

It's just absolutely not OK and the idea of it is utterly bizarre.

Well, things could also have looked very different for another Channel 4 production. This time, we're talking about Friday Night Dinner.

The impeccable comedy stars Inbetweeners' actor Simon Bird as one part of a Jewish family who meet up every Friday night for their traditional Shabbat dinner.

Bird stars as Adam alongside brother Jonny (Tom Rosenthal).

Their parents are Jackie (Tamsin Greig) and Martin (Paul Ritter), with the four of them acting as the mainstays in every episode.

Of course, we can't forget the rather unique yet kind neighbour Jim (Mark Heap) and his trusty dog, Wilson.

Jim being Jim on Friday Night Dinner.
Channel 4

Robert Popper created the show, inspired by his own experiences growing up in a Jewish household.

It ran for six seasons between 2011 and 2020, with it officially not returning following the tragic death of Ritter.

Rumours about a seventh season keep cropping up, though since it returned to Netflix in January.

During its years, Friday Night Dinner was nominated for a number of BAFTA Awards, including a posthumous nomination for Ritter after his death.

But the show could have looked very different if it was to be made today, according to Greig.

Speaking to Times Radio, Greig said she voiced concerns at the time of the show being put together as to whether she should play a Jewish character.

Friday Night Dinner was a surefire hit for Channel 4 for almost a decade.
Channel 4

Greig herself is not Jewish. She became a Christian later in life after being brought up as an atheist.

She said that she didn't know if she would take on the role if the show was to be made today.

Speaking on to Times Radio host Fi Glover, Greig said: "I did have thoughts at the time and spoke to Robert Popper, the writer, about it.

"My concern of being non-Jewish playing a Jewish woman and my real antipathy to stereotype. I wanted to be very careful about how to portray her.

"Robert Popper, who is Jewish and writing about his family environment, and growing up in a culturally secular Jewish home... he said 'don't worry, I'm the writer I know what I can hear, I'm writing a kind of music as to what I hear in that environment, and I'll be there, so we'll be okay'.

Tamsin Greig played Jackie Goodman on Friday Night Dinner.
Times Radio

"He reassured me. What's been brought to the front recently is that the conversations we're having now about casting, diversity, representation and access are very strong and they're very different to the what they were like in the 2000s when we started thinking about this show.

"So I think we'd have a different approach now, is it approach for me to play [Jackie] now. Then, it was okay it was the environment. But I did make sure [it was okay]."

When asked by Glover if she would take the part now or if she would 'walk away' from the role, Greig said she 'didn't know' what she would do.

Featured Image Credit: Channel 4

Topics: Channel 4, Netflix, TV and Film