Matthew Perry, who died on Saturday night at his Los Angeles home, was best known for his performance in Friends as the sarcastic Chandler Bing.

But away from the hit sitcom, one of the 54-year-old’s most memorable TV appearances was in 2013 when he debated addiction on the BBC’s current affairs programme Newsnight with Oxford’s Peter Hitchens.

The Daily Mail columnist has been criticised in the wake of Mr Perry’s death after he reposted his article from 2017 titled “The Fantasy of Addiction” – doubling down on the argument he made on TV 10 years ago that addiction should not be designated as a disease.

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Mr Hitchens was accused of “poor timing” by social media users.

In response, he said the timing issue was with those who "used Mr Perry’s death as an opportunity to attack me."

The video of the Newsnight spat has been circulating on X, the platform previously known as Twitter, since news of Mr Perry’s death broke.

The pair had been invited onto the show to discuss specialist drug courts - in which former addicts would sit as magistrates - alongside then-host Jeremy Paxman and Baroness Meacher, an advocate for drug policy reform.

Mr Perry, who was a fierce advocate for addiction recovery, said: “I know that they work…

“People who go through drug court have a 55 per cent less chance of ever seeing handcuffs ever again.”

But Mr Hitchens, a passionate anti-drug campaigner, disputed Mr Perry’s argument.

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The controversial author and broadcaster questioned the reality of drug dependency and described what he saw as the “fantasy of addiction.”

Mr Perry, who for years spoke honestly about his own struggles with drug and alcohol abuse, went on to advise Mr Hitchens to “read something other than your book.”

Later in his memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, Mr Perry recalled the debate and described “a complete tool called Peter Hitchens.”

“I can’t imagine what it’s like to have a sibling whom everyone adores when you’re the idiot brother everyone loathes, but I think Peter could well be able to weigh in on what that feels like,” he wrote.

In the 2017 article which he reposted on Sunday morning, Mr Hitchens said he “never meant to start an argument about addiction” but stood by his view.

He said: “Chandler Bing called me various names and was even more sarcastic than before. He is extremely good at sarcasm, even if he understands very little about the drug problem.”