Belfast Telegraph

Gogglebox pays tribute to Leon Bernicoff

The 83-year-old died on Saturday after a short illness.

Channel 4 dedicated its Christmas Gogglebox show to late cast member Leon Bernicoff.

Fan favourite Bernicoff died on Saturday at the age of 83 after a short illness.

At the start of Sunday night’s instalment, an announcer said: “Before Gogglebox begins, we’re sorry to share the very sad news that Leon passed away in hospital yesterday.

“He will be sorely missed and we dedicate tonight’s show to his memory.”

The programme opened with previously recorded footage of Bernicoff trying some Christmas sweets.

Viewers said it was the perfect tribute to Bernicoff, who became a central character on the show with his wife June after it first launched in 2013.

“What fitting tribute to @LeonAndJune. Leon scoffing the sweets and June busy cleaning up after him. #Gogglebox just knows how we love to remember him. R.I.P Sir!” one person said on Twitter.

Another posted: “Wonderful tribute and dedication to Leon just before tonight’s #Gogglebox. Rest in Peace, Leon, you legend.”

In a statement to the Press Association on Saturday, Channel 4 and Gogglebox creators Studio Lambert said: “It is with a heavy heart that we announce the sad news that after a short illness Gogglebox’s Leon Bernicoff passed away in hospital earlier today.

“Leon and his wife June were the first members of the public to be cast for Gogglebox back in early 2013 and they soon grew to become much-loved voices during the course of the show’s 10 series to date.

“Leon’s unique personality and sharp wit endeared him to fans of the show as he contributed fully to Gogglebox’s reputation as a programme full of warm humour and unvarnished opinion.

“To those of us that knew him personally, Leon was a man of unwavering principles who exerted a distinct paternal presence both on and off screen. He will be dearly missed by the entire Gogglebox family; cast and crew.”

Bernicoff was born on October 27 1934. He is survived by wife June, two daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren.

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