Belfast Telegraph

Channel 4 to share Leon Bernicoff tribute before Christmas Gogglebox special

The broadcaster will spare a moment to remember its much-loved star.

Channel 4 will share a tribute to late Gogglebox star Leon Bernicoff before the show’s Christmas special on Sunday.

The fan favourite personality, who became a central character on the show with his wife June after it first launched in 2013, died on Saturday at the age of 83.

Hours before broadcasting the Christmas Eve episode, featuring the series’ memorable moments of 2017, Channel 4 confirmed in a statement: “His passing will be marked in the announcement before the programme airs.”

Tributes poured in following the news of the retired teacher’s death in hospital after a short illness.

Gogglebox co-stars Steph and Dom posted on Twitter: “So terribly sorry to hear the dreadful news about Leon!! Our hearts are with June and his family – what a dreadful loss to us all – he was always so cheeky and adored – the show will never be the same without him #leonliveson Huge #Chinchin in his honour.”

TV’s Scarlett Moffatt, who first rose to fame on the hit show, was among the first to share her memories of the Gogglebox “grandfather”, posting: “Words can’t explain what you meant to so many people.

“From your words of encouragement to me to the little DMs. Leon you were loved by so many. Sending my love to you and all of your family.”

Bernicoff’s mischievous attitude – which included unfiltered remarks about politicians and television personalities and cheeky bickering with his wife – also proved a hit with Coronation Street stars.

Lucy Fallon tweeted: “So heartbroken to hear the sad news … @LeonAndJune Leon always reminded me of my Grandad.. very witty and absolutely adored. Gogglebox will never be the same without him.”

Jennie McAlpine added: “So sad to hear about lovely Leon. He was a total #gogglebox delight. Thinking of his dear June.”

Singer Liam Gallagher, who starred in a charity special of the show with his mother and son this year, posted: “RIP Leon Gogglebox as you were LG x.”

Strictly Come Dancing 2016 winner Ore Oduba added: “So sad to hear about Leon’s passing. An absolute favourite in our house. His and June’s love after 60 years marriage such a beautiful example to all of us… sending June and the family lots of love at this time of year.”

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.

:: Gogglebox will air on Channel 4 at 9pm on Sunday.

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