Gogglebox favourite June Bernicoff still watches every new episode of the Channel 4 series but has no intention of returning to show, even though she feels it is “still a big part” of her.
The 81-year-old revealed the idea of continuing to appear as an armchair critic was never an option after losing beloved husband Leon last year.
Leon, 83, passed away in December after a short illness. But is clear the memories the couple – who found fame for nearly five years on the hit show – made together over six decades will never fade.
And while retired teacher June clearly treasures their TV experience, it is one she prefers to keep associated as one shared with Leon.
Asked about making further Gogglebox appearances during a recent interview with The Mirror, she replied: “It couldn’t be the same, could it?
“Talking to an empty chair.”
Joking, she added: “Although I might get to speak more.”
June – whose new book ‘Leon & June: Our Story. Life, Love and Laughter’ is published this month – previously found herself doing just that and turning to where Leon had once sat beside her when a tribute episode aired earlier this year.
As the show finished and the word “In Loving Memory of Leon Bernicoff” appeared on her TV screen, June couldn’t stop herself from going to address him before realising he wasn’t there.
As tears fell, she whispered: “Leon, they’ve dedicated the show to you.”
Describing the moment as the first time time she had “really cried” since his passing, June credits the touching acknowledgment of one of the show’s most popular figures as helping her deal with her loss.
When previously watching back shows they appeared in when Leon was alive, the couple would immediately ready themselves for the return of camera crews to their Liverpool home to film the next episode.
But as the credits rolled on the show dedicated to Leon’s memory, June came to terms with how an unlikely chapter in their lives had come to an end.
“In a way, even though I am no longer part of the show, Gogglebox is still a big part of me,” she said.
“Being involved in the show so late in our lives provided us with a host of unexpected pleasures.”
And although viewers miss seeing both Bernicoffs on screen, there are plenty of fond memories to go around.
She added: “I miss his generosity, his kindness, his laughter, his decisiveness, his touch and his voice – ‘June!’ – especially when I am out of the room.”
Do you think Gogglebox can ever be the same without June and Leon? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know what you think.