Scarlett Moffatt has posted a tribute to her former Gogglebox co-star Leon Bernicoff, whose death was announced this evening.
She wrote on Twitter: “Words can’t explain what you meant to so may people. From your words of encouragement to me to the little DMs.
“Leon you were loved by so many. Sending all my love to you and all your family.”
Leon passed away in hospital today, following a short illness.
Studio Lambert, the production company that makes the Channel 4 show, paid tribute in a statement.
“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.”
Leon, a retired teacher, and wife June joined the Channel 4 hit when it launched in 2013, and quickly became national treasures.
He was renowned for his no-nonsense opinions on celebrities and, most entertainingly, politicians – traits respected by many fans who are now flooding Twitter with their condolences.
The Bernicoffs, who were based in Liverpool, were married for over 60 years.
Leon was 20 when he first met June, then 18, at a teacher training college dance; he has said it was love at first sight.